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Earning the Certificate in Service Learning

The Certificate in Service Learning (CSL) recognizes your experiences in utilizing your classroom skills to meet community-identified needs. Earning the certificate involves taking classes, engaging in volunteer work, and reflecting on your service learning experiences. Once you have earned the certificate, it is acknowledged on your official academic transcript.


Steps to Earn the Certificate


Registration for this certificate is through myKU Portal. Log in to your myKU portal and select the “Undergraduate Certificates” link from the “Academics” tab in MyKU Portal to register for the Certificate in Service Learning. Please allow a couple of days for the service learning record to become active in myKU Portal. You will use myKU Portal to track service hours and submit your final reflection.

Component 1: Service 101
Service 101 is an introduction to service pathways and ethical service work.
  • This is not a class. Resources to help you complete this component will be available on the Center for Service Learning website. After reviewing the online Service 101 resources, you will need to respond to some reflection questions, which will be available on your service learning certificate record in myKU Portal.
  • Service 101 can be completed anytime during the certification process. The service 101 reflection questions must be submitted and approved before you can complete the final reflection.
Component 2: 1 service learning course + 1 social awareness course

Take 1 designated service-learning (SL) class  and 1 social awareness (SA) class. View eligible classes

  • Service learning classes must be taken for a minimum of 3 credit hours. Classes that qualify toward the certificate vary by semester.  
  • Some approved courses offer optional service or multiple projects that serve for-profit and non-profit organizations. In order for your service to be approved for certificate, you must have participated in the service learning component of the course, and the service must in non-profit sector
  • You may have taken a SL or SA service-learning class that is not included on the list of courses. Please suggest any course to the CSL Coordinator that you feel should be included. We will seek approval to have the class added to the list.
Component 3: 60 cumulative hours of service
Complete a minimum of 60 hours of service. Service hours from your service learning class count toward the cumulative 60 hours needed to complete the certificate. If the service hours from your courses fall below 60 hours, you may complete additional service in one of the following ways:

If you continue service at an agency beyond what is required for your service learning class, you may use those hours to complete this component. Contact us with questions or to discuss other options for completing the additional service.

If you complete service hours that are not part of a class, you will need to fill out this additional service verification form and upload it to your submission in myKU Portal. 

Component 4: Reflection

Write a reflection summary including all of your service experiences. Because you will be including all of your service experiences in the reflection, you may not submit the reflection or attend a session prior to completing the majority of your service experiences. The written reflection needs to be submitted through myKU Portal. Preview the reflection questions.

To complete the reflection or attend a session, you must have registered for the certificate, completed Service 101, and finished the majority of your coursework and service. 

Apply to graduate from the certificate program

Make sure you apply to graduate from your certificate program(s) through Enroll and Pay

Fall 2020 online graduation application deadline: November 1, 2020

If you plan to complete a certificate program in any given semester, you should apply to graduate from the certificate program even if you still have classes or experiences in progress. 

Instructions on applying to graduate from certificate programs can be found on Student Information System website.

Why Get Certified in Service Learning?

Your certification in service learning will appear on your transcript, showing that the university acknowledges your achievements. This opportunity is not available to students at all universities and will recognize the efforts you have undertaken beyond the classroom.

Getting certified in service learning recognizes that you have:

  • gone beyond the classroom to help your community and to further your own education
  • assisted community agencies in better serving their clients
  • exposed yourself to societal inadequacies and injustices
  • better prepared yourself for your career or further education
  • taken on a greater responsibility for your learning and for your community
  • applied your course content in the context of the real world

Find out how to market your certification to employers.

Student FAQs

How is service learning different from community service?
Community service is volunteering your time for the betterment of your community.  Service learning, however, is applying what you are learning in your class to community problems.Not only is its focus academic engagement, but the result is also beneficial to both the student and the community.
Why should I get certified in service learning?
There are a variety of reasons to get certified in service learning, including:
  • To gain experiences you wouldn’t have gained through courses or community service alone
  • To put your life philosophies and political beliefs into practice
  • To step outside of the classroom box
  • To challenge your perceptions and assumptions
  • To take advantage of every opportunity KU has to offer
  • To set yourself apart for graduate school or the job market
I regularly serve my community, why should I get certified?
Service learning takes your community service to the next level. Unlike community service, service learning provides practical, purpose-driven application of course material. Certification is a further step in formalizing your service and academic efforts. Certification demonstrates your dedication to both your discipline and your community. Certification also shows you are willing to go beyond the norm in order to gain experience yet do so with a conscience.
What does it cost to enroll in certification?
There is no extra cost to enroll in certification, only the benefit of serving the community while learning course material.
I already did a service project. Does that count as the additional service component?
If you have previously completed 20 hours or more of service, while in college, at a single community agency or during an Alternative Break, we will count those hours as your additional service. We will still need to independently verify (with your supervisor or coordinator) that you did in fact complete those hours or participated in an Alternative Break.
How do I know if my course is a service learning course? How do I know if I’ve already taken a service learning course?
There are a couple of ways to check on this. First, we have list of past courses on our Web site.  These courses have been confirmed as service learning. Second, if you think your course is/was service learning but aren’t sure, ask your professor. Third, if your professor isn’t sure either, but you feel like a course may be/may have been service learning, let us know. We can check with the department to find out.
Do I have to complete my certification in one semester? Do I have to complete certification at the same time I’m enrolled in a service learning course?
The length required to complete certification depends on the student. Some finish in one semester, some in one year, and others need more time. You are free to decide when you will complete certification. The CSL Coordinator will help you in the process and give you updates about how much has been or needs to be completed.
At the end of the academic year, all certified students are awarded a certificate at a recognition ceremony. If you are unable to attend the certification in service learning recognition ceremony, we can get you a PDF copy of that certificate. If you do not see certification under milestones on your DPR, contact us. This allows graduate schools and employers to see that your service learning experience was an extension of your academic career and verified by the university.
Do I have to take a service learning course in my major?
Certainly not. Feel free to take a service learning course it whatever discipline you choose. Many students find it beneficial for their academic or career goals to take their service learning course in their major, but do not feel obligated to do so. It may be more rewarding to learn about another discipline through service learning!
My major doesn't have service learning courses. What do I do?
If your major doesn’t offer service learning, then let us know. The service learning course required for certification does not have to be completed within your major.It can be any class that you have taken at KU. If you are interested in completing a service learning course within your major then you should talk with a professor or advisor.There may be a possibility to do an independent study in service learning.
Does the grade I get in my service learning course matter?
In order for your course to count towards Certification, you need to receive a “C” or better.
What is the deadline for certification?
All your materials need to be in by the last day of the semester in which you graduate.
What if I took a service learning course, but it is not listed on your website?
You must describe your service you performed for the class, how many hours you served and the contact information of the professor/instructor. Many times instructors add service to their course without knowing it is service or simply forget to inform us about the course for that semester.
May I use the hours I did for my service class as my additional service hours?
No, the hours you submit for your class are separate from the additional service hours you submit.
May I use the hours I served in high school for my additional service?
No. All of your submissions must be during the time you are in college.
May I use volunteer hours from the same place that I did my service for the class?
Yes. If you continue service at the same agency, you may use those hours you served beyond what was required of your course.

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