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Graduate Certificate in
Community Action and Research

The University of Michigan is committed to providing students with opportunities to connect their research and education in ways that can benefit communities and the larger society.

Program Description

The Graduate Certificate in Community Action and Research provides students with rigorous interdisciplinary training, connecting their research and action within communities to conversations taking place beyond the classroom. A certificate in Community Action and Research will provide students with a specialized set of experiences and courses which supplement their primary field of study. This interdisciplinary approach to community action and research allows students to find cross-cutting solutions to some of the questions and challenges communities face. In this program, students will gain the skills to become an activist scholar who can use their knowledge to positively affect communities and our world.

Candidate Qualifications

All graduate students pursuing a doctoral, terminal masters, or professional degree at the University of Michigan are eligible to apply.


The certificate requirements will include six credits of core courses in the School of Social Work’s Community Organization Concentration or Doctoral Program. Required courses include both basic approaches to community action research and more advanced approaches.

Six additional elective credits would be taken from a list of relevant courses offered in other schools and departments, which focus on community action and change. All students will complete a three-credit individualized Community Action and Research capstone project, which can be a scholarly paper or a project that engages with Community Action and Research perspectives.

Course Requirements

  • Two core courses: SW 650 (3 credits) and SW 653 (3 credits);
  • Two elective courses on Community Action and Research topics (3 credits each) from any graduate program as approved by the certificate coordinators;
  • Community Action and Research capstone project (3 credits).


Students must be enrolled in a U-M degree-granting graduate program, be in good academic standing in their program, and have completed one term of graduate study in their program before applying for admission.

Current graduate students in Rackham programs can apply to add a certificate program. Students in non- Rackham programs, including students in the Social Work MSW program, must submit an application to Rackham Graduate School, including transcripts, statement of purpose, a letter of recommendation from their advisor, and fee.

Admission is granted on a rolling basis; students are encouraged to apply any time during the year. The Director of the Certificate Program, Lorraine Gutierrez ([email protected]) and members of the Faculty Advisory Committee will review applications.

Students in a Non-Rackham Program

Students in non- Rackham programs should use the link below and choose Community Action and Research in the Program Selection step.

Apply to Rackham Graduate School

Current and Former Rackham Students

In addition to applying to add the certificate to your current course of study, current Rackham students should also send a letter of application explaining your interest in the program, background in Community Action and Research, and other relevant preparation and a list of proposed courses that will fulfill the program requirements to [email protected]. Finally, applicants will need to have an advisor or faculty member send a letter of support directly to [email protected].

Add a Certificate Program

For more information contact: [email protected].

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