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National Community Scholars Program

Community Scholars:
National Community Scholars Program

The Community Scholars program engages students with a specialized interest in community change work. Community Scholars follow one of two tracks: Community-Based Initiative (specialized focus on community change in Detroit) or National Community Scholars (specialized focus in national community change placements). Students are welcome to express an interest in both tracks; however, it is only possible to be accepted into one track.

As one of our Community Scholars Programs, the purpose of the National Community Scholars Program (NCS) is to prepare professionals for enabling young people and adult allies to create community change.

Approximately six scholars will be selected each year to participate in the program. National Community Scholars will gain skills to organize groups for social action, plan programs at the local level, advocate for socially just policies, and develop community-based services.

National Community Scholars Program Funding

  • 12-month scholars: $4,000 per term (3 terms) + $6,000 (one-time spring-summer award)**
  • 16-month scholars: $4,500 per term (4 terms) + $6,000 (one-time spring-summer award)**

**A one-time award of $6,000 is given for costs associated with the national field placement

Special Fieldwork Placements

The program offers unique opportunities for students to collaborate with leading practitioners. Previous summer placement sites have included the following areas. Additional sites may be added.

  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Central Appalachia
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Midwestern Communities
  • Mississippi Delta
  • San Francisco Bay Area, a culturally diverse urban area with a dense concentration of community youth organizations.
  • Washington D.C.

Program Requirements

  • Commitment to program objectives, demonstrated potential for youth and community work, and fit with community partners.
  • Interest in youth participation, community change, community-based participatory research, and/or social justice.
  • Enrollment as a full-time On-Campus MSW student in the 16-month, 12-month (Advanced Standing, MasterTrack MSW, UM-Dearborn Human Services & SW, or UM Sociology & SW) curriculum.
  • Selection and completion of program requirements for the Community Change pathway.
  • NCS scholars begin field in the first fall term and enroll in 7-8 field credits in spring/summer term at a designated agency. 16-month students will begin field 'Out of sequence' in the first fall term.
  • Scholars will be directed to specific sections of the Introduction to Social Work course.
  • Participation in formal and informal extracurricular cohort activities.

Due to course and field requirements, dual MSW/MPH students are not eligible to participate in this program.


  • All potential On-Campus MSW applicants who are interested in youth participation, community change, community-based participatory research, and social justice are invited to apply.
  • Application deadlines: December 1, 2023 (early application), February 1, 2024 (priority), March 1, 2024. Selection of applicants will be made from all dates with priority given to those applicants that meet the December and February deadlines.
  • Deferred admits planning to enroll in fall 2024 must submit their special program application by November 1, 2023.
  • Financial need will be considered in the review of special program applications.
  • Your MSW application must be complete by the scholarship application deadline.
  • If you would like to apply to NCS, then please answer “yes” to the question, “Do you plan to apply to an SSW Special Program?” found on the Financial Assistance page of the MSW application and then select the Community Scholars checkbox. The Community Scholars application page will be added to the end of your MSW application. On the Community Scholars application page, you must choose a track selection: Community-Based Initiative (CBI) National Community Scholars (NCS) or Interested in Either CBI or NCS.
  • Be sure to include your name and “Community Scholars Statement” in the upper corner of your statement before you upload it to your application.

For more information about this program, contact the Office of Student Services and Enrollment Management at (734) 936-0961 or [email protected].

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