Civic Engagement Certificate

**Applications are no longer being accepted for the Civic Engagement Certificate**

  How Will You Change the World this Semester?


The Certificate in Civic Engagement prepares students to become active, effective, ethical citizens in their professional and personal lives. Students develop practical skills to link their learning to community involvement through service-learning experiences, internships, community-based research, and creative activities. 


Alice Paul

At 22, suffragist Alice Paul started campaigning for women's rights.


The Certificate in Civic Engagement highlights scholarly, community-based engagement in students' major coursework while making connections to academic, personal and civic development of skills and competencies.

Graduates will achieve the outcomes of their majors and be able to:

  • Demonstrate democratic skills, such as communication, problem-solving, and negotiation, necessary for addressing public problems at multiple levels

  • Articulate public uses of their education and civic engagement

  • Synthesize civic imagination and the abilities and needs of individuals, groups, and communities into a vision for the future

  • Compose personal roles and ethical standards for participation in a diverse, global community


CEL Internship (CEL A395) is required for those enrolled in the Civic Engagement Certificate program, and the 6-credit internship may be completed in one or two semesters. In addition, students declared in any major may take the CEL internship as an upper division elective for 3-9 hours.

The CEL internship is designed to enhance your total academic experience through a planned period of observation, study and participation in a selected community agency or organization. The internship is viewed as an integrative experience for your academic work and as real-life experience in participating civically in your community.

Getting Started

  • Application Process

    Identifying the right internship placement for qualified students is a process that profits from advance planning. Internship applicants should notify their advisor of their intent to enroll in the program by the end of the semester preceding that in which they intend to serve their internship. For example, if you are planning to do your internship in the spring, it would be best to notify your advisor and set the process in motion prior to the end of the fall semester.

    Application materials listed below must be completed and delivered to the CCEL office for the student to be considered for placement in a CCEL internship. These required materials include:

    • Application Form*
    • Internship Information Release, FERPA Release, and Release of Liability Form*
    • Résumé

    * Fillable pdfs of these forms provided below

    Application Form

    Internship Information Release, FERPA Release, and Release of Liability Form

  • General Requirements for Applicants

    A student in any declared major is eligible for a CCEL internship placement, and you do not have to be enrolled in the Civic Engagement Certificate Program. The internship is structured as an upper-division course and you should have junior or senior level standing to register for the course. Some firms and agencies enforce standards requiring background and records checks. Consequently, you may be required to authorize related investigations and checks as a condition of acceptance.

  • Placement Options

    There are many internship opportunities! You can complete your internship with a local organization or you can find an opportunity elsewhere. Although we can offer suggestions, it is up to the student to find an appropriate internship. To be considered appropriate for ENVI, internships need to have an environmental focus, provide students with professional development opportunities, offer students the chance to practice problem-solving skills and create a partnership with a community organization. For Civic Engagement internships, students will usually intern with non-profit organizations or government/public agencies or departments. Students interested in pursuing internship opportunities should contact Dr. Donna Aguiniga at (907) 786-4087 to talk about possible placements.

  • Placement Process

    If you would like to complete your internship you must:

    • Meet with the CEL Program Chair, Dr. Donna Aguiniga to discuss your readiness and appropriateness for a CEL internship the semester prior to placement.
    • Complete the application materials by designated date.
    • Identify an appropriate internship placement and have it approved by Dr. Aguiniga.
    • Receive notification that application will be accepted and placement made.
    • Register for the appropriate number of CEL 395 credits (at least 3 and up to 9 credits).
    • Complete and submit the required forms prior to the beginning of the internship:
      • Intern Information Form
      • Internship Participation Form
      • Student Accident Insurance Election/Rejection Form
    • Attend scheduled class meetings and submit assignments as outlined in syllabus


Interns benefit greatly from the opportunity to observe and work with practitioners in the field.

As interns, you are challenged with opportunities to apply concepts and principles learned in the classroom, to network with professionals in the community, and to analyze on the-job experiences in light of academic learning.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will I be paid?

    Internships are usually unpaid, but we do not preclude your being paid.

  • How many hours do I have to work to satisfy the requirement?

    Three credits is equivalent to approximately 135 hours, which is roughly nine hours a week for 15 weeks. If your internship is shorter in duration then you must work more hours a week. How many credits you can count towards an internship depends on how many hours you put into your experience. This work must be supervised, though each of the hours need not occur in the physical confines of the placement site.

  • Will I be graded on my performance as an intern?

    Yes. This is a graded course. Your grade will be based on the evaluation of your site supervisor, your instructor’s assessment of reflection assignments, your final product and the timeliness and thoroughness of your other assignments.

  • Can I complete my internship hours before or after the academic term?

    No. All internship hours submitted for academic credit must be earned during the academic term in which the student has registered for the CEL A395 course. Students may not earn hours prior to their enrollment in the class or before the class begins.

  •  What if I do not get along with my site supervisor or things are not going as planned?

    If you have any problems or concerns during the course of your internship, you should contact your instructor immediately.

  • What is the learning contract, and where do I find one?

    The learning contract is an agreement between you, your site supervisor and your instructor. It establishes the purpose and structure of the internship as agreed between you and your placement site, then approved by your advisor. The contract is unique to your internship. You are required to draft the contract, and perform your internship according to its terms. It can be found in the class Blackboard site or you may request a copy through email from Dr. Aguiniga.

  • What is the point of the internship reflection assignments?

    The reflection assignments serve several purposes. First, the reflections document your compliance with the terms of your internship contract. Second, they identify the type of work you performed and the work product generated during your internship. Third, as a contemporaneous record reflecting on your work and experience, they provide useful information in completing your final paper requirement. If you are enrolled in the Civic Engagement Certificate Program, they will also help you to comply with the requirements of your e-Portfolio.

  • Is there anything else I should know?

    Yes, in order to pass this course you must have a passing grade in every element of your internship experience (see syllabus for details).

  • You will likely have lots of questions, so please ask them!

    Contact Dr. Aguiniga via email at or 786-4087. At the time that the course begins, your instructor will supply his or her phone number and email address for communication.


Program Requirements

from current UAA catalog

Course Listing

CEL A292- Introduction to Civic Engagement

Introduces students to types of civic engagement in a democracy, practices of engagement and inquiry, and public issues of ethics, environmental sustainability, community building and human and civil rights through reading, reflections and community inquiry.  A service-learning component is included and a required part of the course.
3 Credit Hours

CEL A392- Civic Engagement: Learning by Giving

Applies learning about the history and practice of philanthropy with an overview of the non-profit sector and current issues and trends across the state and municipality. Students review and critique local grant proposals and award grant funds provided by local and national private benefactors to fulfill their proposals.
3 Credit Hours

CEL A395-Civic Engagement Internship
*or approved alternative

Internship in which student gains intensive experience applying principles of civic engagement and major-disciplinary knowledge and skills to a community-identified problem.  Students complete approximately 135 hours, usually in a community non-profit or government agency. 
6 Credit Hours

CEL A450- Civic Engagement Leadership Capstone
*or approved alternative

Integrates and applies disciplinary coursework and GER foundational skills of critical thinking, communication and collaboration with an interdisciplinary focus on civic responsibility. Critically examines civic pathways for leadership in local, state, national and/or global contexts through an individual civic engagement project. 
3 Credit Hours

15 additional credits are needed for the Certificate and should be outlined in a proposed Plan of Study with the Certificate faculty advisor.

Academic Advising

Donna Aguiniga
Donna Aguiniga, Ph.D, MSW
Interim Director
LIB 211M

 The Certificate appears on student transcripts and attests to the students' engagement in campus and community life.
Future employers value the broad civic perspective and practical skills and knowledge of Certificate graduates.

Student Testimonials