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University of Pittsburgh    
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
  Jul 25, 2024
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Civic Learning Distinction

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The primary goals of the Civic Learning Distinction are to provide students with a mechanism to gain recognition and credit for their outside-the-classroom work and to broaden the number of Pitt undergraduate students participating in civic learning and community engagement activities on and beyond campus.


Relevant courses will introduce students to the core principles of civic learning and engagement, and provide them with the skills needed for ethical, impactful, and engaged work. Students need to complete 3 courses for the distinction.

Civic Learning Distinction course requirements:

  • Six (6) academic credits from Civic Learning courses. 1) Introduction to Urban Studies (URBNST 0010); 2) any other Civic Learning course.
  • Three (3) academic credits from a Civic Learning + Engagement course.

High-Impact Activities (Minimum of Three Activities)

These activities should enrich the student’s academic pursuits and provide opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills to pressing civic challenges. Please confirm your High Impact Activities with the PittServes Civic and Community Advising Program Manager. Each of the three activities must come from a different category. Activity categories include:

  • Completion of the OCC Civic and Social Engagement goal area.
  • Leadership role in a student organization that reflects a civic learning outcome (other community groups will be considered with approval by the Manager of Advising).
  • A civic-learning related internship or fellowship.
  • A civic-learning research project or other significant research experience (i.e. B.Phil).
  • A civic-learning related study abroad or alternative break experience.
  • Participation in the Civic Learning-Living Community.

Reflection Essay

Students should reflect on and share how the above courses and activities collectively contributed to their overall personal and professional development in a 1,500-to-2,000-word reflective essay. Students should provide examples of how these experiences enabled them to apply academic knowledge and skills to important issues that affect the civic life of a community.


Students interested in completing the Civic Learning Distinction will complete an online application form. Student progress will be tracked through an e-Portfolio that students design to showcase their Civic Learning work. A committee including the PittServes Civic and Community Advising Program Manager and Urban Studies faculty will review and approve completed e-Portfolios once per semester.

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