Graduate Civic Scholars Program

The Graduate School at the University of South Carolina is delighted to announce that applications are now being accepted for the Graduate Civic Scholars Program (GCSP), an innovative professional development opportunity for master’s and doctoral students graduating in May 2019 or after who are interested in community and public engagement and action-based research. GCSP provides opportunities for interdisciplinary research, involvement in social justice initiatives, and an enhanced understanding of the role of scholarship in addressing societal needs.

In a cohort of like-minded colleagues and mentors, participants gain first-hand experience with civic research and public engagement and familiarity with theories of engagement. Students work intimately with experts, including USC faculty members and administrators, on research projects that will enhance quality of life in South Carolina and beyond. Scholars will gain exposure to potential community partners and learn about some of the needs and opportunities present in the Midlands and across the state. Over the course of the year, participants will develop and hone their own community-based research project, which they will present at the USC Research Day in 2019.

Up to twenty graduate students will be selected for the next GCSP cohort, which runs from May 2018 through April 2019. This 50-hour interdisciplinary program allows enrolled USC graduate students to explore how public engagement can enhance their teaching, research, and creative work while gaining skills useful to their career development. Scholars will meet from 9:00a.m.- noon, Monday-Friday, May 14-25, 2018, and two-hours per month from August 2018-April 2019. A $500 stipend will be awarded to each scholar. Upon completion of the program, successful students will be recognized with transcript notations.



Q: What is the timeline for making decisions?
A: Decisions will be made mid-February 2018, and applicants will be notified by March 1, 2018.

Q: I don't yet have a project. Can I still apply?
A: Yes, you can apply with just the early stages of an idea for a project.

Q: If I'm an online student with USC can I still apply?
A: Yes, however, this is a residency program, so you must be present for all GCSP sessions.

Q: Who is eligible to apply?
A: All graduate students enrolled in master's or doctoral programs listed here are eligible.

Q: Can one of my letters of recommendation comes from someone who worked with me in the past?
A: Yes, your second letter of recommendation (part B in section 1 of the application) may come from someone who has worked with you in the past, for example, someone at your undergrad institution.

Q: When I write about my past work with the community must it only involve unpaid, volunteer work?
A: No, community engaged work can take many forms. It does not have to have been in an unpaid position.

Q: Can my proposed project coincide with a capstone project for my degree program?
A: Yes,as long as this is acceptable for your degree program.

Q: Do I pay for the course that I register for to be part of the GCSP?
A: No, this course is a non-credit course on a pass/fail basis. You do not pay for it.

Q: Should my project's timeframe run for a specific length of time?
A: Every project will have a different life cycle. Some projects might have more long term, sustainable timeframes, while others will be effective in the short term. However, all GCSP Fellows must showcase their projects at the USC Research Day 2018.

Q: What happens if my proposed project plan evolves once I've begun the program?
A: We expect that your ideas will evolve and therefore your project might develop and change directions.

Q: Does my project have to engage with a Columbia-based community?
A: No, however, please note that there is no funding for travel.

Q: Can I propose a project that takes place within the university?
A: Yes, but you must make a strong case for how your project affects the broader community.

Q: Will I need to get IRB approval for my project?
A: If you don't intend to publish work that involves data from your project, IRB approval is not necessary. However, if at any point, you think you may want to publish material from your project you will need to receive IRB approval. Please also refer to this pdf from the Office of Research Compliance. 

Q: Are international projects eligible?
A: Yes.

If you have any other questions, please contact the faculty directors of the program:

Lucy Annang Ingram, PhD, Lead Director
 Associate Professor, Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior
Arnold School of Public Health
Allison Marsh, PhD
Associate Professor, History
College of Arts & Sciences



Please refer to the updated 2018-2019 Application and Instructions below:

The Graduate Civic Scholars Program is sponsored and supported by USC’s Graduate School in partnerships with USC’s Office of Community Engagement, Center for Teaching Excellence, Office of the Vice President for Research, Office of Student Engagement, and Career Center.