Community Service Learning

CSL Faculty Advisors

Miriam Liss (

CSL Student Coordinator: Emily Beitzell ( email Emily to obtain a CSL contract and for any questions!

Community Service Learning (CSL) provides a worthwhile educational experience with the opportunity to apply psychological principles learned in the classroom to the real world. Students choosing the CSL option must complete 40 hours of volunteer work at one approved community service site or 20 hours at two sites. Prior community service will not fulfill the requirement (i.e. service hours that were completed before approval was granted will not count towards the requirement).

Specific Requirements:

  • Must be declared as a Psychology Major
  • Requires at least 12 credit hours in psychology beyond PSYC 100 – General Psychology
  • Includes 40 hours of volunteer work at one approved community service site or 20 hours at two sites; hours cannot be split up amongst more than two sites
    • NOTE: These hours do not include any hours an agency may require for volunteer training
  • You must complete your community service within 12 months of beginning it
  • You are required to attend one reflection sections during each semester you are completing community service hours
  • Initial signatures on the CSL contract must be obtained and turned in to the CSL Faculty Advisor by February 1st of the student’s senior year. All paperwork with final signatures must be returned to Dr. Liss by March 15th of the student’s senior year.
    • NOTE: If you are graduating in the Fall semester of your senior year, the initial paperwork must be completed by October 1st and the final paperwork by November 15th.

Getting Started

Are you in the Education program? If so, practicum hours can be used to fulfill the CSL requirement. You still must complete all CSL paperwork and attend a reflection session. CSL contracts must be picked up and signed BEFORE you begin your practicum. 

If you are not in the Education programwe suggest you check the programs that COAR has to offerCOAR runs weekly vans to many sites including the Hope House, Brisben Centerand other local organizations. Click here to see the COAR website and sign up through COAR. You also must pick up a contract and have it signed BEFORE you begin volunteering. 

If you are not interested in any of the sites offered by COAR, please take a look at our list of approved sites by the Psychology Department. Click here

If you would like to volunteer at a site that is not through COAR or approved by the department, please stop by to talk with the CSL Student Coordinator or Dr. Liss to pick up a site approval form.  

*Contracts must be picked up and signed from the CSL Student Coordinator BEFORE you begin volunteering, regardless of your volunteer site*

Reflection Sessions

While completing their community service hours, students are required to attend reflection sessions in order to share their experiences with other students, to learn about the experiences of other students, and to integrate their experiences with their background in psychology. These reflection sessions will last about one hour each. Every student is required to attend one reflection session during each semester that they are completing their community service hours.

Completion of Community Service Learning

Upon completing the CSL experience, the CSL contract with final signatures must be submitted to the CSL Faculty Advisor by November 15th for the Fall semester or March 15th for the Spring semester.

To learn about internship opportunities where CSL hours can be completed, click here.

A Special Note to Psychology Majors in the Education Program

Psychology majors who are also in UMW’s five-year education program may utilize their practicum hours as CSL hours in order to complete their Experiential Learning requirement. However, practicum hours may only be used as CSL hours if all the correct CSL paperwork is filled out prior to beginning practicum hours.