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Community-Based Learning (CBL) allows Yale undergraduates and community organizations to work together to meet both organizations’ needs and students’ academic requirements. Community organizations identify projects of research, analysis, or evaluation that would be helpful to them. These projects are then matched to ‘CBL courses’ at Yale, and students receive course credit upon completing the research for the organization. Successful projects, most commonly in the form of final papers, tend to focus on topics that combine theory and practice. Examples of past CBL projects include:

• Evaluation of the Mayor’s task force on early childhood education

• Research on the public health benefits of green spaces

• An investigation of the ‘players’ interested in affordable housing in the region

• Performance assessment for arts organizations



This semester, Yale will be offering two courses with the Community-Based Learning option: “Inequality and American Democracy” taught by Professor Jacob Hacker and “Urban Space, Power, and Culture” taught by Professor Erik Harms. 


Click here to review the course syllabus for "Inequality and American Democracy."

Click here to review the course syllabus for "Urban Space, Power, and Culture."


Download the CBL Proposal Application Form Here. 

Special note: Any project with "Urban Space, Power, and Culture" should culminate in an ethnography or ethnographic study. An ethnography will consist of an in-depth social analysis of a subject based on participant observation, interviews, etc. The exact guidelines for this ethnography are flexible for Professor Harms, but they should consist of an analysis of some aspect of your community organization's work from a social and anthropological perspective. Some ideas include studies of the effects of each organization's work in New Haven, relationships and perceptions with and by Yale students, and the methods and social behavior of each organization. Any of these ideas, or any of your own, would fit Professor Harms' standards for his final ethnographic project.  


Things to keep in mind when writing a proposal:

• Students will complete projects during the semester, but given the time it takes to initiate contact and to finalize research questions, you should plan for the student to have 4-6 weeks of research time.

• Community organization project supervisors are expected to meet with their student(s) at least three times throughout the semester. At least one of these meetings will be at your organization’s site. The 'project supervisor' will also be responsible for any communication with the professor, teaching assistant, and CBL coordinator.

• The students will be required by their professors and teaching assistants to have a solid component of their projects be academically (theoretically) based. Make sure your project focuses on research useful to your organization that also has an academic research component.

Proposals are due by Friday, January 15 at 5pm; however, if you are interested in participating in the Community-Based Learning Program but cannot complete a proposal in time, please contact one of the coordinators. (Contact information is listed below.) 


Please e-mail or mail proposals for the “Inequality and American Democracy” course to Danny Silk at  This email address is hidden from email harvesters via JavaScript  or at PO Box 204824 New Haven, CT 06520.  


Please e-mail or mail proposals for the “Urban Culture, Space, and Power” course to Bob Qu at  This email address is hidden from email harvesters via JavaScript  or PO Box 204573, New Haven, CT 06520.