Carnegie Mellon University
CMU offers the following service learning courses:

39-605  Engineering Design Projects

In this project course, students work in multidisciplinary teams to design products or processes. The course is open to juniors, seniors and graduate students from all parts of the campus community. Each project is sponsored by an industry, government or non-profit partner, and is of real commercial interest to that partner. Students work directly with their partner throughout the semester to establish goals and requirements, evaluate their design as it progresses, and produce a final report, presentation, and, if appropriate, a prototype. Design reviews, held twice during the semester, give students a chance to present their preliminary designs and receive feedback and advice. In completing their designs, teams must consider not only the functionality of their designs, but also the look, feel, appearance, and societal impact. Skills built in this course will include: developing the product statement, establishing goals and constraints for the product, project management, and generating and evaluating design alternatives. As some projects may span multiple semesters with new groups of students, careful documentation of project work is emphasized. Students may take this course for either one or two semesters.

48-500 Architecture Design Studio: The Urban Laboratory

The Urban Lab studio at Carnegie Mellon seeks to educate architects to be leaders for vision-based change at the scales of neighborhood, city and region. It is intended to both introduce students to urban design and inform their understanding of building design in relation to existing neighborhoods. Our approach to urban design engages the city as an integrated design problem that is best solved through a participatory design process. Each year, teams of students and faculty seek to catalyze the revitalization of Pittsburgh urban neighborhoods by working with Mayors and elected officials, public agencies, private investors, and citizens of communities to collectively envision physical change within their neighborhoods and communities. Without being direct providers of technical assistance for communities, the Urban Laboratory has used the educational qualities of the urban design studio to build long-term university-community partnerships and ultimately build the capacities of communities to be their own drivers of change. Equally important to introducing the participatory process in urban design, the Urban Lab also emphasizes the importance of collaborative, multi-disciplinary design and decision-making. Students expand architectural design skills and gain new skills in urban design, planning and community leadership. In short, the Urban Lab represents the culmination of the architectural educational experience, by expanding existing skill sets, dramatically increasing the scale of intervention, and introducing a real client: the community.

57-331 and 57-831 Principles of Education

Fall Only

This course introduces students to the art and science of being an educator. Content includes views of the academic and social structure of the school, physiological social characteristics of learners that influence instruction, widely recognized research on learning teaching, and appropriate effective class preparation and teaching strategies.

57-374 and 57-874 Music in the Urban School

This course will involve workshops with nationally known instructors in eurhythmics, world drumming, contemporary popular music, and classroom management. The course will require attendance at workshops, classroom observations and closely supervised teaching experiences. Schools involved are all inner city schools with a poverty level of 75 or above. This course is offered as the result of a grant received from the Federal Department of Education by the School of Music, the Pittsburgh Public Schools, and the Wilkinsburg School District.

57-429 and 57-449 Beginning Piano for Children 

This course is the first of two courses in a year-long internship in the piano teaching of young children, combining class and private instruction: a study of the basic teaching/learning process as applied to piano teaching, covering comprehensive step-by-step presentation in reading, rhythm, ear training, sight reading, technique, and musicianship. Under supervision, students will teach the weekly group class and private lessons. Weekly conferences will be held for learning the presentation of materials for class teaching, analyzing pedagogical problems, and developing communication skills with both young pupils and their parents.

Prerequisites: 57-273

57-449 and 57-729 Beginning Piano for Children II

This course is the second of two courses in a year-long internship in the piano teaching of young children, combining class and private instruction: a study of the basic teaching/learning process as applied to piano teaching, covering comprehensive step-by-step presentation in reading, rhythm, ear training, sight reading, technique, and musicianship. Under supervision, students will teach the weekly group class and private lessons. Weekly conferences will be held for learning the presentation of materials for class teaching, analyzing pedagogical problems, and developing communication skills with both young pupils and their parents.


 57-453 Art of Audience Engagement (spring) – (Music)

 In response to student requests for learning outreach skills, this course covers three main objectives of community engagement: education, building audiences, and uplifting humanity. The course offers three options into which students may self-select, based on interest: 1.) Lecture-general interest, 2.) Audience Development internship (includes lecture), 3.) Teaching Artist Internship (includes lecture.)



67-475 Innovation in Information Systems

Fall: 12 units, Prerequisites: 67-373

In this capstone team-based course, IS seniors design and implement an information systems solution to meet a real-world need or opportunity. Innovation, entrepreneurship, planning, project management, and risk taking will all be emphasized. Students will be challenged to produce "proof of concept" systems or prototypes that are fully documented, tested, and ready to present for external evaluation. This course is a required professional core course and is open only to seniors in the IS major who have completed 67-373.

79-343: Education, Democracy and Civil Rights  (History)

What is the relationship between education and democracy? By examining a series of case studies at the intersection of education and the civil rights movement, this course will prepare students to approach contemporary educational debates as historically-informed critical thinkers. The controversy surrounding charter schools, vouchers, the common core, and the role of standardized testing cannot be understood outside the long history of debates regarding the relationship between education and democracy. Are schools meant to perpetuate the status quo? How did both traditional and more radical forms of education advance the struggle for civil rights? What role have students played in advancing civil rights and democracy? While exploring these questions, we will also partner with local high school students and teachers to bring our learning beyond the classroom.

76-378 Literacy: Educational Theory and Community Practice

Literacy has been called the engine of economic development, the road to social advancement, and the prerequisite for critical abstract thought. But is it? And what should count as literacy: using the discourse of an educated elite or laying down a rap? Competing theories of what counts as literacy - and how to teach it - shape educational policy and workplace training. However, they may ignore some remarkable ways literacy is also used by people in non-elite communities to speak and act for themselves. In this introduction to the interdisciplinary study of literacy – its history, theory, and problems – we will first explore competing theories of what literacy allows you to do, how people learn to carry off different literate practices, and what schools should teach. Then we will turn ideas into action in a hands-on, community literacy project, helping urban students use writing to take literate action for themselves. As mentors, we meet on campus for 8 weeks with teenagers from Pittsburgh’s inner city neighborhoods who are working on the challenging transition from school to work. They earn the opportunity to come to CMU as part of Start On Success (SOS), an innovative internship that helps urban teenagers with hidden learning disabilities negotiate the new demands of work or college. We mentor them through Decision Makers (a CMU computer-supported learning project that uses writing as a tool for reflective decision making.) As your SOS Scholar creates a personal Decision Maker’s Journey Book and learns new strategies for writing, planning and decision making, you will see literacy in action and develop your own skills in intercultural collaboration and inquiry.

79-449  Ethics, History, and Public Policy Project Course

The Ethics, History, and Public Policy Project Course is required for the Ethics, History, and Public Policy major and is taken in the fall semester of the senior year. In this capstone course, Ethics, History, and Public Policy majors carry out a collaborative research project that examines a compelling current policy issue that can be illuminated with historical research and philosophical and policy analysis. The students develop an original research report based on both archival and contemporary policy analysis and they present their results to a client organization in the community.

82-281 Tutoring for Community Outreach

6-9 units Students participate in a community outreach program and work in the Pittsburgh Public Schools with either elementary school, middle school, or high school students, and, depending on the site, foster their studies of Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish or ESL. The elementary school experience will involve regular visits, mentoring, and tutoring at school sites in the east end of Pittsburgh. The middle school and high school experiences invite advanced students, majors, or minors in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, or Spanish, as well as ESL to work with language students and teachers of world languages. During the early weeks of the semester, students will meet to arrange their outreach activities and prepare for their experience. Depending on the number of units to be earned, students will spend a certain number of hours per week engaged in some of the following activities: attending and participating in the individual and group meetings, tutoring four to six hours per week, reading and preparing for the school visits, keeping a journal of tutoring experiences, writing a paper or completing a project at the end of the term that reflects experiences. Students earn 6 units by spending 3-4 hours per week at a school site plus completing related activities. Students earn 9 units by spending 5-6 hours per week at a school site plus completing related activities. Prerequisites: Permission of the faculty liaison plus completion of an information sheet and clearance forms available in the Department of Modern Languages.

90-739 Systems Synthesis I, 90-740 Systems Synthesis II

GOALS:  The major goal of the Systems Synthesis project course is to provide MSPPM, MAM and MSHCPM students with the skills necessary for structuring, managing, and carrying out projects in an organization. Textbooks and lecture courses cannot provide these skills. Instead, students need to acquire them through first-hand project experiences in relatively small groups with the guidance of seasoned faculty. Therefore, from its beginning in 1969, Heinz College has required students to complete a Systems Synthesis project.

Systems Synthesis projects must also contribute significantly to solving or ameliorating important problems of the public sector, non-profit sector, or arts organizations. Systems Synthesis has potentially enormous benefits for service to public and non-profit organizations with the resources of nearly 22,000 student hours and approximately 2,500 faculty hours of project work per year!1 If the school selects important projects, and project teams use rigorous methods and make sound recommendations, Systems Synthesis can make significant and substantial contributions to public policy and non-profit management.

38-110 ENGAGE in Service

ENGAGE in Service is a 1-unit course (9 hours of work, minimum requirement for a passing grade) designed to promote MCS students direct engagement with community development and service learning. To fulfill this requirement, students must engage in a minimum of 9 hours of work devoted to a non-profit organization or organizations of their choice, 3 of which must have a direct benefit to the local Pittsburgh community. Students may complete the requirements anytime during their undergraduate years, but must register for the class during the semester that they intend to complete it, no later than their penultimate semester. Coursework includes documentation of service via completion of a form for each eligible activity that includes a time log, a description of the activity, the name and contact information for their supervisor and the supervisors signature. In addition, during the last semester of the project/course students will prepare a 1-2 page reflective paper on the lessons learned from their immersion in the organization(s) and its (their) work. No pay or other compensation can be received, and, in special cases, students may petition for a waiver if they have completed another service-learning course at Carnegie Mellon.

05-499 and 05-899 Computing for Good

Intermittent: 12 units;  Computing for Good (C4G) presents Computer Science as a technological platform for improving the quality of life and humans condition. It allows students to apply computing to social and global causes and to see its impact in real terms.

 In this course, students work on projects in partnership with communities, non-profits, and government agencies and learn how to design, develop, and deploy technical solutions for real world problems. Examples of topics include but not limited to health, economic development, disaster relief, transportation, infrastructure, education, energy, social service, civic engagement, and public safety.

17-413 Software Engineering Practicum

This course is a project-based course in which students conduct a semester-long project for a real client in small teams. This is not a lecture-based course; after the first few weeks the course consists primarily of weekly team meetings with the course instructors, with teams making regular presentations on their software development process. Students will leave the course with a firsthand understanding of the software engineering realities that drive SE practices, will have concrete experience with these practices, and will have engaged in active reflection on this experience. After the course, students will have the teamwork, process, and product skills to be immediately competent in a software engineering organization, and will be able to evaluate the new processes and techniques they will encounter in the workplace.

We apologize, there are no current courses available for this college.

70-201 Professional and Service Projects

Professional service is important in career development because it creates opportunities to use skills and knowledge, develop leadership abilities, develop professional networks, and to learn the importance of community involvement and social values in business practice. Students complete a variety of activities with these objectives over a period of up to four-(4) semesters to satisfy this course requirement.

99-151  Privilege, Responsibility, and Community

The goal of this course is to provide students of all disciplines with an introduction to issues of privilege, responsibility, and community engagement through a survey of contemporary social issues. Although a comprehensive understanding of academic subjects is fundamental to the Carnegie Mellon curriculum, few graduates leave with an equal level of awareness or knowledge of the sociocultural climate. When faced with challenges posed by controversial events on campus as well as in the local, national, and global community, many are not prepared to have open and exploratory dialogues which can inspire meaningful action toward social change. This course hopes to lay the foundation for these conversations by engaging students in an intellectual discourse around issues of identity, privilege, power, and responsibility from multiple points of view. By encouraging students to share and explore their personal perspectives on these issues, we hope to empower students to discern the cultural lenses through which they view the world, recognize the individuality of such lenses, and assume personal responsibility for effecting change within their communities. This course will be offered via video conference and is open to students from both the Pittsburgh and Doha campuses.

99-406 Directed Study in Education

This course supports the development and improvement of the dozens of educational outreach endeavors implemented by university academic departments and student organizations.

The student will:

  1. Prepare a proposal for the directed study, including rationale and timeline.
  2. Consult a variety of sources to investigate the stated problem or study question.
  3. Develop a comprehensive description of the problem and the systems and policies that influence the problem, using evidence from research to support the claims
  4. Define action steps that can be taken to solve the problem (could be theoretical, such as in the case of equitable funding of public schools, or could be a real step that can be implemented, such as Carnegie Mellon hosting an event to introduce middle school students to a field of study).
  5. Submit written weekly progress reports that outline work that has been completed and the relationship of this work toward achieving the stated goal.
  6. Present the project at an end-of-semester event that includes faculty, students and interested community members. Alternatively, this could be achieved through the implementation or improvement of an educational outreach program, such as an event in on campus, in a local school, or at the site of a community organization.

99-461 and 99-761 Tutoring, Teaching and Leading through Education

This course has service, intellectual, and personal goals. The service goal is to provide effective tutors to local children. Students meet for class twice/week and tutor or mentor 26 hours during the semester, in a time slot of your choosing. To promote effectiveness, the course covers topics of tutoring ~making tutoring interesting and creative, focusing on meta-learning strategies and study skills; teaching ~exploring the connection between teaching and learning, laws and other factors that impact educators; and leading ~gaining a broader understanding of the issues that students face, exploring how public policies affect the disparities between opportunities and performance for urban, suburban and rural school students+.

Another focus of the class is a review of the US education system to look at the factors that lead to a “supplemental educational services” industry in the United States of more than $27 billion– what are the policies and traditions that keep students from learning while in school, and why do we need so many ‘extra’ programs and activities?  What happens when families are not able to afford the external services?  What can be done to bring focus to these problems so that solutions may be developed?

Students are provided with methods and time to explore the ways that they can share their expertise to assist K-12 students as they work to master content or to go beyond the activities that are provided in the classroom.  Reflection assignments are designed to help students summarize their thoughts about “social responsibility” and the impact that an individual can make in the community.