This undergraduate certificate gives students an opportunity to gain a practical, historical and theoretical understanding of strategies for promoting social change through collective action. If you’re seeking an undergraduate degree at UWM, you’ll receive the certificate upon completion of your degree. If you already have an undergraduate degree, you’ll receive the certificate once you complete the program requirements. Students without a bachelor’s degree receive a certificate from the UWM School of Continuing Education after completing the program’s required coursework.

Please contact the coordinator of the Certificate, Aaron Schutz ( to discuss admission to and requirements for this program.


  • Understand power relations
  • Build coalitions
  • Hold government officials accountable
  • Work with the media


With a focus on urban issues, this certificate is excellent preparation for students who are interested in becoming community organizers, youth and social workers, politicians, community researchers, and nonprofit administrators. It’s also useful for students interested in specializing in other areas, such as international, environmental or union organizing.


The certificate program consists of 21 credits.

Foundation Requirements

Introductory Course
ED POL 111Introduction to Community Action and Change3
External Practical Training 1
ED POL 508Advanced Problems in Community Change and Engagement 23
Historical Perspectives on Organizing, Inequality, and Social Change3
Choose one of the following:
Order and Disorder: The Quest for Social Justice
Global Black Social Movements
Change in African-American Communities
The Black Woman in America, Africa, and the Caribbean
The Chicano Experience
The Exceptional Individual
The History of Latinos in the United States
Asian Americans in Historical Perspective
The 1960s in the United States: A Cultural History
History of the American Working Classes
African Americans Since the Civil War
The History of Poverty in America
The American Feminist Movement
History of Wisconsin Indians
Total Credits9

A second practical training may be approved in some cases by a student's advisor. Practical training must occur at time credits are taken and written permission must be included in student's file prior to enrollment.


Enrollment in this course involves participation in a community organizing training offered by a non-UWM organization approved by the Program Committee. Contact the Department of Educational Policy & Community Studies to obtain approval before attending any program or combination of programs.

Issue Area Requirements

Choose 3 credits from one area (practical or foundations) and 6 credits from the other9
Practical Issue Area
Introduction to Group Leadership
Leadership and Management of Volunteer Programs
Communications/Public Relations/Applied Writing Skills
Public Speaking
Persuasive Speaking
Intercultural Communication
Communication in Human Conflict
Theory and Practice of Persuasion
Writing in the Professions:
Rhetoric and Professional Writing
Advertising and Public Relations Campaigns
Proposal Writing and Fundraising Skills for Community-Based Organizations
Evaluation/Applied Research Skills/Statistical Understanding
Introduction to Statistics in African and African Diaspora Studies
The Black Family
Evaluation of Adult, Continuing, and Higher Education Programs
Action Research on Milwaukee Institutions
Survey Research
Organizational Change in Non-Profit Organizations
Coordination of Staff Development and Training Program
Introduction to Mediation
Community Policies and Urban Minority Youths
Fieldwork in Multicultural Education
Negotiation Theory and Practice for Urban Planners
Foundations Issue Area
Economics, Politics, and Urban Contexts in the United States
Introduction to Black Political Economy
Survey of African-American Political Philosophy
Black Politics and City Government
Cities and Culture
Economics of Discrimination
Economic Development
The Milwaukee Community
The History of Milwaukee
History of the American City
State Politics
Urban Government and Politics
Urban Political Problems
Urbanism and Urbanization
Urban Planning Solutions to Contemporary Urban Problems
Exploring the Urban Environment
Social Science Perspectives on Organizing, Inequality, and Social Change
Change in African-American Communities
The Black Woman in America, Africa, and the Caribbean
Communication and Social Order
Reproduction of Minoritized Communities
Race Relations in Education
The Exceptional Individual
Introduction to Social Welfare Policy
Families and Poverty
Solving Social Problems
Social Inequality in the United States
Perspectives on Latino Communities
Race and Ethnicity in Global Contexts
Social Change
Small Groups
Collective Behavior
Environmental Sociology
Total Credits9

Capstone Internship/Seminar in Community Organizing

ED POL 442Intermediate Community Education Practice I 33
Total Credits3

A second internship in addition to ED POL 442 may be approved in some cases by a student's advisor. Internships must occur at the time credits are taken & written permission must be included in student's file prior to enrollment. The Program Committee is the final arbiter with regard to the relevance of internship opportunities to the mission of the certificate.

Undergraduate Advising

Our purpose is to provide collaborative, mentoring relationships which promote educational, career, and professional development. We value a student-centered, holistic, and ethical approach to advising based on strong partnerships with students, faculty and staff, and the larger campus community. We are committed to creating a respectful and supportive environment. We encourage students to be self-reliant through informed decisions and choices based upon dissemination of accurate information. We value our own continuous professional development to enhance the quality of the advising experience.

How to Prepare for an Advising Meeting

  • Review your Advisement Report in PAWS.
  • Come prepared with questions or topics for discussion.
  • Make a list of courses you think you should take.
  • Investigate opportunities to prepare for the job you want.
  • Keep a record of your academic progress.
  • Understand you are ultimately responsible for creating your educational, life, and career plans.
  • Maintain honest and open communication with your advisor.
  • Take responsibility for choices you make as a student and member of the UW-Milwaukee community.

Scheduling an Appointment

Office of Student Services
Enderis Hall, Room 209
(414) 229-4721

Graduate Advising

If you are a School of Education graduate student, you may schedule an appointment with your faculty advisor by contacting your faculty advisor directly. Faculty contact information can be found in the Directory. Your faculty advisor will be listed in your PAWS account. 

Student-Designed Issue Area Option

May replace up to 6 credits of either Practical or Foundations focus areas.

There are many courses at UWM not listed under the Practical and/or Foundations certificate focus areas that may be especially relevant to students with interest in a particular area of organizing. Therefore, with the written permission of the Program Coordinator, students with special interests may develop an issue area that may take the place of up to 6 credits of the Practical or Foundations areas.

Examples of possible student-designed issue areas might include:

  • International Contexts and Organizing
  • Organizing in Rural Settings
  • Health Care Organizing
  • Organizing around Issues of Sexuality and/or Sexual Orientation
  • Contesting the Criminal Justice System
  • Organizing around Disability Issues
  • Pollution and Inequality

Courses for a student-designed focus area will only count towards the Community Engagement certificate if they are taken after a student is officially admitted to the program, and must be officially approved prior to enrollment. Students must show evidence that they cannot pursue their interest under the current constraints of the Practical and Foundations focus areas. A maximum of three credits of independent reading may be included in this student-designed focus if a relevant course or topic is not available at the University.