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The liberal arts and education through public service share the goal of developing the basis for effective democratic citizenship. In the public service program, service learning—the integration of community service into an academic course—may be used in the teaching of many different subject areas. The service experience can allow the student to achieve an understanding of human community as well as of our particular society in a way that is more complex and effective than readings and class discussions alone. In addition, the community involvement fostered by the service experience can lead the student to a better understanding of the self.

The public service program offers an interdisciplinary minor.


If you'd like to view a full listing of our course options in public service or any other subject, please visit the Online Course Catalogue.

Click for the Course Catalogue


Requirements for the Minor

interdisciplinary, 6 courses

One introductory course, one course from the list of public service humanities electives, one course from the list of public service social sciences electives, two additional public service electives, and a seminar. The minor must include at least two courses in each of two divisions (humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and fine and performing arts). For the seminar, a senior group independent study is recommended.


Our students choose from a variety of introductory and advanced courses, each designed to provide students with strong critical thinking and analytical skills.

Below you'll find a sampling of some of the recent public service courses, as well as suggestions for making public service a part of your larger interdisciplinary experience at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

ALST 200 Ghettoscapes


Discover films and literary texts that take up the imagery of the ghetto and its role in modern American society. Also, consider the role of the inner city as the crucible for hip-hop culture, including its international manifestations. Next, continue studying urban life and culture in SOC 251 Sociology of the City.

SOC 290 Sociology of Community


Examine the concept of community as it has been applied to kinship groups, neighborhoods, and rural and urban settlements. Also, investigate historical and contemporary utopian and intentional communities. Then, take an in-depth look at population by enrolling in ECON 221 Population and Society.

EDUC 333 Literacy


Explore the teaching of reading and writing from the perspective of those who are preparing to be educators, but also for those who wish to study literacy as a social issue. Learn why literacy matters to individuals and societies, and why promoting literacy is such a challenge. Learn more in WRRH 322 Adolescent Literature.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.