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Service-Learning and Civic Engagement

Service-Learning Certificate

The Bentley Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Center (BSLCE) and the Bentley Civic Leadership Program awards a Service-Learning Certificate to graduating students who have displayed a commitment to promoting ethics, service, social responsibility and sustainability in the community. The Certificate is issued in accordance with the Graduation Pledge Alliance in partnership with Fair Trade Campaigns. Students receiving it "pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job [they] consider and … try to improve these aspects of any organizations for which [they] work." Being awarded the Service-Learning Certificate signifies that:

  • Students use and develop their civic skills by working with community organizations dedicated to the betterment of society;
  • Students connect the work they are doing in their courses to the service-learning work they are doing in their community;
  • Students consider the social and environmental values, ethics and practice of employers as they seek jobs and work to better their employers’ practices once they are in the workforce;
  • Students embrace the Triple Bottom Line values of People, Profit and Planet, but with an understanding that profit should take a backseat to the deeper, aggregate interests of people and planet.

To qualify for the Service-Learning Certificate, students must complete 120 hours of service in the community while attending Bentley. Credit and noncredit service hours can be combined to meet the 120-hour requirement. Certificate holders receive a special notation on their graduation transcripts, and recognition by the university as leaders in social responsibility and civic engagement.



There are two ways to sign up for the Certificate Program. The first is to sign up while registering for the Service-Learning 4th-Credit Option, embedded Service-Learning or co-curricular service via GivePulse during the Academic Service-Learning Application period at the beginning of each semester. While registering, you will be asked if you would like to be enrolled in the Service-Learning Certificate Program. If you are a class code 4 or below, and you check that box, you will be automatically enrolled in the program.

If you are not participating in service-learning programming this semester, but would still like to register, please send an email to with “JOIN” in the subject line. Please include your name, class year, major course of study, telephone number, student ID number and email address.

Program Requirements

In order to receive the Service-Learning Certificate, students must complete at least 120 hours of service. These hours may be composed of service undertaken through 4th-Credit Options, embedded course projects, co-curricular service or BSLCE internships.

There are two distinct ways a student can become eligible to receive the Service-Learning Certificate:

  1. At least 60 of the 120 hours are undertaken for credit (e.g., embedded course projects, 4th-credit projects and SL421 internship projects with nonprofit or other service organizations).
  2. At least 20 of the 120 hours are undertaken for credit (e.g., embedded course projects, 4th-credit projects and BSLCE internship projects with nonprofit or other service organizations). The remainder of the hours would be non-academic. However, through this pathway, any academic hour below a total of 60 would need to be replaced by double the amount of non-academic hours. For example, in addition to 20 hours of curricular work, students would be required to contribute at least 150 hours through non-academic programming (e.g., as a BSLCE Program Manager). In addition to 40 hours of curricular work, students would be required to contribute at least 120 hours through non-academic programming.

See below chart.

Academic Hours

Non Academic Hours















80 (+ additional 40)



100 (+ additional 50)


In either case:

  • Students must complete at least 100 hours by the end of their junior year.
  • No more than 20 hours may be credited from each individual 4th-Credit experience, embedded course project, SL421 internship or co-curricular activities.
  • Students must sign up for the Certificate Program by January 31st of their sophomore year or before exceeding class code 4 status, whichever is later.
  • Students must enroll and participate in the Bentley Civic Leadership Program* by spring semester of their senior year.​​​​​

Upon submission of complete, accurate and verified application materials, participation in the Bentley Civic Leadership Program and completion of all required hours of service, the BSLCE will award the certificate and request that the Registrar include the certificate designation on your transcript. 

*For more information about the Bentley Civic Leadership Program contact:

Dr. Jonathan White


For more information about the Service-Learning Certificate Program contact:

Service-Learning Certificate Program FAQs

Q1. Does volunteer work during the summer or during winter break count toward the Certificate?
A1. It does not count unless it is sponsored and verified by the BSLCE. When in doubt about whether a service project can be applied toward the Certificate, contact the Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Center beforehand.

Q2. What happens if I do not sign up for the program until I am a class code 5 or greater?
A2. If you miss the deadline, the system will not allow you to sign up for the program and your hours
towards the certificate will be forfeited. Contact Lynne Johanson if you have any further questions.

Q3. What should I do if I have technical difficulties signing up for the Certificate Program?
Email and a BSLCE staff member will assist you.

Q5. Is the deadline for applying different for transfer students?
A5. The deadline is different for students who transfer in as sophomores. Sophomore transfer students have until June 30th of their sophomore year to apply. Students who transfer to Bentley after their sophomore year and who have previously undertaken significant civic engagement opportunities may petition the Director of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement for consideration to apply.

Q6.  Are there types of volunteer work that do not count toward the Certificate?
A6. Yes. Only direct community engagement—such as mentoring/tutoring, program facilitation and other opportunities in which one directly interfaces with affected groups and populations—will apply. Activities such as planning service events, hosting fundraisers and creating fliers, while valuable in creating a social impact, will not count toward the Certificate hours.

Q7. Can service hours performed prior to my Bentley years apply toward the Certificate?
A7. Service completed prior to attending Bentley, such as community service done during high school, will not be applied towards the Certificate Program. If you are a transfer student and completed significant service at your prior university, see question 5.

Q8. Do hours spent working on projects sponsored by my church count toward the Certificate?
A8. These hours will count if they involve service to the wider community, irrespective of religious affiliation, and if they are completed with a BSLCE community partner program. These hours will not count if they involve a religious purpose, such as teaching church doctrine.

Q9. If I am participating in a 4th-Credit or embedded project and I spend more than 20 hours on that project, will I receive credit for the actual number of hours served?
A9. No. The maximum number of hours credited for a 4th-Credit or embedded project is 20 hours. The same applies to an SL421 Internship and co-curricular service activities.

Q10. Who oversees the Service-Learning Certificate Program?
A10. The Service-Learning Certificate Program is overseen by the BSLCE staff. Please contact if you need further assistance.