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GCPR student posing for picture with community partners.
Students are required to complete a supervised, hands-on experience with participatory research. It is arranged by the student and can take place at any point in the student’s career after they have taken the core course, Decolonizing Methodologies. Developed in conversation with a community organization or collaborator, the research can be associated with an ongoing participatory research project or it can be designed in relation to a field site of the student’s own choosing.

Enrollment and Advising

The practicum should be arranged as a 3-credit hour independent graduate research course with an affiliated faculty member of the GCPR or an approved member of the student’s thesis/dissertation committee. The course number will be that of the independent graduate research course associated with the department of the supervising faculty. For example, if the supervising faculty is in Geography, the course will be GEOG 900: Special Work in Geography.


Within the first two weeks of the semester, the student will develop a Practicum Contract with the supervising faculty that outlines the Practicum’s scope of work, methods for working with the community, learning objectives, and anticipated products. Throughout the semester the student will submit regular reports to the faculty supervisor detailing their progress and any dilemmas they are facing in the project.


In advance of the first day of final exams for the semester, the student must submit an electronic portfolio to the supervising faculty.

The portfolio must include the following documents:

  • Completed research contract
  • A one-page executive summary of the project goals and outcomes
  • A reflection on the participatory research experience and lessons learned
  • Copies of all products submitted to the community
  • At least 2 statements from community members/collaborators assessing the student’s work
  • Copies of all progress reports


The evaluation of the student, made by the supervising faculty, will be based on whether and how well the student completed his/her contract, the statements from the community, the quality of the reports, and the strength of the reflection. An electronic copy of the student’s portfolio will be kept by the GCPR, and content from the executive summary may be used by the GCPR for promotional or other purposes. Other portions of the portfolio may be used with the permission of the student.