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Community-Based Research Scholars (CBRS)

Research with purpose.
Research with impact.

Contact Us

Harrison, Amanda
Manager, Honors and Scholars Programs

Anderson Hall, Room 112 on a map

Community-Based Research Scholars 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016 United States

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Welcome to the CBRS Home

The Community-Based Research Scholars (CBRS) program is a selective, first-year living-learning community that emphasizes responsible and meaningful service learning through community-based research opportunities.

CBR Scholars have a network of students, faculty, and community partners to help identify avenues to affect social change. CBR Scholars are trained in research methods, research ethics, and issues relevant to the participating nonprofit's area of focus.

In the Fall semester, students will enroll in one of two foundational community-based learning courses taught by some of AU's best faculty. Students will also take a lab course that introduces them to the principles of community-based learning, community-based research, and the fundamentals of social science research.

In Spring, students will deepen their classroom learning of community-based research through a large-scale project that will be co-designed with a major community partner.

If students are interested in applying to the CBRS Program, they will need to complete a supplementary application with additional essay questions. The program is open to incoming freshmen with demonstrated interest in community service, social justice, and research.

Why join CBRS?

Three people with backs to viewer, painting a wall.

"Joining the Community-Based Research Scholars was one of the greatest decisions I have ever made, and I couldn't be more grateful for everything it has provided me with. I have grown so much as a person throughout my time in CBRS. I have learned what it truly means to be in a community and have become more mature in the process."

--2016-2017 CBR Scholar

Program Features

  • Live, learn and serve together, establishing a strong community during their first years at AU.
  • Take a Complex Problems course and lab with passionate professors who connect course learning objectives with community needs and community-based learning.
  • Participate in a research methods course, with projects designed in collaboration with a local nonprofit.
  • Engage in ongoing personal and professional development designed to train them to be change agents in our communities.
  • Develop and maintain ongoing community relationships through service and research-oriented projects.
  • Connect with faculty mentors, investing in students' scholarly futures.
  • Build a relationship with peer mentor who has previously participated in the CBRS program while attending monthly activities.

What is Community-Based Research?

Community-Based Research (CBR) is a partnership of students, faculty and community members who collaboratively engage in research to inform solutions for a pressing community problem, identify avenues to effect social change or evaluate program impact.

The research project is community-informed, collaborative and action-oriented. The philosophy underpinning this approach is that the community members are the experts and solutions to a social issue should be informed by the persons affected by the issue.

Program Benefits

  • A residential community of high-achieving students passionate about social justice.
  • Practical, real-world application of classroom knowledge guided by faculty mentors and a community partner.
  • Small seminars (19 students) taught by AU's most community-oriented faculty, open only to CBRS students.
  • High level of support from peers, faculty and program staff.
  • Research experience years ahead of many of your peers.
  • Skills and tools to be competitive for national scholarships, future graduate programs, and job or internship opportunities.
  • Connections to several community-based organizations in the D.C. area.