Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

Committee Member

Solange Simões, Ph.D., Chair

Committee Member

Tricia McTague, Ph.D.


This study examines whether there is a relationship between social capital and participation in academic service-learning courses within higher education. Through designing, implementing, and analyzing a survey which was given to students enrolled in courses with an academic service-learning component at Eastern Michigan University (n=127), the role between these two variables was tested. Social capital was measured through the total number of relationships formed at participants’ academic service learning site, whether these relationships were strong or weak ties; the frequency of interaction with said ties; and individuals who could be used as a reference. Results suggest the number of individuals with whom participants worked and whether participants were partaking in academic service-learning for the first time positively impacted social capital. Furthermore, the type of service, as well as frequency of interaction between participants and individuals at their site, had an impact on the strength of participants’ ties. Similarly, frequency of interaction with one’s supervisor positively impacted the total number of individuals participants felt comfortable asking for a reference. It was also found that whether participants partook in academic service learning as part of an education course or a non-education course played a role in participants’ social capital.

Included in

Sociology Commons