Vincentian Poverty Studies, Minor

Program Description

Components of the VPS Minor

Core Courses
SWK 120Understanding & Addressing Poverty3
Required Courses
Select one of the following: 13
Social Stratification
Social and Political Philosophy
Christian Social Responsibility
Select two elective courses. Partial list of courses that can be used to fulfill elective requirements for the minor: 26
Understanding & Addressing Poverty
Social Stratification
Social and Political Philosophy
Civil Liberties
Black Freedom Movement
Origins of the Urban Crisis
Christian Social Responsibility
Native American Culture
Social Problems
Women in Society
Race and Ethnicity
Social Change
Diversity & Soc Justice
Total Credits12

Students are required to take REL 357 Christian Social Responsibility, SOC 312 Social Stratification or PHI 304 Social and Political Philosophy as part of the three core courses for the minor. Students may take each course, using one for the core requirement and the second course as the required electives.


In addition to these courses, special topic courses or other courses that will have strong poverty content may be used to fulfill the elective requirement with permission of the Director of the VPS minor.

Poverty Related Experiential Learning

This requirement may be met in several ways. For example, it could be combined with senior seminars, honors thesis courses, and various special topic courses in the student’s major. An independent study option may also be used. The primary requirement is working with an agency that provides direct services to impoverished populations for a minimum of 125 hours. Readings, reflection papers, journals, and a thesis will also be required. Students may complete the required hours during the summer (see also the Shepherd Alliance Summer Internships) and complete the thesis requirement during the fall or spring semesters.

Components of the VPS Fellow Distinction

Required Course
SWK 120Understanding & Addressing Poverty3

Two hundred and twenty five (225) Learn and Serve documented hours in agencies that have a specific focus on working with those in poverty. Summer internships, such as the Shepherd Alliance Internship, can be used to meet this requirement.

A senior thesis that focuses on poverty in combination with the student’s major field of study must also be completed and approved by the VPS Minor Chairperson.