Community Bridges Fellowship

The Community Bridges Fellowship is a service learning opportunity for undergraduate students at Rice University. Each spring, sophomore, junior, and senior Community Bridges Fellows carry out faculty-supervised research projects that sustainably expand our partners organizations' ability to address poverty-related issues in Houston's Fifth Ward while enrolled in a sociology course on urban inequality. The Community Bridges Fellowship is yearlong, with different components in the fall, spring, and potentially summer.

Earn 5 upper-level sociology credits when you collaborate with the Fifth Ward! Students can expect to gain skills in the area of written and oral communication, data analysis, policy analysis, and presenting ideas to decision makers within organizations.

Participant Commitments


  • Enroll in Sociology 469 (1 credit hour) - Community Bridges Training
  • Attend mandatory fellowship workshop
  • Attend Community Bridges Open House
  • Attend on-site trainings at partner organization
  • Attend a variety of events in the Fifth Ward
  • Please note that students cannot be enrolled in 20 hours in the fall semester before adding SOCI 469 to their schedules.


  • Enroll in Sociology 470 (4 credit hours) - Inequality and Urban Life
  • Participate in and complete all academic components of Sociology 470
  • Complete 5-7 hours of on-site work per week with community partner organization
  • Attend the annual Community Bridges Celebration
  • Please note that because of the time commitment of this fellowship, students cannot be enrolled in more than 12 hours in the spring semester before adding SOCI 470.

Summer (optional):

  • Fellows selected through application process to participate in summer fellowship program
  • Summer Fellows work full time at their community partner organization starting in late Mat or early June until early August
  • Develop and implement a sustainable final project that will benefit partner organization
  • Present final project to peers and community in late August

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I have to be a sociology major or a PJHC minor to apply?
    Students from all majors and minors are encouraged to apply. You do not need to be a sociology major or a PJHC minor to apply.
  • Do I need a car to participate in Community Bridges?
    No. You do not need a car to participate in Community Bridges. Once selected as a fellow, we will set up carpools with other fellows to and from the Fifth Ward.
  • Can I apply to Community Bridges if I am a freshman?
    Yes, because you will be a sophomore when fellowship activities begin, all freshman are welcome to apply.
  • If I have already been a Community Bridges fellow, can I apply again?
    No. If you have already participated in the Community Bridges program, you are not eligible to reapply. However, you are welcome to continue service in the Fifth Ward through your partner organization.
  • I am eager to begin serving in the 5th Ward. Is it possible to start my internship in the fall semester?
    Unfortunately, Community Bridges fellows currently have to wait until the spring semester to begin their internship. However, there will be opportunities in the fall for you to get acquainted with your partner organization and attend events they may host in the fall. Many of our partner agencies welcome interns and volunteers in the fall semester.
  • How will applicants be chosen?
    Applicants will be chosen based on their academic and experiential background in community service work, their previous experience participating in projects similar to the projects selected as their top choices, their academic record and letter of recommendation, their application answers, and an interview for select applicants.
  • Why are Community Bridges Fellows required to limit their enrollment hours to 12 before adding the SOCI 470 course?
    The fieldwork required for the Community Bridges Fellowship is time intensive. We want to ensure that Community Bridges Fellows are able to commit 5-7 hours of on-site work per week. Simply put, if students take more than 16 credit hours, it becomes increasingly likely that they will not be able to fulfill the time and energy commitments expected of a Community Bridges Fellow.
  • How many credits will I get for Community Bridges?
    In the fall, Fellows will be required to enroll in Sociology 469: Community Bridges Training, which is worth 1 credit hour. Fellows will then enroll in Sociology 470: Urban Inequality, in the spring, which is worth 4 credit hours. Therefore, in total, the Community Bridges program offers the opportunity to earn 5 hours of upper-level sociology credit.
  • Is Sociology 470 still a capstone course for the PJHC minor?
    Yes, Sociology 470 is still a capstone course for the PJHC minor.
  • What is the time commitment for this fall?
    This fall, Fellows will be expected to attend a mandatory fellowship training (1-day event), a mandatory open house, and 3-5 cultural activities or events in the Fifth Ward. However, students will be receiving course credit (via Sociology 469) for their participation in these activities.
  • What if I want to extend my internship past the spring semester?
    In the past years, several Fellows elected to continue their internships into the summer, and a few will even continue working with their partner organization in this academic year. However, while the extension of Fellows' spring internships is a possibility, it is by no means a requirement and/or guarantee.