Graham Sustainability Institute

Field Experiences

Each Scholar May Receive up to $4,000 for a Field-based Course

Scholars have the option to choose some of the most exciting and innovative sustainability learning experiences anywhere in the world. Funds may be applied to course fees or related direct expenses (e.g., travel, food, and lodging) of a sustainability-related course or plan through U-M, other institutions, or an independent study project approved by a U-M professor. This is a unique opportunity to explore your interests in sustainability locally or globally. Comments from Scholars:

"This course was extremely awesome to get a realistic view of how making an impact on sustainability would look in a career. It was also cool to see how companies are handling sustainability and whether or not they are truly living up to the image they portray." — Graham Scholar

"The trip is designed to give everyone an opportunity to explore and learn about the Himalayas while walking to Everest Base Camp. We will discuss every aspect of the Himalayas — from tectonic formation, petrology, and structural geology — to the cultural and social background of the people... we will engage in a sustainability project with a local community, meet Nepalese people, and experience a lifestyle completely different from our own. This course is not just about geology, it is about exploring our world and expanding our horizons." — Graham Scholar

Support for Tuition & Direct Travel Expenses

  • Contact the Graham Institute education program leaders (see request form below) to confirm that a proposed course fulfills these requirements
  • All course credits must be approved by U-M schools and colleges and may fulfill major or minor requirements

Scholars may seek approval for up to $4,000 for a sustainability-related field-based course.
Expenses supported include tuition and direct travel expenses (e.g., food, lodging, airfare, ground transportation, lab fees). Indirect expenses (e.g., gear/equipment/supplies not directly attributable to the course/experience) are ineligible for funding.

Graham Scholars participating in field-based courses

Above: Scholars participating in field-based sustainability courses in Costa Rica, Detroit, and Iceland. "This was the most all-encompassing, educational, rewarding, and fun learning experience I have had at Michigan!" — Graham Scholar

Request Approval & Funds

To request funds and receive course approval, complete the Graham Scholars Funding Request Form.

  • Indicate the specific course on the form and provide as much detail as possible, including links to a course description
  • If traveling abroad, you are required to confirm that you have registered your travel with U-M before requesting funds (see below)
  • If all requirements are not completed, any funds disbursed must be returned to the Graham Institute

Travel Abroad - Requirements: Before you request funding for your field-based course from the Graham Institute, you must register your travel with U-M.
If you will be traveling outside the U.S., see the U-M travel abroad guidelines. Failure to register with the U-M travel registry may result in rescinding the funding for your course.

Use the U-M Travel Registry - Critical — Your travel registration enables the U-M to reach you in the event of an emergency – abroad or at home. The U-M travel registry provides access to U-M approved travel abroad health insurance.

Local-Global Experiences build multi-cultural interactions and skills.
The map on the right reflects where Scholars have traveled for their field-based experiences in the nation and around the globe.

    Field-Based Course Requirements & Options

    All experiences must be sustainability-focused, field-based, and interdisciplinary, and be three (3) credits. Graham Scholars receive priority access to many courses that are pre-approved. Some courses may be offered remotely.

    Additional U-M U-M & Partner Institution/Organization Course Options:

    • Appropriate GIEU (LS&A Global Intercultural Experience for Undergraduates) courses (offerings change annually)
    • STRAT 320, 002: Sustainable Business in Latin America 
    • HISTORY 328: Doing Environmental History in Japan; Or HISTORY 352/392: Topics in Asian History: Green Archipelago/Toxic Archipelago
    • EcoQuest: Applied Field Studies in New Zealand (credits vary)

    Independent Study Course Option:

    • Work with a U-M faculty member on an Independent Study (signed approval from faculty and a specific course plan is required)

    Past Examples

    • EARTH 344/ENVIRON 344: Sustainable and Fossil Energy, Options & Consequences (Camp Davis, Wyoming)
    • EEB 445: Ethnobotany, U-M Biological Station (Pellston, MI)
    • EcoExplorers (Tanzania)
    • Ecological Design Approaches to Brownfield Redevelopment (Connecticut)
    • EcoQuest: Applied Field Studies and Ecology in Action (New Zealand)
    • Environmental History - GCC - Global Course Connections (Tokyo, Japan)
    • Food, Land, and Society - GCC - Global Course Connections in Ann Arbor (Havana, Cuba)
    • GIEU: Sustainable Nourishment: Harmandar Sahib Langar (India), and Weaving Way of Life (Cusco, Peru)
    • HISTORY 392/ENVST 468 and CJS 281: Doing Environmental History (Japan)
    • Maternal/Child Health, the Environment, and Pollution in Africa (Ghana)
    • Sustainable Business in Latin America (Costa Rica)
    • Sustainable Energy Development in South America (Chile)
    • Sustainable Neighborhoods: Experiential Learning & Active Engagement (Detroit, MI)
    • Sustainable Urban Environments: An Interdisciplinary Approach (Chicago, IL)

    After Field-based Course Completion