Graham Sustainability Institute

Field Experiences

Scholars have the option to choose some of the most exciting and innovative learning experiences anywhere in the world. (Click the pins on the map to see where Sustainability Scholars have traveled for their field-based experience.) A variety of dynamic field-based experiences throughout the nation and world are available through U-M and other institutions. Participants receive up to $3,500 for their field-based experience (administered as a financial credit in the student's account). Funds may be applied to course fees or related direct expenses (e.g., travel, food, and lodging) an approved course or plan.

"This course was extremely awesome to get a realistic view of how making an impact in 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 this image they portray." — Graham Scholar

Scholars choose among U-M programs, other approved organizations, and unique independent study projects and have the opportunity to explore their own personal interests in sustainability locally and globally. Contact the Graham Institute education program leaders (see request approval and funds below) to confirm that a proposed course fulfills this requirement through an alternative field-based experience.

Field-based Course Support

Scholars may access up to $3,500 for direct expenses related to field-based courses. This includes course fees, related direct travel expenses (e.g., food, lodging, airfare, ground transportation, lab fees) and/or tuition (for spring or summer courses only). 

  • Indirect expenses (e.g., gear/equipment/supplies and anything involving individual preferences not directly attributable to the course/experience) are ineligible for funding.
  • If all program requirements are not completed, any funds disbursed must be returned to the Graham Institute. 

Travel Abroad - Requirements

If you will be traveling outside the U.S., see the U-M travel abroad guidelinesBefore you request funding for your field-based travel from the Graham Institute, you must register your travel with U-M, prior to departure.

  • See How to Use the U-M Travel Registry
  • Emergency Communications: Your travel registration enables the U-M to reach you in the event of an emergency – abroad or at home
  • U-M Travel Abroad Health Insurance: The travel registry provides access to U-M approved travel abroad health insurance.
  • Note: Failure to register with the U-M travel registry may result in rescinding the funding for your course.

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 will be required to confirm that you have registered your travel with U-M before requesting funds.

After Field-based Course Completion

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, which are pre-approved. 

  • See the U-M Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS) - Environmental Portfolio of Pre-Approved Courses
  • CGIS course offerings include New Zealand, Tanzania, Turks and Caicos, Thailand, Costa Rica, Ireland, and more.
  • Other U-M course options include EEB 445: Ethnobotany, U-M Biological Station (Pellston, MI) and Earth 344, Camp Davis (Jackson Hole, Wyoming).
  • Check the U-M course schedule for specific offerings.

Additional Course Options:

  • EARTH 344/ENVIRON 344: Sustainable and Fossil Energy: Options and Consequences (3)
  • STRAT 320, 002: Sustainable Business in Latin America (3)
  • HISTORY 328: Doing Environmental History in Japan (3); Or HISTORY 352/392: Topics in Asian History: Green Archipelago/Toxic Archipelago (3); WITH field component (2)
  • EcoQuest: Applied Field Studies in New Zealand (credits vary)
  • Appropriate GIEU (LS&A Global Intercultural Experience for Undergraduates) courses (offerings change annually)

Other Options:

  • Register for a course offered through another institution - check with a U-M academic advisor on transfer credit
  • Work with a U-M faculty member on an Independent Study (signed approval from faculty and a specific course plan is required)

Past Courses

  • ADABRD 311/391: Eco Explorers (Gabon)
  • Conservation & Development in Cultural Landscapes (Kenya)
  • 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)
  • Field Methods in Great Lakes Oceanography (Northern Michigan)
  • Food, Land, and Society - GCC - Global Course Connections in Ann Arbor (Havana, Cuba)
  • GIEU: Sustainable Nourishment: Harmandar Sahib Langar (India)
  • GIEU: 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 & Fossil Energy: Options & Consequences (Wyoming)
  • 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)
  • Toward a New Sustainable Environment in Light of the Changing Face of Rural and Urban China (Beijing)
  • UC 270 and UC 370: GCC India - Addressing Critical Global Issues (India)