Graham Sustainability Institute

Academic Requirements & Eligibility

Program Requirements

Currently, all Scholars are required to participate in co-curricular activities and complete a minimum of nine (9) credit hours of coursework (core courses), including a field-based course. 

  • A one-credit seminar (UC 327), Thinking for Sustainability, to be taken in the first fall semester following acceptance into the program, offered Thursdays from 4:00-5:30 pm.
  • A one-credit seminar (UC 427), Leadership Development for Sustainability, to be taken in the second fall semester of program participation, offered Thursdays from 4:00-5:30 pm.
  • A four-credit Practicum Course (ENVIRON/RCIDIV 391), Sustainability and the Campus, offered winter semester only. See additional details about this course, including links to projects: Sustainability and the Campus

Field-based Course Requirement

  • Election of a three-credit (or more) program-approved field-based sustainability course or an acceptable alternative, which may include an appropriate course within or outside of U-M, or an independent study experience.

Note: Alternatives to pre-approved courses require approval from the Program Director.

Financial Support for Field-based Course Experience

Scholars can petition to 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. 

Request Funds:

  • To request funds and receive course approval, complete the Graham Scholars Funding Request Form
  • Your request must include details for a field-based course, including the title of the course, number of credits (must be a minimum of 3), and a link to additional course details (name of the instructor, location, and timeframe for travel).

Course Substitutions - Criteria

If not choosing course options not previously approved, including proposing an independent study, you must petition and seek approval to use Field-based funding and receive credit for the degree certification. 

  • The process for opting-out of the approved course options and applying for up to $3,500 of financial credit includes completing the Graham Scholars Funding Request Form and outlining how the alternative course meets the criteria outlined above; and submitting a budget with details about how the financial credit would be applied for direct expenses (see Financial Support above).


  • The course or experience must generate 3 credits that appear on your transcript at U-M (independent study and internship credits can count); provide an opportunity to investigate natural, social, economic, political, and technological aspects of a sustainability problem in a site-specific context; and engender an in-depth analysis of potential approaches to the resolution of the sustainability problem.
  • A syllabus or the equivalent information that provides the full details about the proposed course or experience.
  • Official approval (if required and appropriate) for entry into the course or experience, signed by the faculty member or appropriate authority.
  • If studying abroad, additional requirements include your agreement to purchase UM travel abroad health insurance and register with the U-M Travel Registry (
  • Complete the Field-based form within 30 days of finishing your field-based course: Graham Undergraduate Scholars - Field-based Experience Form.


Review of transcripts for graduation releases will be completed throughout the year. To ensure you have met all the Graham Scholars Program requirements, please submit the Graham Scholars Requirements Submission Form as soon as possible.

  • Fall Deadline: First Wednesday in November
  • Winter Deadline: First Wednesday in March

Supplemental Studies Program

Undergraduate supplemental studies can provide opportunities for students to develop additional experience and skills to complement their major(s) or minor(s). Electing to earn supplemental studies is optional. The Graham Institute will provide documentation of the Sustainability Scholars program completion for all students who successfully fulfill the requirements, as long as supplemental studies notations are allowable.

Current Transcript Notation Policy

Completion of the Sustainability Scholars program may be entered as a supplemental studies program on the academic transcript of students who are enrolled in the following schools or colleges: Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning, Stamps School of Art & Design, Ross School of Business (Ross), College of Engineering, College of Literature, Science & the Arts (LS&A), and Ford School of Public Policy. Note: The ability to obtain a supplemental studies notation through the School of Public Health is yet to be determined.

LS&A Policies

  • LS&A students who complete a Sustainability Minor through the Program in the Environment may NOT have both the Sustainability Minor and the Sustainability Scholars Program listed on their transcripts. However, these students may still fully participate in the program.
  • Per LS&A policy on supplemental studies programs, LS&A students who want the program designation to appear on their transcripts may not share any courses used toward the program with any other LS&A major or minor. However, LS&A students who choose not to have the Scholars Program designation appear on their transcripts may still participate fully in the Program if they complete all requirements.
  • Per LS&A policy, any Scholar Program participant receiving approval for substitutions or exceptions to Program requirements cannot receive a transcript notation for Program completion. However, Program participants who complete all requirements (including those with approved substitutions and exceptions) will be considered Program alumni in good standing by the Graham Institute and can acknowledge participation in and completion of the Program on their resume/CV.

Program Withdraw

If you are not able to complete the program requirements but have participated in the program, you will need to email a request to remove the transcript notation to as soon as possible.


  • Undergraduate students in all U-M academic units are eligible to apply.
  • Students must have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0, including Fall semester grades. Anyone with a GPA below 3.0 will not be considered and should not apply.
  • Students must be either in their second-year, having completed three (3) full semesters at U-M by January. In the case of transfer or non-traditional/junior students, all students are on track to graduate no earlier than December of their senior year.
  • Students must be on the Ann Arbor campus in good standing during their scholarship.
  • Students must successfully complete all program elements (including passing grades in all courses) to be eligible to receive funding for field-based experiences, and recognition on their transcripts.