Graham Sustainability Scholars Application Guidelines

Graham Sustainability Scholars Application Guidelines

Required Application Materials

Scholars Info Session (February 2022) Zoom Recording, including the Q/A with current Scholars and the Program Manager

  • 1 Personal statement
  • 1 Short Critical Thinking Essay
  • Resume and a transcript (including the most recent Fall term grades) - one PDF file
  • Two Letters of Recommendation from a U-M or other instructor, mentor, or supervisor (optional)
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 is recommended
  • Transfer Students: We will accept a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 from your incoming school 

Enter A Statement and a Critical Thinking Essay directly into the online application form

  • Personal Statement (no more than 350 words): Describe how this program would complement or enhance your studies and professional goals, how your acceptance would contribute to the program, and describe a project that would answer a sustainability question that intrigues and inspires you.
  • Critical Thinking Essay (no more than 250 words): Consider and address the following question: “In what ways does fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community affect pathways to sustainability?”

Upload Resume & Transcripts

In addition to the statement and essay, submit one compiled document - upload a one-page resume and a recent transcript as a Single PDF File

  • Resume: A brief resume (no more than 1-page) describing educational background, professional or volunteer experience, awards or honors received, membership in organizations, and activities related to sustainability.
  • Transcripts: Include all undergraduate coursework and the most recent Fall term grades. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.

Reference Letters

  • References (optional - not required): Applicants will provide the names and contact information for up to two references (instructor, supervisor, mentor). Both references will be contacted by the Graham Institute formally asking each person to submit confidential recommendation letters online. All letters must be submitted online.
  • Important note: Applicants request a letter of support and provide the estimated due date to their letter writers that are due shortly after applications are submitted. Please note: The Graham Institute will contact all letter writers identified by students with details to submit letters.

Selection Process

Undergraduate Juniors are accepted to the Scholars Program based on personal statements and sustainability leadership potential, previous experience related to sustainability, academic qualifications. Program leaders balance the desire for diversity and interdisciplinary balance in the cohort.

Key Information


March - June

  • Current U-M students and incoming transfer students will apply before mid-April. All students must be incoming Junior status
  • Letters of reference (optional) are due shortly after student applications are received, and are submitted separately from applications to ensure confidentiality
  • Approximately 20-25 applicants will be selected and will be announced mid-late April 
  • Participation will begin with the Fall Retreat and will continue until the completion of Scholars program requirements


  • Current Scholars (rising Seniors) participate as Summer Interns (optional program component) with partner organizations


  • Participation in the "Fall Retreat" (date to be announced) – all new Scholars are expected to participate in the retreat that will include an introduction to interdisciplinary projects and team-building activities
  • Begin to fully engage with your cohort at the retreat, through seminars, and by working on an interdisciplinary project with an organizational partner external to U-M 
  • See Academic Requirements and Eligibility

October - April

  • Seminars & professional skill-building
  • Interdisciplinary Team Projects
  • Sustainability Community-building Activities

Graham Sustainability Institute Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement

At the Graham Sustainability Institute, our dedication to academic excellence for the public good is inseparable from our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our mission of engaging, empowering, and supporting faculty, staff, and students to foster sustainability solutions includes ensuring that each member of our community thrives. We believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion are key to empowerment, and the advancement of sustainability knowledge, learning, and leadership, see our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion page.