Eligibility & Program Components

Eligibility & Program Components


Undergraduate sophomores in all U-M academic units on the Ann Arbor campus are welcome and eligible to apply (including transfer students accepted to U-M). Students must:

  • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0, including Fall semester grades. 
  • Be either in their second year, having completed three (3) full semesters at U-M by January. (Transfer or non-traditional/junior student applicants must be on track to graduate no earlier than December of their senior year.)
  • Reside on the Ann Arbor campus and be in good standing during participation in the Program, with the exception of their field-based experience or any health-advisories (e.g., pandemic).
  • Students must successfully complete all program elements (including passing grades in all courses) to be eligible to receive funding for field-based experiences, and a certificate acknowledging completion of the Program.

Program Requirements

All Scholars participate in a variety of cohort and skill-building activities and complete sustainability-related courses including a field-based course and a project-based experiential course (e.g., 391 Sustainability & the Campus) designed to enhance academic efforts. Requirements include Fall Retreat, Seminar Series, Interdisciplinary Team Project, and the courses described below.

  • ENVIRON/RCIDIV 391,  Sustainability and the Campus or approved alternative, offered winter semester only (four-credits). 
  • Field-based Sustainability Course, or an independent study course (three-credits) to be completed the spring-summer. Support is available for current students, not alumni/ae.
    • Alternatives to pre-approved courses require approval from the Program Manager — advising sessions are available to discuss options.
  • Participation: Active participation is expected and is critical to program success. The Graham Institute sets and communicates program activity dates in advance to reduce student conflicts with academic and other commitments. Students who choose not to participate fully may not be able to continue with the program.
  • The Fall Retreat: Engage in discussions about sustainability, activities, and team-building.
  • Lead a Sustainability Project with a local Partner external to the university. Scholars learn about project management and community engagement. The 2021 Junior  Scholars cohort will begin their team project in September.
  • Scholars Seminar Series (fall and winter semesters): Thursdays, from 5:00-6:30 p.m. (Graham North Seminar Room, or remote).
  • Optional Summer Internship: The Graham Institute supports up to five paid summer interns who work for 6-8 weeks (full or part-time) with partner organizations (government, non-profit, or business). Note:  Many Scholars work part-time as an intern and complete a field-based course during the summer.

Financial Support for Field-based Course Experience

Participating students can petition to access up to $4,000 for direct expenses related to field-based sustainability courses in the U.S. or abroad. Support includes assistance with course fees, and related direct travel expenses (e.g., food, lodging, airfare, ground transportation, lab fees). Indirect expenses (e.g., gear/equipment/supplies and anything involving individual preferences not directly attributable to the course/experience) are ineligible for funding.

Request Funds:

  • To request funds and receive course approval, complete the Graham Scholars Funding Request Form
  • Please include details for a field-based course ( course title, number of credits — must be a minimum of 3, a link to additional course details, course location, and timeframe for travel).
  • If all Scholars Program requirements are not completed, students must return funds disbursed for a field-based course to the Graham Institute. 

Field-course Requirements & Options

  • The course or experience must generate three (3) credits that appear on your transcript at U-M; 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 a sustainability issue or challenge.
  • A syllabus or the equivalent information (link) that provides the full details about the proposed course or experience.
  • Official approval (if required) for course or entry, signed by the faculty member or appropriate authority.
  • If studying abroad, you must demonstrate your purchase of U-M travel abroad health insurance, register with the U-M Travel Registry (http://global.umich.edu/going-abroad/planning/registry/), and follow all U-M guidelines. Funding will not be approved if you have not first registered your travel with U-M.

Seeking Course Approval & Funds

  • Complete and submit the Graham Scholars Funding Request Form, including all course details (see Financial Support above).
  • If you are interested in proposing an independent study or an unapproved course, seek approval from the Graham Institute and with your academic advisor.
  • The Graham Institute approves field-based course requests that are aligned to the sustainability program goals. However, schools and colleges approve the credit for the course. 

After Completing Your Field-based Course: Within 30 days of finishing your field-based course, please complete the Graham Undergraduate Scholars - Field-based Experience Form. Other Scholars are interested in your reflection on your experience.

Checking Program Accomplishments

The Graham Sustainability Scholars Program is a co-curricular program that complements many academic programs, including the Program in the Environment, the Program in Sustainable Engineering, and the Business and Sustainability Concentration. A review of transcripts will be completed throughout the program, with Scholars regularly uploading transcripts to the Graham Institute.

  • To ensure you have met Scholars requirements, please see guidelines on Canvas regarding confirmation of the completion of Scholars Program Requirements.
  • All Scholars receive a certificate signed by the Graham Institute Program Director confirming they have completed the program.
  • Scholars are encouraged to add a notation about this achievement on their resumes noting transferrable skills, such as project management experience, interdisciplinary teamwork, community engagement, and collaboration, and discuss their experiences and skills gained as a Scholar during interviews.

The undergraduate supplemental studies program was discontinued in April 2020.