The Social Science Scholar Experience

As a Social Science Scholar, your curriculum will include seminars, research projects, off-campus study, overseas study, and internships that enhance your required university and major departmental classes. Our program’s academic advisor will work closely with you to craft an educational plan that is specifically suited to your individual interests and goals. Each stage of the Social Science Scholars program offers its own unique features designed to promote engaged scholarship.

Freshman Scholars

During your first year as a Social Science Scholar, you’ll draw from a broad range of academic experiences that will culminate in you coauthoring a chapter in a Social Science Scholar book series and giving a presentation at an annual Social Science Scholar reception. Here are the highlights:

  • Year-long immersion into a single, broad topic of great social and political significance. The freshman year is spent studying humans and the environment. The first semester looks at humans and their social environment starting with the family and moving to the larger scale of the physical environment.  The second semester will be spent learning and studying the impacts of global warming, denialism, and environmental policy.
  • Twice-weekly seminars. You’ll join the program director and other Social Science Scholars for regularly scheduled seminars featuring a series of invited speakers from MSU, the broader community, or other universities who will share their insight and expertise. 
  • Small-group assignment. Narrowing your focus to a compelling sub-topic, you’ll work with a small group of like-minded Social Science Scholars. Your group will not only regularly consult with the program director, but also confer with faculty members who have expertise in your particular field of research.
  • Off-campus experience. You’ll meet regularly with almuni mentors who can offer support, advice and, in many cases, internship opportunities.
  • Overseas study. You’ll spend several weeks of the summer in your freshman year studying abroad, discussing your research with politicians, academics, policy makers, and business leaders.
  • Publication. Finally, you’ll formally present your research and submit chapters for publication in a Social Science Scholars book series.

Sophomore Scholars

During your second year as a Social Science Scholar, you’ll study a different topic with your fellow Scholars, again learning from experts from MSU and around the world. Here are some other second year highlights:

  • Documentary movie. With the help of faculty and trained IT staff, you’ll work as part of a small team to make a short, high-quality documentary on the subtopic that most engages you. In so doing, you'll learn a consierable amount on your chosen theme and acquire marketable skills in the use of digital technology. 
  • Summer internship. You’ll gain valuable practical experience as a summer intern. You might opt to intern in one of many U.S. locations, including Washington, DC, New Orleans, New York, Boston, or Hawaii. Or you might wish to intern overseas. We will help you to idenitfy internship opportunities. You may also work directly with an MSU College of Social Science alumni who can help to advance your career goals and particular interests.

Junior and Senior Scholars

By your third and fourth years as a Social Science Scholar, you'll be well established in your declared major course of study. You’ll meet with the program director in monthly seminars; perhaps enroll in honors classes to enrich your specific curriculum; and pursue additional off-campus study or internship opportunities with the help of the program’s academic advisor and director.