• How will this program affect students' employment chances?

    The Social Science Scholars Program provides students with the ideal preparation for high-profile careers in the public or private sectors and for advanced degree programs at the nation's best universities. This program's goal is to ensure that they stand out from the crowd in whatever field they choose. Accordingly, this program has been modelled on what researchers have consistently found to appeal most to employers; thus, key aspects of the program include internships, leadership positions, faculty-supervised research, supervised civic engagement and study abroad. In short, Social Science Scholars will be able to offer highly-desirable research skills and a maturity of understanding that few graduates possess.

     Social Science Scholars experience graph

  • What kind of employment opportunities could this program lead to?

    Social Science Scholars will have many choices when they leave MSU because they will be highly experienced in conducting original research; well-informed on the most fundamental concepts and skills relevant to business, economics, law, government and public and environmental policy; and able to draw on contacts made during internships organized through the Social Science Scholars Program. If a Scholar’s ambition is to pursue an advanced or professional degree, they will have an advantage there as well, as few graduates will have had so many enriching experiences on their applications.

  • What do Scholars study?

    For the first two years of the program, each cohort takes a series of seminars together designed specifically for the Social Science Scholars. These courses count towards College of Social Science requirements and often provide Honors credit as well. The first year will provide a deep understanding of human behaviour and interactions from the perspective of multiple social science disciplines. Second-year Scholars study dynamic and important historical and contemporary issues: from the Holocaust and Apartheid, to gender inequity, the ‘war on drugs’ and the artificial intelligence revolution.

  • Why are so few students admitted?

    The Social Science Scholars Program recruits 20-25 Scholars a year because our aim is to invest many resources into each student. A low faculty-student ratio is essential for three reasons: first, because we expect all students to participate actively in class discussion. Second, because we need to be able to organize faculty-led research experiences for each student. Third, because our goal is to tailor internship experiences to the individual student’s interests and aspirations. Students who are not admitted into the Social Science Scholars Program should note that they can apply again as freshmen to join the following year’s cohort, and that several departments in the College of Social Science have their own scholars programs to which they can apply.

  • Who can apply to the Social Science Scholars Program?
    Acceptance to the Social Science Scholars Program is contingent on being admitted to MSU. However, you may apply to the Scholars Program before you have received an official acceptance from MSU Admissions. Rising MSU sophomores are also encouraged to apply.
  • What kinds of students is the program looking for?

    Our objective is to recruit a diverse group of Scholars that brings multiple perspectives, backgrounds and experiences to class. Test scores and grades are obviously important, but we understand these are not always an accurate reflection of a student’s ability or potential. We are also looking for candidates who can demonstrate a passion for understanding social and political issues. We therefore attach considerable significance to an applicant’s personal statement, references, extracurricular activities and performance in interview. In short, we are recruiting students who have the enthusiasm and maturity to make the most of the opportunities we will provide.

  • Can students apply to medical school having graduated as a Social Science Scholar?

    Yes. Social Science Scholars who wish to apply to medical school would be best advised to take majors in Psychology as this department's advisors are accustomed to find spots for students in higher level science classes. More generally, medical schools are increasingly keen to recruit students who have had significant exposure to social science and humanities disciplines. Having taught the history and sociology of medicine for a decade, program director Dr. John Waller can say with great confidence that the social sciences are very effective at making medical students think about social and political contexts that are critically important to providing the best care and to improving future healthcare.

  • How can students apply?

    Details about the application process can be found here.

  • How can high school counselors learn more about the program?
    The program director, Dr. John Waller, is more than happy to speak over the phone, talk with students and counselors via Skype, or visit schools. Please contact him directly at wallerj1@msu.edu or 517-353-3898 to set up an appointment.
  • What is the timeline of the application process?
    We will recruit to the program on a rolling basis and encourage students to begin applying at any time, as we strongly encourage early application. The deadline for admission to the Social Science Scholars Program is April 1 for the following fall. Private interviews will be organized regularly as students apply and offers will follow.
  • How many credits will students obtain as a Social Science Scholar?

    Scholars take one seminar each semester together for the first two years of the program (14 credits total), and seven credits during the study abroad.

  • Does the program provide scholarships?

    The Social Science Scholars program has funds available for two-year scholarships that will be assigned primarily on the basis of financial need. In addition, opportunities are available through individual departments, the College of Social Science and the university. The program director and program assistant will work with students to identify appropriate scholarships and secure adequate funding. Click the button below to start looking at scholarship opportunities.


  • What majors can students take as a Social Science Scholar?

    Scholars must have one primary major within the College of Social Science. Click below to see a list of available Social Science majors.


  • What happens if a student decides to drop out of the program?
    We will work with our colleagues in the College of Social Science to ensure that credits taken in the program can be assigned where possible to other majors and minors. However, any funding you would be awarded if you stayed in the program will be forfeited.
  • How can I learn more about the Social Science Scholars program?
    Easy. Call Jenn Arbogast on 517-353-3217 or email her at jennarbo@msu.edu. She will be pleased to answer any questions.

For more information, contact:

John Waller
Social Science Scholars Program
Berkey Hall

Jenn Arbogast
Academic Specialist
Social Science Scholars Program
Berkey Hall