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Theme Semester

Imagine the U-M community collectively exploring ideas around a common theme. Water, for example. Or the universe. Or language.

Theme Semesters provide exactly this opportunity. Anchored in the College of LSA, Theme Semesters provide intellectual and cultural immersion in a particular topic across U-M. Students combine coursework with lectures, museum exhibits, music or theater performances, film series, and more.

This exploration doesn’t just stay inside the academy, either. Theme Semester events are generally open to the public and are done frequently in collaboration with community organizations.

Theme Semesters have been an integral part of the teaching and learning experience on campus for more than two decades, connecting the great intellectual and cultural strengths of the University of Michigan to the issues defining our world today.

Upcoming Theme Semester

Winter 2020
Great Lakes Theme Semester: Lake Effects

LSA’s research takes place all around the world, but important learning and discovery also happens close to home. The Great Lakes Theme Semester offers opportunities for students, faculty, and the public to engage in issues unique to the region. “Lake Effects” will take an interdisciplinary look at how history, environment, politics, culture, and more are shaped by the lakes. Throughout the semester, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in April, coursework, events, films, field trips, lectures, and conferences will shine light on important issues and insights. Please join us in investigating the powerful Lake Effects the Great Lakes have on Michigan and beyond.


LSA offers a large number of courses in support of theme semesters. These can be found in the special offerings section of the LSA Course Guide.