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Semester in Detroit

The Semester in Detroit program accepts undergraduate students from all schools and departments at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Completion of the fall program plus one additional required course will meet the requirements for a minor in Urban Studies through the College of Literature, Science and the Arts at the UM-Ann Arbor campus. Spring students are required to take 2 additional courses to complete the Urban Studies minor.The most successful program participants typically have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA [Note: those with less than a 3.0 GPA are still eligible to apply but must explain their particular situation.] Applicants should have a strong interest in the city of Detroit and in community-service learning. 

LIVE: Get used to saying “hello” on city streets
Some call Detroit the biggest small town in America. While nearly 900,000 people live here, you start to recognize people pretty soon after moving in.

Living in Detroit, becoming a temporary resident, is a pivotal aspect of Semester in Detroit. By putting down roots for a semester, students become more deeply invested in ways that don’t happen when you commute in and out of the city.

SID students live on Wayne State University’s growing residential campus in dorm rooms or small apartments. Wayne State’s campus is in the middle of Detroit’s cultural district and is within walking distance to the Detroit Institute of Arts, the main branch of the Detroit Public Library, the Detroit Historical Museum, and much more.

Enjoy all of the amenities of Wayne State students including access to the recreation center, computing/library facilities, cafeteria, and kitchens/exercise rooms.

LEARN: From faculty and community scholars
Semester in Detroit students are immersed in a wealth of knowledge about Detroit in the areas of history, urban planning, non-profit administration, community development, organizing, arts and culture, and much more. SID offers a rich array of curricular options from UM faculty in the College of Literature, Science and Arts and the Residential College. Completion of SID and one more class in Ann Arbor will earn students an LSA minor in Urban Studies.

In addition, Semester in Detroit has a collaborative relationship with Wayne State University including the newly established Honors College wherein all undergraduate students are required to engage in substantive community-service in Detroit. SID students are eligible to take Wayne State classes in the Honors College and the Department of Geography and Urban Planning.

Students meet and interact with dozens of Detroit’s community leaders and activists throughout the duration of the program – an essential component of the program’s educational strategy that enriches, supports and sometimes challenges what is taught and learned in the formal classroom.

WORK: Immerse yourself in community
Students accepted into Semester in Detroit choose internships from an array of Detroit community and cultural organizations (in November) through a interactive process guided primarily by the student’s interests and the community’s agenda. Successful student applicants play an active role in this process and choose from among substantive community projects where they spend 16 hours per week throughout the semester.

Previous program participants have:

developed the capacity of a community collaborative on Detroit’s eastside to promote an ambitious Greenway development;
assisted community organizing efforts in southwest Detroit focused on increasing parental involvement in local school community organizations;
learned skills in radio journalism while contributing to the community-based mission of a Detroit public radio station;
promoted collaboration between Detroit’s newest art museum and neighborhood-based community arts organizations.

ENGAGE: History, experience, and promise.
Detroit, like much of America today, is at a critical crossroads. There is tremendous economic and political uncertainty here. But Detroit, if it knows anything well, knows the good promise in such struggle. This is a place that has experienced some of the highest highs and lowest lows of any modern-day American city. Such experience fosters special wisdom and creative vision -- important skills to have in this moment.

Engage in Semester in Detroit and engage this great American city -- its people, places and potential.