Freshman Seminar, Washington, D.C.


Looking for a chance to gain academic experience, engage with MSU professors, and learn more about a specific topic? A Freshman Seminar Away could be the right opportunity for you. Explore cool topics around the United States as you travel with faculty and experts to experience learning first-hand.  The seminar is held during the summer before you begin your fall classes and carries academic credit toward graduation.


Space, Place and Justice in Washington, D.C.
July 17 - 26, 2018 and one date in September, TBD, on campus
Faculty Leaders: Dr. Gary Schnakenberg & TBA

The Washington, D.C. freshman seminar away program provides new freshmen students with a unique opportunity to learn about criminal justice and geography to gain a greater understanding of how space, place and justice intersect while earning two credits toward their degree.

Students will:
- Examine how variations in people's perception of public spaces affect issues of crime, laws and rights, typical structures & patterns of US cities, and how these are reflected in D.C.

- Undertake a quick but intensive study of justice and injustice are reflected in the landscape while exploring how space and its use can promote equality, or reinforce inequality

- Consider the globalization impact of definitions of crimes and communities

- Discuss the challenges of how independent nations promote and maintain fairness in balancing local interests in a globalizing world

Meet with experts and national leaders
You will have the opportunity to meet politicians, activists, professionals in the fields and MSU students interning in D.C..

Experience Washington D.C.
You'll get oriented to Washington D.C with a bus tour, explore several monuments on the National Mall, a special visit to the Newseum, enjoy an evening river cruise along the Potomac and experience a variety of cultural attractions.

FSDC 2017


Dr. Gary Schnakenberg is a human geographer who is an instructor and the undergraduate Advisor in Michigan State's Department of Geography. He was a high school teacher in New Hampshire for 25 years before undertaking his Ph.D. studies, which he completed in 2013. His research focus is in critical cultural geographies of agriculture and globalization, especially in the former colonial world, and is also interested in how spaces and places acquire meaning for people. Aside from conducting research in Jamaica, he has led student study trips to Germany and Austria, and has undertaken study trips himself to Ecuador's Amazonia and South Africa as well, in addition to other travel experiences in Ireland, Scotland, and most recently, Finland.


Students in this program must exhibit a high level of personal responsibility and appropriate behavior. Based on the short, intensive nature of the program, students are expected to keep their focus on academic and programmatic participation. Students are also required to attend one class meeting during the first half of fall semester.


Faculty and students will be residing at the Virginian Suites in Arlington, VA. All housing arrangements will include two beds suitable for double occupancy.


We encourage all students to apply immediately. Applications will be processed as soon as they are received. Applications will continue to be accepted until the program is filled with confirmed participants.   Once admitted to MSU, you may submit your application to the College of Social Science through the online FS application. A complete application requires your signature and a parent's/guardian's signature if you are under age 18 at the time of application.

If admitted into the seminar, you will receive an official acceptance packet by email. To confirm your admission into the seminar, you must sign and return specific forms included in the acceptance packet to the College of Social Science within two weeks of the date of your acceptance letter or you may lose your space in the seminar. Once you confirm attendance in the seminar, a deposit will be charged to your MSU account. The deposit is part of the total program fee of $900* which will be billed to your MSU account and included in your fall bill.

Admission into this seminar requires that you maintain your status as an MSU freshman and be in good academic and disciplinary standing. Withdrawal from the seminar may result in financial penalties, as explained in the Withdrawal section below. (NOTE: Your participation may be denied, or your participation approval may be revoked, if your conduct before departure raises doubts as to your suitability for seminar participation.)


If accepted into the program you will be registered for SSC 290, section 701 and charged for two credits of tuition as part of your fall tuition bill. In addition to your tuition, you will also be charged a program fee of $900* which includes the deposit; lodging while in Washington, D.C.; some meals; admissions and transportation for excursions and field trips. Amounts not included in the program fee for which participants will need to budget include: transportation to and from Washington, D.C.; course required book(s), additional meals/snacks, and personal spending money. Tuition, application, and program fees will be billed to your MSU student account.


If you withdraw from the program after confirming your acceptance you will be financially responsible for your $150 deposit. To withdraw, you must notify the College of Social Science in writing by letter, fax or email no later than June 8, 2018. The College of Social Science will not accept verbal cancellations by phone.  If you withdraw from the seminar after the June 8, 2018 deadline, you will remain financially responsible for the entire program fee of $900*.

*Program fee is based from last year. It is subject to change.


Go to the online FS application and apply today!


Joanne Delamar
Study Away and Internship Coordinator
Office of Study Abroad, Study Away and Internships
College of Social Science
Berkey Hall Room 221
509 E. Circle Drive
East Lansing, MI 48824
Phone:  (517) 432-4541
Fax:  (517) 432-0928
To make an appointment, please click here.