Student Research & Requirements

Become a SPANner

Join SPAN, the Student Project for Amity among Nations, and you will follow in the footsteps of hundreds of Minnesota undergraduates, (or, on occasion, graduate students) who fulfilled the SPAN academic and the organizational requirements you will find listed below. Many of these SPANners went onto achieve very successful careers in academia, business, politics and the arts. Visit the “Alumni” section of this website to read more about where SPANners are now, where they’ve been, and what they are accomplishing since their transformational, eye-opening SPAN experience.

When students successfully complete the SPAN research project requirements, they are awarded eight upper-level University of Minnesota credits. (Courses: FSSP 5060 and FSSP 5970-WI) Under the university’s requirements for graduation, four of the these upper-level credits meet the university’s “writing intensive” or WI requirement. All eight of the credits count toward a U student’s requirement to complete what are called “global perspective” course offerings.

More information: SPAN-registration-step-by-step-instructions pdf (PDF format)

Wanted: Intellectual curiosity & a 2-year commitment

If you are independent minded and curious, then SPAN can be the international educational opportunity you are seeking. Bear in mind to fulfill SPAN’s academic requirements will require a two-year commitment on your part. How so?

Year 1: fall semester  & spring 2017 (FSSP 5960)

SPANners, as they have come to be called, are recruited during fall semester; SPAN seeks students who are sophomores or juniors but is also open to students who are college freshman or college seniors, or even graduate students.

During spring semester the SPANners (destined for Morocco and Russia in summer 2017) meet for a series of classroom or coffee shop discussions in which the students study their destination country’s history, politics, religions, customs and more. Students may enroll in language courses which will enable them to improve their abilities to communicate cross-culturally. In advance and in preparation for their summer abroad, students also make travel and living arrangements for their two-month in-country stay. Sometimes host families are available.

In addition, during the first year’s spring semester, outbound SPANners fully delve into the process of research, namely, choosing and researching a desired topic, outlining the research statement, completing a “search of the literature” and preparing a research project outline. The expectation is this: prior to departure, the student researcher will have identified both host country experts and locations to visit to further answer the student’s individual research question.

Year 2: summer, fall and spring semester 2017 (FSSP 5970WI)

Students are required to spend eight weeks abroad conducting research or field studies in their host or destination countries. The student works by and large independently, however, the faculty advisor of the group is in-country as well during these two summer months. The advisor serves as a mentor and guide for the students throughout summer and upon return.

Following the SPANners’ summer abroad, during fall semester, students meet to reflect and debrief on their overseas adventures. The SPANners begin to compile their research findings and begin to write-up their results. Ultimately, the student is required to submit a 50-page bound research paper, similar to a master’s thesis; the paper is due mid-spring semester.

Additional SPAN requirements

SPAN was founded by students in 1947. As a 501-C-3 non-profit organization, the Minnesota SPAN Association, has an executive board in which the students are asked to participate.

Newly-recruited, and returning SPANners are also asked to provide assistance in the SPAN office, to encourage and invite other students to join SPAN, and to host a send-off Bon Voyage banquet for the outbound SPANners.

SPANners are also encouraged and invited to contribute to the SPAN newsletter, the website, and various social media sites.