Sophomore Residential Seminars are a unique and immersive living-learning experience during the sophomore year. SRS students have opportunities to build deep academic communities based on common interests and sustained interactions with SRS faculty members. The capstone experience is a 7-10 day trip in January or May that extends the academic experience out of the classroom and into the real world. 

The program is a transformational series of intensive residential seminars for sophomores, initially made possible with a significant grant from the Mellon Foundation. Students who are selected will live and study together, meet regularly with the seminar professors and guest speakers in their residence hall, and engage in an embedded academic travel experience related to the course at no extra charge. Each spring, all SRS students will continue the dialogue with a one-quarter-credit course with their professor.

Applications and Acceptance

All positions in the 2024-2025 SRS program have been filled.

Class of 2028, look for SRS 2025-2026 course announcements in December 2024.

2024 - 2025 Seminars

How has Africa featured in World Politics? In this course we will study the political landscape of pre-colonial African kingdoms, the impact of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, European conquest of Africa, and the establishment of colonial rule. We will learn how independence was achieved and what challenges African countries have faced following independence. The course will shed light on major political conflicts, the effects of the international aid regime, and the impact of great power rivalries on the continent. We will also study the growing role of the African diaspora, with a particular focus on their role in politics and economic development.

This course will include a weeklong trip to Ghana. The trip will relate to the topics of colonialism, Transatlantic Slave trade and post-independence political challenges. We will tour castles, including a UNESCO World Heritage site in Cape Coast, which were major points of the Transatlantic Slave trade, and served as early European outposts on the continent. We will visit sites in the capital Accra, to learn about Ghanaian culture and the political legacy of Ghana鈥檚 first post-independence leader, and the father of pan-Africanism, Kwame Nkrumah. We will also focus on the topics of development, with a visit to a national park and informal urban settlements.

This course will have a 1 credit class in Fall 2024 and .25 credit class in Spring 2025. Students in this seminar will live in the HRC.

More 色中色 Professor Koter

Dominika Koter is Associate Professor of Political Science. She is the author of Beyond Ethnic Politics in Africa as well as several articles on nationalism and ethnic politics in Africa. Her courses and research focus on parties, elections, and identity politics, with a primary focus on sub-Saharan Africa. She has been conducting fieldwork in Africa for close to 20 years and has previously served as an associate editor of the African Studies Review.

Photo of Professor Dominika Koter

Novels have the power to immerse readers in another place and time. Through them, we can come to feel a deep affinity for somewhere we have never been. This course will look at several English novels in which the evocation of place is central to meaning. Throughout the term, students will be asked to think about both the means by which authors represent place and the literary effects of their representation. Course texts will include Horace Walpole鈥檚 The Castle of Otranto, Virginia Woolf鈥檚 Mrs. Dalloway and Orlando, George Gissing鈥檚 The Nether World, and Thomas Hardy鈥檚 Tess of the d鈥橴rbervilles. Each of these novels takes its inspiration from a real location that the authors have imaginatively transformed.

The work of the semester will prepare students to engage thoughtfully with the places that they visit in May. These will include Walpole鈥檚 fantastic Gothic home on the outskirts of London, as well as the area of London, now gentrified, where Gissing set his tale of woeful poverty. We will attempt to recreate the paths traveled by the characters of Mrs. Dalloway, who live their interconnected lives in London on a single day. There will be stops as well in the southeast of England, including one at Knole, the estate that belonged to the family of Woolf鈥檚 friend Vita Sackville-West and that inspired the creation of Orlando. Travel will conclude with a visit to the area around Dorchester, which Hardy mythologized as 鈥淲essex鈥 in a series of remarkable novels. We will have the chance to walk in the steps of his fictional heroine Tess. Ultimately, the goal of the course and its travel component is to gain insight into the importance of setting to the human imagination.

This course will have a 1 credit class in Fall 2024 and .25 credit class in Spring 2025. Students in this seminar will live in 100 Hamilton

More 色中色 Professor Harsh 

Constance Harsh is Rebecca S. Chopp Chair in the Humanities and a professor in the Department of English and Creative Writing. Her teaching includes courses such as Victorian Fiction, The Female Protagonist, and The Bront毛s. She has published a book and numerous essays on a variety of nineteenth-century British writers. Her current scholarly focus is the fiction of the late-Victorian novelist George Gissing.

Photo of Professor Constance Harsh

This course will allow us to question, analyze, and engage with one of the world鈥檚 most pressing humanitarian crises since the Second World War: the ongoing refugee crisis. Recent approximate figures suggest that over 115 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes due to persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations or events seriously disturbing public order. The bulk of these refugees are women and children. Drawing on human rights frameworks, this course will challenge and expand our understanding of refugee policy and practice, especially as it pertains to education. Through case studies, we will learn about particular refugee crises around the globe. We will explore how education can be reimagined as an essential response to humanitarian crises, alongside providing food, shelter, and other provisions/programs that provide safety and normalcy to those displaced by conflict or disaster. We will focus on the principles that underpin education in emergencies programs and the types of educational policies or activities supported by international and national organizations in these contexts. We will read policy documents, academic articles, first-hand accounts, memoirs, novels, as well as screen films about of those who have fled war, violence, and persecution, to understand the experience of forced migration from a personal perspective.

At the end of the semester, we will travel to Cairo, Egypt, where we will visit and volunteer at refugee community schools, which are run by Sudanese refugee teachers and staff and serve children from their community. We will also be visiting refugee-serving non-profits serving various refugee communities who have been living in Egypt in protracted exile to better understand the lived realities of providing long-term support to refugees in the low-income neighboring countries. Of course, we will also be doing some site-seeing No trip to Egypt without a visit to the Great Pyramids of Giza, a boat ride on the Nile, and a visit to the new museum of antiquities!

This course will have a 1 credit class in Fall 2024 and .25 credit class in Spring 2025. Students in this seminar will live in 100 Hamilton.

More 色中色 Professor Bonet

Sally Wesley Bonet is an Associate Professor of Educational Studies at 色中色. A Sudanese-Egyptian educational anthropologist, Bonet is concerned with the experiences of Arab, Muslim, and African refugee youth and families. Her book, Meaningless Citizenship鈥攁 four-year-multi-sited, multilingual study鈥攅xplores the ways that recently resettled Iraqi, Muslim refugee families鈥 encounters with and exclusions from various arms of the American state, shaped them into (non)citizens. Bonet鈥檚 current project examines the ways that private, faith-based tuition-free schools can provide high-quality education for refugees in the Middle East; particularly for Sudanese refugees in Egypt and Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Bonet鈥檚 work has been supported by the Ford Foundation and the Spencer Foundation, and has appeared in top-tier journals including Anthropology and Education Quarterly; Curriculum Inquiry; and the Journal of Education in Emergencies. Bonet loves to cook, travel, read novels, sing, and go thrift-shopping.

Photo of Professor Sally Bonet

What people eat and drink connects them to a global socioecology and a complex exchange of commodities. What鈥檚 in Your Cup? uses our daily consumption of beverages to analyze the social and environmental implications of how people live. From the energy used to boil water for a morning coffee to the biota disturbed by farmers across the world, what we drink may be linked to carbon emissions, water pollution, and public health hazards, all of which have implications for consumers and producers alike. Challenges, such as climate change, limited access to land, and market shifts, often leave farmers vulnerable. But there are also many examples of efforts that empower farmers to live well and care for the land, provide consumers access to ethically produced beverages, and initiatives that promote sustainable development. Using examples from around the world 鈥 including Coca Cola, Florida orange juice, Colombian coffee, South African rooibos tea and wine, Fiji water, and Central New York beer and cider 鈥 the course explores the geography of what we drink.

The fall course is followed by a 10-day trip to Colombia in January where we鈥檒l learn about coffee as well as many aspects of the country. The trip is co-directed by Universidad de los Andes professor and coffee expert, Andr茅s Guhl. In addition, local coffee roaster Dan Joseph of FoJo Beans will accompany the group. Starting in Bogot谩, we will explore museums, graffiti, food, the Paloquemao market, and have a coffee workshop at Varietale (a specialized coffee shop). And we鈥檒l hike at 12,000 feet through the 辫谩谤补尘辞 (a unique high-elevation grassland ecosystem). The group will then descend the cordillera and cross the Magdalena River en route to one of the country鈥檚 coffee-growing regions where we鈥檒l visit the National Coffee Research Center and coffee farms, discussing the life of caficultores with the coffee growers themselves.

This course will have a 1 credit class in Fall 2024 and .25 credit class in Spring 2025. Students in this seminar will live in 100 Hamilton.

More about Professor Klepeis

Peter Klepeis is professor of geography, and studies people and the environment. Recent projects investigate invasive grasses in Australia, religious-based protection of church forests in Ethiopia, and the history of socioecological change in southern Chile. In his teaching, he seeks ways people can live the good life while allowing others to thrive as well. He has extensive experience guiding students in off-campus study, including semester-long Colgate programs in Australia, England, and South Africa, and three-week 鈥渆xtended studies鈥 to Uganda and Western Australia.

Photo of Professor Peter Klepeis


Associate Dean of the Faculty for Global and Local Initiatives; Leary Family Chair in Environmental Studies; Professor of Environmental Studies and Africana & Latin American Studies
101L McGregory Hall
Special Projects Assistant to the Provost & Dean of the Faculty; Assoc. Professor & Director of LGBTQ Studies
Program Assistant for International Initiatives
101 McGregory Hall

Frequently Asked Questions

The seminars allow you to live and learn with other sophomores who share similar academic interests. The seminars also allow you to work closely with a Colgate professor over an entire year.

The online application will be available beginning in late December/early January. Faculty teaching the Sophomore Residential Seminars will interview students during early February. Scheduling an appointment is done after you have successfully submitted your application. The assignment of rooms and roommates will come later.

Students selected for the SRS program live among members of their class. Your roommate will be a member of your class, and a special SRS roommate selection process will take place around March-April.

No. There is no direct charge for your research trip or the field trips and other activities connected to the program.

You will be given an interview slot for your first-choice course, but faculty will share information with each other during the selection process. So, while it's not possible to have more than one interview, you will still be considered for other seminars listed on your application.

Your GPA is a factor, but it is far from the most important one. We realize that you've been at Colgate for only one semester, so it is a small sample size. If there are things you'd have us know about your first semester that put your GPA into perspective, please let us know about them in the application.

You can direct your questions to

Danny Barreto, Special Assistant to the Dean of the Faculty (dbarreto@colgate.edu),

Amy Sommers, Program Assistant Center for International Programs (asommers@colgate.edu),

April Baptiste, Associate Dean of the Faculty for Global and Local Initiatives (abaptiste@colgate.edu).