Wilderness and Civilization ProgramWilderness and Civilization Program

Wilderness and Civilization Program

Through Cal U's participation in the National Student Exchange Program, Cal U students are eligible to apply to the Wilderness and Civilization Program at the University of Montana, Missoula. The Wilderness and Civilization Program combines experiential learning, extensive field work and rigorous classes from across campus for a wilderness studies minor. The program offers an in-depth look at conservation issues and strategies, and the changing ecology, culture and politics of the Northern Rockies.

The Wilderness and Civilization Program is located in some of the wildest country in the lower 48 states. Based at the University of Montana in Missoula, it is surrounded by vast forests and grasslands and millions of acres of unfragmented lands that support biodiversity and provide important wildlife habitat. This living classroom is integrated with on-campus studies at the university throughout the program.

The Wilderness and Civilization Program blends hands-on learning, extensive field work and small interdisciplinary classes. Students can earn a wilderness studies minor in just over one semester, making the program an easy fit for students who wish to graduate in four years with a minor that provides real world experience, knowledge and skills.

In Wilderness and Civilization, a small community of 25 students gets the best of both worlds: campus and field learning.  Students spend 30 days in the field throughout the program, learning firsthand how the ecology, politics, history and culture of a place shape conservation efforts.  Field trips include a 10-day backpack into the Bob Marshall Wilderness and shorter weekly trips to Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, the Blackfoot, Bitterroot and Mission Valleys, the Flathead Tribal Reservation, and more. Field trips complement classroom teaching by exploring real world environmental issues and the specific ways that managers, community activists, tribal members and landowners meet today's conservation challenges.  Our students often tell us how much they benefit from understanding the connections between changing culture, politics and landscape conservation.

Students also learn practical skills and build their resumes through internships specifically focused on an area of their interest. Wilderness and Civilization students are placed with one of hundreds of educational, agency and non-profit organizations in the Missoula area. In addition, many of the courses fulfill general education and honors requirements, and may count toward major requirements. The program is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors of any major with a GPA of 3.0 or greater.

Wilderness and Civilization Program Course Schedule:

Fall 2010 (16 credits)

  • Wilderness and Civilization, RSCN 373 (3 crs.)
  • Literature and the Environment/Honors, LIT 373 (3 crs.; meets upper division writing requirement)
  • Ecological Perspectives of Native Americans, NAS 303E (3 crs.; meets non-western requirement)
  • Issues in Wilderness Ecology/Honors; RSCN 271N (3 crs.)
  • Montana Wilderness Policy and Politics, RSCN 423 (2 crs.)
  • Wilderness and Civilization Field Studies I, RSCN 273 (2 crs.)

Wintersession 2011 (3 credits) - one week just before spring semester, plus four to five follow-up classes in the spring

  • Environmental Drawing Seminar, ART 324A

Spring 2011 (4 credits)

  • Wilderness and Civilization Field Studies II, RSCN 273 (1 cr.)
  • Internship/Service Learning, RSCN 398 (2 crs.)
  • Wilderness Issues Lecture Series, RECM/EVST 371 (1 cr.)

Because the Wilderness and Civilization Program is limited to 25 students, interested students need to apply soon. Applications can be obtained online at www.cfc.umt.edu/wc. There is a rolling admission policy until the early application deadline of Feb. 1, and the general application deadline is April 15.

For more information, visit www.cfc.umt.edu/wc or e-mail wi@cfc.umt.edu.