College students rely on their advisors and faculty to help them navigate their college experience; often the guidance and influence of advisors and faculty is the linchpin of a quality education. WRFI is honored to collaborate with advisors and faculty on behalf of students to provide the very best, most personalized off-campus experience possible. WRFI courses are unique and not necessarily a good fit for every student. However, if you have students who love being outside, have open curious minds, and a spirited sense of adventure, WRFI could be their ideal off-campus program!Request Syllabus
The Wild Rockies Field Institute is an off-campus study opportunity; WRFI offers academic field-based courses through the University of Montana. Our courses take place in the “Wild Rockies” of North America and combine rigorous academic inquiry with cultural immersion and extended backcountry expeditions. Students join us from colleges and universities across North America and from a wide variety of majors; we currently offer courses in Environmental Studies, Natural Resources & Science Management, Geography and Philosophy. WRFI’s small group size and interdisciplinary curriculum offer students an exceptional opportunity to complement their coursework on campus with experiential education in the field.
WRFI courses challenge students to think critically, question pre-conceive notions, establish convictions, and maintain open, curious minds. Our courses are designed to take students into the arenas where the subject matter they are studying – from ecology to contemporary resource management policy – unfolds before their eyes. This is accomplished through curricula that are current, relevant and explore a wide range of opinions and perspectives. Assessment on WRFI courses is designed to help students digest what they are learning, articulate their insights, communicate their perspective effectively and recount their knowledge accurately. WRFI’s small group size facilitates accountability and provides numerous opportunities to receive mentorship and assistance. By providing students empirical perspectives about the human and natural communities they are studying, our courses help students develop personal convictions and a powerful sense of purpose. All WRFI courses consist of upper-division course work.
WRFI maintains a rolling admissions policy; applications are reviewed as soon as they are received. Typically, we can let a student know whether they have been accepted within 2-3 weeks of receiving their application. WRFI does not set application deadlines and our courses are open until they are full. Click here to learn more about our admissions process.
WRFI’s courses are multi-disciplinary and we work with a number of academic departments at the University of Montana to accredit our coursework. Typically rooted in a social science perspective, WRFI courses also contain curriculum in natural sciences and the humanities. Students who join WRFI courses have a deep curiosity about the natural environmental and their place in it; often, but not exclusively, they major in environmentally-related programs. Click here to learn more about our course topics.
WRFI does not require academic prerequisites to participate on our courses. Students join WRFI during different stages of their education and from a wide variety of majors. WRFI low student to instructor ratio allows instructors to cater to each student’s academic level and development. Click here to find out how else WRFI is different from other 0ff-campus programs.
WRFI’s instructors balance scholastic expertise, well-developed pedagogical perspectives and a passion for teaching college students with backcountry leadership skills and experience. All WRFI instructors have advanced degrees and Wilderness First Aid certifications. Beyond those minimum requirements, they come from a wide variety of backgrounds and WRFI is honored and proud that they choose to teach and learn with WRFI students out in the field. Click here to meet our team of instructors.
Academic credit for all Wild Rockies Field Institute courses comes from the University of Montana, recorded on an official transcript with a letter grade for each three-credit course assessed. WRFI welcomes students from schools across North America; from large universities to small private liberal arts colleges, we are happy to work with students and their academic advisors to assist with the credit transfer process. Click here to learn more about earning college credit through WRFI.
We think this question is best answered by a few of our alumni. We often hear from advisors and faculty that their willingness to support their student’s participation on a WRFI course stems from the feedback they receive once a student has completed a course and is back on campus enthusiastically sharing their experiences, stories and photos in their office.Ask an Alum
“WRFI demonstrates the way that higher education should be practiced in this country. It has shown me what my schooling could be like and how to take control of my own education. I highly recommend the program to any and all students.”
Luke Taylor, Oregon State University
“Place-based learning gives you knowledge and connection like no lecture hall or textbook can. The best way to learn about the natural world is to get out into it- to walk through its deserts, forests, and rivers. To touch the layers of rock as you learn their names, to watch the birds and hear them sing.”
University of Wisconsin-Madison
“Field courses, and WRFI in particular, provide students with an experience that the traditional college class cannot. They allow for hands on learning. They encourage real time discussion and debate. They surround you with an environment saturated in inquiry and information that goes beyond textbooks and lectures. Best of all, they do this while immersed in the great outdoors. For me, these classes have left a more lasting impression than all of my traditional college education combined. They have also allowed me to realize that climate change and environmental education are areas I want, and need, to spend the rest of my life perusing.”
Cory Horton, University of Montana
Cycle the Rockies & Environmental Ethics
If you would like to provide your students with the opportunity to learn more about the Wild Rockies Field Institute’s field courses, please contact WRFI’s Outreach Manager, Bethany Applegate, for more information: email@example.com.