At WRFI we believe that thinking critically about your education, what you’re learning and how you’re learning it are fundamentally important considerations; we encourage our students to ask the really big questions…
WRFI is here to help you chase down the answers to your questions. We’ll explore wild landscapes with you; we’ll seek out community members and elders for their perspectives on important issues; we’ll have lively conversations into the night around a camp fire, all in the pursuit of academic knowledge and self-discovery. On a WRFI course you will not be a passive recipient of information, rather you will interact with your education and as a result you will take it to the next level.
The best part: you can embark on an academic adventure with WRFI for college credit!
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.
Since 1993, the University of Montana has accredited all Wild Rockies Field Institute courses. Academic credits earned through WRFI are transferable to hundreds of college and universities across the country. Students can earn credit in a variety of disciplines and will work with WRFI and their advisors and faculty to determine how credits transfer back to their home institutions. WRFI courses are academically rigorous and typically count towards upper-division coursework.
We believe that experiential, field-based education is a critical component of the college experience and should be accessible to as many students as possible. Finances are often a barrier to participation in expensive off-campus programs. WRFI is committed to providing affordable courses and supporting students and their families with personalized financial counseling, scholarships, and tuition discounts. Students will find that when they calculate the total estimated cost of attendance at their home institution and compare it with what it costs to attend a WRFI cost, it is often more affordable than they imagined!
There is no backcountry experience required for WRFI courses! Whether you have never slept outdoors or you grew up backpacking, WRFI courses all begin with a comprehensive orientation to backcountry travel/bike touring to start every student off on the same foot. When you complete your course, you will invariably feel empowered to plan your own backcountry/bike touring adventures! Click here to see how else WRFI is different.
WRFI instructors are exceptional educators who love teaching and are eager to connect with you on a personal level to help you make the most of your education and the WRFI experience. They are also experienced outdoor leaders committed to maintaining safe and conscientious backcountry travel protocols. Click here to meet our team of instructors.
WRFI staff are happy to help you sort through our course options to help you discern which course is the best fit for you! We can also send you additional information and put you in touch with alumni and, in many cases, advisors on your campus who can also help decide which course to choose. Click here to compare courses.
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. In fact, WRFI students do not need to be currently enrolled at a college or university to participate on a course. Click here to learn more about earning college credit for a WRFI course.
To apply for a WRFI course, please fill out WRFI’s application form. The application fee is $50 and is non-refundable. WRFI has a rolling admissions enrollment process and our courses are open until they fill. Due to our small course size, it is best to apply early. Click here to apply today!