Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the community like in the Graduate Program?
Nestled into the Gros Ventre Mountains on the eastern edge of Grand Teton National Park, our Graduate Program is a close knit community. It is a living and learning environment that provides a rich and exceptional experience not found in more impersonal programs. Together, we study ecology, reflect on teaching, and track animals on skis. From our initial trek across the Teton Crest to the final, Capstone practicum, the community aspect of the program contributes to significant personal and professional development. Commitment to building relationships and developing as a conscientious community member is essential to a successful experience.
- Will I receive a Master's degree for my year at Teton Science Schools?
Teton Science Schools is not a degree granting institution. We have found that our students come from diverse backgrounds and many seek degrees across a broad range of disciplines. While students earn up to 32 credits during their year, these credits are drawn across several disciplines, including education and natural sciences. We have found that this system provides the greatest flexibility for our students while maintaining a high level of academic standards.
- Which universities accept these credits?
The credits that students earn are “banked” at our partner universities. Initially, this includes Utah State University and the University of Wyoming. Some students choose to bank their credits at the University of Idaho. While each of these schools has academic programs to accept these credits toward the completion of a Master's degree, some students choose to complete their degree at a different university. Most graduate schools accept a number of transfer credits from another accredited institution, and this number can vary from 8-18, according to each institution's residency requirement and/or credit transfer policy.
- If my credits are being banked at these universities, do I have to apply to these schools before I begin my Teton Science Schools experience?
No. These schools recognize the Graduate Program and faculty as extensions of their own programs, and as a result, you can begin your experience without matriculating. Typically, students begin the process of matriculation in January in order to seamlessly continue with their studies following their Teton Science Schools experience. Also, making these decisions early provides the greatest opportunity to secure graduate or teaching assistantships and scholarships. Representatives of these schools visit Teton Science Schools in the fall to answer questions about school programs and support options.
- What if I have no interest in completing a Master's degree?
No problem. We have had a number of students make their Teton Science Schools experience their only graduate experience. The unique combination of theory and application makes Teton Science Schools graduate experience a powerful culminating educational experience. Additionally, we have had several students, who have already completed Master's degrees, come to this program for continuing studies.
- What makes this program unique?
Place: We provide an opportunity to live in Grand Teton National Park, sharing space with the wolves, foxes, moose and bears that frequent the diverse habitats in the ecotone around campus.
Community: On the Kelly Campus you will find an intentional community based on responsibility, inclusion, passion, learning, and fun. As a member of our close, isolated community, you will become a part of not just a team, but a family.
Mentoring: Our faculty will mentor you closely in small groups and individually, providing feedback wherever possible. As a part of our tight-knit community, you will develop personal relationships with each faculty member.
Flexibility: Unlike many other similar programs, we provide flexibility in completion of your graduate degree as you may opt to finish your master’s degree at any of our partner universities or a university of your choice.
- What do you mean by an “immersive program” with an “intentional learning community?”
When compared to other graduate programs, our program is highly scheduled and mentored with block academics that emphasize depth and focus on all subjects. Through living, working, learning, teaching and playing on Kelly Campus, you will be immersed in some aspect of the program or community for most of your residency.
- How long is the residential graduate program at Teton Science Schools?
Our program is 11.5 months long, during which time you will take academic classes and participate in teaching practica.
- How much time will I get to spend teaching?
Throughout the program you will spend approximately 16 weeks of student teaching in some capacity, with guidance from faculty mentors and the Teacher Learning Center of Teton Science Schools. In total, the program includes more than 600 teaching practica hours. To learn more, visit Teaching Practica.
- What does a typical weekly schedule look like?
Your schedule each week will be dependent upon which portion of the program is underway. During weeks that you are in academic classes, your days will be full of fast-paced, hands-on classes. During teaching practica weeks, your time will be divided between hosting programs in order to gain an understanding of educational leadership, field teaching and running morning and evening programs. Outreach teaching practicum weeks are based on the average school day wherever you are participating in outreach.
- Can you tell me more about Outreach?
Each student in our program will generally have one season of outreach per year, during which you will get the chance to teach in a variety of classrooms. Options for outreach include teaching at high schools throughout the state, or at Teton Science Schools’ Journeys School or Teton Valley Community School.
- What is the Capstone Teaching Practicum?
The Capstone Teaching Practicum is the culminating experience of the Graduate Program, in which you will plan, instruct and assess an entire program. The capstone will allow you to synthesize and holistically apply your year of residential learning. Capstone options vary each year. Many graduate students share that this is the most valuable experience of their year in the Graduate Program.
Life During the Program
- Can you tell me more about the community I will be a part of?
Our community is composed of a group of creative, passionate individuals ranging in age from 23 to 45. With a wide diversity of life experiences represented in the graduate cohort, you will learn as much from the community you are immersed in as you do from the program itself. Through shared responsibility of communal spaces, learning together and seeking out elements of fun in everything we do, we come together into a unique, cohesive whole. We look forward to you joining us!
- Who lives on campus?
The Kelly Campus is a residential community comprised of participants, faculty, staff and a majority of the graduate student cohort.
- What if I have dietary restrictions?
Kelly Campus chefs routinely accommodate almost any dietary restriction that you may have. Please visit our dining page for more information.
- Can I have pets on the Kelly Campus?
You will be unable to have pets while housed on Kelly Campus due to the unique nature of our location in Grand Teton National Park. However, should you decide to live off campus during the program you will have the option to seek out pet-friendly housing.
- Do I need a car?
A car is not required in order to participate in the program, although it is recommended if you are interested in exploring the town of Jackson, Grand Teton National Park, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the surrounding region.
- What is there to do in my free time?
During your free time in the Graduate Program you will have opportunities to explore the surrounding area of Jackson Hole. The nearby town of Jackson boasts a number of live music events, art exhibitions and community gatherings. Additionally, Jackson Hole is a world-renowned destination for skiing in the winter and backpacking, mountain biking and fishing in the summer. Visit our Recreation page for more information.
Degrees & Completion
- If my credits are being banked at the University of Wyoming, do I have to apply to UW before I begin my Teton Science Schools experience?
Technically, you will need to fill out initial paperwork for the University of Wyoming. However, you will automatically be accepted for the purposes of participating in the Teton Science Schools’ Graduate Program.
- Will I receive a degree at the end of my year at Teton Science Schools?
Teton Science Schools is not a degree-granting institution, instead providing the first year of a graduate degree. You will earn up to 32 transferable credits during the year, 15 of which are generally accepted at a given university. These credits are drawn across several disciplines, including education and natural sciences. We have found that this system provides the greatest flexibility for our diverse body of students while maintaining a high level of academic standards. Additionally, you will receive a certificate of completion from Teton Science Schools.
- What are my options for completing my master’s degree?
You can complete your master’s degree at any of our partner institutions, or at a different university of your choice. Our partners are Antioch University, Montana State University, Prescott College, University of Wyoming, and Utah State University. Incoming graduate students do not need to matriculate at these schools. Matriculation can take place either during or after the program. For more information, visit Degree Completion.
- What if I have no interest in completing a master's degree?
No problem. While many Graduate Program students choose to attend an accredited university to complete their master’s, this is not the only postgraduate option. It is common for graduate students to use the program as a professional development springboard. Additionally, we have had several students who have already completed master's degrees come to this program for continuing studies. Please visit our Professional Development page for more information.
- Is there a certain period of time in which I will need to complete my master’s degree, should I decide to pursue it?
Yes, if you are interested in completing your master’s degree at one of our partner institutions, or at another accredited university, you must do so within six years of your graduation from the Teton Science Schools’ Graduate Program.
- What are my options after graduation?
After graduation many students decide to continue on at a partner university in order to complete their master’s degree. However, some students decide to move directly into the workforce.
Admissions & Logistics
- What is the program’s application deadline, and is there an application fee?
There is no application deadline for the program, as acceptances are made on a rolling basis until maximum capacity is reached. There is an application fee of $50. However, there are financial incentives to apply early, which we invite you to view on our Admissions page.
- When will I find out if I’ve been admitted?
You will typically hear back from the program within one to two weeks of your formal interview.
- What date does the program start?
The Graduate Program typically starts during the last week of August, and goes through graduation in the last week of July of the following year.
- Are there any breaks in the program?
Graduate students receive one-week vacations for Thanksgiving and Spring Break, in addition to two weeks off for winter holidays.
- How can I help finance the program?
The Graduate Program at Teton Science Schools offers a number of scholarships, financial incentives, and work-study opportunities to help defray tuition costs. By matriculating in the program you will also qualify for FAFSA. Visit Our Process for more information.
- Can I recertify my Wilderness First Responder certification through Teton Science Schools?
A valid WFR certification is required in order to participate in the Graduate Program. Certification and recertification programs are offered at Teton Science Schools prior to the start of Graduate Program classes. If you have been accepted to the program and would like additional information about WFR classes, please contact Tracy Logan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-732-7760.
Visiting & Information
- Who should I contact for more information?
Great question! We would love to hear from you. For answers to any further questions, general inquiries, or to request a tour, please contact Tracy Logan, Director of Kelly Campus Programs, at email@example.com or 307-732-7760.
- How do I set up a visit?
Campus visits are highly encouraged and supported for prospective graduate students. For information on scheduling a visit, contact Tracy Logan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-732-7760.
- How can I talk to a current student or alumni?
There are many current students and alumni of the Graduate Program at Teton Science Schools that would be happy to speak with you. To request contact information, please contact Tracy Logan at email@example.com or 307-732-7760.