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Graduate Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Program Overview

The TSS graduate program weaves together academic courses, teaching experiences and interdependent living to position students as effective place-based educators and committed difference-makers in community. The graduate program is a unique combination of academic and practical training through coursework in ecology, education, and authentic teaching experiences in Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone, as well as public and independent schools in the greater Wyoming landscape.  We believe what truly sets us apart is the deep learning that graduate students experience, relationships built with peers and faculty, our creation of an intentional culture and the direct engagement of place. 

  • Deep Learning: Deep learning happens when you are connected to place, people, and self in authentic ways. Within our immersive program, graduate faculty facilitate learning experiences with a hands-on approach toward targeted outcomes. Faculty encourage students to reflect, think critically, and act with integrity. The TSS grad program uses a cohort model and block academics to emphasize depth over breadth.
  • Relationships: Relationships are at the heart of the TSS graduate program. Graduate students live and learn with each other throughout the year, developing deep connections as they grow. Faculty mentorship is embedded into all aspects of the program and provides rich opportunities to learn alongside experts in the field through discussion, discovery and growth-oriented feedback.
  • Culture: Our intentional culture is based on explicit shared values. These values are built every year with each incoming cohort, and have included: integrity, inclusion, passion, continuous learning, authenticity and love. Shared values act as guideposts and points of dialogue through the year.  
  • Place: Graduate students live and learn in Grand Teton National Park, allowing them to develop an intimate appreciation of and deep awareness for all aspects of place. The process of learning natural history, culture, and social-ecological systems of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem gives students the skills to effectively lead in any place or community.

Our program is 11.5 months long, and runs from the end of August through the end of July of the following year.

Throughout the program graduate students will spend 18 weeks teaching in some capacity, whether in the field or classroom, with mentorship from faculty. This translates to approximately 40% of students’ time in the program.

The schedule each week will be dependent upon which portion of the program is underway. During the weeks you are in academic classes, the schedule is 9-5, Monday through Friday. Academic classes can take the form of lectures, learning in the field, as well as, research and data collection. During the Teaching Practicum, schedules vary and sometimes include evening and weekend hours. Within Field Education, graduate students will have the opportunity for field teaching, facilitating morning and evening programs and assisting faculty with program coordination. Outreach schedules are based on the average school day.

Outreach is a component of the Teaching Practicum sequence in which graduate students travel to a variety of schools across the region. Outreach programs facilitate place-based experiences for K-12 students both in the classroom and field. Student experiences are co-designed with teachers through partnerships with Teton Science Schools’ Teacher Learning Center. 

The capstone teaching practicum is the culminating experience of the graduate program, in which you will collaboratively design, instruct, and deliver extended field education outreach programs. The capstone is an authentic application of your learning from the year.

Life During the Program

The Kelly Campus is a residential community comprised of participants, faculty, staff and a majority of the graduate student cohort.

Kelly Campus chefs are adept at accommodating most any dietary restrictions that you may have, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free.

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.

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.

Degrees and Completion

Yes, the University of Wyoming is the Teton Science Schools’ first-year residency university partner. Once enrolled at Teton Science Schools, you are guaranteed admission to the University of Wyoming for this year, but will need to go through their application process as well.

Teton Science Schools residency grad program is not a degree-granting institution. You will earn up to 32 transferable credits from the University of Wyoming during the year, 12-21 of which are generally accepted at a TSS partner university. These credits are drawn across several disciplines, including education and natural sciences. Additionally, you will receive a certificate of completion from Teton Science Schools.

Students can complete a master’s degree at any of our partner institutions, or at a different university of your choice. Our partners are the University of Wyoming, Antioch University, New England, Montana State University, University of Montana, Prescott College, Alaska Pacific University and Utah State University. Incoming graduate students do not need to matriculate at these schools.

Admissions and Logistics

There is no application deadline for the program, as acceptances are made on a rolling basis until maximum capacity is reached. However, it is encouraged to get your application in now, as admission is a highly competitive process. There is an application fee of $50.

You will receive notification within two weeks of your formal interview.

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.

Graduate students have one week off for both Thanksgiving and spring break, in addition to two weeks off for winter holidays.

The graduate program at Teton Science Schools awards a number of merit scholarships and offers some work-study opportunities to supplement tuition costs. By matriculating in the program, students will also qualify for FAFSA.

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 Hannah McLimans at hannah.mclimans@tetonscience.org or 307-732-7760.

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