Apply academic learning to teaching practice

Students who join our program will experience a unique blend of academic training and authentic teaching experiences in Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone, as well as public and independent schools in the greater Wyoming landscape.  

The Graduate Program is anchored by the three competencies of Teton Science Schools’ Framework: Educational Approach, Community Leadership and Intentional Culture. These competencies guide alignment of academic coursework, teaching and community experiences.


Download Program Competencies

Academic Approach

Classroom curriculum provides instruction and knowledge development in ecological field science, educational theory and leadership through the lens of place-based education theories. The courses are generally block-scheduled for two-to-four weeks and interweave lectures, fieldwork, classroom presentations and independent projects — each season, presenting new opportunities and challenges.

Authentic Teaching Experiences

The objectives of the Teaching Practica are twofold: to improve teaching methods and expand professional education skills. These objectives are achieved by giving graduate students multiple opportunities to teach a variety of ages under the guidance and close mentorship of faculty. During the practica, students will develop curriculum, apply coursework content, build the core competencies of a skilled educator and nurture their instructional identity. 

Throughout the year, graduate students have the opportunity to teach in Teton Science Schools’ independent school, in the field with visiting school groups and at numerous regional schools through state-wide outreach. In total, graduate students complete over 600 hours of mentored teaching.

The Program Year

Each season presents new opportunities for the development of educational skills and topics; emphases will be approached on a continuum, with mentors and graduate students focusing on individual expertise and teaching goals. The seasonal progression includes the following topics.

Fall Semester

Emphases: Introduction to Place-Based Education and field science teaching practices

  • Introduction to Field Science Teaching – 3 credits
  • Community Ecology of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem – 3 credits
  • Principles of Place-Based Education – 3 credits
  • Fall Teaching Practicum – 2 credits

Winter/Spring Semester

Emphases: Best practices in place-based instruction, winter ecology, and social-ecological systems

  • Winter Ecology of the Yellowstone Ecosystem – 2 Credits
  • Advanced Instructional Strategies – 3 credits
  • Spring Teaching Practicum – 4 credits
  • Ecological Inquiry – 3 credits

Summer Semester

Emphasis: Final capstone synthesis of yearlong learning

  • Advanced Elements of Field Ecology Course Design – 5 credits
  • Capstone Teaching Practicum – 4 credits

The Capstone Teaching Practicum is the culminating experience of the Graduate Program. By planning, instructing and assessing a full program, graduate students synthesize their year of residential learning in a challenging and practical way. Many students share that this experience the most valuable experience of their year in the program.

Our Faculty

Our team of experienced and talented faculty provide exceptional learning opportunities and mentored teaching experiences for all students.