Advisor FAQs



Q: What is the program structure?

A: Wildlands Studies programs are highly structured and very intensive with academic activities scheduled almost every day of the program. Projects typically involve seven days per week of instruction and field research. Faculty and staff work directly with students 6-10+ hours a day and are available for tutorials and coursework discussion before and after scheduled activities. Typically, scheduled activities each day begin at 9am, with breaks for meals. Most evenings include scheduled activities, including guest lectures, structured study time, and workshops. When in the backcountry or at a field site, our activities may start as early as 4 am or end as late as 10 pm (e.g., for wildlife observation). It is necessary for students to be flexible and able to accommodate a variety of class times. Generally, there are very few, if any days off during the program. There are typically a few hours of free time periodically, but those are generally filled with coursework and chores (e.g., laundry, contacting home, etc.).

Q: What are the prerequisites for a Wildlands Studies Project?

A: We expect students to come with a basic academic knowledge of ecology, biology and geography, gained through one lower division university science/biology/geography/environmental studies class. Prior field research experience is not required; all necessary skills of data acquisition will be taught on-site during the project.

Q: Will students get credit in their major at their home campus for participation on this project?

A: Typically, Wildlands Studies course credit transfers as upper division elective credit toward overall degree requirements. If a student wants their credits to apply to their major, the student will need to speak with their major advisor to make sure that they will accept the project’s credits for their major. We have several documents and course material that students can take to their advisor, including a Project-specific Syllabus, Program Manual and Full Project Description. These are available online at each Project’s specific webpage. Many students have had success transferring their Wildlands Studies course credit directly into their major, particularly if they are pursuing an Environmental Studies degree. Please contact our office if you would like more information about course materials for evaluation and credit transfer to a specific major.

Q: Do students need to be registered at their home university during the term that they are on a Wildlands Studies project?

A: Each campus has its own way of allowing students to take a quarter or semester off to study off-site. Students should speak with an advisor to ask about taking courses outside their home university. Most universities have a process and paperwork to complete for ‘planned leave’ that allows students to remain as a continuing student at their home university.

Q: Is there a language requirement for the international projects?

A: All program instruction is in English. Although a student's study will be enhanced if they know the language of the country, it is not a requirement.

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Q: What paperwork do students need to submit to Wildlands Studies so that they can use their financial aid?

A: The process to obtain a Consortium Agreement to use FAFSA financial aid starts at the student's home university. Students will need to see their Financial Aid Advisor (or academic advisor) to discuss their desire to use financial aid to pay for the Wildlands Studies project. Usually the advisor or Financial Aid office sends Wildlands Studies a Consortium Agreement that is completed and faxed back to the campus office. The financial aid funds are disbursed directly to the student, and once received, the student then pays Wildlands Studies fees directly.

Q: The student's financial aid will not be disbursed until after the fees are due for the project. Does this mean that the student will have to withdraw?

A: In most circumstances, we are able to work with students to help them establish a payment plan to participate on the project of their choice. Students should contact our office to discuss payment plan options. We usually require a non-refundable deposit at the time when the fees are normally due, and the due dates are listed on each of our project web pages. The full fees must be paid prior to the start of the project. 

Q: A student just finished a project. How do they obtain the grades and transfer credit to their home university?

A: Grades are only available through the official transcript. Western Washington University will send one transcript to either the students’ home campus or the student themselves, and students indicate which location they would like the transcript sent on their initial application. Additional transcripts can be requested directly from Western Washington University.

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Further information about our projects is available through the website or with a phone call to our office. We are happy to discuss our projects, the admission process, the transcript process, or any other questions.

Wildlands Studies Phone: 831.684.9999

Wildlands Studies Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.