Incoming graduate students from 15 Western states now are eligible for in-state tuition through The University of Montana School of Journalism. The Western Regional Graduate Program consortium accepted UM’s master’s program in environmental science and natural resource journalism into its network starting fall 2013.
WRGP is a tuition-reciprocity program similar to the Western Undergraduate Exchange, which allows students to study at out-of-state schools for less expensive in-state rates. To participate, graduate programs must be distinct, offering educational opportunities that may not be available in the student’s home state.
States in the WRGP network are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
The environmentally focused master’s degree was created in response to a critical need for trained journalists to tell compelling stories that illuminate the complex relationship between nature and society. The two-year program is interdisciplinary, requiring coursework in environmental sciences and natural resources for one-third of the credits required for the degree.
“I know there are people out there from Idaho or Wyoming or Alaska who are really interested in doing this kind of journalism and making it their profession, and the only thing that’s keeping them from it is paying for graduate school,” said Henriette Lowisch, associate professor in the School of Journalism and director of the graduate program. “But they can’t study it in their own states because those programs are not available there.”
Students in the program have a background in journalism, the sciences or natural resource professions. They work closely with the school’s faculty of professional journalists as well as renowned scientists, producing cutting-edge stories in the natural laboratory of the Rocky Mountains.
“I think there’s a real need for competent journalists covering environmental science and natural resources, and it’s something we can teach them here,” Lowisch said. “But sometimes it’s hard for people, especially from Western states, to pay for their graduate education. Graduate school is an investment. This gives students from Western states an opportunity they might not have otherwise.”
During the 2012-13 school year, the estimated tuition and fees for two semesters cost $5,689 for in-state graduate students, while out-of-state students could expect to pay $18,213. After you calculate in nearly $10,000 in estimated yearly living costs and about $700 in books and supplies, saving on tuition and fees can make a big difference for students.
UM’s School of Journalism master’s program, which will admit its fourth class of students this year, joins three other programs at UM as part of the WRGP network: the master’s in intercultural youth and family development, master’s in communication studies and the graduate certificate in natural resource conflict resolution.
To apply as a WRGP student for fall semester, prospective students should email Lowisch at firstname.lastname@example.org by May 1. For more information call Lowisch at 406-243-2227.