Minor in Mountain Studies

Mountain studies is an interdisciplinary field of study focusing on the physical and human dimensions of mountain environments. Coursework in the minor emphasizes physical geography and mountain-society interactions, including a critical analysis of the processes of change and influence shaping local and regional mountain environments today. The minor in mountain studies takes advantage of existing faculty expertise and an array of courses to provide students with a science-based curriculum and global perspective. Students pursuing the minor in mountain studies will develop knowledge and skills appropriate for graduate study and for working with government and non-government agencies and groups. Field-based and international experiences are strongly encouraged.

The curriculum for the minor is interdisciplinary in nature and draws on courses in geography, geosciences, biology, forestry, and recreation management. The participating faculty members bring significant expertise in glacial processes, watershed hydrology, mountain hazards, alpine ecology, mountain-based livelihood systems, and wilderness politics and policy to this program. Field trips and field courses introduce students to the Rocky Mountains of Montana and Alberta, particularly the Crown of the Continent, and high mountain environments of South and Central Asia. Inquiries about the program should be addressed to one of the two co-advisors Dr. Sarah J. Halvorson; 406-243-2793 or Dr. Ulrich Kamp; 406-203-2290.

For information on requirements for our Minor in Mountain Studies, go to the UM Course Catalog.


In addition to completing the requirements for a major in any discipline, students electing the minor in mountain studies must complete a minimum of 18 additional credits as follows:

1. Upper Division Core (6 credits)

GPHY 314 Global Mountain Environments (3 cr.)
GPHY 338 Mountains & Society (3 cr.)

2. Region-specific Mountain Studies (6 credits)

BIOL 342 Field Ecology (5 cr.) (summer field course at the Flathead Lake Biological Station)
BIOL 459 Alpine Ecology (3 cr.) (summer field course at the Flathead Lake Biological Station)
BIOO 101N Survey of Montana Wildlife & Habitats (3 cr.)
BIOO 335 Rocky Mountain Flora (3 cr.)
GEO 231 Geosciences Field Methods (2 cr.)
GPHY 144 Montana's Mountains (3 cr.)
GPHY 344 Crown of the Continent (3 cr.)
GPHY 391 Special Topics (1-12 cr.)
GPHY 438 Mountain Field Study (3 cr.)
GPHY 442 Regionalism and the Rocky Mountain West (3 cr.)
GPHY 444 High Asia (3 cr.)
NRSM 352 Mountain Environment and Development (3 cr.)
NRSM 391 Special Topics (3 cr.)
PRTM 353 Tourism and Sustainability in the Himalaya (3 cr.)
PTRM 418 Winter Wilderness Field Studies (3 cr.)

3. General Mountain Studies (6 credits)

BIOL 451 Landscape Ecology (3 cr.)
ERTH 303N Weather and Climate (3 cr.)
FORS 330 Forest Ecology (3 cr.)
GEO 391 Special Topics (3 cr.)
GEO 433 Global Tectonics (3 cr.)
GEO 488 Snow, Ice and Climate (3 cr.)
GPHY 311N Biogeography (3 cr.)
GPHY 317 Geomorphology (3 cr.)
NASX 351 Traditional Ecological Knowledge in the Northern Rockies (3 cr.)
NRSM 385 Watershed Hydrology (3 cr.)
PTRM 482 Wilderness and Protected Area Management (3 cr.)

- a 3.0 GPA is required