We would love to connect with you to answer any and all questions you have about the program! Please feel free to contact McCall Field Campus faculty using any of the accompanying options.
As part of the University of Idaho, we have access to their resources and support. Contact the Financial Aid office for more information about loans and grants. Students are encouraged to apply for any and all external grants and scholarships.
On-campus jobs will be available up to 10 hours a week during the school year, and work will be available to any student who wants it. Some students in the past have taken part-time jobs on weekends, but due to the intensive nature of the 10.5-month program, few students find time to work during the week while balancing field teaching and classwork. Some students also stay in McCall over the holiday break and find temporary work in town—especially at the local ski hill!
A scholarship for diversity and inclusion is also available. Please contact us for more details about how to apply for this scholarship!
Yes. If we offer you a position and you accept, a $1,500 nonrefundable deposit is required within 14 days of acceptance in order to hold your seat in the program. If the deposit is not received within this timeframe, your seat will be forfeited to the next student on the waiting list. Once paid, the deposit is nonrefundable should you choose to relinquish your seat at a later time.
Housing fees are included in program tuition.
The week starts with a briefing meeting on Monday morning before the students arrive. The afternoon is spent getting acquainted with the group of 7-10 students. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are field days. Graduate students will meet as a group before taking their student group out into Ponderosa State Park for the entire day. On Thursday, grads will guide their group through the creation of a final project. That evening grads attend the evening program for 90 minutes after dinner. Presentation of the project happens Friday morning before the students head back to their school. The afternoon is spent resetting the supplies used and debriefing as a group. Grads can expect to be outdoors in all weather conditions and spend about 40 hours a week in person.
The cohort will be split into two groups. Grads will take courses with about 10 peers. We have a large, 30-foot yurt that serves as the graduate classroom. Grads meet there weekdays 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. For a list of graduate courses, please take a look at the academic experience page. Grads can expect to meet indoors and outdoors in all weather conditions and spend about 40 hours a week in person.
Yes, we will be running a course on site in August and since the WFA is required for participation in the McCall Field Campus MNR, the University of Idaho will cover the cost of the course. The details for enrollment will be in your acceptance information. You can also get certified through another organization prior to the start of the semester.
Courses, Classwork & Schedule
Over two semesters, MNR students are split into two cohorts which alternate between academic (class) weeks and practicum (teaching) weeks. During class weeks, students take a preset schedule of classes taught by on-site faculty, and during teaching weeks, they facilitate and lead the McCall Outdoor Science School K12 program, a residential program in which students from across Idaho learn about natural science through place-based, hands-on education.
Generally speaking, weeks spent teaching in the field run from midday Monday to midday Friday. After a briefing on Monday morning, K12 students arrive around midday and spend the first day getting acquainted with the McCall Field Campus and their instructor. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the teaching week are all field days, with Thursdays typically taking the form of an “inquiry” or “engineering” day where K12 either ask and answer a scientific question through field-based investigation, or design a solution to a problem they’ve identified on the McCall Field Campus, within Ponderosa State Park, in their home communities, or elsewhere. On Friday, groups present the results of their scientific inquiry or their engineering solution, and then depart before lunch, giving graduate students time to reset campus before the end of the week. In addition to the field days, K12 students also participate in evening programs, which vary from week to week and often include games, a campfire, and artistic exploration.
Graduate students take two roles during teaching weeks: field instructors, who lead field days; and program hosts, who facilitate evening programs. These roles rotate over the course of the semester, and everyone has the opportunity to program-host at least once a semester. On occasion, graduate students will team-teach with one another when K12 groups are on the smaller side.
The McCall Field Campus MNR program prides itself on low student/faculty ratios, typically around 6:1. In the same cohort, students will take a preset curriculum over the course of the year with classes focusing on place-based education, field ecology, science communication, and seminars which vary slightly from year to year. Classes occur in the field (locations include Ponderosa State Park and a variety of other local sites throughout Valley County) and on the McCall Field Campus, where a yurt serves as the primary graduate teaching space. Classes vary in length, but typically fill between 30 and 40 hours of the class week and can include half days or full days from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or so.
If you need time off from a class week or teaching week, you are missing time in a graduate course. Time off needs to be approved on an individual case by case basis. Your time away may or may not affect your grade in that course. We observe all federal holidays with the exception of Indigenous People’s Day and Veteran’s Day.
The MNR program roughly follows the University of Idaho’s academic calendar:
- Starting mid/late August Monday- Friday
- The Friday before Thanksgiving week at 4 p.m. is the beginning of break, returning the Monday after Thanksgiving at 9 a.m.
- Christmas/Winter break usually begins the end of the second week in December
- Semester resumes the weekday after New Year’s Day
- Spring Break is in March or April (can differ from the University of Idaho’s spring break)
- The teaching semester concludes in the middle of May
- Graduation is in the middle of June
Graduates studying at the McCall Field Campus have a strong relationship with the University of Idaho’s Career Services Center, in addition to networking and professional development opportunities shared by MFC faculty and the alumni network.
Living in McCall on or off campus
There are 12 double occupancy lodging spaces on the McCall Field Campus—five yurts, four cabin spaces, and three bunkhouse spaces. Each space can house two students. These spaces are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Once all available housing spaces have been filled, additional accepted students will need to make housing arrangements in McCall or the surrounding area. University policy does not allow pets (emotional support animals are an exception). Non-student family members can be considered after all student demand for housing has been met.
Very unlikely, but it does happen. Only after we know how many students will be attending the program in a given academic year will we know if any students can be assigned a single living space. Typically, this can only be determined very close to the start of the academic year.
McCall Outdoor Science School
University of Idaho – McCall Field Campus
P.O. Box 1025
1800 University Lane*
McCall, ID 83638
Students usually have mail sent to the McCall Field Campus’ PO box or physical address—you will not need to get your own post office box.
*If you are sending anything by any means other than the U.S. Postal Service (i.e., FedEx or UPS), you need to provide the physical address.
Plan to pack outdoor-essentials like warm layers, rain coat, winter coat, etc. as well as comfortable indoor clothes for learning weeks. You will need a sleeping bag. We don’t often have reason to get dressed up but it’s always nice to have a few nicer outfits just in case! Consider bringing your camping, boating, climbing, backpacking, skiing, biking or other outdoor equipment as there are many opportunities for exploring Idaho. If you have favorite items for staying comfortable in the outdoors, be sure to bring them with you. Rooms have beds, dressers, lamps and small refrigerators. There is not much room for extra furniture.
Laundry facilities are available at the laundromat four miles away from campus.
No. McCall is very bikeable and walkable, and the McCall Field Campus is 1.3 miles (a 20-minute walk) from downtown McCall. That said, McCall is two hours north of Boise and has limited public transit opportunities, so getting out of town does become considerably more difficult without a car. For graduate program requirements, however, a car is not necessary.
The McCall Field Campus meal plan includes all meals we cook for the MOSS K12 Residential Program. If there is a school group on campus, graduates have the option to eat with program participants. When school groups aren’t present, the meal plan is not in service. While the menu can (and does!) change according to the availability of ingredients, recipe tweaks and special requests, you can always count on tasty, kid-friendly meals with multiple fruit and vegetable options. If you have any food allergies or special dietary restrictions the kitchen staff will work with you to meet your needs.
Every week also includes a Community Meal, which is open to all faculty, staff and students and serves as a time for campus-wide announcements and fellowship.
On campus residents have access to "Cook's Cabin," which includes a full kitchen and bathroom. This building has food storage space for all graduates, as well as mismatched but functional kitchenwares. We may not have a sous-vide, but we do have pots, pans, knives, and utensils, in addition to many basic appliances.
The cabins have a small bathroom with a toilet and a shower, in addition to a small counter space with a sink. Yurts and bunkhouse spaces do not have bathrooms. All cabins, yurts and bunkhouses have dressers, bunk beds, desks, chairs, lamps and small fridges. In addition, all living spaces have electricity and propane heat. We ask that graduates refrain from using appliances like toasters and microwaves in their residences—our infrastructure is older, and these appliances are welcome in the shared Cook’s Cabin kitchen space.
In an effort to support our graduate students, housing fees are included in tuition and are not an additional cost to attend the McCall Field Campus graduate program.
Yes; on-campus residence is not a requirement of the McCall Field Campus graduate degree. The McCall Classifieds and Positive Community Co-Op page on Facebook is the best place to find local housing options.
Accessibility at the McCall Field Campus
Due to the nature of outdoor environmental education programming, the University of Idaho’s McCall Field Campus graduate program may not be the best fit for every potential student. Please consult the FAQ below, and if you have any further questions, please contact the University of Idaho’s Center for Disability Access & Resources.
The Field Campus was built in the 1930s and can best be described as rustic. Dirt and gravel pathways and wooden ramps and stairs abound, and outdoor travel is frequently required to do simple day-to-day tasks like using the kitchen or showering. In the winter, the McCall area receives several feet of snow, and temperatures rarely rise above freezing, so snowy, icy pathways are the norm. In rainy weather and in the shoulder seasons, pathways and wooden surfaces can be slippery and muddy.
The teaching practicum is field-based, and with that comes the fact that graduate students need to be prepared to teach outside, in all conditions, all times of year. Graduate students are expected to utilize Ponderosa State Park (which surrounds the McCall Field Campus) as their outdoor classroom, and should be able to be on their feet for the duration of the six hour field day and lead hikes of up to eight miles over gentle but uneven terrain while carrying 20-30 pounds of teaching supplies, food and first aid on their back.
Field programs continue throughout the winter, and when there’s snow on the ground—which there is from November through April in McCall—programs are conducted on snowshoes. While the snow inherently limits how far field groups hike, graduate students should still expect to deal with the winter cold for several hours a day. January highs in McCall rarely rise above freezing, so it is vital that incoming graduates be prepared for the cold that comes with being in the Rocky Mountains in winter.