Wilderness Studies

Wayne Freimund (Professor) Director of Wilderness Institute 

Students who successfully complete the requirements of the Wilderness and Civilization Program are eligible for the Wilderness Studies minor.  Wilderness and Civilization is an interdisciplinary campus and field-based program.  Each year, 25 students investigate wildland conservation and the human-nature relationship through the lenses of policy, ecology, art, Native American Studies, and literature. Wilderness and Civilization combines the strengths of classroom and field learning, interactive classes, innovative faculty, and applied learning through internships. Field trips include extended backcountry trips as well as shorter field trips examining ecology, environmental issues, land use, and natural history.  Wilderness and Civilization offers students the opportunity to explore contemporary conservation debates, make connections between disciplines, and learn how to work for positive change.

Wilderness and Civilization is an undergraduate, immersion program geared toward sophomore-, junior-, and senior-level students in any major.  Students take 17.0 credits of campus and field-based courses during the fall, and then continue in the spring with an art course, an internship, a 1.0 credit field course, and a 1.0 credit lecture series.  The Wilderness and Civilization program is administered by the Wilderness Institute of the College of Forestry and Conservation.  The program is offered in collaboration with the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Visual and Performing Arts, and the Davidson Honors College.   

Students must apply for admission to the Wilderness and Civilization program, which is limited to 25 students each year.  Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher for all college and university work. Applications are due by April 1 and are available at the Wilderness Institute, University Hall 303.

Undergraduate Degrees Available

Subject Type Option Track
Wilderness Studies Minor



  • Maryann Bonjorni, Professor
  • Richmond Clow, Professor
  • David L. Moore, Professor

Associate Professor

  • Nancy Cook, Associate Professor
  • Louise Economides, Associate Professor

Assistant Professor

  • Natalie Dawson, Director of the Wilderness Institute