Schwanke Honors Institute: Prep for College and Beyond

Copy-of-schwanke.jpgJoin a two-week immersive experience for high school and incoming first-year students to explore University life and academics at the University of Montana’s Davidson Honors College. Learn from award-winning honors faculty, build connections with other curious students, and engage in what an honors education has to offer, including experiential learning and small class sizes. Choose between two environmentally-themed courses and receive three college credits.

Features of the Program

While at the University of Montana, you attend class in the morning and participate in college readiness or out-of-class activities in the afternoon. In the evenings, you eat in the dining hall, finish homework in your dorm room, and attend social activities. The program includes local field trips, community service activities, and an excursion to Glacier National Park. 

Students must have completed their freshman year of high school by June 2019. Enrollment in the Institute is limited to 20 students per class, so we encourage early applications.  Please select the application link below to complete the online application:

Early Application Deadline: April 1, 2019
Please note you will need the following documents to complete an online application:
  1. Student's unofficial high school transcript.
  2. Statement of Interest: In 500 words or less, please describe your interest in participating in the Schwanke Honors Institute. Please be specific in the relevant experiences you have had, what you are interested in learning, and why you would like to participate in this institute.
  3. Name and contact information for a high school counselor as a reference, an unofficial copy of your high school transcript, and financial information if you are interested in being considered for a need-based scholarship.


For more information or questions please contact: 
Davidson Honors College – University of Montana – Missoula, MT 59812
Phone: (406) 243-2541 or email: 


Program Curriculum

Here are a few of the experiences you will have this summer in the Schwanke Honors Institute coordinated by the Davidson Honors College (DHC):

  • A choice between two 3-credit courses taught by University of Montana faculty:
    • Creative Writing in the Environment
    • Climate Science, Society, and Solutions
  • On-campus housing with fellow pre-college students and current students in the DHC, who serve as residential staff and teaching assistants.
  • Structured days, with morning class meetings, afternoon workshops to prepare for college opportunities, and local field trips to explore course topics.
  • A 3-day field trip in Glacier National Park and on the Blackfeet Reservation for an immersive study of environment and sustainability.

Schwanke Course Descriptions


Creative Writing in the Environment

Western Montana is rich with sparkling rivers, magnificent lakes, and ponds. Creative Writing in the Environment will offer the opportunity to explore these waters afield and through the written word. Students will focus on their own identifying their own Homewaters, be it stream, lake, pond, or ocean. What draws us to water, that most essential and entrancing of elements? What shapes, defines, and threatens our Homewaters?

Climate Science, Society, and Solutions

How will climate change shape the future? What are the opportunities and risks for human society? How can we anticipate and engage with solutions? These big topics are made local and personal as we study climate change on the natural and cultural landscape, consider new perspectives through interactive simulations, talk with tribal and local sustainability leaders, and work in teams to develop practical solutions. What, ultimately, does it mean to build hope and personal power in the face of climate change?


Estimated Costs

Estimated cost of the 2-week program is $1500, which includes tuition, lodging, meals and activities.

  • Tuition: $850 (Montana residents and non-residents pay the same tuition)
  • Lodging: approximately $275 (double occupancy for 12 nights)
  • Meals: approximately $250 (breakfasts and dinners only; plus half the lunches--bring extra spending money for other half of lunches)
  • Group Activities: approximately $125 (transportation and entrance fees)

Program Scholarships

There are a limited number of tuition-only scholarships that will be awarded on the basis of financial need. Information about applying for a scholarship is included in the application.

For more information or questions please contact:
Davidson Honors College
University of Montana
Missoula, MT 59812
Phone: (406) 243-2541 or email: