Students and Courses

Earn a certificate in Wilderness Stewardship

Currently the WSCP offers one certificate topic: The Fundamentals of Wilderness Stewardship

Registration is closed for current cohort.

Class size is limited!

 How it Works…

A key component of this verified certificate program is the one-on-one mentoring provided by experts in the field of wilderness management. The mentors guide the students through the series of courses, assist in the selection of wilderness study sites, and provide feedback and grade assignments.

The WSCP student registers for a certificate course of study via the proValens Learning’s online learning catalog, here. Once registered, the journey begins with an introductory email from WSCP and pairing with one of the WSCP mentors. Over the next six months, the WSCP student and mentor progress through the competency-based educational program. Students will follow a syllabus and adhere to a course schedule to complete all coursework on time and earn a certificate in wilderness stewardship.

Courses and Assignments: Each certificate topic has a curriculum of four to six e-courses and related tests and assignments. After the WSCP student completes each online course and its assessment, he or she discusses the related assignment topics with the mentor. The mentor and student work together to determine the wilderness setting on which the assignments are based.

The guided, place-based assignments build upon each other and the student’s growing understanding of his/her wilderness area of focus. Each assignment is based on the student’s wilderness setting, and the assignments build upon each other. The mentor reviews and grades each assignment, and the student and mentor discuss it before moving on to the next e-course in the curriculum.

The final ‘capstone’ assignment is reviewed by both the student’s mentor and another WSCP mentor and then feedback is provided to the student. The students’ scores on course assessments, their grades on assignments and the capstone portfolio, and online participation in a monthly discussion forum determine the final grade and award of the certificate.

An graphic outlining the certificates’ general course of study can be viewed here.




Course of Study Description

The fundamentals certificate comprises four online courses that explore the history, philosophy, and application of wilderness law, regulation and policy in the United States. Five in-depth, place-based assignments build on each other and the student’s growing understanding of their wilderness area of choice. These assignments are rigorous and robust.

The students will understand the application of the Wilderness Act and subsequent policy in their wilderness areas. Students will also gain experience in applying management tools, including minimum requirements analysis, action plan development, and implementation of wilderness management plans. Brief course descriptions are below.

Completion Requirements

Successful Completion of E-courses and Assessments
Graded Homework Portfolio (5 assignments)
Participation in Online Discussion Forum

View and Download Current Syllabus


  • The Wilderness Act of 1964
  • Deciding to Keep Wilderness Wild: Four Cornerstones for Wilderness Managers
  • Writing a Minimum Requirements Analysis
  • Wilderness Stewardship Planning Framework
  • The Wilderness Act of 1964
    The Wilderness Act of 1964
    "Wilderness" means many different things to different people. Wilderness managers, however, must follow its legal definition. The purpose of this course is to acquaint you with the contents of The Wilderness Act of 1964 law and equip you to consider its impact in managing a wilderness area.
  • Deciding to Keep Wilderness Wild: Four Cornerstones for Wilderness Managers
    Deciding to Keep Wilderness Wild: Four Cornerstones for Wilderness Managers
    This course explores the four most important principles of managing wilderness. Each Cornerstone begins with a story to help frame the theoretical perspective of that Cornerstone and concludes with a short case study that allows you to practice what you have learned.
  • Writing A Minimum Requirements Analysis
    Writing A Minimum Requirements Analysis
    A Minimum Requirements Analysis (MRA) identifies and considers all the aspects of an action to determine the least amount of impact on your wilderness. This course describes the minimum requirements concept and guides users through the process of writing a Minimum Requirements Analysis (MRA) using the Minimum Requirements Decision Guide (MRDG) developed by the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center.
  • The Wilderness Stewardship Planning Framework
    The Wilderness Stewardship Planning Framework
    The Wilderness Stewardship Planning Framework (WSPF) is composed of eight different but related components. Each component will be taught in a separate module, although the process of developing an actual framework is likely to be iterative rather than linear. Activities, a short review of what you have learned, and a practice test will conclude each module.


Learning Objectives

After completing this certificate program, you should be able to:

  • Identify and describe wilderness character
  • State prohibited uses of wilderness and exceptions to these prohibitions
  • Describe the ‘special provisions’ made by the Wilderness Act
  • Distinguish between wild/untrammeled and natural conditions
  • Identify and describe how to protect wilderness benefits
  • Define and explain the concept of minimum requirements, and the process used for determining whether action is necessary, and the minimum activity used to achieve that action
  • Describe the approach of managing wilderness as a whole
  • Use minimum requirements analysis and the Minimum Requirements Decision Guide in a specific wilderness management case
  • Identify and describe the wilderness stewardship planning framework and its eight components
  • Describe the use of the wilderness stewardship planning framework in a specific wilderness management case



  1. Daniel A Kurnick
    March 31, 2019

    Hello, I am interested a great deal in this program.
    When might registrations be open?

  2. Shannon
    February 29, 2020

    Hello, I am interested in this program and wondering when open enrollment is and to find out how much the program costs.

  3. Julie King
    October 6, 2020

    Will there be another online course? please update your website I see others are asking as well.

  4. Julie
    October 6, 2020

    hello, please let me know if another fundamentals course will be set up

  5. Amanda M Voss
    October 24, 2020

    Same question – very interested. Please update!

  6. Rhonda Muth
    November 27, 2020

    Please notify me, at the time, the next registration opportunity is available.

  7. chathurangi
    September 16, 2021

    i’m interested on this programme, i appreciate if you could share cost and timeline of the programme

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