Frequently Asked Questions

Intercultural Youth and Family Development

The following are questions commonly asked about this new degree:

Q - What kinds of people might be interested in this degree? A - Teachers, mental health professionals, social workers, medical personnel, and others who wish to engage in responsible intercultural service, either as a volunteer, or professionally.

Q - What are the program pre-requisites? A - Most students come from backgrounds in either social sciences or teaching, but some come from other fields.  At a minimum, should have taken a developmental psychology class, be able to use the Internet for research and communication, and be proficient in the use of computers for word processing.

Q - Does my undergraduate work count towards my graduate degree? A - The only undergraduate work that applies is completion of pre-requisites.  Pre-requisites cannot substitute for graduate program requirements.  No undergraduate course can substitute for graduate course work.

Q - How can I prepare for the individual interview? A - We are particularly interested in the "goodness of fit" between students, faculty, and the goals of the IYFD program.  Are your goals and understanding of intercultural issues compatible with our program and the field more generally?  What is your experience in human services or teaching and how does this inform your interest in the field?  Graduate study is stressful.  How have you met previous challenges in your life?  How do you imagine balancing graduate study with your other life responsibilities?  What questions do you have for us?  Perhaps most important is your interpersonal competence: the ability to build relationships is central to being an effective helper.

Q - I am an international applicant or have limited English proficiency because English is not my first language.  Are admission standards different for me? A - International students bring their unique personalities and cultural perspectives and make a vital contribution to our program.  International applicants should know that written and conversational facility with English is very important because helping requires verbal skills.  If the student's English is not strong enough for clear communication, the faculty may ask the student to postpone certain aspects of the program and/or seek additional assistance until English facility is improved.  If you are a US citizen or long-term resident and English is not your first language, be sure to let the Admissions Committee know this in your letter of intent.  Some of the above information may be important to you.

Q -I am an out-of-state applicant.  How soon after I enter the State of Montana can I be get "in-state" status for tuition and fees? A - These rules and designations change over time and are applied system-wide.  Students are encouraged to contact the Graduate School for assistance and additional information.

However, the GYD program was admitted to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) Western Regional Graduate Program (WGRP) in April 2006.  Therefore, students from Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming will be offered in-state tuition upon acceptance into WGRP.  Students apply to WGRP directly through the GYD program once they are admitted into the GYD program.

Q - Can I attend graduate school part-time? A - Yes.  Some students are full-time and the remainder are part-time.  it is best if you enroll in six credits (usually two course per term) so you can feel you are a part of the program and to make steady progress.  This can make for a hectic life if you are employed full-time and/or have a young family.  We encourage students to cut down on employment where possible.  Your graduate degree is a major life commitment.  A full-time load is normally four courses (12 credits), but most GYD students will be taking an average of 15-16 credits per semester while on campus.

Q - Can I defer beginning the program to the next year? A - The Graduate School will only defer admission for one term, not an entire year.  Beyond that, you would need to submit another application online to the Graduate School.  However, we can keep your other materials (letters, transcripts, etc.) in our GYD Program office files in case you decide to re-apply.  If you wanted to update your personal or professional statement at that time, we would simply replace the previous ones.  See the Graduate School web site for complete details.

Q - Are there scholarships available? A - At present, no scholarships are available, although external funding is being sought.

Also, the GYD program was admitted to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) Western Regional Graduate Program (WGRP) in April 2006.  Therefore, students from Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming will be offered in-state tuition upon acceptance into WGRP.  Students apply to WGRP directly through the GYD program once they are admitted into the GYD program.

Q - Does the program offer teaching assistantships? A - The program has one M.A. level teaching assistantship that is reserved for an advanced student.  There are other teaching assistantships on campus, often available through a competitive application process.  Certain schools and community agencies pay for advanced graduate student work too, although this compensation may not be adequate for complete support.  There are sometimes a limited number of assistantships available to Native American students through other UM graduate programs.  Students interested in teaching assistantships should be aware that these positions are considered a major commitment to the program.  Therefore, significant employment responsibilities in addition to a teaching assistantship are discouraged.

Q - Do you have pre-arranged internships? A - While we may suggest certain placements (internships) as the program develops, faculty will assist students in finding an appropriate site for their field work. The Global Youth Development Program has a partnership agreement with the United States Peace Corps Master’s International program; students are encouraged to apply to the Peace Corps before their first semester in the GYD program.  This program does not place students in dangerous conflict zones in the world.

Q - Is funding available for travel to or salary at the field placement sites? A - The Global Youth Development program does not have funding for field placements at this time, but students will receive training in proposal and grant writing skills in order to obtain funds to cover these expenses. Faculty coordinators will be available to assist in this process.

However, students who join the Peace Corps will receive travel and living allowances.  Please see the Peace Corps website for more information.

Q - What practical job opportunities will I gain from this degree? A - The very nature of intercultural helping is complex. Many national and international organizations exist to offer intercultural aid. However, various international child and family relief agencies have indicated a need for people with training specifically in this line of work prior to placement in international or intercultural employment sites. This degree will prepare students to offer professional helping skills responsibly and effectively in many intercultural arenas. It may serve as a spring board to many professional areas of service and employment, both domestically and internationally.

Q - What accreditation does the program hold? A - The University of Montana is nationally accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (NWASC).