The UNDERC-West program offers a 10-week field biology course for undergraduate students who have completed the UNDERC-East course. This 3-credit summer course is located in western Montana on the Flathead Reservation. This course expands on concepts covered in the UNDERC-East course, with modules on grassland ecology, montane forest ecology, and Native American ecology. Students conduct an independent research project under the direction of the assistant director or graduate student mentors. The UNDERC-West course is more focused on research than the UNDERC-East course, as students are given more time to spend on their project and more independence. Most students conduct research at the National Bison Range National Wildlife Refuge or surrounding tribal lands.
The 10-week course consists of three 1-week modules, five research weeks, and two travel weeks. For the first travel week, students meet at the University of Notre Dame and then travel to UNDERC-East before making the 5-day trip to UNDERC-West. The class stops at many historical sites and national parks, camping along the way. The return trip is also five days long, as we stop at Yellowstone National Park for 2 days before heading back to the Notre Dame campus.