Have you ever thought about going to graduate school in Wyoming? Its three nicknames — the Equality State, the Cowboy State and Big Wonderful Wyoming — suggest how it is a special place. At 90,000 square miles, it’s America’s 9th largest state. But with 560,000 residents, or about 6 people per square mile, Wyoming has one of the lowest population densities in North America. The state capital, Cheyenne, has a population of about 60,000.i
A lot of firsts happened in Wyoming. It was the first state to organize a county-wide library system — the Laramie County Public Library System was established in 1886. Many of its other firsts, not surprisingly, are connected with the great outdoors. In 1891, President Benjamin Harrison set aside a lush, mountainous part of northwestern Wyoming as Shoshone National Forest — America’s first nation forest. (Now Wyoming has 9!) In the same forest, the Wapiti Ranger Station was built in 1891, a simple structure made of timber planks that became America’s first ranger station was established in 1891 in Shoshone National Forest. In 1872, Yellowstone National Park was designated the first national park in the world. Finally, in 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt designated Devil’s Tower — that flat-topped mountain famously featured in Close Encounters of the Third Kind — as American’s first national monument. ii
Rodeo is a hugely popular sport in Wyoming, so much so that the state adopted a silhouette of a cowboy on a bucking horse as its symbol.
On summer Friday nights, you can find a rodeo in many small towns. Every July, the capital hosts the Cheyenne Summer Festival, which draws top professionals from around the country to compete in the world’s largest outdoor rodeo. Another legendary rodeo can be seen in the historic resort town of Jackson Hole.
Wyoming’s history is complex and fascinating. The region was first settled by Native American tribes like the Lakota, Crow, Arapaho and Shoshone. The southwestern part of the state was in the Spanish Empire and then Mexico, until it was lost to the U.S. in the Mexican-American War. The Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through what became Wyoming as the Oregon Trail did later. Wyoming was the first state to enjoy women’s suffrage. In the latter part of the 19th century, competition between ranchers led to range wars. Today, almost half the land in Wyoming is owned by the federal government. Millions of people come every year to experience the rugged beauty of Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and of course Devil’s Tower.
If getting a graduate degree in Wyoming sounds enticing, check out the Wyoming graduate programs listed below.