NOLS is widely recognized for its outdoor education, leadership and conservation curricula. As different as these may be from traditional academic programs, hundreds of colleges recognize the educational value of a NOLS course. More than 400 colleges and universities nationwide have accepted University of Utah credit earned on a NOLS course, and many more grant their own credit.
All students over the age of 16 have the option of earning college credit for their NOLS courses. Over 75 percent of our college-age students take advantage of this option, as every NOLS course is approved for college credit.
Find the best fit for you and step-by-step instructions on setting up your college credit before you depart on your expedition in the links below.
University of Utah
High School graduates, or equivalent, may register for University of Utah credit. Current high school students must have completed their junior year with a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher and must submit an official transcript with their registration form to verify status.
NOLS and the University of Utah have partnered to offer college credit since 1980. The credit has been transferred to hundreds of schools across the country. Additionally, some NOLS courses offer credit through the University’s Biology Department.
Students interested in taking their NOLS course for the optional college credit must pay for the University of Utah credit fees, in addition to the course tuition, before the course begin. Registration forms and payment submitted after a course begins will not be accepted.
Find details on credit and the registration process here.
Associate Degree Programs
NOLS and Central Wyoming College (CWC) in Riverton, Wyo., have partnered to offer two degree programs. Students who sign up for CWC credit will earn a different number of credits than those who opt for University of Utah credit.
The NOLS portion of an associate of science in environmental science and leadership degree will focus on environmental awareness and conservation ethics. Your NOLS education will complement a classic natural science education at CWC.
The associate of arts in outdoor education and leadership was designed for students interested in careers in outdoor education or environmental education and activism. This program combines one or more NOLS courses with education in liberal arts courses at CWC.
Click here for more information on the associate degree programs.
Direct Credit From Your College
Currently, 20 colleges offer their own credit and process financial aid for a NOLS education. Click here to find the list and how to make arrangements with your school. This is not a restrictive or guaranteed list, as colleges frequently accept or deny credit on a case-by-case basis.
High School Students
NOLS students can earn high school credit for expedition courses through Blueprint Education. This credit aligns with U.S. national standards for leadership and physical education courses. Blueprint Education is accredited by AdvancED, the unified organization of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation & School Improvement (NCA CASI), and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI).
Please verify with your high school counselor that these credits can be used toward your high school diploma. NOLS and Blueprint have no control over the transfer of credits. Read more about High School credit or download the complete package now (pdf).
Dual Credit: The University of Utah will grant credit to rising seniors with a GPA of 3.2 or higher and high school graduates (a transcript must be submitted to verify status). Find more information here. CWC also offers credit for students age 16 and older.
Some high schools allow students to earn high school credit—you should talk to your counselor. Some students get high-school credit by simply providing a copy of their NOLS evaluation that will be available to you after your course. (You can complete and sign the evaluation request form, indicating your school’s mailing address on the form here. Many high schools may also require students to write papers, make presentations and/or provide photos. Some high schools may be more open to providing credit if they know college credit is also being earned.)