Fall Semester in the Southwest

Fall Semester in the Southwest


  • Technical sections include skills ranging from backpacking, rock climbing, caving, and canoeing
  • Elevations of anywhere between 2,500 and 10,700 feet
  • Milder weather means more opportunities for skill development
  • Enjoy abundant wildlife and the southwest's famous desert sunsets
  • From the canyons of the Rio Grande to the ponderosa pine forests of the Gila Mountain Range, enjoy the American Southwest
  • Certifications: Wilderness First Aid and CPR and either Leave No Trace (LNT) Trainer or LNT Master Educator
A semester in the Southwest will give you a unique glimpse into the American Southwest's living desert.

You will discover the desert to be alive with plants and animals like coyote, javelina, mountain lions, peregrine falcons, mesquite, and cactus.

The different sections on this semester will take you from the rushing waters of the Rio Grande to the ponderosa pine forests of the Gila Wilderness. You will find yourself jamming your fingers and feet into granite cracks and using a compass to find your way in the vast wilderness.

Along with natural history, you'll also discover the desert's rich human history and have plenty of time to travel through the areas once inhabited by ancient cultures, discovering drawings and other traces left behind by our ancestors.

In this land of constant sun, backpacking, climbing, caving, and canoeing will prepare you for the independent student expedition that is the grand finale of your semester.


Location NOLS Southwest
Tuition $13,085 Learn about Financial Aid
Equipment Deposit $700
Minimum Age 17
Duration 80 Days
Type Semester & Year
Start/End Tucson, Arizona
Fly in/out Tucson, Arizona
College Credit
  • 16 Credit Hours
  • 3 Hours Environmental Studies
  • 4 Hours Leadership Techniques
  • 6 Hours Skills Practicum
  • 3 Hours Risk Assessment
Learn about College Credit
High School Credit
  • 2 Carnegie Units
  • 1 CU Physical Education
  • 1 CU Leadership
Learn about High School Credit

“This course allowed me to master my technical skills as an outdoorsman as well as build my leadership, character, confidence, and respect for myself and others. In addition the scenery that the course took place in was stunning and remote.”

-Gregory S.

Semester in the Southwest Grad