NOLS Expeditions

Explore the wild

Credit: Julia Ring

This is Your Moment

Learn to lead on an immersive wilderness expedition

Find adventure and perspective in the outdoors. Develop lifelong leadership skills as you dive into our time-tested curriculum. Build courage and competence under the guidance of the best instructors in the industry.

On a NOLS expedition, you’ll spend one week to several months in the wilderness learning outdoor skills like backpacking, rock climbing, kayaking, and more. At the same time, you’ll dive into a rigorous leadership progression, building your confidence as you practice leading in real-life situations with the support of expert instructors.


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“Above all, I learned how to make my voice heard, to be organized, to deliver constructive feedback, embrace hardship and the unknown, be intentional, and to live minimally. I learned to appreciate each moment.”

-Sadie S., Semester in the Rockies Graduate


Take a semester with NOLS


All Semester Courses


Start your adventure at one of our 16 locations worldwide. Broaden your cultural perspective on an international course or find new challenges in a wilderness area closer to home. On every course, you’ll explore a beautiful and remote environment few people get to see.


Skills to travel the wild

Your expedition will focus on one or more skill types to navigate the wilderness. You’ll learn to explore mountains, sea, and coasts while practicing leadership, wilderness skills, risk management, and environmental studies. Your experience will be about hands-on learning. Every day will be a new opportunity to practice and grow your skills.


Education Designed for Life

Experiential learning forms the backbone of our curriculum and is built into the framework of every expedition. 

Why experiential learning? Because it's powerful. Because the lessons are for life. And because proven research and our own experience support it. Since 1965, over 110,000 students have embarked on NOLS expeditions and graduated prepared to be leaders in their communities. 

When you paddle through a rainstorm, you learn resilience. When you help your group solve problems, you learn communication. When you have to decide whenter to go left or right, not fully knowing where the path will lead, you learn to make decisions in the face of uncertainty. When you reflect on these experiences with the mentorship of your instructors, they become more than skills for navigating the wilderness—they become skills for life.

A lone pine tree sits perfectly before a mountain lake during a sunset.


Financial Aid

NOLS welcomes all students and supports dreams by providing more financial aid than any organization in the industry—we award nearly $1.9 million in need-based scholarships each year. Additional financial aid opportunities include veterans benefits, 529 savings plans, and AmeriCorps education awards.

See all Financial Aid Options


Academic Credit

More than 400 colleges and universities nationwide accept college and high school credit earned on a NOLS course—up to 27 hours for an academic year. Qualifying subject areas include: cultural studies, first aid, risk management, leadership techniques, and environmental studies.

See Academic Credit Options



NOLS scholarships are need-based. We offer over $1.9 million in scholarship funds each year to lower, middle, and upper-middle income families. 

Fill out our simple scholarship form and NOLS’ Financial Aid Counselor will be in touch with you within two business days to discuss options for you.

You can apply for a scholarship before or after applying for a course.


Stories from the Wild


Waking Up in the Wilderness

Carolyn Highland | October 14, 2015

I woke in the middle of the night to cold on my nose and a black strip of sky smattered with stars in my vision. It was all I could see, my sleeping bag cinched up around my face, laid out on the bare... Read More



Learning the Meaning of Teamwork in the Wilderness

Wolf Johnson | January 22, 2018

I crested the top of the small mountain, ahead of the rest, for a brief moment of celebration on the top, all by myself. The view took my breath away, literally, but also emotionally. I could feel a... Read More