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. 

Expeditions Shape Leaders

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. 

Students backpack down a hill towards a lake in the Wind River Range.

Select your course

A NOLS expedition is your opportunity to find the confidence and perspective you need to lead—no matter where you find yourself. 

“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

Experience NOLS around the world

Gain global perspective

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.

    Explore our locations


Skills to travel the wild

Open the door to new adventures

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.

    Explore our skills

Education Designed for Life

Learn by doing

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.

    Explore our curriculum

Make your course a reality

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Explore options for funding your course

Credit: Emilee Brackenbury

Semester Scholarships Available

Receive financial support on a semester course

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.


Earn academic credit for high school, college, and continuing education.