Fall Semester in the Southwest

Credit: Ashley Wise

Fall Semester in the Southwest

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.



2018 Dates

Sept. 10 – Nov. 28, 2018

Tuition: $13,350
Details: Backpacking, Wilderness First Aid, Rock Climbing, Canoeing, Backpacking

Sept. 10 – Nov. 28, 2018

Tuition: $13,350
Details: Backpacking, Canoeing, Wilderness First Aid, Caving, Rock Climbing, Backpacking


All course information at a glance

Learn about Financial Aid & Scholarships
Equipment Deposit
80 days
Minimum Age
17 yrs.
Academic Credit
16 College Credits
  • 3 Risk Assessment
  • 6 Skills Practicum
  • 4 Leadership Techniques
  • 3 Environmental Studies

2 High School Credits

  • 1.00 Leadership
  • 1.00 Physical Education
Learn about Academic Credit


Wilderness First Aid


Course Description

Equipment List

Travel and Logistics

Tucson, Arizona
Fly in/out
Tucson, Arizona
Skills learned




Rock Climbing

Wilderness Medicine

Additional Details

Semester Scholarship Form



See Photos and Videos from Students and Instructors

What Our Grads Say

“I can honestly say my NOLS course taught me how wonderful life is. I believe I learned how to make myself happy. Away from technology, social norms, and societal restrictions I felt free, and excited for life at all times. That is a feeling that I will never forget and one that I will continue to strive for throughout my life. I felt happiness in the truest most wholesome form on my trip. I truly believe that my NOLS course was the turning point in my life, and I emerged from it a better person in every way.” 

— Simon M., NOLS Fall Semester in the Southwest grad

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