Making Outward Bound your outdoor classroom has never been easier! All our expeditions are eligible for both high school or college academic credit through either an educational partnership or an independent study organized through your school. 


Academic Credit through Western Colorado University 

As Outward Bound’s accredited partner for higher education, Western Colorado University (WCU) shares our commitment to providing valuable hands-on learning experiences. Through their Center for Learning and Innovation, they are connecting more students than ever to opportunities like Outward Bound, enabling them to earn academic credit outside the classroom.

How to apply:

  1. Enroll first on an Outward Bound expedition before applying for credit through WCU.   

  2. After you’ve applied – fill out the Outward Bound USA - WCU Credit Registration Format least 30 days prior to your course start date. 

  3. Upon completion of the form, you’ll receive a registration confirmation email from Western including next steps and payment information. 

Please Note: Tuition for WCU Academic credit is $180 per credit hour. This payment is due in full to WCU prior to your course start date. As with our expeditions, 529 funds and AmeriCorps awards are accepted – you can learn more about using them toward your expedition and academic credit with Western, here.  

To explore more about earning academic credit through WCU, please visit their website here. 

Explore available academic credits by expedition type below.

Middle School & High School Courses 

  • 4-15 Days – Special Topics (1 credit)
  • 22+ Days – Special Topics (2-5 credits) 

Classic for Adult Courses 

  • 4-15 Days – Special Topics (1 credit)
  • 22+ Days – Special Topics (2-5 credits) 


  • 28-Day Course – Leadership and Facilitation (3 credits) 
  • 50-Day Semester - Leadership and Facilitation (3 credits) 
  • Optional add-on credits for both courses: 
    • Principles of Outdoor Recreation (3 credits) 
    • Outdoor Pursuits (3-6 credits) 


  • Leadership and Facilitation (3 credits) 
  • Optional add-on credits: 
    • Principles of Outdoor Recreation (3 credits) 
    • Wilderness First Aid Certification (1 credit) - Only available for the following Pathfinder locations: Colorado Rockies, Blue Ridge Mountains, Rocky Mountains to Canyonlands, and Southwest 
    • Outdoor Pursuits Education (3-6 credits) 

Leadership Semesters

  • Principles of Outdoor Education (3 credits) 
  • Leadership and Facilitation (3 credits) 
  • Optional add-on credits: 
    • Outdoor Pursuits Education (3-6) 
    • Wilderness First Aid/Wilderness Advanced First Aid (1 credit) 
    • PADI Scuba Certification (1 credit) - Maine to Bahamas Leadership Semester Only 
    • Whitewater Rescue Technician (1 credit) - Florida Keys to Costa Rica Leadership Semester Only 
    • Special Topics (1-9 credits) 

Outdoor Educator Courses

  • Principles of Outdoor Recreation (3 credits) 
  • Leadership and Facilitation (3 credits) 
  • Outdoor Pursuits Education (3 credits required, additional available as optional) 
  • Optional add-on credits: 
    • Outdoor Pursuits Education (can add a second based on your course area) 
    • Wilderness First Responder Certification (3 credits) 
    • Special Topics (1-3 credits) 

Please note: WCU requires students to complete a 'final project' in addition to their course to earn their grades and credits. The assignment is in the format of a short essay or something similar. The essay topics are related to your Outward Bound experience and your course curriculum. 

Independent Study Through Your School:   

Over our 40+ years of operation, hundreds of colleges and high schools have granted academic credit for Outward Bound expeditions through independent studies. If you are interested in going this route, we encourage you to schedule time with your guidance counselor as soon as possible to create a plan. 

Please note: That while our admissions team and program staff are happy to assist you in providing supplemental paperwork for credit-approval both prior to course and after, it remains the student’s responsibility to communicate with Outward Bound what they need to complete their independent studies. Please schedule time with our admissions staff if you want to discuss this option further. 

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