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The Academics of Adventure

Education at the University of Utah is more than classrooms, textbooks, and rushing to make it to your next class. It’s also the howl of a coyote, drifting over the sage. It’s the wind against your face, as you climb up a vertical rock face. It’s the haunting image of a petroglyph that sends your curiosity tumbling headfirst into cultures of long ago. It’s the laughter shared around a campfire among new friends. It’s the constellations twinkling overhead as you nestle into your sleeping bag, thinking of your role in the cosmos and what infinite possibilities exist.

Why choose Utah?

Utah’s spectacular natural landscapes serve as the backdrop to U-EXPLORE’s intensive, short duration, 2-credit experiential learning classes. We offer over 90 different sections of classes each year, delivered by professional and experienced instructor teams.

From the highest peaks of the Wasatch to the deepest canyons of the Colorado Plateau, students learn about outdoor recreation skill development, natural and cultural history, environmental ethics, and public land conservation. They learn about how to safely manage the risks associated with iconic Utah recreational pursuits, like backcountry skiing, rock climbing, canyoneering, and river running. They learn about indigenous cultures native to Utah, about the forests and deserts, and about the integrated ecosystems that define Utah. Our classes are more than just experiences--they help you learn the skills to explore Utah’s wildlands for yourself.

What to expect

Most classes begin with a pre-trip meeting the week before spending Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the wilderness. Depending on the activity and the course, the “classroom” may be sea kayaking through the sandstone coves on Lake Powell, rappelling the cliffs and towers near Arches National Park, day hiking along the rocky trails of the High Uinta Mountains, or bikepacking through the pinyon-covered mesas of Bears Ears National Monument.

Academic assignments are required for all classes, and these are designed to foster reflection, learning transfer, and broaden the meaning of the time spent outside. We have classes every weekend of the Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters to accommodate your busy schedule and allow you the chance to connect with something greater than a campus made of concrete and mortar.

See more

We've documented previous experiences so you can see what it's like.

How to Register

To register for our classes, visit PRTL, PRTW, and PRTS on the CIS portal for our land-based, water-based, and snow-based classes, respectively.