• Outdoor Education

The world is your classroom.

Come to the campus Backpacker magazine ranks as the nation’s second-best place for hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Northland’s proximity to trails, rivers, forests, Lake Superior, and the Apostle Islands makes it the perfect place for you to explore nature while gaining the skills and confidence you’ll need to connect people to and teach them about the great outdoors.

This program combines a healthy mixture of classroom lessons and experiential outdoor learning at one of the most beautiful locations in the country. You’ll learn the philosophies and theories of lesson planning, program design, interpreting the natural world, and making the outdoors accessible to everyone, all while getting your boots wet and your hands dirty.


“At Northland, I gained the confidence to master new ambitious topics from scratch, and this is exactly what I have done within the solar industry.” Audra Willing ’05, Solar Design Consultant

Program Emphasis Options

  • Adventure Leadership

    Acquire the critical skills needed to instruct at wilderness schools, lead expeditions, direct summer camps, and run outdoor programs at schools, universities, cities, and military bases.

  • Outdoor Program Management

    Study the theory and practice of marketing, business plans, financing, and staffing to go on to become a sustainable entrepreneur or program manager for outdoor education organizations.

  • Equity and Inclusion

    Create a more just and equitable society by designing inclusive, empowering, and therapeutic outdoor experiences and programs that bridge perceived difference between people.

  • Natural History

    Gain in-depth ecological knowledge and skills to help you connect people to nature, preparing you for a career as an outdoor education instructor, naturalist, interpretive park ranger, or environmental educator.

Why Northland?

Experiential Learning

An education at Northland involves more than just sitting in lecture halls. We combine classroom learning with immersive field studies and opportunities within the community to create a one-of-a-kind learning experience. Our career-focused curriculum will provide you with the tools and confidence to succeed in anything you do.

Access to Financial Aid

Think all private colleges are expensive? Think again. With 99% of all Northland College students receiving some form of financial aid, you can receive a private school education at a public school price.

Proven Outcomes

A degree from Northland is your pathway to opportunity. Our 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio allows our professors to personally invest in your success, and the results of this approach speak for themselves. 93.5% of our recent graduates are employed or in graduate school.

Full-Spectrum Sustainability

At Northland, we live our sustainability mission every day. Going green is a part of everything we do as an institution and everything you’ll do as a student—from how you’ll live, to what you’ll learn, and ways you can contribute.

Live & Learn in a Natural World

Our location in Ashland, WI, a small, safe community of just over 8,000 tucked along the south shore of Lake Superior near the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and over a million acres of national forest, creates truly unique educational and recreational experiences.

Work with the Best & Brightest

Our faculty are passionate about learning—and not just student learning. They are dedicated learners and scholars, and that shines through in the classroom and in the field. And they’re more than just teachers. They are mentors who often establish life-long relationships with students.

Ready to take the next step?

Get in touch to learn more and start planning your journey at Northland College.