Field-Based Opportunities

If you’re ready to lead, teach, and learn through wilderness expeditions at Montreat and around the world, then you’ll be excited to discover our field-based opportunities. Some programs provide course credit, and all of them can stretch your boundaries and shape your life. 


Adventure, leadership, and discipleship

To learn more about any of our field-based opportunities, contact our Outdoor Education department chair.

Discovery Wilderness Expedition

OE 180
Credits: 4
Dates: each May, beginning the day after Spring Commencement
Tuition: $375 per credit = $1500 total
Course Fee: $1,000

An 18-to 22-day wilderness expedition that may include backpacking, rock climbing, whitewater canoeing, camping, route finding, a solo experience, and a personal challenge event. Through these experiences, students focus on individual and group development in four core areas: stewardship, discipleship, community, and leadership.

Emphasis is on spiritual growth and Christian fellowship. A reflective paper is required after the field experience. Discovery is a physically challenging course, but possible for participants in average physical condition. Challenge and risk are part of the teaching methodologies of the program, and although it’s managed to provide as much safety as possible, all risks cannot be removed from wilderness expeditions. Completion of OE 180 is required in the first year for Outdoor Education/Outdoor Ministry majors. Completion of OE 180 will fulfill one PE credit requirement for general education requirements.

Wilderness Journey Practicum (locations vary)

OE 182
Credits: 2–4
Dates: TBA
Location: Past locations have included Dolly Sods, WV, Death Valley National Park, CA and Bolivia.
Course Fee: $500 plus tuition; students provide their own airfare to Las Vegas, NV for the Death Valley trip 

Students will participate in an expedition to a natural area of the world where they will be involved in experiences that develop their leadership, decision making, judgment, and technical skills using adventure and environmental education. Expeditions will enhance a student’s training by offering experiences not covered in other Outdoor Education courses.

The expeditions may focus on specific models of travel (sea kayaking, mountaineering, ice climbing) or a uniquely different environment (international locations, desert southwest). Trip lengths will vary. A reflective paper will be required. This course is physically challenging, but possible for participants in average physical condition. Challenge and risk are part of the teaching methodologies of the program, and although the course tries to provide as much safety as possible, all risks cannot be removed. Completion of OE 182 will fulfill one PE credit requirement for general education requirements and meets an Outdoor Ministry minor requirement.

Wilderness Leadership Certificate: Immersion Semester

Credits: 15–18
Dates: January – May

The purpose of the Wilderness Leadership Certificate: “Immersion Semester” is to offer Outdoor Education courses together in a semester format that will allow students the opportunity to spend time away from the Montreat College campus, live in an intentional community, and focus on developing as Christian leaders. The classroom is the wilderness, and students develop their ability to use the outdoors as a tool for personal and group growth. The program is open to current Montreat college students who meet the prerequisite requirements and to others interested in attending the college for the semester certificate program only. Courses may include Leadership and Group Dynamics, Expedition Management, Field Natural History, Winter Outdoor Education, and one of the following: Outdoor Programming and Leadership in Whitewater Canoeing, Kayaking, or Rock Climbing. Students may receive certification from the American Canoe Association, Wilderness Education Association, and Wilderness First Responder. Students are required to pay regular tuition and room and board fees, plus a special course fee.

Leadership and Discipleship in the Wilderness (LDW)

Dates: Summer (See CCO for current dates)
Credits: 2–4
Open to current Montreat students and non-degree students
Cost: $60 per credit (plus regular program fees paid directly to CCO)

LDW is a wilderness leadership course offered by the Outdoor Leadership Team of the Coalition for Christian Outreach for learners who desire to grow in the areas of leadership development and discipleship to college students using wilderness as the context for ministry. The program uses the Leave No Trace outdoor ethics curriculum and the Wilderness Education Association (WEA) curriculum, which is designed to develop hard skills, judgment, and decision making and situational leadership principles. LDW is a unique leadership development experience rooted in six areas of discovery for the participants: spiritual disciplines, community, leadership, knowing, servanthood/Christ-likeness, and outdoor living skills. Find out more about LDW.

40/40 Wilderness Expedition

Credits: 2–4
Open to current Montreat students and non-degree-seeking students
Cost: $60 per credit (plus regular program fees paid directly to Solid Rock Outdoor Ministries)

Students will participate in a 40-day backpack expedition in Wyoming that includes rock climbing, snow climbing and mountaineering, multiple peak ascents, a solo experience, and a student-led segment. Emphasis is on spiritual transformation, leadership development, authentic community, character formation, and skills acquisition. The course includes extensive time living above 10,000 feet in elevation and is physically challenging, but possible for participants in average physical condition. Challenge and risk are part of the teaching methodologies, and the course tries managed to provide as much safety as possible, all risks cannot be removed. This unique course is provided in partnership with Solid Rock Outdoor Ministries. Find out more about 40/40.

Summit Adventure: Immersion Service and Adventure Semester (ISAS)

Dates: Offered during academic year (See Summit Adventure for current dates)
Credits: 14–18
Open to current Montreat students and non-degree-seeking students
Cost: Current Montreat College tuition, room, and board fees

Summit Adventure and Montreat College partner in this challenging 14-to 18-credit immersion program. You will spend two to three weeks backpacking through California‘s High Sierra with students from several Christian colleges and universities. For six to seven weeks, your group is at Summit Adventure‘s Basecamp, where you delve deeply into each ISAS subject area. Service-and adventure-based learning highlight the approaches used to help you become more effective partners with God in His Kingdom’s work. Five to six weeks in Ecuador allow you to practice internationally all you have learned stateside. There is nothing like travel, experiential learning, language study and home-stays, high-altitude mountaineering, and international service to radically challenge your views of God, self, and others. You‘ll come back to Summit Adventure for a final week of reflection that will help you transfer your learning from ISAS back to home.

During ISAS, students work with their advisors to select a package of courses that meets their goals. Montreat College courses offered during ISAS include:

  • IS302 Philosophy of Leadership (3 credits)
  • OE306 Leadership and Group Dynamics (3 credits)
  • CC301 Cross-Cultural Ministry (3 credits)
  • CE401 Spiritual Formation and Faith Development (4 credits)
  • OE 190 Outdoor Living Skills (4 credits) or
  • OE 312 Outdoor Programming and Leadership: Expedition Management
  • OE 313 Outdoor Programming and Leadership: Rock Climbing

For more information, visit or contact the Outdoor Education department chair.

Montreat College’s Team and Leadership Center

At the Team and Leadership Center (TLC), participants experience transformation through specifically designed, objective-based workshops that cater to the needs of their group. The TLC exists to help groups develop leaders and build stronger community within their context through experience-based learning.

The TLC staff desires to give participants the opportunity to help foster individual leadership and group development. The TLC facility is not just another ropes course; it was designed and built by Montreat students to challenge participants and groups physically, cognitively, emotionally, and cohesively. These challenges aid in overcoming obstacles to trust and barriers to communication, fostering leadership transformation, and facilitating dynamic, team-oriented relationships.

Montreat students have diverse opportunities through the TLC through shadowing, practicum, and employment experiences, learning how to facilitate workshops and foster group development. Find out more about the Team and Leadership Center.

Backcountry at Montreat College

Students can gain practical leadership skills through Backcountry, a wilderness-based outdoor program facilitated by the Montreat College Outdoor Education department. These trips are popular with church youth groups and school groups, and often incorporate backpacking, camping, canoeing, and rock climbing experiences, all designed to draw participants into a deeper relationship with Christ. The focus here is on developing the whole person in an outdoor setting—whether you’re learning about the natural history of the area, planning a route through steep mountain terrain, or navigating a whitewater rapid, the lessons learned will impact every area of your life.  

MYLES of Science

Montreat students can work as instructors in the MYLES of Science program, gaining valuable teaching experience with high school students in the outdoors. The MYLES of Science program provides science adventure trips for 9th through 12th graders. Our program offers a variety of fun, informative, science-oriented trips in the mountains of western North Carolina. These expeditionary science programs investigate forest, river, cave, and rock environments and focus on scientific exploration and discovery. MYLES teaches students how to collect and analyze valuable scientific data while living in the outdoors, encouraging scientific inquiry, learning to live comfortably in the outdoors, and developing an environmental ethic.

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