A Top Adventure School - Emory & Henry College Semester A.T.rail

Earn College Credit while hiking the Appalachian Trail

Earn transferable college credit, along with training and support, for hiking the Appalachian Trail (A.T.)
The Semester-A-Trail Program is a unique opportunity for students seeking a learning experience that goes well beyond the classroom. Students in the program earn at least twelve hours of college credit in a single college semester while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, or an adventure of similar depth and scope. The experience offers students a synthesis of academic learning and outdoor adventure in an intensive, goal-oriented journey that will challenge them both physically and intellectually, immersing students in real-world competencies.

During the semester of travel, students are required to take English 328, Nature Writing, a three-credit course, and students typically enroll in twelve semester hours of course work. Students will work with the Director of Semester- A-Trail and their advisors to construct a schedule and select courses that are conducive to the experience. The Semester-A-Trail Program offers students the opportunity to build independent studies and projects with broadened field-based implications. Student hikers have developed imaginative projects across the curriculum in ecotourism, human physiology, water quality, wellness, and photography.

The student considering the experience should consult Jim Harrison, Director of Outdoor Programs.

Candidates for Semester-A-Trail will be required to:

  • Hold a current Wilderness First Aid and CPR certificate by date of embarkation, 
  • Have completed Physical Education 164, Hiking/Backpacking, with a B or better,
  • Be a member of the Outdoor Program in good standing,
  • Successfully complete at least three Outdoor Program backpacking trips,
  • Hold a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5,
  • Complete a four-year advising plan,
  • Submit a comprehensive trip plan, containing but not limited to a budget, risk management plan, and logistics (resupply/support plan, gear list, etc.).

Participants in the Semester-A-Trail Program will plan to embark on their trip no earlier than the spring semester of their sophomore year.

Transfer Students

Transfer students must be at Emory & Henry for a year and meet all prerequisites in order to be considered candidates for Semester-A-Trail. Physical Education 164 must be completed at Emory & Henry to qualify.

Semester-A-Trail entails costs beyond those involved in on-campus study. As a general rule, the student should expect to incur the costs associated with outfitting or gearing up for the trip and for travel (for example, to and from the terminuses of the Appalachian Trail).

During the spring semester of travel, the student will reside on campus to complete course work and final trip preparations until the embarkation goal of March 1. The tuition rate for the semester will not be affected. Room and board expenses, however, will be prorated for the time spent on campus, and the college will make remaining funds available to the student for use during the trail experience.