Grand Canyon Semester: Fall 2016

Northern Arizona University is offering a Grand Canyon Semester (GCS) from August 26 to December 13, 2016 for all Honors students from across the country in correlation with NCHC.


“The 2016 Grand Canyon Semester investigates the landscape, cultures, and politics of the greater Grand Canyon region. The Grand Canyon Semester offers a life-changing learning experience in the high mountains of northern Arizona and the deep canyon country of the Colorado Plateau. Students with a wide variety of interests and passions come from across the United States and around the world to join faculty in the natural sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities to investigate how humans impact, manage, interact with, and value the natural world. On backcountry field trips, in classrooms and art galleries, around campfires, in traditional hogan, and floating down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, we confront key environmental and social challenges in these diverse natural and cultural landscapes.

The Grand Canyon Semester’s broad theme is climate adaptation, fostering a deep exploration of the intertwined issues that surround how natural and cultural worlds adapt to a changing climate. Using interdisciplinary approaching, students experience the economic, political, artistic, ecological, social, and spiritual forces that shape the greater Grand Canyon region.”


“All Grand Canyon Semester courses are seminars that interconnect content, projects, and site-specific, place-based learning experiences. The semester is centered on the Applied Core, Humans and the Environment. The Integrative Seminar and Directed Study courses complement the Applied Core by providing students the opportunity to contextualize their experience and choose a portion of the semester for in-depth study.

  • ANT 399H: Human Ecology of the Grand Canyon Region: 3 credit hours in Anthropology, Native American Studies, or Humanities Students learn how modern and ancient people have interacted with and adapted to the Grand Canyon region. Emphasis places on contemporary cultures.
  • ENV 399H: Environmental Science of the Grand Canyon Region: 3 credit hours in Environmental Science or Biology Students will study the patterns and processes that shape the ecology, geology, and natural history of the Grand Canyon eco-region.
  • POS 399H: Environmental Policy & Management of the Grand Canyon Region: 3 credit hours in Political Science or Environmental Science Students will learn about the policies, practices, and politics that determine how human cultures manage and utilize natural resources in the Grand Canyon region.
  • HUM 399H: Interactive Seminar: Grand Canyon as Test: 3 credit hours Students integrate their learning while cultivating their sense of place through personal reflective writing and creative projects, as well as learning from the creative work of their artists, writers, and explorers of the Grand Canyon region. Using creative and non-fiction writing, journaling, art, and multi-media, students creatively document their our own Grand Canyon experiences.
  • HON 485: Directed Study: Undergraduate Independent Research Project: 4 credit hours Students design a hands-on, integrative research project on a topic of their choice related to the greater Grand Canyon region. Students perform research and gather data in order to answer their research questions, receiving help from faculty, research partners, and mentors. Projects will be a cumulative integration of learning and investigation on topics relating to the environment, policy, culture, and humanities.”

Program Cost Breakdown:

“The Grand Canyon Semester program fee ($8950) covers the cost of Northern Arizona University tuition, housing, Colorado River trip, lodging/transportation during overnight field trips, and some food in the field. Students are responsible for purchasing their own food while on campus and during day trips. Students will need to purchase course texts and obtain their own camping gear (i.e. outdoor clothing, headlamp, sleeping bag and sleeping mat) to use during the field course. A detailed packing list is available on the GCS website.” Financial aid is available. Insurance is also required for those students who cannot show proof of existing medical insurance.

Application & Admissions:

After December 1st, applications to the Grand Canyon Semester will be processed on a rolling admissions basis until February 15, 2016. Applications will be considered on space available basis after that date. Once accepted, a signed agreement and deposit are due by March 1, 2016. The application can be found here.

For more information, please contact Academic Director, Ted Martinez, at You can also visit there Facebook or Instagram @NAUGRANDCANYONSEMESTER.

Grand Canyon Semester. Courtesy of advertisements by Northern Arizona University's Honors Program.

Grand Canyon Semester. Courtesy of advertisements by Northern Arizona University’s Honors Program.