Frequently Asked Questions

Where does the High Sierra Semester take place?

The High Sierra Semester is located at Emerald Cove Camp in Bass Lake, California, an hour north of Fresno and 25 minutes from the south entrance of Yosemite National Park.

Who can participate in the High Sierra Semester?

The program is open to all APU undergraduate students. No specific major is required to attend.

Are there leadership opportunities available at High Sierra?

Yes. Each semester, four student leaders are selected to serve on the Student Leadership Team. This team meets weekly with the campus life coordinator and to help plan and organize activities and events for students. For more information about these positions, please contact a High Sierra student representative or the campus life coordinator.

What sort of recreational opportunities are available?

Recreational opportunities include hiking, rock climbing, running, kayaking, water skiing, wakeboarding, mountain biking, road biking, ropes course, fishing, skateboarding, downhill skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing, and much more.

How does the academic structure differ from that of the main campus?

At High Sierra, the Humanities are the focus of the academic curriculum. The program is a concurrent study of the Great Works in fields such as philosophy, literature, history, and theology. Each course during the fall semester will start at the beginning of recorded history and progress through the Renaissance, while the spring semester will begin study from the Renaissance through present time. A bi-weekly Plenary class is co-taught by the professors in an attempt to bring together all disciplines into a coherent perspective on the time periods being studied. In addition to the Humanities, courses are offered in biblical studies, outdoor recreation, fitness, and leadership.

I’m an Honors scholar; can I receive Honors credit at High Sierra?

Yes. All Humanities courses at High Sierra can be taken for Honors credit.

When do the semesters begin and end?

Typically, students leave the Azusa campus on the Sunday before classes begin, and return to the main campus the Thursday of finals week. This varies each semester. Check the calendar for more information.

What is the cost?

The cost for tuition, room, and board is the same as on the Azusa campus. If the student is taking more than 17 units or an independent study, the same additional fees will apply as they would on the Azusa campus. See tuition and fees for a break down of costs.

Is there opportunity for financial aid?

High Sierra is a Group 1 program, which allows APU students to apply their FULL financial aid toward the semester, including ALL federal, state, and institutional (APU) aid. However APU Scholarships requiring on-campus participation are not included. Contact Rhonda Moreno in the One Stop (Undergraduate Enrollment Services Center), or Carrie Ullmer in the Center for Global Learning and Engagement if you have any questions.

How many units may I take at the High Sierra Semester?

Students may take 12–17 units while at the High Sierra Semester.

What courses will be offered at the High Sierra campus?

See the Courses Offered page for a listing of the courses that are typically offered during the fall and spring semesters. For the most up-to-date list of courses, email Katie Burns, Director of Co-Curricular Administration

Are independent studies available?

Students may take independent study courses while attending the High Sierra Semester. This will be arranged by the student with either an on-site instructor or with an instructor on the main campus in Azusa. The study must be arranged prior to the student's arrival at the High Sierra campus.

Are there work opportunities?

Yes. A few students are hired each semester to wash dishes, help prepare meals, clean bathrooms, work on computer-related issues, and drive the APU vans (California Class B driver’s license required. All students are hired for these positions after arrival with the exception of van drivers who need to get their license beforehand). If you are interested in a driving job while at High Sierra, Please contact Zack Brown, campus life coordinator

What are the library arrangements at the High Sierra Semester?

Technologically, library access will be the same as it is on the main campus, including access to databases and many online texts. A small collection of hard-copy books that relate to the topics studied during the semester will be available for your use.

What are the computer arrangements at the High Sierra Semester?

The campus is equipped with wireless internet. There are also four desktop computers and a black and white printer available for general use.

What are the living arrangements?

There are women's and men's dorms with approximately three students in each room. Each room is furnished with a twin-size bed, desk, dresser, and bookshelf for each student.

Can I have people come to visit?

Family and friends are welcome to visit any time during the semester. Each semester, we hold a formal visitation weekend for families. Check the High Sierra Calendar for details

Are we allowed to have cars?

In an effort to foster community, personal vehicles are not allowed at the High sierra Campus. The university supplies van transportation for students to go into town for groceries, movies, field trips, etc.

Will my cell phone work?

Most major carriers get service in certain areas of Bass Lake. However, connection can be inconsistent. Wifi-based calling is often a preferred method for High Sierra Students.

What is the food like?

The kitchen staff takes good care of us at High Sierra. The family-style dinners served each week are a cornerstone of the High Sierra experience. In addition to meals prepared in the dining hall, the 24-hour availability of cereal, snacks, coffee, tea, and the beloved “leftovers fridge” ensure our students are always well-fed.

What is Trek?

There is no better environment to teach leadership than in the wilderness. Trek is an experiential learning trip that is directly tied to the required Leadership course (REC 366). This backpacking experience is one of the most important experiences of the semester for students, faculty, and staff. It provides opportunities for meaningful growth and challenge both personally and relationally. Trek takes place two weeks into the semester and is typically five or six days of backpacking. Students are broken up into cohorts of approximately 8-12 and spend time in some of the most beautiful wilderness in the United States.

What does the chapel requirement look like at High Sierra?

Chapel requirements are fulfilled by three weekly events: small groups, local worship, and community chapel. Small groups of about five students meet each Monday night and are led by an incredible team of staff and local mentors. Local worship services are on Sundays and Mondays at churches and ministries in the area. Community chapels typically take place on Fridays and offer a more traditional chapel experience with guest speakers and a student-led chapel band.

Can I still complete service credits while I’m at High Sierra?

High Sierra students will have opportunities throughout the semester to serve on campus and in local churches to receive service credits.

How do I apply?

Visit to download an application.