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Adventure Education students learn how to use and lead human-powered outdoor pursuits to promote a sustainable environment and inspire positive change in individuals and organizations.
While honing their own individual leadership styles, students in the Adventure Education program study the theories underlying challenge and adventure, then apply those, practicing and teaching others how spending time with nature and challenge can enrich life.
Through a combination of rigorous academic scholarship and practical experiences in backpacking, ropes-challenge courses, rock climbing, mountaineering, and river paddling, students leave our program equipped with the knowledge, communication techniques, and the technical skills necessary for a variety of professional outdoor leadership and instructional careers.
- Immersion semester - You will immerse yourself in the wilderness for a 15-credit semester. All Adventure Education majors spend four to 10 days at a time backpacking and canoeing in the Four Corners region.
- Hands on learning - You will earn at least 60 days of leadership and instruction experience through work with summer camps and outdoor programs.
- Internships - You will also intern with an adventure-based organization for seven to 15 weeks. These internships offer potential stepping stones to your first adventure education job.
Beyond the Degree
Earning a Bachelor of Arts in Adventure Education leads to careers in such fields as:
- Outdoor therapy
- Wilderness therapy
- Environmental education
- Experiential education
- Adventure leadership
- Challenge course facilitation
- Expedition planning
- School-based outdoor programming
For any career, this degree establishes that you can develop trust, confidence, teamwork, problem solving, communication, and leadership skills in a group of individuals. You will be able to apply the tools, methods, and knowledge from the Adventure Education program to any area concerned with outdoor leadership, team-building, and instruction.
Our graduates are working with these organizations and more:
- Open Sky Wilderness
- Colorado Outward Bound
- Christian Challenge
- Indian Head Camp
- Teton Science Schools
Many of our skill- and field-based courses meet at non-traditional times that may not match the typical college schedule. You will need to show up to class alert, so that you are ready to learn and practice safely. The 15-credit immersion semester requires your complete involvement. The time commitment may not allow you to participate with an athletic team or hold a part-time job.
“I was interested in education, but didn’t necessarily want to work in schools, inside a ‘box’ as I saw it when I was younger. The program gave me self-confidence in my ability to get up in front of a group and teach something. Initially, I wasn’t a very outwardly sociable, talkative type of person. But throughout the program, we did a lot of practice, group feedback, and honing of our teaching skills. They also taught us a lot of outdoor skills like camping and rock-climbing—and then how to teach all those things.”
- Kenyon “Tre” Neal (Adventure Education, '14), Outdoor Leadership Assistant & Staffing at Indian Head Camp, Pennsylvania
“The best part of this major was the student-centered learning. Every class involved student discussion more than professors lecturing. We never sat in rows—always circles—because students were the focus of our collective knowledge. Professors only facilitated the learning.”
- Grayson Swingle (Adventure Education), Teton Science Schools, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
“There were times that I could not believe I was in class doing the things I was. Like when we were out canoeing on the Green River for 10 days or when we were building quinzhees (snow shelters) last winter. People have always told me, from a young age, that when you love the work you do, it isn’t really a job; I think the same thing applies for education.”
- Rachel Horton (Adventure Education)