Adventure Education, Bachelor of Science

120 credits

Adventure Education teaches students how to use human powered outdoor pursuits to expose people to purposeful challenge, high adventure, and new growth opportunities. Students majoring in Adventure Education engage in outdoor activities such as backpacking, rock climbing, canoeing, ropes courses, and mountaineering to systematically learn four broad sets of skills. First, they learn the professional and technical skills to operate competently and safely in demanding outdoor environments. Second, they learn how to teach various outdoor-related lessons that aim to the development of new skills, knowledge or values. Third, they learn how to develop, frame, facilitate and process adventure experiences so that their future clients and students grow personally and professionally. And fourth, they also learn to interpret and teach about the various natural environments they will encounter when teaching in the great outdoors.

Students enrolled in the Adventure Education program take a variety of courses that cover adventure programming history, philosophy, ethics, theory, leadership group behavior and management, group processing and facilitation, experiential pedagogy, risk management, legal issues, and program administration. Students have the option of taking a 15-credit package of Adventure Education courses in a Fall Immersion Semester, which involves wilderness backpacking and canoe camping expeditions lasting four to 15 days. They also have the option of spending a semester in the Outdoor Education program at LaTrobe University in Bendigo, Australia. Adventure Education students can also take courses with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) that will count toward the completion of their degree in Adventure Education.

Many of the field-based courses require additional cost for transportation, food, permits, supplies or equipment rental. To meet these expenses, most field-based courses have fees attached to them. Students can expect to pay between $1,500 and $2,500 in additional course fees to complete the Adventure Education major. The range in cost depends on what optional courses students choose to take throughout their studies in Adventure Education. In addition, students are expected to provide basic personal outdoor clothing and equipment. The program will provide group, technical, technological, and safety gear but we will not be able to outfit students with outdoor clothing, boots, backpacks, sleeping bags, etc.

Students majoring in Adventure Education are preparing for future careers in field-based leadership, instruction, and administrative positions with non-profit and commercial outdoor education, therapeutic adventure, environmental, and recreation programs. Because field-based courses may occur on weekends, over Spring break and in May after classes end, the schedule for Adventure Education students will need to be carefully planned and may disallow participation in an athletic team and/or affect their availability for working during some semesters. Additionally, students will be required to complete a minimum of 60 days of documented adventure leadership or instruction prior to their internship (AP 4880) or 30 days prior to their Clinical (AP 3980). This leadership/instruction experience must occur after the studentís formal matriculation into the Adventure Education program. Some of this experience will be gained through work at the PSU Outdoor Center or with the Adventure Education Club, while some will be accrued through summer jobs in camps or outdoor programs.

The mission of the Adventure Education program is to provide an environmentally sustainable, academically comprehensive, and technically proficient education for future adventure educators. In addition, the program embraces the University motto Ut prosim (that I may serve) by actively seeking and providing services to the campus and regional community.

Degree Requirements


AP 2010 Foundations of Adventure Education 3
AP 2210 Adventure Education Teaching Theories and Methods 3
AP 2300 Rock Climbing Fundamentals 3
AP 2400 Canoe Paddling Fundamentals 3
AP 3500 Adventure Processing and Facilitation 3
AP 3600 Outdoor Skills Clinical 3
AP 4300 Teaching Assistantship in Adventure Education 4
AP 4600 Risk Management in Adventure Education 3
Complete Group A or Group B: 15
Group A:
AP 3100 Wilderness Expedition (TECO)
AP 3300 Adventure Leadership and Group Management
AP 3320 Adventure Education Philosophy and Theory (WRCO)
AP 3400 Wilderness First Responder
Group B:
AP 3101 Immersion Wilderness Expedition (TECO)
AP 3301 Immersion Adventure Leadership and Group Management
AP 3321 Immersion Adventure Education Philosophy and Theory (WRCO)
AP 3401 Immersion Wilderness First Responder
Adventure Education Activities - complete two of the following: 6
AP 3110 Challenge Course Fundamentals
AP 3310 Lead Rock Climbing
AP 3410 Whitewater Kayaking
AP 3700 Winter Backcountry Travel
AP 3810 Alpine Mountaineering
AP 3950 Special Topics in Adventure Education
Adventure Education Capstone - complete (C) or (D): 6
AP 4880 Adventure Education Internship or (C)
AP 3880 Adventure Education Practicum and (D)
AP 3890 Adventure Education Clinical (D)
Quantitative Reasoning in the Discipline Connection - complete one of the following: 3
BU 2240 Business Statistics (QRCO)
MA 1900 Statistical Literacy in Today's Society (QRCO)
MA 2300 Statistics I (QRCO)
PE 3560 Measurement and Assessment in Physical Education (QRCO)
General Education:
EN 1200 Composition 3
IS 1111 The First Year Seminar: Critical Thinking and the Nature of Inquiry 3
MA Mathematics Foundations 3
CTDI Creative Thought Directions 6
PPDI Past and Present Directions 6
SIDI Scientific Inquiry Directions 6-8
SSDI Self and Society Directions 6
DICO Diversity Connection 3
GACO Global Awareness Connection 3
INCO Integration Connection 3
WECO Wellness Connection 3
Electives 20-18

The Immersion courses (Group B) are offered fall semesters only. Students may earn credit for either Group A or Group B courses but not both. AP 3880 requires a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00. AP 4880 requires a minimum grade of C in AP 4300. AP 4800 must be taken before the semester immediately prior to graduation.

National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS)
The wilderness expedition experiences taken at the National Outdoor Leadership School may satisfy some of the following PSU courses. All courses will be evaluated for course content prior to enrollment.
AP 2309 Rock Climbing Fundamentals
AP 2409 Canoe Paddling Fundamentals
AP 3109 Wilderness Expedition [ not TECO ]
AP 3309 Adventure Leadership and Group Management
AP 3319 Lead Rock Climbing
AP 3409 Wilderness First Responder
AP 3419 Whitewater Kayaking
AP 3709 Winter Backcountry Travel
AP 3819 Alpine Mountaineering
AP 3959 Special Topics in Adventure Education

Credit may be awarded only once for either PSU courses or NOLS courses.

*All course information is from the 2013-2014 Catalog.