Plymouth State is surrounded by New Hampshire’s magnificent Lakes Region and the White Mountain National Forest, which our faculty, staff, and students explore through wilderness expeditions, ropes courses, whitewater kayaking, rock climbing, mountaineering, backpacking, and winter camping. As an Adventure Education (BS) program student, you will lead children, adults, and at-risk populations in inspiring adventures that promote personal growth and self-discovery.
Students majoring in Adventure Education are preparing for future careers in leadership, instruction, and administrative positions with non-profit and commercial outdoor education, wilderness education, wilderness therapy, therapeutic adventure, developmental, environmental, and recreation programs.
Adventure Education teaches students how to use human powered outdoor activities 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, wilderness first aid, risk management, legal issues, and program administration.
In their second year, all students in Adventure Education participate in a 15-credit Fall Immersion Semester, which involves wilderness backpacking and canoe camping expeditions lasting 4 to 15 days. They also have the option of spending a semester in the Outdoor Education program at LaTrobe University in Bendigo, Australia or a semester in Norway at the University of South-Eastern Norway in Bø to study friluftsliv (Outdoor Life). 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.
Additionally, students are required to complete a minimum of 75 days of documented adventure leadership or instruction prior to their internship Adventure Education Internship (AP 4880) or 30 days prior to their Clinical Adventure Education Clinical (AP 3890). This leadership/instruction experience must occur after the student’s formal matriculation into the Adventure Education program. Some of this experience is gained through work at the PSU Outdoor Center SOAR (Student Outdoor Adventure Recreation), CALE (Community Adventure Learning Experiences), and/or Outdoor Orientation programs while most is accrued through summer jobs in outdoor programs.
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 $925 and $2,150 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. Students are also able to rent outdoor equipment for FREE at the Outdoor Center, which is managed by the Adventure Education program.
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.
Note: Because field-based courses may occur on weekends, the schedule for Adventure Education students needs to be carefully planned and may disallow participation in some athletic events and/or affect their availability for working during some weekends.