BA (Hons) Outdoor Leadership

Course details

UCAS Course code NX23

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If you're looking to develop your leadership skills for managing outdoor activities, then we want to help you get the right start. We can provide you with the practical techniques and academic knowledge that an outdoor leader needs, including technical and transferable skills to suit any line of work. We'll teach you how to be a good listener, how to work with your team and how to develop as a person, with optional modules to allow you to progress your degree according to your own interests.

Our excellent location within the Lake District offers some fantastic opportunities to hone your outdoor skills, but that's not all we can offer. With challenging European mountain environments, you'll soon learn the importance of the leadership skills you develop, encouraging you to put what you've learnt into practice. We want to create self-motivated, confident leaders of the field, so get started on your future with help from one of Britain's leading outdoor activities schools.

Our course contains many practical modules that cover a vast range of outdoor activities, helping you learn your strengths and weaknesses when assessing the route you wish to take with your studies. The modules you take will develop the fundamental skills, knowledge and behaviours to be a leader, teaching you to manage and work with risk as well as understanding and performing professional practices in the field. You will develop and improve your personal outdoor activity competence to support you on your National Governing Body pathways.

Field trips on the Outdoor Leadership course include visits to Scotland (winter skills and canoe journeys) and mainland Europe (Andorra or Spain), in addition to multiple practical days in the Lake District with staff who hold the highest national qualifications (MIC, Level 5 etc.). Our European module will develop your ability to apply your learning to new contexts, especially those of a more testing nature like those found in European mountain environments.

Year one

Compulsory modules

  • Water
  • Rock
  • Mountain
  • Wood
  • Urban
  • Journey

Year two

Compulsory modules

  • Exploring Research Outdoors
  • Skill Acquisition
  • Critical Leadership Theory and the Outdoors
  • Performance in Challenging/European Environments

Optional modules (subject to availability and demand)

  • Commerciality, You, and the Outdoor Sector
  • Traditional and Innovative Approaches in the Outdoors
  • Recreation in Woodlands
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Physical Geography for Outdoor Educators

Year three

Compulsory modules

  • Leadership in Complex Skill Environments
  • Leadership in Context
  • Dissertation

Optional modules (subject to availability and demand)

  • Outdoor and Environmental Education
  • Participant Coaching in Outdoor Activities
  • Ice and Snow (Cold Environments)
  • Therapeutic Experiences in the Outdoors

Programme specification

For a detailed summary of all course content please read our programme specification for this course.

Download the programme specification (PDF)

2017 entry

104-120 UCAS tariff points.

The UCAS tariff has changed for 2017, you can find out more about the new tariff and qualification options from the new UCAS tariff table

Please check selection criteria for any additional entry requirements.

Selection criteria

Full-time courses

Apply online through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), between September and January; they will send your application on to us. Applications submitted after this date will be considered late and the course you have applied for might be full by this time; however, we will consider you for alternative suitable courses.

Their website provides all the information you need about universities, courses, locations, entry requirements and financial support. You are allowed to select up to five course choices. You need to use the correct UCAS campus and course codes as not all courses are offered at every campus. You will be asked for the following information when you apply online:

Institution code name: UoC

Institution code: C99

Campus location:

  • A Ambleside
  • B Brampton Road, Carlisle
  • E University of Cumbria at Energus, Workington
  • F Fusehill Street, Carlisle
  • L Lancaster
  • T University of Cumbria in London
  • Y University of Cumbria at Furness College, Barrow-in-Furness

Part-time courses

Applications should be made online directly to the university; visit our website or contact for details and guidance. There is no official closing date but we would encourage you to apply as early as possible, as many courses are competitive.

What makes a good application?

We consider all aspects of your application, not simply your qualifications and grades. We look at your academic background and performance, relevant experience (particularly for professional courses where some voluntary or paid experience is required) and your reference. Above all, we look for motivation, commitment and potential-evidence that you can benefit from study at higher education level.

Make sure you include:

  • Relevant qualifications/evidence of ability: check our website for the specific entry requirements required for each course. Tell us your previous academic results and your projected grades.
  • A supportive reference, from an employer or your school or college.
  • A good personal statement.
  • Explain clearly what attracts you to the course and tell us about your wider interests and experience. If you are applying for a course that incorporates professional training and placements, you should include any relevant experience or visits you have made in the workplace. Highlight your individual strengths and qualities, personal skills, capacity for teamwork, contribution to the community and your enterprise, originality and determination. Select some activities which bring out these qualities.

What next?

When we receive your application, we will send you an acknowledgement and if you are successful at this stage you will get either an offer (with an invitation to visit the campus to which you have applied), or an invitation to interview on a particular date. If we are not able to offer you a place on your chosen course we will usually try to offer you a place on a similar course and will contact you to discuss this. Alternatively, if we think you are suitable, but cannot offer you a place on your preferred campus because of the level of competition, we will offer you a place at another campus if one is available.

And if I accept?

The admissions team will contact you and send further information from February onwards about accommodation, and from May/June onwards about preparing to join the university. If you have any other queries, please telephone the admissions offices for information and advice on 0845 6061144.

Deferred entry

We welcome applications for deferred entry on some courses. If you have specific plans during your year out, indicate these on your personal statement as they may be relevant to your course and could enhance your application.

International students

Applications for full-time undergraduate study are made through UCAS. Please see the international pages of our website for full details of our entry requirements (including English-language skills) as well as contacts for advice and support.

From 2009 the UK Border Agency introduced a Points-Based Immigration System (PBS) for students coming to the UK from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Students entering higher education will need to obtain a Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS) plus finance confirmation to obtain a Tier 4 student visa. UK education providers are licensed by the UK Border Agency. When students apply for their visa (or entry clearance) they will need a valid Certificate of Acceptance of Studies from the university. Please note that a CAS is not a guarantee that a visa will be issued.

See the following websites for further details:

You will be well-suited to a career in the outdoor industry, gaining a transferable skill set that will make you invaluable amongst employers. You could become a centre or freelance outdoor activities instructor, or work in related areas such as field studies, youth work, development training, outdoor retail outlets, public services, armed forces or management positions. You may seek a graduate level position or join a graduate training scheme with a blue chip company or similar organisation.

Alternatively, you could go on to higher degrees or postgraduate teaching qualifications at the primary, secondary or tertiary level. Whatever you decide to do, you will be able to prove yourself as a capable and knowledgeable leader amongst your peers.

Thanks to the key location of our Ambleside campus, you will have easy access to a range of outdoor activities throughout the Lake District to help improve your personal competencies. You will also have access to other upland areas like the Pennines, Howgills and Galloway Hills, taking advantage of each unique landscape to put your skills to the test. As well as the practical elements, we offer a wealth of resources in equipment and staffing expertise to see your studies go to great success.