Click here to edit using the old editor
{"available": "entirely", "availability": {"status": {"Recruiting Status 23/24":"RP 23/24","Recruiting Status 24/25":"RP 24/25","Recruiting Status 22/23":"RP 22/23"}, "dates": [{"name":"September 2023","month":"September","year":2023},{"name":"September 2024","month":"September","year":2024},{"name":"September 2022","month":"September","year":2022}]}}

BSc (Hons) - Outdoor Adventure and Environmental Studies (with Integrated Foundation Year)

Do you have a passion to be in and learn about the outdoors and the environment? This course will challenge you to use the outdoors for environmental and societal benefits as well as giving you everything you need to kick-start your outdoor career.

Our foundation year in Carlisle will build a solid base in scientific, intellectual and investigative skills and knowledge so that you reach the level needed to undertake the remainder of your degree in Ambleside.


Outdoor Adventure and Environmental Studies (with Integrated Foundation Year) cover image

Course Overview

The course focuses on incorporating adventurous lifestyles that are socially and environmentally sensitive to address the ecological and cultural challenges of our times.

Using your outdoor skills you will learn about environmental, ecological, and geographical processes that shape outdoor places. You will explore how outdoor experiences can be used to benefit health and wellbeing, with the opportunity to visit and be involved in projects in partnership with work-based activities both in outdoor and environmental contexts.

There are several field trips in the UK and you’ll also be able to travel independently to the Picos de Europa in Spain. This opportunity will set you up for a successful career in the great outdoors. Whether you work in environmental education, conservation and environmental management, or using therapeutic applications outdoors.

On this course you will...

  • Learn outdoors experientially to develop outdoor skills and explore contemporary environmental questions.
  • Work with and for different outdoor and environmental organisations to gain hands-on experience and contacts with potential future employers.
  • Explore how the outdoors has heath and wellbeing benefits and therapeutic applications.
  • Learn in inspiring locations like the Lake District National Park, North Wales, Scotland, British coastline, and Spain (including a shared international expedition with Spanish students).
  • Meet some of the most inspiring people and students, and have unique once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Course Structure

What you will learn

In the context of this degree, environment has a broad meaning, for example: built, outdoor, indoor, ecological, geological, geographical, social, political, and historical as well as perceived, individual and emotional.

This programme immerses you in outdoor experiences as a vehicle to develop outdoor skills, environmental knowledge, contemporary and creative practice, communication and facilitation skills (working with people), personal ethics, and values. You will gain an understanding of not just the environment, but wider practices and management styles that occur within the UK and the wider world.

You will explore how people, places, and environments interact and develop curiosity, ideas, and a lifelong passion for learning. Our degree is a way of life that fully immerses you in outdoor learning, both theory and practice.

Year one

You will build a solid base in scientific, intellectual and investigative skills and knowledge which will be expanded upon during the rest of the course.

  • Essential University Skills 1
    This module develops your academic and professional skills required for effective learning and successful progression through your chosen honours degree programme and beyond.
  • Essential Biology
    To develop knowledge and understanding of the fundamental principles of biology, essential to further study in your chosen field.
  • Scientific Investigation
    To explore the protocols associated with scientific investigation.
  • Essential University Skills 2
    You will expand your learning in the areas of research, writing structure and reflective learning. You will also gain skills in presenting research to an audience and in reflecting on your development throughout your integration foundation year.
  • Environmental Sciences
    Introduces field-based skills akin to the natural sciences with interdisciplinary content which relates Human Ecology to Toxicology, Public Health, Epidemiology and Parasitology. Giving you a good foundation in the basic principles required for your degree.
  • Dynamic Earth
    You will study applied aspects of geology, geomorphology, climatology, hydrology and soils within the context of your area of interest. There will be opportunity for laboratory and field classes to support your understanding within a regional context.
Year two
  • Ecological Knowledge, Interactions and Change
    This module seeks to develop understanding of the underlying processes that shape ecological relations. Outdoor and Geography students will develop their ecological thinking and literacy in a variety of local habitats and ecosystems.
  • Outdoor Adventure Skills and Learning (Water)
    This module will provide you with a foundational understanding of and capability in, a range of key water activities areas that underpin the wider programme. You will also explore the nature of adventure and adventurous experiences both conceptually and in practice.
  • Exploring Lake District Landscapes
    Explores the events that have shaped the cultural and perceptual landscapes. Using field visits, it delves into the rich cultural history of this region looking at how working practices, perceptual preferences and land protection have changed over time.
  • Living and Working in Groups Outdoors
    Develop a range of outdoor activities (e.g. overnight journeys, participating in an environmental task, urban exploration, solo) where the students will have the opportunity to reflect on their part in working with “others”. Students will share their own experiences to develop broader perspective.
  • Outdoor Professional Development
    Explores concepts of outdoor learning and examples in practice within historical and contemporary work-based settings. Students will visit a variety of outdoor professionals in order to learn what are necessary fundamental skills and knowledge expected by employers across a range of contexts.
  • The Earth System
Year three
  • Habitats and Ecosystem
    You will investigate the interactions of ecosystems together with the influence of stakeholders on the management of such habitats. There will be a series of field visits to investigate contemporary projects with respect to the management of habitats and ecosystems.
  • Outdoor Living Learning and Adventure
    This module sees you extend your knowledge exploring the anthropological roots of many outdoor activities. Such as how different groups develop skills out of necessity (Inuit’s sea kayaked, Native American peoples canoe, British sailing from it's sea-faring heritage).
  • European Mountains: Ecology, Culture and Tourism (domestic travel when restricted by Covid regulations)
    Students are encouraged to create adventurous travel and will be encouraged to address questions of their ecological footprint and sustainability. On location they will use their outdoor skills to investigate the place, to analyse its ecology, culture and politics.
  • Health and Wellbeing and Environmental Health
    The aims of this module are to enable students to explore and examine relationships between ecological, social and personal health and well-being in varied environmental settings. Extent they add to people’s personal stories of health and well-being will be examined using different approaches.
  • Research Design
    This module will enable you to explore the process of designing, executing and reporting an independent research project, and develops from your understanding of techniques developed earlier into developing methodologies and the research method. Culminates in student-led fieldwork.
  • Catchments: Summit to Sea (Optional)
    The catchment can be considered the fundamental building-block of landscape, and this module develops an integrated understanding of the processes that shape catchments from local and global scales.
  • Traditional and Innovative Approaches to Outdoor Education (Optional)
    Aims to consider the nature and value of different approaches to outdoor learning environmentally and socially. Approaches will be experienced and examined with reference to pedagogies such as adventurous learning, place-based, expedition based or environmental contexts in outdoor learning.
  • Exploring Coastal Environments (Optional)
    This module aims to equip students with skills and knowledge to traverse the coastal environment. This gives a unique perspective of coastal environments from the sea, an experiential approach that engages participants critically with how humans utilise and effect these environments.
Year four
  • Dissertation
    An opportunity to undertake an independent piece of in-depth research into a topic of your choice that is related to the fields of animal conservation science and conservation biology. You'll develop your research skills and gain valuable experience in project management and research dissemination.
  • Contemporary Global Conservation
    Critically assess contemporary global conservation from the perspective of resource management and biological diversity. Students will evaluate the application of ecological processes within the context of conservation and sustainability.
  • Adventure and Environmental Ethics
    Students will survey and develop a critical understanding of a range of approaches to adventure and exploration as well as uncover and explore different environmental ethics, in relation to adventurous exploration, society in general and the students’ own outdoor practice.
  • Cold Environments (The Cryosphere) (Optional)
    The cryosphere is one of the most sensitive (and influential) elements of our global climate system, responding to, and driving rapid climate changes. This module gives you an advanced understanding and explores the broader significance of the cryosphere for humans and the Earth system.
  • Outdoor and Environmental Education (Optional)
    To develop a critical understanding of outdoor and environmental education theory and practice in formal and non-formal educational settings.
  • Therapeutic Opportunities (Optional)
    Students will experience a range of nature-based interventions and will be encouraged to reflect on their own personal therapeutic relationship with nature, as well as design outdoor experience for others with specific therapeutic intentions.

Attend an Open Day at Cumbria

An Open Day is your opportunity to explore one of 5 campuses, meet your lecturers, and find out how the University of Cumbria could become your new home.

Take the next step towards achieving your dreams.
A student stands in front of a wall splattered with paint.