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BA (Hons) - Outdoor Education (Accelerated Two Year Degree)

Do you have a passion for being active outdoors, learning about yourself and how to work as a team? Do you enjoy acting for the environment and ensuring the safety and welfare of others? Our two-year outdoor education degree is a fast-track version of the traditional three-year programme, meaning you will gain a full honours degree, but graduate a year earlier. It's a stepping stone to a variety of life-long and rewarding career options including teaching, outdoor education, and environmental consulting.

Dive headfirst into this exciting journey of the great outdoors.

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Course Overview

Outdoor education is about the people, the place and the activity - and we will help you discover all three.

Our outdoor education course is a way of life that fully immerses you in outdoor learning, both theory and practice. You will be supported to understand the theory behind outdoor learning philosophy, ethics, environment, challenges and adventure in lecture theatres and seminars, with regular first-hand experience outdoors.

Your ideas and judgement will be valued and developed, and learning concepts will be put into practice during placements in environmental organisations, including outdoor education centres and schools.

We embrace innovative approaches to learning, teaching and assessment. Traditionally higher education programmes have come to a close in the spring term, when the sun comes out! The accelerated nature of the programme design allows you to make the most of these summer months whilst being supported by the academic staff.

On this course you will...

  • Be based in the heart of the Lake District National Park, where you can experience outdoor education through every season.
  • Be provided with two outdoor work placement experiences to suit your area of interest and personal and professional requirements.
  • Be prepared to continue directly onto a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), completing both an undergraduate degree and a nationally recognised teacher training course in only three years.
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Course Structure

What you will learn

On this programme, you will learn alongside like-minded enthusiasts, building community and culture and enhancing environmental and social connections throughout your studies. Outdoor Education is about; the people, the place and the activity - and we will help you discover all three.

Year one
  • Outdoor education in the UK (Origins)
    Explores how the story of outdoor education is rooted in historical and cultural shifts in society during the 18th and 19th centuries; including land reform, the industrial revolution, the emerging class system, the Romantic Movement, scientific discoveries and the expansion of the British Empire.
  • The Outdoor Professional
    To provide students with the skills and techniques necessary to access a range of outdoor land and waterscapes and to recognise the opportunities offered by these in differing environmental conditions for the purposes of recreation, personal development, research and education.
  • Outdoor Education 1 (Expeditions) and Outdoor Education 2 (Creative Responses)
    Two modules aiming to explore an approach to Outdoor Education which focuses on the educational value of learning through outdoor expeditions and then explore relationships between art, culture and the environment, and the factors that influence people’s responses to the outdoors.
  • Introduction to Cultural and Social Contexts
    Offers students an introduction to different critical sociological concepts and theories in order to explore historical and contemporary inequalities and future possibilities for outdoor education.
  • Understanding the Environment
    Explores how we understand the ecological and physical environment by employing a variety of ways and approaches to learning; e.g. experiential, sensory, experimental, investigative, conceiving different environments over different temporal and spatial scales.
  • 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.
  • Leading Educational Groups Outdoors
    Aims to enhance the confidence and capabilities of students in leading educational groups outdoors. Learning will be informed by theoretical frameworks and research evidence to support autonomous, safe and creative professional practice.
  • Research Skills
    Aims to enhance the confidence and capabilities of students in leading educational groups outdoors. Learning will be informed by theoretical frameworks and research evidence to support autonomous, safe and creative professional practice.
  • Learning Away
    Overnight trips - residential experiences, camps and journeys – are a long-standing approach to Outdoor Education. During this module students will design and lead sessions that make the most of overnight experiences and local landscape.
  • Health, Wellbeing, and Environmental Health
    Enables students to explore and examine relationships between ecological, social and personal health and well-being in varied environmental settings.
Year two
  • Placement Research
    Provides an opportunity to develop research skills and gain valuable experience in a professional context.
  • Outdoor Education 3 (Place-based)
    Aims to encourage a deeper understanding of place-based outdoor education theory through involvement in specific outdoor disciplines, over time, utilising the opportunities afforded through relationship with place and knowledge of environmental and seasonal conditions.
  • International Outdoor Education
    Examining Outdoor Education strategies and practices in other cultures and environments can reveal things about that culture and our own. At the same time, it can provide inspiration for new practices.
  • Outdoor Education for the Future
    Issues of social and environmental justice are global and threaten emergencies that challenge our current way of life. How will outdoor education respond to these 21st Century challenges we face?
  • Therapeutic Opportunities
    Aims to critically explore nature-connectedness in the context of well-being. It will investigate the complexity surrounding the concepts of nature and culture and explore how our understanding influences therapeutic opportunities.
  • Commerce and Employment in the Outdoor Sector
    The aims of the module are to develop students’ understanding of the outdoor sector in terms of the range of employment opportunities and to foster the relevant skills, knowledge and insights required to progress within it whilst being able to adapt to change.

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.