Academics at Prescott College
Adventure-Based Environmental Education
Bridging the study of natural systems and outdoor education
Environmental education encourages the discovery and understanding of the earth's natural systems and the human role within those systems, while adventure education typically puts a strong emphasis on the outdoor skills instruction and group dynamics. This emphasis explores the developing interface between these two fields from a philosophical and practical perspective.
Resident Bachelor of Arts
Since our inception, we have maintained a strong commitment to emphasizing extended field experiences for our undergraduate students. We take students to the most remote and beautiful areas in our own state of Arizona as well as breathtaking locations around the world that serve to enhance our students' learning. Be it on snow, vertical rock, ocean, river, or the classroom, we provide students with opportunities to develop theoretical grounding, leadership abilities, practical and technical skills, health and fitness, and sensitivity to the environment.
Students are offered an appropriate balance of structure and freedom in designing their degrees to match their heart's desires for learning. Students earning a degree in adventure education are capable of providing and facilitating positive, safe and comprehensive educational experiences for the broader public. Our hallmark is extended field time and personal mentorship with seasoned experts.
Academic ElementsAcademic Elements
Each fall and spring, new Prescott College students find themselves in “the classroom,” the breathtaking, sometimes raw, always diverse terrains and environments of the Southwest. New Prescott students are introduced to the natural environment of the Southwest, learn about themselves and each other, and experience the educational philosophies of Prescott College during Orientation, thus beginning the journey of developing relationships with their new home, community, and academic career.
For most students, Orientation will mean a three-week Desert, Mountain and Canyon Expedition (aka Wilderness Orientation). Students, as a small community of engaged learners, will be backpacking throughout ecologically diverse locations in Arizona. Studying - Connecting - Growing. Other students will participate in a Base Camp Orientation, or Community-Based Orientation.
Follow this link for detailed information on these Orientation options: Orientation Details
First Year Experience
In their first semester, freshmen will enroll in courses addressing the concerns and challenges of being a college student. First Year Students will choose from an array of immersive semester courses - like Water in the West, Art and Ecology, Foundations of Leadership, and Introduction to Psychology and Yoga - which continue to build community, forge relationships with faculty advisors, and develop academic inquiry.
In their first semester at Prescott College, transfer students participate in Crises of the 21st Century: Research Methods & Theories. Students from environmental and social disciplines, the arts, and humanities will be introduced to theoretical and research approaches that foster ways of integrating their questions through class discussions and personal research. Students enrolled in this course will be given individual support in creating a degree plan organizing courses they are transferring with into a pathway for graduation in their chosen fields.
During the first semester of their junior year, students create a degree plan, with the assistance of their faculty adviser, which sketches the academic map of their journey. It includes an overview of courses and credits earned; brief descriptions of competence, breadth, and liberal arts areas; lists of courses completed and those to be completed; a tentative Senior Project plan and description; and additional honors or experience that contribute to competence or breadth. The Degree Plan is a living document that continues to evolve throughout the student's final three terms.
Prescott College requires every student, not just designated "honors" students, to design and carry out an ambitious Senior Project. This Project functions as both a demonstration of competence and a culmination of the undergraduate experience. It may take the form of an ambitious research project, a collection of original creative writing, a curriculum plan and implementation, a studio art exhibition, a performance, a case or field study, or a challenging internship. Another way of thinking about the Senior Project is as a bridge between a student's undergraduate career and work after graduation. The Senior Project stands as a calling card that proclaims to graduate schools, prospective employers, and the world, "Look, this is what I'm capable of doing."
Life & Career OutcomesLife & Career Outcomes
- Adventure Program Administrator
- Alpine Mountaineering Instructor
- Backcountry Ski Guide
- Camp Counselor
- Camp Director
- Environmental Educator
- Graduate School
- Mountain or Rock Climbing Guide
- National Outdoor Leadership School Instructor/Administrator
- Outward Bound Instructor/Administrator
- River Guide
- Rock Climbing Instructor
- Sea Kayaking Instructor
- Wilderness Medicine Educator
Signature CoursesSignature Courses
Faculty & Mentor GuidesFaculty & Mentor Guides
Academic ResourcesAcademic Resources
Prescott College’s 2,800 square-foot Equipment Warehouse is a storage facility housing the College’s field equipment and a staging area for student forays into the wilderness. Staffers regularly rotate the state-of-the-art equipment and inventory to provide students with access to the latest in adventure gear. The Equipment Warehouse staff provides equipment for camping, backpacking, rock climbing, mountaineering, ski touring, avalanche forecasting, whitewater kayaking and rafting, sea kayaking, canoeing, and wilderness orientation.More Information Video: Prescott College Warehouse Tour
River Studies and Leadership Certificate
The River Studies and Leadership Certificate is designed to offer undergraduate students—who have become inspired to join the next generation of river professionals—a foundation of knowledge, skills, and experience in river-based science, policy, conservation, education, and recreation. Undergraduate students are awarded this certificate by the River Management Society after they have successfully completed a cogent package of river-focused coursework and a river-related professional project.More Information