Master of Arts in Adventure Education

Preparing a new generation of educators and adventure-based entrepreneurs


Limited-Residency Master of Arts Adventure Education Faculty are preparing a new generation of educators and adventure-based entrepreneurs through their research and close association with professionals in the field.

To prepare for their future roles, students self-design course work exploring the philosophical foundations of experiential and adventure education, with particular attention to these areas: 

  • Leadership training 
  • Wilderness travel 
  • Safety and risk management 
  • Environmental education 
  • Special education programming 
  • Challenge course facilitation 
  • Corporate team-building

Students may also wish to take course work in counseling theories, group facilitation, human growth and development, adventure therapy, ecopsychology, and ecotherapy, bringing these approaches into work with diverse populations and educational/therapeutic contexts. These courses could lead to a concentration in therapeutic applications of adventure education, curricular reform (e.g., service learning), and social justice.

Students entering the Limited-Residency Master of Arts Adventure Education program should have prior experience and skills in an area related to their proposed concentration of study. For example, many students have spent several years wilderness backpacking, mountaineering, technical rock climbing, kayaking, canoeing, working as ropes course facilitators, sailing, etc. Others have taught in the public schools, independent schools, community facilities or international programs. Regardless of starting point, students who are interested in expanding their knowledge with studies in adventure education will find it a rich, dynamic and growing field.

While each student has the opportunity to design a specialization that fits his or her professional needs, the concentrations featured below have crystallized as being central to the department’s mission and vision.

Concentration in Therapeutic Applications of Adventure Education 

Limited-Residency Master of Arts Program students working in Therapeutic Applications of Adventure Education will prepare themselves to employ adventure-based theories and techniques in settings that focus on non-clinical counseling methodologies. This focus was created to enrich professional adventure educators’ depth and breadth of knowledge and skills in working with the affective needs of individuals and groups. It will enrich adventure educators’ applied integration of counseling theories and group dynamics and human development.

Concentration in Integral Adventure Education 

The integral approach to Adventure Education seeks to integrate the mind, body, and spirit of the individual and/or group. Students in this field work to create experiences and programs that tap into the depth of transformational learning through adventure experiences. Examining these situations through the lenses of individual development, and cultural and societal interaction, integral adventure education unfolds and considers the relationship among humans as well as humans in a biological context. This integration of inner and outer realms of being is a primary focus of this concentration.

Expeditionary Learning Theory and Practice 

This discipline explores the learning associated with exploration and journey-based experiences or expeditions. Learning activities involving elements of challenge, adventure and leadership can take place in a variety of settings, including wilderness, classrooms and even virtual spaces. Participants in expeditionary education can be directly involved in the expedition or may be linked to expeditions undertaken by others.

Outdoor Program Administration 

Students in this concentration focus on leadership development, program management, program assessment, and other areas of study necessary for preparing the next generation of outdoor program educators and administrators.

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