A master's degree program in adventure education is a unique program that allows outdoor enthusiasts to become professionals in wilderness and experiential education. This program prepares graduates for careers in outdoor program administration, recreational therapy, environmental education, and other related fields. Discover what it takes to earn this master's degree below.
Is a Master's Degree in Adventure Education Right for Me?
Adventure education can be an exciting field for a student with an interest in leadership, the environment, recreation, teaching and the outdoors. This degree can be obtained as a Master of Science or a Master of Art depending on the school, and it generally takes around two years to complete. Some universities offer programs in outdoor education, which is closely related to adventure education. Below you'll find information on typical coursework that adventure education graduate students are expected to take:
Adventure Risk Management
Students taking a course in adventure risk management will learn various techniques for ensuring the safety of themselves as well as the people they're leading on expeditions. These courses cover preparation, how to react in specific situations, and how to properly assess a team before going on an adventure. Additionally, these courses typically discuss legal implications, as well as how to minimize risk from that angle.
A course in recreation research is a common requirement for a master's degree in adventure education. In this class, students learn methods of research to plan expeditions and ensure the satisfaction of their group members. Typically, these courses involve classroom time as well as experiential learning.
Outdoor and Recreation Administration
This course introduces students to the administrative and operational side of adventure education. Topics covered include budgeting, hiring, supervising, organizing, and leadership. Students work with different agencies to gain exposure to special topics and to understand the key components of recreation administration.
Students will often take multiple courses related to recreational therapy. The topics vary between individual outdoor therapy, group recreation, the psychology of leisure therapy, and adventure-based counseling. These courses are designed to give practical job training for future recreational therapists.
Leadership in Recreation and Outdoor Activities
Adventure education programs typically require students to take a leadership course. Some are specific to recreational leadership, while others are general leadership courses. Topics covered may include decision-making, communication, leadership styles, skills, and best practices.
How to Get Admitted to a Program
Universities typically require a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for acceptance into a master's degree program in adventure education. Some schools require applicants to submit GRE scores; however, others do not. Programs typically require letters of recommendation, a current resume or CV, and usually a personal essay. In some cases, there are unique requirements as well, such as a minimum of two years of experience working in recreational services or a basic understanding of working in the outdoors.
A master's degree program in adventure education offers unique coursework in topics like risk management and leadership, including some experiential courses. The program explores many facets of teaching and learning in the outdoors and helps students develop skills that are essential for becoming a recreational leader.