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BA (Hons) Outdoor and Adventure Education



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Institution C58


Bishop Otter campus (Chichester)

4 Years (or 3 Years under exceptional circumstances) Full Time

Top 30
UK University
for teaching quality
for student satisfaction
1. Guardian University Guide 2021 | 2. Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 | 3. National Student Survey 2021

Entry Requirements and Fees

Typical Offer (individual offers may vary):

Tariff points: 96 - 112

A Level: BBC - CCC


International Baccalaureate: 28 points

Access to HE Diploma: Pass

Interview: Yes.  Applicants who demonstrate relevant experience and/or understanding, as well as commitment to and enthusiasm for, the industry, may receive a lower (grades) offer.

IELTS 6.0 overall with no element lower than 5.5 


2021/22 UK fee: £9,250

2021/22  International fee: £14,050

For further details about fees, please see our Tuition Fee page.

For further details about international scholarships, please see our Scholarships page.

Student view

Megan Sampson
Outdoor and Adventure Education
"Being in the outdoors has always been an integral part of my life, making the decision to leave full-time work to study the Outdoor & Adventure Education Programme an easy one. Perhaps the greatest highlight for me is the residential experiences we receive – not only does it continue to strengthen the friendships forged with my peers, but also with my lecturers. There is very little they won’t do to help you achieve and push you further then you thought you could go."
Thomas Jackson
Outdoor and Adventure Education

"Having worked as a teaching assistant for a time and developing a real passion for the role made, what I had considered, ‘taking a step back’ into education a particularly difficult decision. Taking a step back couldn’t have been further from the truth, I have expanded my knowledge on what it is to learn and to teach, expanding my understanding on the different types of education available to young people. I have, built strong relationships with my lecturers, who very early on got to know every one of us as an individual and developed life-long relationships with my peers. The degree has changed me in many ways including where I now see myself in the future."

Course content

  • 15th for student satisfaction (Guardian Subject League Table 2021)

Our four-year well-established degree links activity e.g. mountain biking to physiology or psychology. It is the only course validated with a one-year placement that you can do anywhere in the world. You will develop strong professional relationships because staff are highly qualified in the practical domain. All of our theory and practice are taught by our own staff and in small groups. Years One, Two and Four will be on campus, and Year Three will be your placement year.


In addition to practical work on campus and in the local area where we use to the sea, lakes, rivers and South Downs National Park, we travel further afield and there is a residential each semester. In your first year, there are two residentials to France. One where you will participate in watersports and get to know your classmates and teaching staff and the other one to Fontainebleau which is a world-famous climbing site. In your second year, we go to Wales and Lanzarote. In Lanzarote, you have an optional module to stay for an additional week and complete an open water scuba diving course where you will get a qualification which contributes to that option if you choose it. In Year Four you will get an alpine experience including skiing, snowboarding and snow science. Find out more about the placement year in the work placement section.

Our residentials demonstrate how theory is woven into practical sessions and our videos showcase how practical the course is.

There are three themes you will study:

Theme One - Individual

You will consider how the individual makes sense of the adventure education experience. This could be understanding your own physiology or your own motivation for adventure in psychology for example. Critical reflection on your own personal experience is central to knowledge and understanding. You will look at personal performance and engage in activities such as surfing and rock climbing.

Theme Two - Group

You will consider how groups perform in the adventure environment through an understanding of group dynamics and teaching strategies. Consideration will be given to aspects such as leadership, facilitation, decision-making, and problem-solving. You will also look at laws, principles, and theories.

Theme Three - Environment

You will focus on your impact on the adventure environment, considering environmental philosophy, user conflict, and impact reduction. This includes environmental science, geology, botany, meteorology, and sustainability issues.

Through these themes you reflect on your past experiences, laying down a framework for the understanding of new adventure experiences. To become an effective adventure facilitator, it is essential that practitioners are able to plan purposeful activities by actualising their intended outcomes rather than leaving them to chance.

We work alongside and with industry experts and companies to develop a hands-on degree programme that will give students both the physical and classroom-based skills they need to start a career in the Outdoor Education sector. The core text used on all adventure education courses is written by our teaching staff.


National Governing Body Awards

Each year, we typically offer:

  • U.K.C.C/B.C.U courses at all levels
  • Single Pitch Award (training)for Rock Climbing (S.P.A)
  • The site specific indoor climbing wall award
  • Mountain Bike Instructor Award (M.I.A.S)
  • Mountain Leader Award (M.L Summer) training.
  • Level 2 Powerboat (R.Y.A)
  • First aid

During the third year many students gain governing body awards in the UK and abroad from The Professional Association of Diving Instructors, The Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors and the British Association of Snowsport Instructors.


Our facilities

Campus Location: Chichester 

We offer you some of the best sporting facilities available to study for a degree. All of our facilities are designed for academic teaching, research, British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) competitions and for your social/recreational use throughout the week and weekends.

The world-class Tudor Hale Centre for Sport is the focus of sporting activities both academic and recreational at the University. It incorporates a suite of state of the art sport science laboratories, a sports injury clinic, a strength and conditioning room and a fitness centre. In addition there is a sports hall. Located beside the Tudor Hale Centre for Sport you will find our Sports Dome, lano sand dressed astro turf and a grass rugby pitch.


Modern fleet of kayaks and canoes
High quality paddles, spray decks and buoyancy aids
Traditional and sport climbing equipment
Fleet of duckies



Sports Dome

Four tennis courts which can be used for a variety of sports.

Blue flooring and blue curtains separating courts with student throwing javelins

Sports hall

Used for basketball, netball, trampolining, badminton, volleyball, cricket, soccer, table tennis, hockey and ultimate frisbee.

Fitness suite

Various membership levels available. Weights, resistance and cardio machines.

Weights, resistance and cardio machines

Indoor and outdoor climbing walls and climbing boulder

Available for any student to use after an induction and when Tudor Hale Centre for Sport is open.

Images showing external and internal climbing wall and external boulder

Grass football and rugby pitches

Students playing football and girl passing rugby ball

Floodlit lano sand-dressed astro turf 

A top of the range Lano sand-dressed astro all completely compliant to International Hockey federation standards.

Lano sand-dressed astro .

  • 110m synthetic athletics track
  • Strength and conditioning room
  • Two multi-purpose gymnasiums
  • Outdoor netball and tennis court
  • Two seminar rooms
  • Cricket nets 

Sport Science Laboratories:

Four dedicated psychology labs including a Virtual Reality Reader, Brain Imaging Unit and Observation Suite.

Student using software to track activity of body for sport psychology

Two dedicated biomechanics labs

Student running with rugby ball with sensor on past tracking posts

Five dedicated physiology labs

Used for testing on treadmills, bikes and various other pieces of equipment.

Physiology labs showing equipment used

An environmental chamber

Used to simulate heat, altitude, etc.

Envinronmental chamber in physiology lab

A sports injury clinic and adjoining rehabilitation space

Sports Therapy students use these spaces for practical sessions and run a clinic. It is open for students, staff and external visitors who require treatment also either from Sports Therapy students or staff.

Sports therapy clinic with beds and rehab room

Where this can take you

A wide range of professional opportunities awaits Outdoor and Adventure Education graduates from Chichester. Careers include education, adventure tourism, recreation and leisure management, risk management, conservation and management, Harbour Master, Research Fellow, care and therapy, the military, and the police. A small but growing number of graduates have set up their own adventure-based business either in the UK or overseas.

Many graduates have continued with their studies gaining Master's Degrees in physiology, psychology and education. Some graduates have also gained scholarships for doctoral studies leading to lecturing in Higher Education and research in the UK and overseas.

We understand the importance of ensuring that you have the knowledge, skills and experience to compete successfully in today’s challenging jobs market. Whilst these degrees will prepare you for a career in the rapidly growing field of adventure education it also provides an opportunity for students who simply wish to further their understanding of adventure education in an applied context.


In addition to the work placements and sector-specific employability and enterprise modules that many of you will have embedded in your course, we have developed a student and graduate internship scheme.  Our commitment is to make sure that students and graduates from all disciplines who register on the programme, and successfully complete the necessary preparation, have the opportunity to apply for carefully-matched internships. *

This programme aims to ensure that students will graduate with:

  • A focused high-quality CV
  • Interview and selection centre preparation
  • The ability to identify and articulate transferable skills
  • Experience of a recruitment process
  • Substantive relevant work experience
  • Workplace skills

As part of the programme we aim to:

  • Provide a free matching service to identify the needs and aspirations of both graduates and employers
  • Identify and promote short-term student employment opportunities with a focus on specific sectors
  • Ensure that there is a range of opportunities to be provided including internships of both short and long duration
  • Sign-post Chichester graduates to other universities’ internship schemes in their home area, where available

* Gaining an internship is the result of a competitive interview process with the prospective employer so an internship cannot be guaranteed. The programme is intended to provide a progressive work experience package tailored both to your course and your career aspirations on graduation.


Alumnus Craig Lindsay, Centre Manager at Runways End Activity Centre: 

"This degree has catapulted my career forwards, I have really benefited." 

Postgraduate further study

Alumni receive a 15% discount on postgraduate courses at Chichester

  • MSc Applied Sport and Exercise Nutrition
  • MSc Physical Activity and Public Health
  • MSc Physiotherapy (pre-registration)
  • MSc Sports Coaching
  • MSc Sport and Exercise Biomechanics
  • MSc Sport and Exercise Physiology
  • MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology (BPS route)
  • MSc Sports Performance Analysis
  • MSc Strength and Conditioning
  • MA Sport Pedagogy and Physical Education
  • PGCE Primary
  • PGCE Secondary Physical Education
  • School Direct
  • School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT)


Work placements

During the third year of your degree, you will undertake a placement year. In conjunction with the staff teaching team, you will plan a negotiated learning contract containing periods of work in the adventure industry, personal adventuring, and experiences towards governing body awards.

Whilst you are encouraged to find your own placements, we have developed a network of contacts worldwide that you could use should that suit your own ambitions.

Some student placements include:

  • Working for a dog-sled team in Norway, teaching and guiding (after some training of course!)
  • Surf coach in Sri Lanka
  • Teaching sailing in China
  • Teaching in a school in Korea
  • Teaching skiing in Canada

Our year-long placement differentiates us from all other similar degrees.

Increase your employability – here’s what our students had to say.

The placement year is unique because you get the chance to discover what you actually want to do whilst still having the support and encouragement of the University and your lecturers. You are free and encouraged to test your limits, and challenging placements are definitely encouraged! I spent my time riding around the world on a motorbike and it was fantastic."


Placements Office

Chichester Institute of Sport has a dedicated placement coordinator. Students are ultimately responsible for finding their own placement, however, the placement coordinator is available to assist students and has a network of contacts in local clubs and schools.

Our students are from all over the UK, with the majority from the South and South East of England, with a few students from overseas.

Many students find work placements in their home towns, as well as local opportunities in Sussex.

Placements are integral to your development as a student and are integrated within University-based work.

You will need to ensure you have all the necessary documentation in place before you start your placement.

You may need a DBS check depending on where your placements is.

Please check that you have completed all necessary documentation before commencing your placement.

To contact the Placement Co-ordinator please email Clare Deacon or tel: 01243 793542

Indicative modules

Year One 

Contemporary Issues in Outdoor and Adventure Education 

Contemporary, organised, and facilitated outdoor and adventure education in the U.K has a recent but rich history. This module aims to explore the key historical antecedents of contemporary experiential, outdoor and adventure education. This module also aims to examine the efficacy of contemporary outdoor and adventure education as well as exploring possible futures for this well- developed area of study in the U.K and beyond.  


Understanding Groups in the Outdoors

An introduction to the study of group formation and group dynamics. The module commences by considering the pressures placed on society in general by different groups. The study of group formation and processes is then placed in outdoor and adventure contexts where you will consider models of group formation and the dynamics of group processes. It will explore established and contemporary theories that aim to explain the different ways groups function. 

Developing Professional and Academic Skills

This module aims to help you make the transition between UK qualifications levels three and four (Year One at university) by advancing intellectual and academic skills, which will support you throughout your programme. As part of the developing professional skills part of this module you will focus on issues surrounding employability and developing graduate employability skills. 

Understanding Performance (Water-Based) 

Key aspects of the module will include an examination of personal performance, the physical environment, and safety and wellbeing. It will focus on creating theory to practice links and build a solid intellectual foundation for understanding water-based adventure activities which can be applied to wider environmental and sports contexts. 

Adventures in Education 1 (Introducing Pedagogy)

Whilst many students appreciate the organisational elements necessary for safe delivery of outdoor and adventure activities they often lack the necessary pedagogical understanding to maximise opportunity for learning in outdoor and adventure education contexts. This module introduces you to learning theories that have dominated formal and informal education contexts. This module also challenges ideas historically implicit in outdoor and adventure education. 

Introduction to Psychological Issues in Outdoor and Adventurous Activities

The aims of this module are for you to have a sound knowledge of the basic concepts within the academic discipline of psychology, its different perspectives, and its application to the outdoor and adventurous environment.  Developmental and lifespan issues will be addressed from a motor, cognitive, social, and moral perspective. Individual differences within the learning environment will be examined through personality, motivation, and the development of self-concept.  The module will also address the acquisition of skill, learning theories, skill versus ability, memory, and motor control.   

Fundamentals of Human Physiology 

This module will cover the fundamental principles of Human Physiology by examining how key systems such as the musculoskeletal system, the cardiovascular system, and the respiratory system affect human performance. Specific attention is paid to energy metabolism in the context of the exercising human across the breadth of the energy spectrum.

Understanding Performance (Land-Based) 

Key aspects of the module will include an examination of personal performance, the physical environment, and safety and wellbeing.  The module will focus on creating theory to practice links and will build a solid intellectual foundation for understanding land-based adventure activities which can be applied to wider environmental and sports contexts.  


Year Two

Core modules:


Adventures in Education 2 (Developing Pedagogy) 

The aim of this module is to provide you with a basis to continue to develop pedagogical principles established in Adventures in Education 1 (Introducing Pedagogy). This module builds on the key principles developed in year one and is a response to student feedback to include opportunities for feedback on students’ teaching and facilitation skills. This module centres on the planning, delivery, evaluation, and justification of teaching and/or facilitation methods applied to small group, micro-teaching contexts in outdoor and adventure education.

Outdoor Environments 1

Most people involved in outdoor and adventure activities are thrown into closer contact with the natural environment than they have ever been before. Those who understand these environments are more likely to reach their goals, to do so safely, and to do so with considerable personal satisfaction. This module aims to introduce physical and biological processes that have shaped environments in the past and continue to affect them in the present, to enable you to appreciate the broad environmental context of outdoor and adventure activities for your own personal benefit and to provide awareness and excitement you will share with other participants. 

Management Issues in  Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning

A focus on providing activities for groups operating in adventurous environments.  The module examines the legislation and logistics that govern the management of adventure providers, facilitative centres, and environment agencies.  Through your studies you will generate an understanding of the operational environment that you will find yourself working and participating in. 

Research and Enquiry in Outdoor and Adventure Education 

This module aims to raise and explore research methods and issues within Adventure Education. This module sets out to provide an appropriate and sound basis for future research. It aims to introduce you to the notion of research paradigms, consider a range of traditions, and provide a solid foundation of research design. The intention is to develop your critical awareness of a variety of qualitative and quantitative research methods and data analysis techniques. You will also consider data analysis techniques that will be immediately transferable to other areas of the degree. 

Applied Meteorology 

Many students can organise outdoor and adventure activities in simple contexts but few have the ability to do so in light of complex environmental factors. This module aims to provide you with a basic knowledge of the earth’s atmosphere, the principles underlying its behaviour, and the effects of weather on adventure environments. There is also the opportunity to develop your pedagogical decision-making process in outdoor and adventure environments.

Outdoor Environments 2 (Asking and Answering Environmental Questions)

A week of fieldwork in a location contrasting sharply within West Sussex will provide you with experience of unfamiliar environments and provide an opportunity for you to develop problem-solving skills through short, intensive practical investigations of the unfamiliar. The culmination of the fieldwork will be a short independent research project, which you will devise and undertake in the field. Subsequently, you will work in small teams to propose and plan a more significant overseas research project. The experience will prepare you for your Dissertation in your final year. 

Optional modules:

Applied Techniques for Performance Enhancement in the Adventure Environment 

The aims of this module are for you to explore the role of applied sports science in the enhancement of performance as well as in quality delivery within the Adventure Environment. It aims to examine the use of analysis and assessment tools, to provide an introduction to mental skills training and development within participation and performance environments, and consider the implications for coaches and leaders to enhance performance and experience within the outdoors. The module also aims to consider ethical aspects of applied work and raise your awareness to opportunities available within a broader perspective of future work. 

Forest Schools – Principles and Practice

A Forest School is a journey of self-discovery and awareness in the outdoors in which participants are given the freedom to explore their surroundings, themselves, and others through their curiosity and imagination. The approach is heralded by some as inspirational but described by others as re-branding of old ideas giving questionable impact. This module explores principles that underpin the Forest School approach and reflects on evidence for its effectiveness. To enable them to engage fully in these reflections, you will learn and use practical skills expected of a Forest School Practitioner. 

The Outdoor Experience – Emotions and Wellbeing 

The aim of the module is for you to explore the experience of being in the outdoors from an emotional and well-being perspective. The restorative and therapeutic benefits of immersive experience will be examined and these will include creative activities, understanding of place, and connectedness to the environment and others. 


Explore the complex interaction between the hyperbaric aquatic environment, and the physiological coping mechanisms of the human. Environmental issues will be discussed, as will medical emergencies and progression opportunities in diving. This module will also provide you with the opportunity to gain the SSI Open Water Dive award.


Year Three

Adventure Education Experience 

The placement experience will enable you to observe and be involved in work in areas of outdoors, adventure, and/or education. This will provide the opportunity to consider the varying approaches adopted by different providers. It will provide you with the opportunity to reflect upon that provision and/or provide access to further improvement in personal performance. The placement can be anywhere in the world that you choose. Previous students have worked in Norway, Sri Lanka and China.


Year Four

Core modules:


This module aims to be the major element of your independent research enquiry. It assumes that practitioners of any form need to reflect on the context and application of their specialised interest generated by the earlier selection of specialised subject study modules. It is designed to extend your intellectual capacity by encouraging you to find and explore your own `problem' assisted by supervision from a tutor. Translating research reports into a coherent plausible account calls for creative and technical skills of a high professional order. This module is based on the conviction that outdoor and adventure facilitators need to be highly effective in communicating with a range of professional agencies and be able to integrate and apply research to their professional practice as appropriate.

Research Methods for Outdoor and Adventure Education 

This module aims to provide an intellectual and practical opportunity to develop an awareness of research methods and scientific principles pertinent to the adventure and outdoor sector. It aims to develop dialogue, research skills, reflective practice, and critical thinking about problems and gaps in knowledge within adventure and the outdoors.  The module will help you develop as an independent researcher capable of planning and executing a small-scale research project in an appropriate academic or professional setting. It is intended to be interdisciplinary in nature and to be applicable to a wide range of research paradigms from laboratory-based experimental work to phenomenologically based research. 

Sport and Exercise in Extreme Environments 

Optional modules:

Adventures in Coaching 

Explore current issues within the coaching process considering their application within specific adventure sport activities. Humanistic and Long-Term Athlete Development principles are considered. Observation and analysis of performance will be examined along with practical scientific assessment tools to identify performer needs. Developmental activities will be explored including the application of sports science in the development of training programmes within specific adventure contexts.

Adventures in Education 3 (Advanced Pedagogical Skills) 

You have now completed a work placement during which you have been required to adopt organisational and pedagogical strategies as directed by organisations that fellow teachers, coaches, and facilitators would employ in delivering outdoor and adventure education. This module asks you to go further by challenging this conventional wisdom and critically appraising the basis for your teaching approach. The long-term aim is for you to have a critical edge over competitors in your ability to reflect on your teaching, coaching, and facilitation practices throughout your professional careers. 

Environments 3 (Interpreting the Environment to Others) 

Outdoor professionals and others as diverse as teachers, journalists, councillors, and politicians need to be able to help the public understand the environment which surrounds them. Not only do they require their own solid grounding in aspects of ecology and natural history, physical geography, environmental history, human ecology, sustainability, and balanced development, but they need to be able to get others interested and excited too. This module builds on Outdoor Environments 1 and 2 by drawing together aspects of environmental science and environmental education in the broadest sense so that you are comfortable with both in a professional context. An aim is to use outdoor and adventure environments as contexts in which you deliver effective environmental education to a variety of client groups. 


Wilderness, defined by Conservation International as areas with fewer than 1 inhabitant km-2, covers the least hospitable 40% of the earth's land area. The challenging conditions and the absence of people give it a particular appeal to those pursuing outdoor and adventure activities. While adventurers, ecotourists, and other visitors can themselves detract from the nature of the wilderness and should perhaps be managed, the world's wildernesses face all manner of other threats to their continued existence. These threats are as diverse as the exploitation of natural resources to global climate change. This module will approach the broad theme of wilderness from a number of perspectives and will challenge you to draw these together to construct your own transdisciplinary understanding. 

Free Choice Elective

An opportunity to choose a module from across the Institute of Sport.


International English Studies

Include International English Studies: 

Teaching and assessment

How do we teach?

You’ll build subject knowledge and practical experience through core modules in all years with option modules allowing you to specialise more in years two and four. Learning centres on theory in practice where each module will have practical application of academic frameworks to relevant outdoor and adventure activities and contexts. The work placement year develops your practical skills, knowledge of the diverse nature of the outdoor sector, theory in practice, and professional skills.

Teaching comprises of:

  • small group lectures
  • small group practicals to allow for maximum personal skill progression e.g. kayaking, climbing
  • blended practicals focussing on bringing theory to life
  • off-campus visits
  • laboratory practicals
  • small group seminars
  • individual tutorials
  • residential filed trips

How will you be assessed?

You will typically study four modules each semester with each module worth 15 credits to gain 120 credits to complete each academic level. Modules are assessed usually at the end of each semester with most modules having at least two modes of assessment.

Assessment comprises of:

  • presentations
  • reports
  • essays
  • practical
  • plans and proposals
  • portfolios
  • commentaries and reviews
  • short exams

Additional Costs

Include Additional Costs: 

Trip and clothing costs

Mandatory additional costs:

Contribution to international residential programme: £750 (payable in 2  installments over years 1 and 2) to cover all equipment, teaching/coaching, insurance, accommodation and  travel in the UK and overseas. Currently includes Brittany (8 days), Fontainbleau (7days), Peak District (5 days) and Lanzarote (8 days with an optional extra 5 days for a small additional cost). Although it is rare, the exact locations and timings are subject to change due to environmental constraints.

Personal protective clothing: £260 (approx) Provided by Mountain Equipment this includes waterproof and thermal clothing. In exceptional cases students may already have clothing that meets the required standard.

Students must have a full wet suit and boots at the start of the course. There are many options available but students typically spend £100 on a wet suit.



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