BA (Hons) in Adventure Education


Program Description

What is special about this course?

Adventure Education is fundamental to the modern adventure sector as well as an important area of employment, creating exhilarating outdoor learning experiences for others through the adventurous activity!

The BA (Hons) Adventure Education programme prepares you for a career as a professional educator with a wide range of abilities, responsible for providing safe, authentic, adventurous experiences to help people discover, reflect and develop. You will expand your knowledge, understanding and skills to be able to plan, prepare and lead adventure education activities in potentially challenging and wild places.

Location: flexibility, passion, lifestyle. BA (Hons) Adventure Education is based at the School of Adventure Studies, West Highland College UHI, and is part of the Adventure Pathways Scheme of programmes. You will be based in Fort William, in the hub of the Outdoor Capital of the UK, living and working at the foot of Ben Nevis, in a region that is unique for its rich variety of outdoor opportunities. This gives you access to a diverse and vibrant community of like-minded students, as well as the flexibility to progress into an alternative future pathway such as Adventure Tourism Management or Adventure Performance and Coaching.

Future potential: broad skills for future jobs. Unlock your potential and become a future-shaper of the adventure sector. Links with other programmes in the Adventure Pathways Scheme will broaden your professional skills and expertise, giving you access to a diverse range of careers in many different adventurous settings – wherever your path takes you.

Be part of the story. We work closely with Adventure Education providers, including a close partnership with the Outward Bound Trust®, to give you direct access to professional-level experiences and practice, as well as having a wide range of national and international links for opportunities like work placements, student exchanges and shared practice.

Special features

  • Access to outstanding adventure facilities set amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK
  • Receive tailored outdoor-activity skill development and professional NGB training and assessment with the School of Adventure Studies' 'practical credits system': continuous professional skills development throughout your degree and beyond
  • Be part of a vibrant and active student community of outdoor enthusiasts based in Fort William – within the Outdoor Capital of the UK
  • Easy transfer options available between adventure programmes within the School of Adventure Studies: Adventure Tourism Management; Adventure Performance and Coaching; and Marine and Coastal Tourism
  • Excellent links and work-placement opportunities with many adventure-based businesses and institutions in Scotland, the UK and internationally
  • Residential field trips, clubs, international expeditions and many other opportunities to enhance your skills and experience in adventure activities


We offer modern student accommodation in Fort William ideally suited to students on this course.

Entry requirements

  • 3 Scottish Highers at grade C or above OR
  • 2 A levels at grade C or above
  • You will also be expected to be able to demonstrate an interest in, and a commitment to, practical outdoor activities, and preferably have an interest in a professional career in the outdoor sector
  • Personal practical outdoor experience is advantageous but not essential
  • Applicants with other relevant qualifications and/or experience will be considered on an individual basis
  • Successful applicants will be required to complete a PVG Disclosure Check and become PVG Scheme Members in order to undertake this course

Advanced entry to year two or three:

  • Direct entry to year two or three may be possible with a relevant HNC/D, foundation degree etc. Applicants will be considered on an individual basis

Access routes

Students eligible to undertake Scottish Wider Access Programmes (SWAP) will be able to apply for entry to BA (Hons) Adventure Education with a grade profile of CCC in one of the below courses:

  • Access to: Arts and Humanities (Newbattle Abbey College)
  • Access to: Arts, Social Sciences and Primary Teaching (Edinburgh College)
  • Access to: Arts, Social Sciences and Primary Teaching (North East Scotland College)
  • Access to: Celtic Studies incorporating Primary Education with Gaelic (Newbattle Abbey College)
  • Access to: Community, Education and Humanities (Dundee & Angus College)
  • Access to: Degree Studies (Forth Valley College)
  • Access to: Humanities (Arts, Social Sciences and Primary Education) (Fife College)
  • Access to: Humanities (Fife College)
  • Access to: Humanities (Perth College UHI)
  • Access to: Languages with Business (Edinburgh College)
  • Access to: Languages, Arts and Social Sciences (Edinburgh College)
  • Access to: University Study (Dundee & Angus College)
  • NQ Access to: Social Sciences (West Lothian College)
  • NQ Access to: Teaching (West Lothian College)


Year 1 - CertHE

Core modules are:

  • Foundations of outdoor learning
  • Adventure Geography: the Scottish perspective
  • Introduction to professional adventure practice
  • Introduction to sports coaching and leadership

You will also choose one option modules which may include:

  • Adventure education journeys
  • Introduction to adventure tourism
  • Human structure and function
  • Marine and coastal tourism in the UK
  • Activity performance and skill acquisition
  • Preparing for work-based and placement learning
  • Adventure markets: products and services.
Year 2 - DipHE

Core modules are:

  • Nature and learning
  • Social theory for adventure education
  • Outdoor learning and teaching practice
  • Understanding adventure
  • Adventure operations and risk management

You will also choose one option module which may include:

  • Applied coaching and leadership
  • Applied tourism guiding and interpretation
  • Work placement: team working and communication
  • Performance and analysis of specialist skills
  • Marine environments
  • Principles of sport and exercise psychology
  • Social history of the Highlands and Islands
  • Contemporary marketing
Year 3 - BA

Core modules are:

  • Planning international expeditions
  • Resilience: personal development and experiential learning
  • Anthropology of place: adventure education and cultural perspectives on nature
  • Investigation: personal and social development in adventure education
  • Research skills

You will also choose two option modules which may include:

  • International expedition leadership
  • Adventure therapy
  • Work placement: industry specific skills
  • Climate change
  • Risk and incident management
  • Management of adventure tourism
  • Developing entrepreneurial effectiveness
  • Applied sport and exercise psychology
Year 4 - BA (Hons)

Core modules are:

  • Inclusive adventure
  • Critical perspectives of adventure education
  • Applied adventure education practice
  • Perceptions of risk and decision making

You will also choose a double-credit project or research-based module, either:

  • Dissertation or
  • Adventure pathways professional project (major expedition venture or legacy project)

What can I do on completion of my course?

With a degree in Adventure Education, you will hold a valuable array of knowledge and skills that are transferable to any of the various aspects of the UK or international adventure sector. The specific pathway you take will be vital in helping you shape your own chosen career. Adventure Education covers a wide range of career pathways and specialist fields, including:

  • Outdoor centres; schools; educational expedition operators; adventure therapy; criminal justice rehabilitation
  • Countryside ranger and environmental interpretation
  • International expeditions
  • Working in adult education
  • Management and business development training
  • Leadership and management roles in activity organisations
  • Postgraduate teaching qualifications

Your career will grow and change as the years go on, and you may progress into any one of a range of exciting areas, so you may also find yourself involved in:

  • Guiding, coaching and instructing in adventurous activities
  • Adventure tourism
  • Marine wildlife tourism
  • Military or emergency services
  • Higher-level adventure sector leadership - shaping future policy and practice

Last updated Jul 2020

About the School

The University of the Highlands and Islands is an integrated university encompassing both further and higher education.

The University of the Highlands and Islands is an integrated university encompassing both further and higher education. Read less
Perth , Shetland , Scalloway , Kirkwall , Thurso , Stornoway , Dingwall , Inverness , Elgin , Kilbeg , Fort William , Oban , Dungooley + 12 More Less