Adventure Education BA (Hons)
Course code N8X9
What is special about this course?
Adventure education is about creating learning opportunities through adventurous activities. With a focus on developmental and educational approaches through adventurous activities and the natural world, it is fundamental to the modern adventure sector as well as a significant and diverse area of future employment. As an educator in this field, you will be responsible for providing safe, adventurous experiences, promoting learning to help others to discover, reflect, and develop.
The course is built on a robust framework of practical and professional experiences. You will develop your knowledge, understanding and skills to plan, prepare and lead adventure education activities in potentially challenging and wild places, as well as providing strong links to all stages of the education curriculum. Throughout the programme you will be encouraged to consider the role, ethics, and values that you hold as a responsible practitioner and professional in this important field.
Location: flexibility, passion, lifestyle.
BA (Hons) Adventure Education is based at the School of Adventure Studies 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 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.
- 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 at a number of our locations.
- 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
- This is a Category 1 PVG course: PVG Scheme membership is required to successfully achieve target qualification, where there is guaranteed contact with vulnerable groups in key elements of the course. For further information visit our PVG scheme webpage
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 and may be required to attend an interview
SWAP Access courses
If you are eligible to undertake Scottish Wider Access Programmes (SWAP), please visit our SWAP access list for further information on grade profiles and available subjects.
For International students requiring Student Route sponsorship
Please note that international students with a Student Route visa can only take part in sports activities or as part of a work placement, as an amateur and not as a professional or semi-professional. You will not be allowed to become a member of a professional sports association while a student. This is due to ‘professional sportsperson’ restrictions imposed by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as outlined in their Student Route Policy Guidance.
Year 1 - CertHE
Core modules are:
- Foundations of outdoor learning (S1)
- Adventure Geography: the Scottish perspective (S1)
- Introduction to professional adventure practice (S1)
- Introduction to sports coaching and leadership (S2)
- Adventure education journeys (S2)
You will also choose one further option module:
- Ecological principles, biodiversity and identification skills (S1 or S2)
- Activity performance and skill acquisition (S1 or S2)
- Adventure markets: products and services (S2)
Year 2 - DipHE
Core modules are:
- Nature and learning (S1)
- Social theory for adventure education (S1)
- Adventure operations and risk management (S1)
- Outdoor learning and teaching practice (S1 + S2)
- Understanding adventure (S2)
You will also choose one option module which may include:
- Work placement: team working and communication (S1 + S2)
- Facilitation and reviewing in outdoor education (S2)
- Technology and social media in adventure practice (S2)
Year 3 - BA
Core modules are:
- Planning international expeditions (S1)
- Investigation: personal and social development in adventure education (S1)
- An anthropology of place: adventure education and cultural perspectives on nature (S2)
- Research skills (S2)
You will also choose two option modules which may include:
- Adventure therapy (S1)
- Geomorphology: reading the landscapes of outdoor practice (S1)
- Climate change (S1)
- Work placement: industry specific skills (S1 + S2)
- International expedition leadership (S2)
Year 4 - BA (Hons)
Core modules are:
- Critical perspectives of adventure education (S1)
- Perceptions of risk and decision making (S1)
- Inclusive adventure (S2)
- Applied adventure education practice (S2)
You will also choose one of the following double-credit research project modules to follow through the year:
- Professional adventure project (legacy project or major expedition venture)
How will I study my course?
You will learn through a combination of face-to-face lectures and tutorials in the classroom, with some teaching by video conference from our other campuses, and online study via the university's virtual learning environment (VLE). There are also opportunities for work placements at different levels of the programme.
You will also spend a significant amount of time increasing your skills through practical, experiential learning. The main disciplines included are mountaineering and climbing, paddle sports and mountain biking, with a wide scope for progression and application of theories throughout the four years of study, through field work and industry activity.
How long will my course last?
- Full-time: 4 years
- Part-time: 8 years
Where can I study my course?
- West Highland - Fort William
For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:
- EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK,
- EEA/Swiss nationals with settled status in the UK
- EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.
|Full-time (120 credit modules) per year||£1,820||£1,820|
|Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year||£645||£915|
|Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module)||£215||£305|
Rest of UK students
For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and with a term time address in Scotland studying this course full time, the following fees apply:
4th year free only for students studying full-time, on continuous study, who have paid for the previous three years at the University of the Highlands and Islands.
Part-time (per 20 credit module) - £1,542.
Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.
There are a number of funding options available to UK students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living while studying.
EU/EEA and Swiss nationals without settled or pre-settled status in the UK
Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, the Scottish Government confirmed that EU/EEA and Swiss nationals, who do not have settled or pre-settled status, will be considered as international for fee purposes. Students will get an automatic scholarship of £3,000 per annum and the 4th year of study will be free for those studying full-time, on continuous study, who have paid for the previous three years at the University of the Highlands and Islands.
This includes EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.
|Year||Level||2022-23 Full-time||With scholarship||2023-24 Full-time
Students will need Student Route visa sponsorship to study on the UK.
For students who do not normally reside in the UK or European Union and with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:
|Full-time (120 credit modules) per year||£13,020||£13,980|
|Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year**||£6,510||£6,990|
|Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module)**||£2,170||£2,330|
Part-time study is not open to international students requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study in the UK.
Further information on international course fees.
A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding full-time and structured part-time rest of the UK, EU and international undergraduate students for continuous study for the same award, up to the permitted standard time limit for the relevant award.
UHI has a number of scholarships, bursaries, awards, and discretionary fund opportunities available to new and current students. Please use the A-Z of funds or use the filter to see which ones may be relevant to you. All students are welcome to apply.
Further information on funding your studies is also available, please see the attached link or contact the relevant UHI partner.
Personal Outdoor Equipment and Clothing
All essential personal protective equipment (PPE) and specialist equipment can be accessed from our comprehensive stores, but students will need to purchase their own personal clothing, waterproofs and footwear for most activities (with the exception of very specialised footwear such as winter boots). As a professional practitioner you are also expected to consider purchasing your own personal equipment as your involvement and skills grow. Excellent deals on prices from a range of suppliers are available for students.
Introduction to Sports Coaching and Leadership (core, year 1): this includes an opportunity to complete training for a UK National Governing Body qualification in climbing, paddlesports or mountain biking. The course is free of charge but you will need to pay for your own membership and registration fees with the relevant NGB. This cost can range from approximately £50-£100, depending on the NGB.
Adventure Education Journeys (optional, year 1): there is a mandatory residential experience in this module at Outward Bound Loch Eil, costing approximately £80 for 3 days full-board. This cost is 50% subsidised by the School of Adventure Studies.
International Expedition Leadership (optional year 3): this involves undertaking an international expedition, which is subsidised by UHI West Highland. Depending on the specific plan, you should budget for up to £1000. There may be opportunities to gain funds to support this expedition through grant funding sources or sponsorship, which would be your responsibility to obtain.
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
Can I progress into further study?
On successful completion of the BA (Hons) Adventure Education you can progress onto the following postgraduate courses:
Is there more information available online?
You can use the above QR code to connect directly to the course details.
I have certainly enjoyed my time in Fort William. The college is really small which means you get to have a great relationship with your lecturers and the lectures feel more like a dialogue than just having someone talk at you. The natural surroundings are fantastic and the many practicals we did in first year were really valuable as a way of getting to sample the different outdoor sports. There are so many opportunities at SOAS, you just have to be self-organised and pursue them. I enjoy living in a small town where I know many people and have constant access to such beautiful and spectacular surroundings, excellent mountain biking and hillwalking right on my doorstep. This degree has allowed me to test my intellect and ponder philosophical questions about the natural world and humanity's relationship to it, that I would undoubtedly never have thought about otherwise. It has honed my ability to think critically and to question things.
Matilda Olai graduated from the BA (Hons) Adventure Education at UHI West Highland.
I left school nine years ago and became a chef, I worked and travelled. Whilst travelling, I would spend most days up hills or in the water, and I realised I wanted to find a way to make this my normality. I have always had strong opinions on the importance of outdoor education so this course felt like it was made for me.
So far, it has been everything I hoped for. I got the chance to do expeditions and water based NGB awards. The knowledge I gained that year allowed me to work as a Trip Leader in America over the summer. Going on expeditions with the children at this camp really confirmed my choice to study Adventure Education and how much I agree with what is being taught.
Alongside academic study, I am now working towards my Canoe Award, Canoe Leader and SUP Leader then hopefully Paddlesports Touring Leader and Raft Guide. I'd also love to gain some qualifications in bush craft before finishing my degree.
Katy Duncan is studying the BA (Hons) Adventure Education at UHI West Highland.
Thank you for your interest in studying Adventure Education BA (Hons) with us.
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Please note that UHI North Highland, UHI Outer Hebrides and UHI West Highland will be changing their names to become UHI North, West and Hebrides in August 2023, subject to Scottish Government approval. This will not impact on your choice of course or how and where you will study.
We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.