Adventure Education BA (Hons)

UCAS code N8X9

What is special about this course?

Adventure education is the true foundation stone of the modern adventure sector and has become a significant and diverse area of employment that plays an important role in our society.  As an educator in this field, you will be responsible for developing future generations of people, giving them memories and experiences that will last a lifetime. You will need to be able to provide safe and authentic adventurous experiences, while helping to facilitate important learning that may range from the very practical to the reflective, as well as providing links to the school curriculum.

The BA (Hons) Adventure Education will prepare you for an exciting and satisfying career as an educator and professional adventure practitioner.  The programme will develop your knowledge and professional skills to plan, prepare and lead adventure education activities in potentially challenging and wild places. The skills and awareness of the professional adventure practitioner are essential to ensure that you are ready to lead in a wide range of demanding or remote environments.

The course is built on a common framework of 'adventure' modules that it shares with our other programmes – Adventure Tourism ManagementAdventure Performance and Coaching and Marine and Coastal Tourism.

Special features

  • Applying cutting edge theory and research to the exciting and dynamic adventure sector
  • 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
  • A ‘practical credits’ scheme helps you choose your areas for development and engage in an individualised approach to your own outdoor activity skill development and professional NGB training and assessment
  • Strong links with many adventure-based businesses in Scotland and throughout the UK, including Scotland’s national centre, Glenmore Lodge
  • Excellent work-based placement opportunities around the UK and abroad
  • Residential field trips, clubs, expeditions and many other opportunities to enhance your skills and experience in adventure activities
  • Access to outstanding adventure facilities set amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK


We offer modern student accommodation at a number of our locations.

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

Relevant Scottish Wider Access Programmes (SWAP):

  • 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 workbased 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
  • An 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)

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • Part-time

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 adventure practical 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.

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.

As well as other practical activities, you will have the option of undertaking an international expedition in the 4th year. Depending on the specific plan, you should budget for up to £1000 to ensure you have sufficient funds to complete this element.

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 4 years
  • Part-time: 8 years

Where can I study my course?

Start date



For students normally domiciled in Scotland or the European Union/EEA (outside of the UK) and with a term time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £1,820 £1,820
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £645 £645
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £215 £215

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland) and with a term time address in Scotland studying this course full time, the following fees apply:

    Full-time Full-time
Year 1 CertHE £8,000 £9,000
Year 2 DipHE £8,000 £9,000
Year 3 Degree £8,000 £9,000
Year 4 Honours free* free*

*4th year free only for students studying full-time who have paid for the previous 3 years at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Part-time (per 20 credit module) -  £1,340 (2017-18) and £1,500 (2018-19).

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

There are a number of funding options available to UK and EU students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living whilst studying.

International students

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:

  2017-18 2018-19
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £10,500 £11,100
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year** £5,250 £5,550
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module)** £1,750 £1,850

**There is no part-time study option for Tier 4 sponsored international students.

Further information on international course fees.

A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding full-time and structured part-time RUK and International undergraduate students for continuous and contiguous study for the same award, up to the permitted standard time limit for the relevant award.


External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact the relevant UHI partner college for more information.

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 educating covers a wide range of career pathways and specialist fields, including:

  • Outdoor centres; schools; educational expedition operators; adventure therapy; criminal justice rehabilitation
  • Working in adult education
  • Management and business development training
  • Countryside ranger and environmental interpretation
  • Postgraduate study, including postgraduate teaching qualifications

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

  • Guiding, coaching and instructing in adventurous activities
  • International expeditions
  • Adventure tourism
  • Marine wildlife tourism

Can I progress into further study?

On successful completion of the BA (Hons) Adventure Education you can progress onto the following postgraduate course:

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

I did a lot outdoor sports such as sailing, kayaking and hill climbing when I was at school and chose to study Adventure Education because I like teaching and sharing my skills. I also know from experience how much difference this kind of education can make to a young person. Adventure can be a conduit to personal development and a greater understanding of the world. That’s what I want to be involved in helping young people learn about themselves, the environment and how to protect it sustainably through adventure.

Cameron Livingstone is studying on the BA (Hons) Adventure Education at the School of Adventure Studies at our West Highland College UHI campus.

Apply for Adventure Education BA (Hons)

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2019

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). UHI operates 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.

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