Outdoor and Adventure Therapeutic Practice PgCert

Course code B300

What is special about this course?

The PgCert Outdoor and Adventure Therapeutic Practice signals an important development for the adventure and therapy sectors, offering an innovative approach to defining and upholding professional standards for outdoor and adventure-based therapeutic practice.

Placing therapeutic theory and practice in professional adventure settings, this programme is essential for anyone wishing to expand into this field and enhance knowledge of therapeutic interventions in the outdoors. 

You will undertake critical examination of the theory and evidence base for outdoor and adventure therapies, as well as reflective practice in building a therapeutic relationship with participants. Group work complements individual study, allowing you to gain experience of therapeutic techniques and ideas, and develop your understanding of them in real-world, outdoor settings.

Your subsequent career path will be unique to you, depending on your prior experience and qualifications. While the interdisciplinary nature of the programme will encourage and support you in building a community of practice, individual reflection will be key to defining your progression route out of the programme. 

Objectives

The key objective of this programme is to prepare students to make an effective contribution to the outdoor and adventure therapy sector through the integration of key knowledge and skill domains. To help position this more clearly, the programme is designed to align with the Institute for Outdoor Learning framework, “Mental Health Interventions model” (Richards, Hardie and Anderson, 2019).

Graduating from this course will enable you to enter employment as a specialist in areas where you may be:

  • “Introducing a psychological or outdoor dimension to enrich a planned session/programme” (Zone 1) or
  • “Blending outdoor activity and psychotherapeutic practices to enhance targeted interventions” (Zone 2).

If you hold additional specialist qualifications and professional registration, you may wish to deepen the application of your skills to integrate “professional competence in both outdoor learning and psychological therapy to meet clients’ needs” (Zone 3), but this is not within the intended remit of the PGCert award. 

Special features

  • Unlock your future potential: focus on professional specialisation and synthesis of academic knowledge to shape your future
  • Be part of the story: become a future-shaper of the adventure sector with this innovative new and unique programme
  • Learn in your place at your pace (with some face to face!): supported online learning across all three modules, with two 1-week residential components based in Scotland
  • Learn with Adventure Therapy experts with worldwide experience
  • Access to outstanding adventure facilities set amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK during two residential courses
  • Opportunities to receive tailored outdoor-activity skill development and professional NGB training and assessment with the School of Adventure Studies' continuous professional skills development*

*can be arranged around in-module residential courses for visiting students

Entry requirements

  • 2:1 Honours degree or above
  • Alternatively, an honours degree, ordinary degree, or degree equivalent qualification, PLUS relevant work experience at a suitable level within an organisation, will be considered
  • In addition to the above, you will be considered based on aspects of experiential and professional qualifications, particularly in relation to therapeutic knowledge, outdoor competence, and relevant professional experience. You should preferably be able to demonstrate evidence of experience, knowledge and/or competence in two of these three areas, although these are intended mainly for guidance and applicants will be assessed on a case-by-case basis

PgCert

Core modules:

  • Theoretical basis of outdoor and adventure therapies
  • Reflexive therapeutic practice in outdoor environments
  • Therapeutic programming in outdoor and adventure practice

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part-time (unstructured)
  • You will learn through a combination of video-conference lectures and tutorials, and online study via the university's virtual learning environment (VLE), with support from your tutors. You will also learn applied knowledge and practical skills through two mandatory residential experiences based in Scotland

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 1 years @ 25 hours per week
  • Part-time (structured): 2 years @ 12.5 hours per week
  • Part-time (unstructured): up to 3 years

Number of hours per week indicates the total number of hours you should dedicate to the course, which includes time spent in lectures and your own time spent on individual study and research.

Where can I study my course?

  • West Highland
  • While this course can be studied from anywhere in the world, you will also be required to attend two mandatory residential experiences based in Scotland. All students will be enrolled and supported by staff at UHI West Highland

Start date

  • September

Fees

Most students have their course fees paid as this is a full time course. Please read our Fees & Funding information pages for more information regarding residency, previous study and bursary rates. Please contact funding.whc@uhi.ac.uk if you have any further questions.

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), with a term-time address in Scotland, studying full time, the course fee is £5,800.

Some of our courses require students to have essential equipment/clothing.

If you are under 18, you are entitled to have essential equipment paid for whether you are entitled to Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) or not. However you must complete an application even if you know that you're not entitled to EMA.

If you are 18 and over and are eligible for a bursary, these costs will be met through your bursary. If you are not eligible for a bursary, you will need to fund these items yourself.

Funding

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

Additional costs

  • You will be expected to purchase your own core texts, new or second hand, however there will also be core and recommended texts and journals available as e-books and e-journals via the UHI online library system
  • The programme features two mandatory residential field courses for all students, in which practical training and assessment outcomes are delivered, as well as key one-to-one and groupwork sessions, supporting and enhancing the module learning and assessment. The expected costs of these will include:
    • Travel to and from Fort William Campus, UHI West Highland, including any international travel required for international students
    • Food and accommodation costs in residential location - £500 per residential. This is based on an upper estimated accommodation cost of £70 per night for a 5-night residential self-catering accommodation, plus food and subsistence costs
    • Any personal clothing and footwear required for outdoor activities, including waterproof clothing. There will be opportunities to buy personal clothing and equipment at discounted prices through our retail and trade supply partner organisations. All specialist equipment or PPE for activities is provided by SOAS.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed this course, you might like to consider:

  • Working in expedition-based therapeutic programmes
  • Working with vulnerable groups, such as child and adolescent mental health services or the criminal justice system
  • Providing enhanced delivery and leadership in outdoor facilitating and outdoor education roles
  • Enterprise and business start-up in outdoor development, adventure tourism or wilderness leadership opportunities.

Qualified and accredited counsellors and psychotherapists may also wish to integrate their knowledge and qualifications to practice in the outdoor and adventure therapeutic domain.

Can I progress into further study?

You may wish to progress from PgCert Outdoor and Adventure Therapeutic Practice into further study, to gain a Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy and beyond

Is there more information available online?

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Apply for Outdoor and Adventure Therapeutic Practice PgCert

This course begins in September 2023.

Please revisit this page in September 2022 if you wish to apply.

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.