Adventure Education BA (Hons)
UCAS code N8X9
Information line 01463 279190
What is special about this course?
Adventure education is about creating learning opportunities through adventurous activities. 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.
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 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 in Fort William ideally suited to students on this course.
- 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 and may be required to attend an interview
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)
For International students requiring Tier 4 sponsorship
Please note that international students with a Tier 4 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 Tier 4 Policy Guidance.
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 two option modules which may include:
- Adventure education journeys
- Activity performance and skill acquisition
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Management of adventure tourism
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
- 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 College UHI - Fort William
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|
The Scottish/EU fee rate is set by the Scottish Government and will be confirmed by March 2020.
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) - £1,500.
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 while studying.
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||£11,650||£12,000|
|Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year**||£5,820||£6,000|
|Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module)**||£1,940||£2,000|
Part-time study is not open to international student requiring a Tier 4 visa 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 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.
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 West Highland College. 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.
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)
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.