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. 

Further information on the course, including more detail about the individual modules, can be found in the student handbooks, which are frequently updated.

Please see the course handbook for more information.


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


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?

  • 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?

  • Part-time (structured): 1 year @ 21 hours per week
  • Part-time (unstructured): 2-4 years @ 3.5-7 hours per week (per module)

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?

  • North, West and Hebrides - Fort William campus
  • You can study the video-conference lectures and tutorials, and online study elements of this course from anywhere in the world, including your local campus
  • You will also be required to attend two mandatory residential experiences based in Scotland. You will be enrolled and supported by staff at UHI North, West and Hebrides

Start date

  • September


For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes

  • 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.
  2023-24 2024-25
Per module (20 credits) £584 £584
Postgraduate certificate (3 modules, 60 credits) £1,752 £1,752

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland) studying online from home, or assessed as rest of the UK for fee status, the following fees apply:

  2023-24 2024-25
Per module (20 credits) £720 £780
Postgraduate certificate (3 modules, 60 credits) £2,160 £2,340

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. These students will get an automatic fee scholarship.

This includes EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

  2023-24 With scholarship 2024-25 With scholarship
Per module (20 credits) £1,080 £810 £1,110 £833
Postgraduate certificate (3 modules, 60 credits) £3,240 £2,430 £3,330 £2,499

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK or European Union, studying online from their home country, or assessed as international for fee status, the following fees apply:

  2023-24 2024-25
Per module (20 credits) £1,080 £1,110
Postgraduate certificate (3 modules, 60 credits) £3,240 £3,330

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

This course is not available for international students requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study in the UK.

A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding full-time and structured part-time rest of the UK, EU and international postgraduate 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.

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 North, West and Hebrides, 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

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2024

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