Adventure Education: Hands-On Learning

Hands-on learning is a big part of the Adventure Education major at PSU

The Immersion Semester

Hiking the New Hampshire woods.Adventure Education majors have a unique and involving opportunity to participate in the 15-credit Immersion Semester. With a small cohort group of students and faculty, you will take a block of courses, which for the first half of the Fall semester, occur largely through extended mountain backpacking and canoe camping expeditions, lasting 4 to 15 days. Here you will learn a variety of outdoor living and traveling skills, minimum impact camping (i.e., Leave No Trace principles), professional outdoor risk management practices, outdoor leadership and group management skills, trip planning, menu planning, public land regulations, outdoor leadership, natural history instruction, and experiential effective outdoor instruction strategies. Back on campus the second half of the Fall semester, you will learn and become certified in wilderness first aid (i.e., Wilderness First Responder and Health Care Provider CPR Certification), and you will study Adventure Education history, philosophy, ethic and theory to put the “why” behind the “what” you have been practicing in the backcountry.

This Immersion Semester block of courses consists of four required courses: (1) Immersion Wilderness Expedition (AP 3101), (2) Immersion Adventure Leadership and Group Management Instruction (AP 3301), (3) Immersion Adventure Education Philosophy and Theory (AP 3321), and (4) Immersion Wilderness First Responder (AP 3401).

The Immersion Semester is optional. You can take the same four courses described above separately during our Spring semesters.

Outdoor Technical Skills Proficiency Requirement

In their second or third year, Adventure Education majors are required to take a technical outdoor skill competency test by registering to our Outdoor Skill Clinical (AP3600) course. This course will test your level of proficiency in 60 basic outdoor skills found in rock climbing, canoe paddling, backcountry camping and navigation. This is a pass or fail course, where you will have to demonstrate a minimum of 80% proficiency in all outdoor skills categories. This is a challenging course, but the rewards are worth the effort. If you pass the skill clinical, you will feel confident in your basic outdoor skills and ready to work in the field of Adventure Education.

Teaching Assistantship Requirement

Junior or Senior Adventure Education majors are required to apply to our teaching assistantship course. This experience will allow you to co-teach a course within the Adventure Education program with a faculty or adjunct faculty in Adventure Education. A weekly teaching assistantship seminar will allow you to share and compare teaching experiences with your peers.

The Outdoor Adventure Leadership/Instruction Requirement

To increase your level of competence, training, professionalism, and experience, Adventure Education majors are required to complete a minimum of 60 days of documented adventure leadership/instruction experience prior to entering the program capstone course, our Adventure Education Internship (AP4880). This background also prepares you to be a strong internship candidate for more competitive internship sites. If you opt for the Adventure Education Clinical (AP 3890), a minimum of 30 days of documented leadership/instruction experience is a required prerequisite.

6 to 12 Weeks Internship Requirement

To complete the Adventure Education program, you will have to enroll in our Adventure Education Internship. The internship experience can be taken during the Fall, Spring or Summer semester. We customized all internship to each student based on the student’s professional interest and ability level. We have successfully placed interns with various outdoor/adventure organizations and schools throughout the USA such as The White Mountain School, New Hampton School, Plymouth Regional High School, Souhegan High School, The Oliverian School, Summit Achievement, True North, Second Nature, Ocean Classroom, The Brown Center, Spaulding Youth Center, Appalachian Mountain Club, White Mountain National Forest, Yosemite National Park, Chewonki Foundation, Adaptive Sport Center, New England Disabled Sport, Wilderness Inquiry, SOLO, Sargent Center – Nature Classroom, Thompson Island Outward Bound, Ripple Effect, Bojuum Institute, Margaret & H.A. Rey Center, Deer Hill, Wilderness Venture, and Moondance Adventure.