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What makes Outdoor Education MA at Worcester special?

The MA in Outdoor Education provides a postgraduate qualification for managers, teachers, leaders and professionals in Outdoor Education who want to demonstrate excellence in their chosen field by achieving a recognised benchmark whilst being free to choose a learning route designed to meet their individual needs and those of the organizations in which they operate.

At the heart of the programme are the Work Based Projects. These are designed to equip students with enhanced knowledge, skills, practice and expertise in their field and may be chosen from a bank of questions or self designed. They enable the student to explore areas of their professional practice and develop new knowledge and skill within a specific context.

Students are encouraged to explore a range of learning areas in their work based projects and Dissertation modules, these might include:

  • organisational and strategic management;
  • teaching and learning in the outdoors;
  • personal development and experiential learning;
  • environmental and aesthetic aspects of practice;
  • international approaches to outdoor education;
  • safety and risk management
  • topics related to specific outdoor activities.


Key features

  • The use made of work based learning and action research methods in a structured and rigorous process.
  • An emphasis on using real-time business / organisational / theoretical issues as the basis for action, learning and change, providing benefits for both the individual and their organisation. 








Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry requirements

This course is based around professional practice and is only open to applicants who are engaged in outdoor education and have the opportunity and relevant permission to conduct research in the work place.

Students must normally have a 2:1 classification in a related degree. Students who hold a related degree with a classification of either 2:2 (or below), or an unrelated degree will be considered on a case by case basis and may be required to submit a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate outdoor education experience.

Admissions procedures

All applicants for this course will be interviewed, and selection to the course will be based on the selection criteria. As student numbers are limited on this course, admission may be delayed until there is space on the course

Admissions/selection criteria

Applicants who fulfil the entry requirements will be selected on their ability to demonstrate through their application and at interview knowledge, skills and experience in the following areas:

  • active and current professional involvement in outdoor education
  • academic interest in the theory and practice of outdoor education
  • study skills including independent and team working

Other information

Mature Students

We value diversity in our student body and applications from mature students are very welcome. Students with few or no formal qualifications should contact the Registry Admissions Office (01905 855111) or the Course Leader (01905 542235) with details of their age, any work undertaken, including caring or organised voluntary work, and any other relevant experience.

Accreditation of Prior Learning

Candidates with an acceptable academic background and/or relevant work experience may apply for Accreditation of prior learning (APL) and experience (APEL). It is advisable for candidates to discuss this with the Course Leader initially, although claims for APL or APEL may be made during the course. The programmes follow the Policy for Accreditation of Prior Learning (2007).

Please contact the Registry Admissions Office for further information or guidance on 01905 855111.

Course content

What will you study?

Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice. The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course. If there are insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this might not be offered, but we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative. 


  • Professional Development Profiling
  • Research Methods
  • Theoretical Approaches to Outdoor Education
  • Work based Project A
  • Work based Project B
  • Extended Work based Project C
  • Reflecting on Practice and Research
  • Dissertation
Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

The teaching and learning approach of the course is based around bespoke support for individual student needs. These needs are identified by the student through the completion of a learning contract, and later through work based project proposals. In addition to bespoke support, the student has on-line access to a wide range of on-line lectures and resources that cover most aspects of the subject area, as well as study skills. These methods are supplemented by action learning sets, on-line seminars, and teaching and tutorials in small groups of between 2 and 5.

Contact time

Students can only undertake this course if they are engaged in professional practice in a related field, as such the majority of study is self-directed and is situated in the workplace, at distance or on-line. Students may choose to select between 1 and 4 modules per year. Teaching contact hours are largely determined by the student needs. Teaching contact hours will vary throughout the course as students needs change and will vary throughout the academic year in response to the types of student activity.

If a student selects 3 modules in a year they should expect the following contact hours over the 2 semesters:

  • On-line resources and tasks: 1-2 hours per week
  • Action learning sets: on-line group work ½ hour per week
  • On-line seminars: 3 webinar / seminars in small groups of between 5 and 15
  • Masters days: 3 sessions of 4 hours including teaching and tutorials in small groups of between 5 and 15;
  • Project supervision (by email, Skype, phone or in person): ½ hour per week

Independent self-study

In addition, students will be expected to undertake around 4-5 hours of personal study each week including reading and preparation for classes and assessments, structured reflection, project work, online activities etc.

During the academic year students will have opportunities to meet / Skype with module tutors on a one to one or small group basis to discuss assessments and will meet with their personal academic tutor (online or in person) on 2 occasions to discuss academic and personal development.


Part-time only (2-6 years).


Students are expected to plan their study and their contact with University staff around their work commitments. The precise contact hours will be largely determined by the student, but will depend on the number of modules selected.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by academics in outdoor education and engaged with an array of professional bodies and employers within their pathway disciplines including the Institute for Outdoor Learning. Through involvement of the Institute of Sport & Exercise Science Sports Employers Advisory Panel (SEAP), a wide range of employers were consulted with and provided support and advice for the structure and content of the course, and its relationship to existing professional practice and employability.


You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the module leader. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.

Study options

  • Part-time only
  • Work-based learning
  • Email and Web based support
  • Continuing professional development
  • Flexible approach means you can study at your own pace

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.


Colin Wood

Colin teaches Outdoor Education and Work-Based Learning at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He is involved in research in both areas and leads the innovative MA in Outdoor Education, which supports outdoor professionals wishing to study in their workplace.

Previously, Colin taught at Herefordshire College of Technology and before that had a long career in Outdoor Education working in senior posts around the world for a variety organisations. Colin's work spanned corporate development, outdoor recreation, sail training and expeditionary learning including leading numerous jungle expeditions.


Where could it take you?


Students undertake this course for a variety of reasons and these are reflected in their career trajectories during the course and after the graduation. Current students use their engagement in the MA in Outdoor Education to support applications for promotion or for moves between employers. Recent graduates have used their MA in Outdoor Education to seek higher education teaching posts and to support the development of new areas of work.


How much will it cost?


The current fees can be found within the tuition fees document on our figure out finances page.

Postgraduate loans

The Government will provide a loan of up to £10,609 per student for postgraduate Masters study. It will be at your own discretion whether the loan is used towards fees, maintenance or other costs.

For full details visit our postgraduate loans page.

How to apply