The Outdoor Studies Department prepares students for careers in outdoor recreation and education through expedition and classroom learning. By focusing on studies and skill-building related to land management, outdoor and environmental education, outdoor entrepreneurship, snow science, and wilderness therapy, our graduates are prepared to serve an increasingly diverse outdoor constituency. Students at APU are fortunate to have classes that take them into unequalled public lands including the Chugach National Forest and Alaska State Parks.
APU’s block and session format is ideal for active learning. The four week block allows students to explore remote wild places with seasoned outdoor instructors that model industry standards in an expedition setting. It is our expectation that Outdoor Studies students apply those guidelines in all their backcountry pursuits. During the session students have the opportunity to experience a variety of challenging academic classes that support their professional aspirations and passion for the enviroment, backcountry, and outdoors.
The Outdoor Studies Department offers the undergraduate degree in Outdoor Studies (B.A. and minor) with optional concentrations in: Land Management; Outdoor Education; Outdoor Entrepreneurship; Snow Science; Wilderness Therapy; or a self-designed option. APU has articulation agreements for applicable coursework with National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), Prince William Sound Community College, and a few other two-year colleges that offer Associate degrees in Outdoor Studies.
At the graduate level, the department offers the Master of Science in Outdoor and Environmental Education (MSOEE). The MSOEE home base is the 700-acre Kellogg Farm, a working farm where students design and deliver outdoor and environmental education programs year-round.
Block courses and field-based studies require that students pay lab fees to help offset the costs associated with the higher instructor-student ratios necessary for safe wilderness travel.
Professional Expectations for Students
The Outdoor Studies faculty encourages students to fully develop their knowledge and skills in outdoor leadership by capitalizing on the social and natural opportunities unique to APU and Alaska. From that experience, students are expected to model best practices:
- Practice what you have learned in class on your own time.
- Follow appropriate professional standards and behaviors.
- Use a conservative approach in your adventure pursuits.
- Take small, incremental steps to improve your skills.
- Know your own strengths and weaknesses, and recognize the strengths and weaknesses of other group members.
- Communicate with group members to achieve common understandings.
- Be in appropriate physical condition for activities you are engaged in.
- Understand and accept the risks of each activity.