The BA in Outdoor Studies prepares students for careers in outdoor recreation and education through expedition and classroom learning. Outdoor Studies at APU is an interdisciplinary degree drawing on courses throughout the university in order to address issues with regional, national, and global importance. Professional competencies are built into the program leading to successful placement of graduates in a range of outdoor and environmental services, operations, and organizations.
OS majors begins with courses focused on recreational program design, natural history, and wilderness skills. As specific interests develop, students choose from several optional concentrations to distinguish the degree: Land Management, Outdoor Education, Outdoor Entrepreneurship, Snow Science, Adventure Therapy, or a self-designed option.
In the junior year, students undertake practicum - a pre-professional experience where students earn credit while working in the field or for organizations such as Alaska Mountaineering School, Trailside Discovery, U.S. Forest Service, and Alaska Public Lands Information Center, among many others options. The program culminates with the senior project which combines knowledge gained with the skills to apply that knowledge to real-world situations.
As a graduate, a student will earn an Bachelor of Arts degree with realized proficiency in APU’s Core Competencies:
- Effective Communication [EC]: Demonstrate the ability to get one’s point across in writing, presentations, and organizations in order to share information, teach others, and foster collaboration
- Critical Thinking [CT]: Demonstrate the ability to compute, analyze, make sense of information or data, and reach reasoned conclusions cognizant of possible bias or fallacies
- Cultural & Historical Perspective [CH]: Demonstrate the ability to effectively consider tradition and heritage in relation to decision-making in a world shaped by diverse cultures and abiding histories
- Scientific Inquiry [SI]: Demonstrate the ability to reach verifiable conclusions based on documented observations, findings, and recognized methods in order to know how things work in our world
- Ethical Engagement [EE]: Demonstrate ability to raise needed questions and apply ethical and effective problem-framing and problem-solving to make things better
The degree is designed to meet the following Professional Competencies:
- Recreational Programming: Design, implement, and evaluate indoor and outdoor recreational programs
- Expedition Leadership: Demonstrate the art of expedition leadership and related outdoor skills
- Public Lands Awareness: Understand the significance of public lands to a culturally diverse outdoor community
- Educational Curricula: Interpret natural history for educational curricula
- Ethics and Professionalism: Articulate ethical principles and standards relevant to outdoor recreation professional