The B.A. 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.
Your study as an OS major begins with courses focused on recreational program design, natural history, and wilderness skills. As you develop your interests, you can choose from several optional concentrations to distinguish your degree: Land Management, Outdoor Education, Outdoor Entrepreneurship, Snow Science, Wilderness Therapy, or a self-designed option.
In your junior year, you undertake practicum - a pre-professional experience in which you 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. Your program culminates in the senior project which combines knowledge gained with the skills to apply that knowledge to real-world situations.
Outdoor Studies majors are expected to demonstrate the following Professional Competencies which are developed through courses in the department:
- 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
As a graduate, you will earn a Bachelor of Arts degree with demonstrated achievement in APU’s Essential Competencies: Effective Communication; Critical Thinking; Cultural & Historical Perspective: Scientific Inquiry; and Ethical Engagement.
Foundational Studies (32-40 credits)
- EC Written Communication** (WRIT 20100) (4)
- EC Presentation & Media Literacy (from 10000-20000 level COMM) (3-4)
- CT Critical Thinking (from 10000-20000 level CRIT) (3-4)
- CT Computation** (MT 10100, BAM 10500, or higher placement) (0-4)
- CH Intellectual Traditions (from 10000-20000 level PH/HI) (4)
- CH Creative Endeavors (from 10000-20000 level HUM) (4)
- CH Intercultural & Spiritual Understandings (from 10000-20000 level RS/CS) (3-4)
- SI Biological/Physical Scientific Inquiry (from 10000-20000 level SC w/ lab) (4)
- SI Social/Behavioral Scientific Inquiry (various) (3-4)
- EE Social Responsibility (LS 10200) (2)
- EE Personal Responsibility (from 10000-20000 OS/PE or BAM 20400) (1-2) †
[† Foundational Studies requirement satisfied by Major Studies]
[ ** Minimum grade of ‘C’ (defined as C+, C, C-) must be earned]
Major Major Studies (65-78 credits)
Self-Determined Studies (varies)
- Students are encouraged to pursue one of the optional Outdoor Studies concentrations, take a minor, or undertake an Eco League exchange to distinguish their studies at APU.
Minimum Graduation Credit Hour Requirement: 128
Natural History requirement (8)
Select two courses from the following (in addition to course satisfying SI Biological/Physical Scientific Inquiry for Foundational Studies):
Upper Division requirement (8)
Select two 30000-40000 level courses from:
Expedition requirement (4)
Select one course from:
Outdoor Skill requirement (6)
Complete 6 credits from the following:
Research Methods requirement (4)
Select one course from:
Concentration Areas for the Outdoor Studies Major
Students can choose to develop a concentration that builds skill, experience, and knowledge transforming the major through self-determined study. Options include: Land Management, Outdoor Education, Outdoor Entrepreneurship, Snow Science, Wilderness Therapy, or a self-designed concentration. Ultimately, thoughtful concentrations lead to successful Senior Projects.
The concentration in Land Management prepares students for careers with agencies and organizations that manage public domain. This concentration provides students the deep understandings necessary to balance the interests of the public with the interest of the resource.
The concentration in Outdoor Education prepares students for careers with outdoor centers, programs, and schools around the world.
The concentration in Outdoor Entrepreneurship with its strong emphasis on business prepares students for the rewards and challenges of commercial recreation.
The concentration in Snow Science prepares students for careers in snow science including snow safety, avalanche education, and applied avalanche research.
The concentration in Wilderness Therapy prepares students with the skills and understandings necessary to use outdoor recreation as a therapeutic tool.
The self-designed concentration requires 24 credits that meet the student’s educational goals. The student initiated plan is designed with the student’s academic advisor, approved by the OS Department, and submitted to the Registrar with their graduation application.