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What makes Outdoor Education MA at Worcester special?

The MA in Outdoor Education is a postgraduate qualification designed around the needs of outdoor professionals. It helps them to explore the theory and practice of outdoor education and to relate it to their own practice. The course can be studied from the workplace or from home, and outdoor professionals can choose the amount of study that fits their circumstances.

The MA in Outdoor Education is supported by online seminars, online resources, action-learning groups and one-to-one tutorials. At the heart of the programme are the Work-Based Projects, which are negotiated with the tutor and allow outdoor professionals to gain enhanced knowledge, skills and expertise in their field. 



Key features

  • MA Outdoor Education

  • Students can develop in-depth knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights at the forefront of outdoor education study or professional practice. 

  • Students use reflective learning to integrate their professional expertise and academic study to develop new areas of professional practice.

  • Students are encouraged to explore a range of learning areas in their Work-Based Projects and Dissertation. These might include: 
  1. teaching and learning in the outdoors;
  2. organisational and strategic management; 
  3. personal development and experiential learning; 
  4. environmental and aesthetic aspects of practice; 
  5. international approaches to outdoor education; 
  6. safety and risk management; 
  7. topics related to specific outdoor activities. 
  • An adaptable course programme which offers bespoke support for individual student needs.

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Entry requirements

Entry requirements

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

Course content

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

Teaching and assessment

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

In the three work-based project modules and Dissertation module, you will be supported 1:1 by a tutor. In all other modules, you will have contact with staff in 6 x 2 hour online sessions (lectures/seminars) and 1:1 tutorials. These sessions are usually scheduled in the evening to avoid normal work time.   

 Your contact time also includes the time that the course team spends in 1:1 communication with you. This might be Skype, phone, email or in person. As this is a part-time Masters programme where many students are studying at a considerable distance from the University, there is no specific time period for contacting staff, however, contact with staff should be within UK working hours. For live Skype, phone and in-person tutorials, the student should arrange a time by email. In general, students should not expect more than 30 minutes of contact time per module per week.

Students are expected to plan their own study and arrange their communication with University staff around their work commitments, but to remember that the weeks immediately prior to assessment can be very busy.

Independent self-study

In addition to teaching time and 1:1 contact time, you are expected to undertake around 5 hours of personal self-study per week. Typically, this will involve accessing resources on VLE, undertaking the self-study tasks, structured reading, undertaking work-based projects, and engaging in reflective learning. As a guide, completion of the entire course should require 1800 hours of total student learning time.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources.


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 a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes staff with a depth of professional and academic experience of Outdoor Education in schools and in the outdoor sector.

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


The MA in Outdoor Education provides opportunities to test your understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or ‘formative’ assignments, as well as through formal or ‘summative’ assignments. Summative assignments are graded and count towards your overall module grade. There are 2 summative assignments per module, typically for submission in February and May. Each module has one or more formative assignments that can be submitted at various points through the year. 

Assessment methods include: Career profile, Negotiated learning contract, Work-based project reports, Reflective reports, Poster design, Research proposal, Dissertation.

Students can select between 1 and 4 modules per year. Thus, the precise assessment requirements for an individual student in an academic year will vary according to the number of modules taken. A typical summative assessment pattern for each year of the course is: 2 summative assignments per module, typically for submission in February and May. In the final year, the dissertation submission is typically in September. 

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.

Meet The Team


Dr 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.




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.


Fees and funding

Part-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fees for part-time home and EU students enrolling on MA/MSc/MBA/MRes/PGCert/PGDip courses in the academic year 2024/25 are £750 per 15-credit module, £1,500 per 30-credit module, £2,250 per 45-credit module, and £3,000 per 60 credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fees for part-time international students enrolling on MA/MSc/MBA/MRes courses in the academic year 2024/25 are £1,450 per 15-credit module, £2,900 per 30-credit module, £4,350 per 45-credit module, and £5,800 per 60 credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Postgraduate loans

The Government will provide a loan of up to £11,836 if your course starts on or after 1 August 2022 per eligible student for postgraduate Masters study. It will be at your own discretion whether the loan is used towards fees, maintenance or other costs.

For more details visit our postgraduate loans page.

Additional costs

Every course has day-to-day costs for basic books, stationery, printing and photocopying. The amounts vary between courses.

If your course offers a placement opportunity, you may need to pay for an Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check.

Sports Scholarships

At Worcester we are committed to supporting elite and talented sports performers who are dedicated to both sporting and academic success. Our sports scholarships are available for a range of team and individual sports. For further information, visit our sports scholarships pages.

How to apply