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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

Contact time is 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 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

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


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