Jun 20, 2024  
Academic Catalog 2023-2024 
Academic Catalog 2023-2024

Outdoor Leadership, BA

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs by College


The Outdoor Leadership degree will provide you with a foundation of knowledge and experience to prepare you for a leadership position in the outdoor adventure field, while also allowing you the flexibility to choose elective courses that you feel will make you distinctive.

This program develops outdoor adventure leaders who have a passion for creating a more just world by connecting people from diverse backgrounds with each other and nature.  This degree requires a mix of theoretical and practical hands-on field work.

There are opportunities to learn from the mountains, wilderness, rivers, and oceans and this is embraced as part of your development—there is time in this program to discover who you are and explore the questions that are important to you. You will also be challenged by your professors to read and reflect on important environmental ethics, group dynamic theories, case studies, poetry, and great outdoor adventure literature.

The places, people, text, assignments, practicums, and experiences in this program do more than change just your ideas—they have the potential to change who you are and how you interact with the world around you.   Ultimately, if you are open to it, this program will develop you intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. For example, as you become more courageous in the backcountry you will be more prepared to face challenges in the front country where courage is required. As you become more compassionate with others while climbing mountains or running rivers we hope you will become a more compassionate human being in all parts of your life.  Your intellectual development and outdoor adventure skills will be assessed rigorously, but this program also seeks to develop qualities that cannot be graded, but are important to becoming a quality outdoor adventure guide and human being.  

Major Requirements: 46-48 Credits

Outdoor Adventure Semester (OAS)

Outdoor Leadership Majors and Applied Minors are expected to participate in an immersion semester, OL 399: Outdoor Adventure Semester (OAS).  This semester involves an intensive experience in the field, concurrently taking immersion courses, indicated with asterisks in the course listings below.

Teaching and assessment of the curriculum offered during the OAS will occur through Pacific University faculty.  The OAS is a unique experience where students will travel with an organization like Outward Bound, but faculty from Pacific will join the group to deliver curriculum, assess students’ learning, and ensure the overall quality of the students’ experience during this semester.  Outward Bound is a socially and environmentally conscious non-profit organization that will be responsible for much of the non-curriculum components of this experience (i.e., permits, food, transportation).  Our semester would be custom designed with Outward Bound to meet our curricular goals.  The cost of this semester will be covered by Pacific University and additional student fees. This OAS experience will only be available to students who have declared the Outdoor Leadership Major or Minor.

One of the Following Experience Sequences: 4 Credits

Program Details

Program Length

Four years for a complete BA degree.  Two years for students transferring in with an AAOT degree.  Program length may vary depending upon the student’s course load and academic progress.

Program Learning Outcomes

By completing a major in outdoor leadership, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a level of technical mastery in specific outdoor adventure disciplines in order to lead participants in a responsible and ethical manner on extended technical expeditions.

  • Evaluate leadership, facilitation, and risk management theories and apply these to real world settings that create challenging and transformational outdoor adventure experiences.

  • Investigate the dynamic relationship between outdoor adventure recreation and the natural environment, and its practical application to humanity.

  • Develop an awareness of systemic oppression and the impact of the intersectionality of race, class, gender, and place in outdoor adventure experiences.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs by College