Outdoor Adventure Leadership BA (Hons)

Outdoor Adventure Leadership BA (Hons)

School of Sport and Wellbeing




Under- graduate



Contact UCLan

University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

  • Duration:

    Full Time - 3 Years Part Time - Part-time – up to six years

  • Level:


  • Delivery:

    Campus, None

  • UCAS Code:

    N8M7; Short form: .

  • Campus:

    Preston (Campus code: U)

  • Start Date:


  • Award Type:

    BA (Hons)

Why study this course?

This unique course is designed to match the requirements of the professional outdoor adventure industry, with a student-based approach allowing for individual interests to be explored.

The course considers how engagement with the theoretical aspect of the subject can inform, challenge and support the real world practical context. In doing so, this situates you in a very strong position for employment within a wide range of academic and vocational contexts.

Delivery of the programme is through a range of lectures, seminars, workshops and practical sessions. A number of week long residentials also form part of the delivery. These not only provide opportunity to develop practical skills, but also offer contextual examples to increase your understanding between academic theories and real world practice. Assessment modes include essays, portfolios, individual/group presentations, practical observations and reflective logs. There are no end of year exams. 


Entry Requirements 2017/18

112 - 128 UCAS points at A2
BTEC Extended Diploma: Distinction, Merit, Merit - Distinction, Distinction, Merit
BTEC Diploma:  Distinction* Distinction*
Pass access to HE with 112 Points
International Baccalaureate Diploma 28 - 30P
5 GCSEs at Grade C including Maths and English or equivalent
IELTS 6.0 with no Component lower than 5.5

For changes to 2017 UCAS tariff entry requirements please see our important information. UCLan requires all undergraduate applicants to have a minimum attainment of five GCSEs at grade C and above, or equivalent, (including Maths and English). In 2017 and beyond we will view the new Grade 4 as being equivalent to a C grade and will therefore require students to achieve GCSE Grade 4 or above. However, if the subject is relevant to our degree programme and requires a higher GCSE grade (e.g. GCSE B grade), and/or includes a Professional body that governs the entry requirements, Grade 5 or above may be required.

UCLan June Open Days

Course at a Glance

Year 1

Compulsory Modules

Introduction to Outdoor Adventure Leadership

Teaching, Learning & Coaching within The Outdoors

Year 2

Compulsory Modules

Group Leadership & Reflective Practice

Applied Research & Professional Skills

Plus one from the following

Expedition Planning, Preparation and Participation

Adventure Sports Coaching

Year 3

Compulsory Modules

Leadership for Change

Plus one from the following

Applied Work in The Outdoors

Performance Enhancement Coaching

Creative Pedagogy within The Outdoors

Plus one from the following


Single Research Project

Enterprise for Sport, Tourism and The Outdoors

Consultancy Project


Further Information

The BA (Hons) Outdoor Adventure Leadership is a dynamic course that examines a range of leadership, coaching and educational issues within the outdoor/adventure sector. Furthermore the modules encourage core knowledge and understanding to be developed through interactive lectures, seminars, workshops and practical sessions.

Both National and International work experience, fieldwork and expedition opportunities are encouraged and form an integral part of the programme.

Opportunity to access National Governing Body (NGB) qualifications via a structured enhancement programme are also offered.

A range of optional modules throughout the programme is also available which allow you to individually tailor your learning programme.

Both the course and module content have been designed to ensure that successful graduates have developed the intellect, knowledge and skills to work in a coaching and leadership capacity within and beyond the outdoor sector. 


"Thank you for your input to the IOL Conference. Both the senior officers of the IOL and the conference attendees noted the quality of the research projects that your students presented, their professionalism, knowledge and industry relevance. It was noticeable how engaged the IOL audience were with your students, many of whom are employers in the North West of England and their feedback was outstanding – several of them specifically mentioned to me how great it was that there was student input of this type and that the students really were empowered to engage in professional discussions with leaders and practitioners from across the field.

I must say that there is a marked difference between the apparent quality of the students from UCLan versus other universities attending – this must be down to your staff team, the way you have structured the course to engage with the industry."

Tim Deighton IOL National Development Officer.

"UCLan is in the vanguard of improving the quality of Higher Education in the outdoors. The student research presentation highlighted the quality of the investigations being carried out and reflects exceptionally well on the staff and students of UCLan alike”.

Andy Robinson, CEO Institute for Outdoor Learning

The working relationship with Plas y Brenin and additional links to the sector are commendable for delivering a quality curriculum and content. The staff consisting of guides, coaches and leaders, all clearly with a lot of ‘in the field’ experience is outstanding for a degree of this nature.

Doug Cooper, Senior Instructor at Glenmore Lodge – Sport Scotland National Outdoor Training Centre

UCLan Outdoors Graduate testimonials:

"I am currently employed as an Assistant Instructor with the Outward Bound Trust. The role requires me to work as a duty instructor for a set number of nights a week, the rest of my time I may assist sessions and shadow other practitioners. This role allows me to gain experience and qualifications prior to becoming a full instructor with the trust"  

Alex, BA (Hons) Outdoor Leadership

"The BA in Outdoor Leadership from UCLan has equipped me extremely well for a future in the outdoor industry. One could argue that the course had been designed for the job I now hold, in particular the emphasis on experiential learning and reflective practice. I can confidently say that I would not have been considered for my current job role without the knowledge and skills I developed during my three years on the course. The university staff have been incredibly supportive, providing professional references and solutions to issues regarding the course or the outdoor industry, in addition to their lecturing and their own research"

Emily, BA (Hons) Outdoor Leadership

"To prospective students I would recommend making the most of the opportunities provided by the university, specifically the teaching staff with their years of experience in the industry. Work hard, both academically as well as gaining national governing body awards, and you will be rewarded when you look for a career in the outdoor industry upon graduation

David, BA (Hons) Adventure Sports Coaching)

Course Specification and Handbook

For a concise summary of the main features of this course, see our course specification.
For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.

For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:

Apply Now

You can apply through UCAS to start in September 2017 until 30th June

Contact Us

+44(0)1772 892400

Fees 2017/18

Full-time: £9,250 per year (UK/EU)
Part-time: £1,540 per 20 credits studied (UK/EU)

Tuition Fees are per year unless otherwise stated and may be subject to increase annually in line with UK Retail Price Index inflation rate

Further information:

For 2016/17 fees please refer to our fees page.

Scholarships and bursaries

DBS Checks

This course will involve access to children and/or vulnerable adults. You will be required to obtain a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service clearance (formerly termed CRB) and we will guide you through this process.

Industry Links

  • CCUSA advanced selection and preferential rates for outdoor industry work opportunities
  • Outward Bound India (Himalaya), Hong Kong and the UK – sandwich year placement
  • Plas Y Brenin – applied delivery at a national outdoor centre and opportunities for employment as a student (sandwich year) and on graduation
  • High Adventure work opportunities linked to course programme
  • Hothersall Lodge - Lancashire County Council Outdoor Education Centre
  • Institute for Outdoor Learning – conferences and research
  • Cotswold Outdoor – Preston 

Learning Environment and Assessment

Delivery of the programme is through a range of lectures, seminars, workshops and practical sessions. A number of week long residentials also form part of the delivery.

Assessment modes include essays, portfolios, individual/group presentations, practical observations and reflective logs. There are no end of year exams

In the final year, students embark on a substantial piece of self generated independent study.

The academic team are all actively engaged with Doctoral level research across a range of outdoor/adventure areas. These include Decision Making, Social Interaction, Environmental & Educational Issues, Leadership and the ‘Active Ageing’ population.

Paul Gray
Dr Mark Hickman
Rose Powell
Alli Inkster
Dr Clive Palmer
Keith McGregor
Dr Loel Collins 


Work experience and international opportunities

Why choose UCLan?

  • International opportunities
  • Programme designed by industry specialists
  • Week long practical residentials
  • Practical skills development weeks
  • Expanding (optional) international internship programme
  • Wide range of work experience opportunities
  • Strong links with industry
  • Research inspired learning
  • Team based research opportunities
  • Synergy between small scale research and employability
  • Interdisciplinary and joint collaborative research opportunities
  • Access to National Governing Body awards
  • National and international expedition opportunities

Graduate Careers

  • Uniformed Services
  • Public Services
  • Teaching
  • Outdoor Activity Centres
  • Own Business
  • Freelance instructors – national and international

Progression routes –

  • Post Graduate Research
  • Post Graduate Education e.g MA Outdoor Practice programme starting September 2017