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Outdoor Education (MA, PGDip, PGCert)

The MA Outdoor Education programme has been developed to meet the needs of practitioners and graduates working in outdoor education in the UK and further afield. It brings theory and practice together to develop a higher level understanding of outdoor education as a distinctively alternative form of learning.

The course is unique in the UK in adopting a sociocultural approach to better understanding a range of key issues including the nature of adventure, sense of place pedagogy, informal learning, facilitating experiential learning, relationships with nature and healthy outdoor communities. In addition, it supports students in conducting small-scale research studies to inform evidence-based practice.

The cost of the programme is £5,050. This is the TOTAL cost and NOT the annual cost.  This is paid in instalments over the three years of the part-time programme to increase accessibility for students


You can apply directly to the University using the Apply Now button at the top of the page. 

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Contact Email: a.williams@uwtsd.ac.uk
Contact Name: Dr Andy Williams

Institution Code: T80

Home: £5,050
Overseas: £15,000
Fees are for the whole course
For payment options visit our Postgraduate Fees section

Why choose this course

  • Socio-cultural approach to Outdoor Education to better understand why we have the outdoor sector that we have, as well as possible alternatives.
  • Course learning experiences include a combination of experientially focused weekend workshops, Skype tutorials, and e-learning materials.
  • Practical experiences include Mountain Bothy, Solo camping, walking/cycling for health, and coasteering experiences.
  • Creative assessment tasks including 1 to 1 discussions, seminars and local research projects.
  • Strong links to local and national outdoor sector employers, expeditions, and training. 
  • Applied research focus.

What you will learn

Course Overview
  • Blended learning delivery (two weekends per module plus tutorials and eLearning support)
  • Creative and diverse assessment methods
  • Eligible for postgraduate loan support
  • Extensive outdoor sector networks and professional links
  • Flexible study options with three exit awards to suit student requirements
  • Full-time (1-2 years) and part-time (2-3 years) modes of study
  • Internationally renowned guest speakers
  • Outdoor and experiential focus to all outdoor weekend workshops
  • Research active and published staff and students who are passionate about outdoor pedagogy
  • Socio-cultural perspective on key issues
  • Subsidised access to expeditions
  • Subsidised NGB qualification opportunities
Module Topics

Part I:

PGCert, PGDip & MA

  • Adventure, Technology and Ecology in Outdoor Education (30 credits; core)
  • Philosophical & Cultural Perspectives on Outdoor Education (30 credits; core).

PGDip & MA

  • Health, Well-being & the Outdoors (30 credits; optional)
  • Master’s Internship in Health, Outdoor Education and Physical Literacy (30 credits; optional)
  • Master’s International Study (60 credits; optional)
  • Research Methods in Health, Outdoor Education and Physical Literacy (30 credits; optional).


  • Master’s Dissertation in Health, Outdoor Education and Physical Literacy (60 credits; core).

The programme uses a range of assessment techniques designed to develop postgraduate level knowledge, skills and competencies. These include: seminar presentations, research proposals, research reports, essays, reflective journals, academic interviews and blogs.

All assessments link theory with practice and require students to undertake empirical research as the basis for further developing their critical skills and an evidence-based personal philosophy of Outdoor Education.

Outdoor Education (MA)

Graduation June 2018


From Left: Carol Decker, Rhys Green, Anna Gordon (IOL finalist), Dr. Nalda Wainwright, Dr. Andy Williams, Barrie Whitehead, John Godley (IOL dissertation winner)

Outdoor Education

Key Information

Entry Criteria

Graduate applicants must, as a minimum, hold a 2.1 undergraduate degree qualification.

Applicants who do not hold an undergraduate degree are also welcome to apply and consideration is given to professional and recreational experience, other educational awards, written and verbal communication skills and career aspirations

Prior to applying perspective applicants should consider the following;

Are you inspired by the potential of Outdoor Education to offer an alternative approach to learning and teaching?
Are you motivated to learn from other cultures?
Do you want to improve your understanding and expertise to develop the work you do or move on to new opportunities?
Do you want to make a difference to the lifestyle, health and well-being of others?
Are you looking to gain a higher level academic qualification to enhance your career prospects?

If so then this Master’s programme is for YOU!

Career Opportunities

The degree would be of particular interest to outdoor professionals who are:

  • Seeking career advancement as teachers, centre managers, youth workers, community development officers, environmental education officers, adventure guides, outdoor instructors and recent graduates.
  • Wishing to undertake Continuing Professional development
  • Considering further study at PhD level

It will be of particular interest to outdoor professionals who are:

  •  Inquisitive & critical in their outlook
  •  Inspired by the potential of Outdoor Education to offer an alternative approach to learning & teaching
  •  Motivated to challenge their own beliefs and learn from other cultures
Additional Costs

Course fees do not include:

  • Weekend workshop accommodation and living costs.(These have to be met by the student.) 
  • A range of reasonable hotels, B&B's and onsite accommodation/food outlets are available in the local area.
Related Courses

Full and part-time opportunities are available for students to study at Doctorate level for a PhD within the discipline areas of Outdoor Education and Physical Education. Applicants interested in Doctoral level research should contact Dr. Andy Williams

Student Quotes

Arwel Phillips PhD 2013-17

"Due to the positive experience of studying though the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and their accommodating and flexible approach to academic studies, I decided to further my personal academic development with the university by undertaking a PhD research degree."

Barrie Whitehead MA Outdoor Education 2013-17

"I have done lots of challenges in my time, but this one (MA Outdoor Education) has tested me to the point of tears… I have learnt an awful lot, going through this process, and it has certainly challenged my way of thinking, however most importantly it has led me to the area which most interests me and what I want to explore more... just this week I had the confidence to go to the inaugural sports coaching Applied Coaching Research conference... I would never have trodden this path if I hadn’t attended Trinity Saint David."

Graham French (2012-16 and PhD MA Outdoor Education

"When I started the MA Outdoor education course, my aim was very much to become a better practitioner. The course delivered on that aim, but not in the way I had expected, as I learned to be far more reflective than I had been, and gained a deeper understanding of the pedagogy and practice of outdoor education. Thus, I have definitely become a better practitioner, not through simply learning about practice, but by gaining a critical understanding of both the discipline and my own approaches to delivery. I have been able to apply this critical understanding to enhance my own practice and knowledge further, and the course allowed me to take the next step in my career, moving to a role where I have opportunities to impact the sector as a whole."

Jason Wragg MA Outdoor Education 2014-16

"Undertaking the MA Outdoor Education at UWTSD has truly been an experience that has developed me and my career prospects. Initially I found undertaking my new studies a challenge, having been away from education for a long period of time. However the format of learning, a mixture of online learning and weekend sessions provides a great learning environment that supports everyone on the course."

Bursary / Scholarship Information

Visit our Scholarships and Bursaries section to find out more.

Study Abroad Opportunities

There are no study abroad opportunities for this programme.

Further Information

Located at its spiritual home in Carmarthen, outdoor education has been a niche area of learning at UWTSD for more than 40 years. With quick and easy access to the Pembrokeshire and the Brecon Beacons National Parks, Gower Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Cambrian Mountains and the superb coast, cliffs, and beaches of South Wales, students are ideally located to study and develop their Outdoor Education knowledge and practice.

The MA Outdoor Education programme in Carmarthen is unique in the UK as the only postgraduate level programme to look at outdoor education through a sociocultural lens. The programme’s popularity is evidenced by its longevity, having run for more than 10 years and is noteworthy by its capacity to attract students from mainland Europe, the Indian sub-continent, and North America, as well as from Britain and Ireland.

The programme has been at the forefront of postgraduate academic development, in a number of ways including; innovating a ‘blended learning’ approach to best meet the needs of students, merging theory with practice during weekend workshops to underpin the experiential focus of the course and, along with the use of creative assessment methods, support students in balancing personal responsibilities, work and academic study in the real world.

A Brief Record of Outdoor Education at UWTSD (Carmarthen)

  • 1970’s Outdoor Education as part of 4 year BEd teacher training degree.
  • 1980’s First international expeditions to France and Spain. 1996 BA Outdoor Education(first 3year joint honors degree intake).
  • 1998 BA Outdoor Education (first 3 year single honours degree).
  • 2005 MA Outdoor Education (first postgraduate intake).
  • 2007 MA Outdoor Education (first Master’s OEd graduates).
  • 2008 Centre for Outdoor Education Research established.
  • 2008 EOE holds its annual conference in Carmarthen.
  • 2010 MA Outdoor Education (introduces ‘blended learning’ approach).
  • 2011 MA Outdoor Education (outreach delivery in Bala, Nth Wales).
  • 2013 Second Outdoor Health, Pedagogy and Lifestyle Conference.
  • 2016 First MA graduates register for Phd Outdoor Education at UWTSD.
  • 2017 Bespoke Cynefin Outdoor Learning Centre located in Carmarthen.
  • 2018 First full time Phd Scholarships available.

For further information and programme fees contact:

Dr. Andy Williams (Programme Director) on 01267 676647