Outdoor Education and Learning BA (Hons)

Course code NX89

What is special about this course?

The BA (Hons) Outdoor Education and Learning programme has been carefully and considerately designed around the people that matter most: you, your future employer, and your clients. 

The modules will equip you with a firm understanding of seven main principles:

  • Practical skills acquisition to support National Governing Body (NGB) qualifications 
  • Delivery skills through facilitation, coaching an]d leadership (contextualised to your area of interest) 
  • Learning outdoors, relating to the education curriculum (early years to upper secondary) 
  • Environmental factors and geographical awareness 
  • The outdoor education and learning sector  
  • Research and dissertation 
  • Work placement opportunities  

One of the true joys of this programme is the diversity, interests and aspirations you bring to the course as our student. 

You may have an early years outdoor learning focus; a keenness to gain NGB awards and provide technical coaching;

Special features

  • Opportunities for practical experiences and placement opportunities
  • Options to study a range of subjects including: the outdoor classroom, outdoor learning with a Scottish context, bushcraft, residential outdoor education, mountains and morphology and many more
  • Strong links with and benefit from the recognition of the degree from industry
  • Support to complete outdoor National Governing Body Awards (NGBs)
  • Study in an area with abundant natural resources providing one of the best outdoor classroom environments 


We offer modern student accommodation at a number of our locations.

Entry requirements

  • 3 Scottish Highers at grade C or above OR
  • 2 A levels at grade C or above
  • You will also be expected to be able to demonstrate an interest in, and a commitment to practical outdoor education/activities, and preferably have an interest in a professional career in the outdoor sector.
  • Personal practical outdoor experience is advantageous but not essential.
  • Applicants with other relevant qualifications and/or experience will be considered on an individual basis.
  • This is a Category 1 PVG course: PVG Scheme membership is required to successfully achieve target qualification, where there is guaranteed contact with vulnerable groups in key elements of the course. For further information visit our PVG scheme webpage

For International students requiring Student Route sponsorship
Please note that international students with a Student Route visa can only take part in sports activities or as part of a work placement, as an amateur and not as a professional or semi-professional. You will not be allowed to become a member of a professional sports association while a student. This is due to ‘professional sportsperson’ restrictions imposed by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as outlined in their Student Route Policy Guidance.

    Year 1 - CertHE

    Core modules are:

    • Introduction to early childhood philosophy and practice
    • Personal water based skills 1
    • Personal mountain based skills 1
    • Professional outdoor practice

    Option modules may include:

    • Personal water-based skills 2
    • Personal knowledge and skills

    Year 2 - DipHE

    Core modules are:

    • Facilitation and reviewing in outdoor education
    • Introduction to research methods for sport
    • Psychology and coaching in the outdoors
    • The outdoor classroom

    Option modules may include:

    • Nature and learning
    • Play and childhood

    Year 3 - BA

    Core modules are:

    • Leadership and personal development in outdoor education
    • Outdoor learning within Scottish education
    • Research skills (business and leisure)
    • Work placement: industry-specific skills

    Option modules may include:

    • Explorers and exploration
    • Geomorphology, a practical application

    Year 4 - BA (Hons)

    Core modules are:

    • Outdoor design and safety management
    • Work placement: professional practice

    Option modules may include:

    • Current outdoor practice
    • Experiential education

    You will also complete a dissertation.

    How will I study my course?

    Additional information for course delivery in 2021-22

    From September 2021, it is our intention that physical campuses will be open to all students for access to study facilities, support services and social activities, subject to Scottish Government guidance. Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff. We will continue to review government guidance as restrictions shift and will inform you of any further changes to the information provided below about your course. You will study the course through our blended learning approach. From September, where practical and safe to do so, on-campus practical delivery will be prioritised and placements will be introduced in line with the Scottish Government guidance, including social distancing, where this is not possible alternative options will be available. The theory elements may be delivered online through a combination of tutor-supported study, video-based seminars and self-directed study using the university's virtual learning environment. You can access your online and video-based classes from home however it is our intention to provide on-campus space for individual students where required as far as possible. International students requiring a Student Route visa to study with us must access scheduled classes on-campus. Further information will be provided by your home campus. You will have an opportunity to attend an online, face to face or blended induction at the start of the course.
    • Full-time
    • Part-time (structured)
    • You will learn through a combination of practical sessions, group working, face-to-face and video conference lectures in the classroom and online study via the university's virtual learning environment (VLE)
    • You will also spend a significant amount of time increasing your skills through practical experiential learning. The main outdoor practical disciplines included are mountain skills and climbing, skiing, paddle sports, canyoning and bushcraft with a wide scope for progression and application of theories throughout the four years of study

    How long will my course last?

    • Full-time: 4 years
    • Part-time: 8 years

    Where can I study my course?

    • Inverness College UHI - years 1, 3 and 4 only
    • Perth College UHI

    Start date

    • September


    For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

    This includes

    • EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK,
    • EEA/Swiss nationals with settled status in the UK
    • EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.
    Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £1,820 £1,820
    Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £645 £645
    Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £215 £215

    Rest of UK students

    For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and with a term time address in Scotland studying this course full time, the following fees apply:

    Year 1 CertHE £9,000 £9,000
    Year 2 DipHE £9,000 £9,000
    Year 3 Degree £9,000 £9,000
    Year 4 Honours free free

    4th year free only for students studying full-time, on continuous study, who have paid for the previous three years at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

    Part-time (per 20 credit module) - £1,500.

    Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

    There are a number of funding options available to UK students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living while studying.

    EU/EEA and Swiss nationals without settled or pre-settled status in the UK

    Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, the Scottish Government has confirmed that EU/EEA and Swiss nationals starting their study in Scotland from academic year 2021-22, who do not have settled or pre-settled status, will be considered as international for fee purposes. For 2021-22, students will get an automatic scholarship of £3,000 per annum and the 4th year of study will be free for those studying full-time, on continuous study, who have paid for the previous three years at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

    This includes EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

    Year Level 2021-22 Full-time With scholarship
    Year 1 HNC £12,360 £9,360 
    Year 2 HND £12,360 £9,360 
    Year 3 Degree £12,360 £9,360
    Year 4 Honours Free Free

    Students will need Student Route visa sponsorship to study on the UK.

    International students

    For students who do not normally reside in the UK or European Union and with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

    Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £12,000 £12,360
    Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year** £6,000 £6,180
    Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module)** £2,000 £2,060

    Part-time study is not open to international students requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study in the UK.

    Further information on international course fees.

    A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding full-time and structured part-time rest of the UK, EU and international undergraduate students for continuous study for the same award, up to the permitted standard time limit for the relevant award.


    External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact the relevant university partner college for more information.

    Additional costs

    • All essential personal protective equipment (PPE) and specialist equipment can be accessed from our comprehensive stores, but students will need to purchase their own personal clothing, such as waterproofs

    What can I do on completion of my course?

    Once you have successfully completed the BA (Hons) Outdoor Education and Learning you might like to consider careers such as:

    • Mainstream education
    • Outdoor education
    • Environmental education
    • Outdoor development training
    • Outdoor respite care

    There are career opportunites in organisations such as:

    • Public sector education departments
    • Outdoor charitable trusts
    • Private sector outdoor education establishments
    • The National Trust
    • Duke of Edinburgh Award
    • John Muir Trust
    • The Forestry Commission

    Is there more information available online?

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    What our students, graduates and staff say

    I moved from Edinburgh to study here. It has changed my life for the better - I'm a happier and fitter person for it. My advice would be to just go for it and make the leap to improve yourself and your life. The things I enjoy most about studying here are the amazing teaching styles and the enthusiasm of the lecturers, plus the access to the beautiful outdoors right on our doorstep.

    Craig Anderson is on the BA (Hons) Outdoor Education and Learning at our Inverness College UHI campus.

    Got a question? Send us a message

    Got a question? Send us a message

    Send us a message
    Got a question? Send us a message


    Thank you for your interest in studying Outdoor Education and Learning BA (Hons) with us.

    If you are ready to apply, please start your application below by selecting when you would like to start your course. This will take you to the UCAS website or our online application system.

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