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, including regular residential experiences to enrich learning
  • Specialist kit-deals with retailers and manufacturers, to ensure you and the programme are equipped to do the work
  • Engaging modules with strong theory-to-practice links, designed to improve your employability
  • Strong links with industry and sector recognition benefits
  • 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
  • Advanced entry to year 2 may be available via successful completion of year 1 of an alternative Bachelor’s Degree, Foundation Degree, or HND Outdoor Education. 

Alternatively, significant and demonstrable knowledge and experience of:

  • Early childhood development and practice
  • Significant experience in relevant outdoor pursuit participation and delivery, including salient National Governing Body Awards in personal performance, coaching and leadership
  • Professionalism as a facilitator of outdoor education and learning
  • 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
    • Professional 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?

    • 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
    • Perth

    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 £915
    Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £215 £305

    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 £9,250 £9,250
    Year 2 DipHE £9,250 £9,250
    Year 3 Degree £9,250 £9,250
    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) - £1,542.

    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 confirmed that EU/EEA and Swiss nationals, who do not have settled or pre-settled status, will be considered as international for fee purposes.  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 2022-23 Full-time With scholarship 2023-24 Full-time
    With scholarship
    Year 1 CertHE £13,020  £10,020  £13,980 £10,980
    Year 2 DipHE £13,020  £10,020  £13,980 £10,980
    Year 3 Degree £13,020  £10,020  £13,980 £10,980
    Year 4 Honours £13,020  Free £13,980 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 £13,020 £13,980
    Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year** £6,510 £6,990
    Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module)** £2,170 £2,330

    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.


    UHI has a number of scholarships, bursaries, awards, and discretionary fund opportunities available to new and current students. Please use the A-Z of funds or use the filter to see which ones may be relevant to you. All students are welcome to apply.

    Further information on funding your studies is also available, please see the attached link or contact the relevant UHI partner.

    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.

    Residential Experiences

    • Multiday residential experiences and journeys are a key feature of the outdoor sector. Our residential programme is facilitated by the same Teaching Team that work with you in the classroom, to seamlessly ensure the pedagogical connection between curriculum and practice. By getting to know you, we better understand your individual needs and aspirations relative to the module content, in turn enabling us to support your specific learning journey
    • There is a requirement for students to make a small financial contribution to the additional costs of multiday residential experiences including equipment, accommodation and travel. These are £200 per year in years one, two and three, which can be paid in a lump sum or split across 2 semesters
    • There is also an option to participate in an annual Alpine Snowsports Residential in Europe. The cost of this is circa £800 and may vary depending on equipment and instructional needs. The trip is not a compulsory element of the curriculum

    Personal protective clothing

    • Up to £270 (approx) subject to individual need
    • Provided by Mountain Equipment, and in partnership with The Gorge Outdoors, we have secured an excellent reduction for student Personal Protective Equipment. This includes waterproof and thermal clothing. You may already have clothing that meets the standard required to operate safely in our varied Scottish conditions. However, the option to buy high quality, reduced cost waterproof trousers, jacket and thermal wear ensures that you’ll be able to function safely and effectively, no matter what the conditions throw at us

    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?

    QR Code - scan to visit course page

    You can use the above QR code to connect directly to the course details.

    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 UHI Inverness campus.

    Apply for Outdoor Education and Learning BA (Hons)


    We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.