Outdoor Education

All graduate degrees

The Master of Science in Education degree with an emphasis in outdoor education is designed to equip teachers, youth leaders, and outdoor professionals for success in a nature setting.

  • Learn to maximize the potential of the "outdoor classroom" to accommodate a variety of learning styles.
  • Increase your skill set for helping children and teens meet challenges and solve real-life problems.
  • Develop practical skills such as outdoor site development and use of outdoor activities as therapeutic tools.

How the program works

Outdoor Education is offered on two separate schedules, both comprising 10-day intensives with post-session assignments. Students typically can complete the program in three or four semesters.

  • Summer field school:  This intensive is held in June to accommodate pre-K-12 educators. Usually the first week is held on campus and the second week is at an off-site location.
  • Outdoor-professional intensives:  Intensives are offered in the fall and winter to accommodate the calendar of camp staff and directors, naturalists, and other outdoor professionals.
    • The fall intensive (beginning the Sunday before Labor Day) is a Boundary Waters canoe trip in northern Minnesota.
    • The winter intensive (beginning the Sunday before Martin Luther King Jr. Day) is held at various locations, often in the Southeast.
    • Information on Forest Kindergarten and Forest School Classes.


  • Bachelor's degree:  A Bachelor's degree (in any area) from an accredited program
  • GPA requirement:  A minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.25

Admission process

  1. Graduate application:  Submit a graduate application (with non-refundable fee of $40). Apply now
  2. Transcripts:  Submit official college and university transcripts. Many institutions subscribe to the convenient transcript-request service at National Student Clearinghouse, or you may also contact your institution directly. Have your transcripts sent to the Graduate and Professional Studies office ( If you earned your prerequisite degree at Southern, you do not need to complete this step.
  3. Recommendations:  Submit two recommendation forms (completed by work supervisors or professors). This should be done as part of the online application process.
  4. Statement:  Submit a statement of purpose. View guidelines
  5. Resumé:  Submit your current resumé through your Application Status Page.
  6. Background check:  Successfully complete an approved background check. (Alternatively, verification may be submitted by your current employer.) Download form
  7. Criminal-Record Release and Declaration:  Submit the Criminal-Record Release and Declaration. Your signature on this form gives the School of Education and Psychology permission to retain your criminal-history record and affirms that you are not a registered sex-offender.  Download form

Application deadlines

Term U.S. Residents International
Summer April 1 Not applicable
Fall July 1 Not applicable
Winter October 1 Not applicable

Adventist Teacher Certification


Dormitory housing is available at a rate of $18 per night.  Payment must be made upon arrival, and any arrangements for reimbursement must be made directly with your Conference Education Office. Reservations are required and may be made by contacting Mrs. Lisa Patterson at 423.236.2990. Married student housing also available upon request.

Get information and register for online teacher-certification classes »

International students

Since the Outdoor Education program is offered in 10-day intensives, the part-time schedule does not meet student-visa requirements for international students.

Course guide

View the calendar of courses for Outdoor Education » 

Outdoor education core courses Credits
  EDOE 503 Principles and Concepts of Outdoor Education 2
  EDOE 504 Field Experience in Principles and Concepts of Outdoor Education 1
  EDOE 515 Nature Study Skills 3
  EDOE 516 Field Experience in Nature Study (offered in 1-hour increments) 2
  EDOE 543 Environmental Ministries 2
  EDOE 593 Adventure-Based Counseling 2
  EDUC 591 Methods of Educational Research 3
  EDOE 576 Outdoor Intensive Lab—Fall 0
or EDOE 577 Outdoor Intensive Lab—Winter 0
or EDOE 578 Outdoor Intensive Lab—Summer 0
Outdoor Education Core Total   15
courses Credits
  Six hours from the following:  
  EDOE 523 Leadership in Outdoor Education 2
  EDOE 524 Field Experience in Leadership in Outdoor Education  1
  EDOE 533 Developing Outdoor Teaching Sites 2
  EDOE 534 Field Experience in Developing Outdoor Teaching Sites 1
  EDOE 535 Outdoor Therapy: Design and Procedures 2
  EDOE 536 Field Experience in Outdoor Therapy  1
  EDOE 570 Non-Profit Environmental Organization Dev. & Management 3
Course Total   6
  Six hours from the following:    6
  EDOE 528 Interpretation of Natural and Historical Resources 2  
  EDOE 530 History & Philosophy of Forest Kindergarten 3  
  EDOE 531 Developing Forest Kindergarten Curriculum 3  
  EDOE 537 Lab Experience: Technology in Outdoor Education 1  
  EDOE 538 Technology in Outdoor Education 2  
  EDOE 552 Ecology Education  1-3  
  EDOE 562 Wilderness Stewardship 1-3  
  EDOE 564 Special Topics 1-4  
  EDOE 565 Nature Journaling 1-2  
  EDOE 568 Nature Photography 1-2  
  EDOE 573 Outdoor Curriculum and Methods, Grades 1–6
Areas of emphasis include Art, Music, Language Arts, Mathematics. Social Studies, Science, Technology, Health, Physical Education, Bible
  EDOE 574 Outdoor Curriculum and Methods, Grades 7–12
Areas of emphasis include Art, Music, Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, Technology, Health, Physical Education, Bible
  EDOE 575 Internship in Outdoor Education 1-6  
  EDOE 585 Workshop in Outdoor Education 1-4  
  EDOE 595 Independent Study in Outdoor Education 1-3  

Six hours from the following:
Any graduate course in business, counseling, or education with approval of Outdoor Education adviser.

Course Total   12
  Total   33


Bonnie Eder
Bonnie Eder


Monty Murdoch
Monty Murdoch

Associate Professor

Carl Swafford
Carl Swafford


Learn More


Get started

Hello from Southern! I am looking forward to working with you as you achieve your academic and professional goals. Whether you are a recent graduate or nontraditional student, I want you to feel welcome, so please feel free to contact me by phone or email with any questions you may have. I am here to help!

Mikhaile Spence

Graduate Program Manager