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 two-week summer intensives with post-session assignments. Students typically can complete the program in three consecutive summers.

  • Summer field school:  This intensive is held in June. Usually the first week is held on campus and the second week is at an off-site location.
  • For information about Forest Kindergarten and Forest School Classes, please contact Dr. Monty Murdoch at or 423.236.2984.  


  • Bachelor's degree:  A Bachelor's degree (in any area) from an accredited program
  • GPA requirement:  A minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.00

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

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.


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.

Course guide



Monty Murdoch
Monty Murdoch


Carl Swafford
Carl Swafford


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