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Experiential and Outdoor Education (EOE)

students hiking


Applications currently being accepted for the August 2021 cohort

M.S. EOE Snapshot

Program Overview

Online or Hybrid, Main Campus

Two-Years to Complete

20 Person Cohort

App Deadline: Feb. 1 - Priority, Jun 1

36 Total Credit Hours

Ideal for non-formal educators

Virtual Open House

Thursday January 21, 2021: 5-7pm

Join us at one of our upcoming virtual Graduate School Open House events on Zoom! You'll have the opportunity to learn more about Western Carolina University,  understand the Graduate School application process, and meet key program representatives.

Register Today

About the Program



The M.S. in Experiential and Outdoor Education* is a two-year hybrid program. The degree utilizes the philosophy of experiential education combined with the modality of outdoor education to provide students with necessary training to serve in a variety of educational contexts.

This degree works well for a wide range of professionals who work in outdoor and educational programs including: expeditionary learning schools, charter schools, independent schools with an experiential education program, community colleges, residential and day camps, environmental education programs, therapeutic experiential agencies and camps, university outdoor programs, and wilderness leadership programs.

Application and Admission Requirements

Start Your Application and Apply Today

If you have any questions, or would like more information, please contact Dr. Andrew Bobilya at

Admission Requirements

  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 minimum (or conditional admission with otherwise exceptional application)
  • Bachelor’s degree from accredited institution (or conditional admission pending conferral of degree)
  • Strong recommendations from three academic and/or professional sources
  • Strong writing skills
  • Relevant professional experience and/or goals

Application Documents

  • Graduate School Application and Fee
  • 3 References
  • Essay (see prompts in online application)
  • Academic Transcripts
  • Work History Resume

Apply Now

Request more info!

The M.S. in Experiential and Outdoor Education is a two-year hybrid program.

In the first year, face-to-face coursework will include a one-week intensive course on campus followed by four weekends each in the fall and spring semesters. Students will be engaged in online coursework throughout the semester(s).

During the second-year, students will complete additional required and elective coursework (individual choice of face-to-face, online and/or hybrid course formats) including a thesis or project.

This format allows for students to remain employed full-time and/or pursue field-based coursework (e.g. internships) at regional agencies.

Fall 2020 Dates

Class sessions are 8:30 am – 5:30 pm with an occasional extended evening session

  • August 17-21  (with at least one evening session) (Cullowhee Campus)
  • September 18/19 (Cullowhee Campus)
  • October 23/24 (Biltmore Park Instructional Site, Asheville)
  • November 20/21 (Biltmore Park Instructional Site, Asheville)
  • December 4/5 (Online)

Spring 2021 Dates

  • January 29/30 (Cullowhee Campus)
  • February 19/20 (Cullowhee Campus)
  • March 19/20 (Biltmore Park Instructional Site, Asheville)
  • April 9/10 (Biltmore Park Instructional Site, Asheville)

Spring 2021 Thesis/Project Proposals

April 28th-April 30th (Cullowhee Campus) (students must attend at least the one day that they are proposing their thesis or project)

Directions to Biltmore Park Instrutional Site

Students will:

  1. Develop a theoretical and philosophical foundation for experiential and outdoor education.
  2. Understand research methods as they apply to experiential and outdoor education scholarship.
  3. Design learning experiences for diverse populations that integrate theory into practice.
  4. Demonstrate an ability to identify a need in the literature, propose and complete a graduate level thesis or
    project to meet that need.


The Association of Experiential Education defines Experiential Education as: “… a philosophy that informs many methodologies in which educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, clarify values, and develop people's capacity to contribute to their communities.”

Total credits: 36
Required core credits: 27
Electives credits: 9

Transfer credits are limited to 6 from an accredited university. Additional electives may be taken from the list below and other WCU Gradute programs.

EOE 500: Foundations of EOE (3)
EOE 501: Philosophy & Theory of Experiential and Outdoor Education (3)
EOE 502: Diversity and Social Justice (3)
EOE 503: Research Methods in Experiential and Outdoor Education (3)
EOE 600: Advanced Research Methods and Evaluation Techniques (3)
EOE 601: Current Trends and Issues in Experiential and Outdoor Education (3)
EOE 602: Group Facilitation and Teaching Methods in EOE (3)
EOE 679: Thesis I/Project  1 (3)
Elective 1: (3)
Elective 2: (3)
EOE 699: Thesis II/Project II (3)
Elective 3: (3)
Elective 4: (3) (optional)
EOE 680: Independent Study in EOE (3, R6)
EOE 683: Internship in EOE (3, R6)
EOE 627: Wilderness Education (3-6)
EOE 621: Interpretation and Environmental Education (3)
EOE 623: Youth Development (3)
EOE 624: Social Media, Technology and EOE (3)
EOE 635: Sites, Facilities and Programs in EOE (3)
EOE 799: Continuing Reserach, Thesis (1)
EOE 693: Topics in EOE (3)
EOE 625: Experiential and Outdoor Education Expedition (3-6)
COUN 600: Individual and Group Helping Skills (3)
COUN 612: Sexuality Counseling (3)
COUN 619: Nature as a Metaphor (3)
COUN 620: Counseling Children and Adolescents (3)
COUN 637: Creative and Expressive Arts in Counseling (3)
COUN 672: Positive Psychotherapy in Integrated Care (3)
COUN 677: Spirituality in Counseling (3)

"Educators working in this field have extremely varied backgrounds. We're excited that the Experiential and Outdoor Education masters program will provide an opportunity for educators from across the southeast to expand their skill sets, so they can create better learning experiences for their students."
Lauren Pyle, Executive Director, Environmental Educators of North Carolina

"This is an exciting development to help prepare the future of the outdoor industry for the demands of the next generation. WCU is gifted with an amazing faculty, outstanding natural resources, and a tradition of excellence in training leaders in Experiential and Outdoor Education. We at Southwestern Community College are proud of our strong educational partnership over the decades that has allowed our Outdoor Leadership and Wilderness Therapy graduates to continue their studies at WCU with seamless articulation to help raise the bar of professionalism in our field. This new graduate program simply extends that reach to impact graduates to make a difference in their lives and those of others."
Paul Wolf, Program Director of Outdoor Leadership and Wilderness Therapy at Southwestern Community College and Chair of Standards of the Association for Experiential Education Accreditation Council.

"WCU has had wonderful foresight in designing and implementing this new program, at a time when creative initiatives and leadership development are key components for a productive economy for our outdoor industry."
Mairi S Padgett, Administrative Director, Landmark Learning

EOE Faculty

EOE FacultyLeft to right: Andrew Bobilya, Callie Schultz, Jeremy Schultz


Andrew Bobilya


EOE Program Director

Callie Schultz

Assistant Professor

EOE and Parks & Recreation Management

Jeremy Schultz

Assistant Professor

EOE and Parks & Recreation Management

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