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
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.
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.
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.
Class sessions are 8:30 am – 5:30 pm with an occasional extended evening session
April 28th-April 30th (Cullowhee Campus) (students must attend at least the one day that they are proposing their thesis or project)
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.
|YEAR 1 FALL SEMESTER||YEAR 1 SPRING SEMESTER|
|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)
|YEAR 2 FALL SEMESTER||YEAR 2 SPRING SEMESTER|
|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)
||SAMPLE OF COUNSELING ELECTIVES
|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
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 and Parks & Recreation Management