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Master's of Science in Experiential and Outdoor Education: A Unique, Experiential Master's Program

Students in an outdoor classroom


Western Carolina University has announced a new master’s degree in Experiential and Outdoor Education that will be offered through the College of Education and Allied Professions beginning with the fall semester.

The program is designed for professionals and those seeking careers in positions such as environmental educators, camp directors, wilderness therapy instructors, park rangers and outdoor adventure instructors. The two-year hybrid design includes both online and classroom coursework beginning with a five-day intensive session on campus in August followed by four weekend sessions in the fall and spring semesters in year one.

Student at an internship as a park ranger


The format will allow working professionals to further their education while remaining on a career path. It also allows enrolled students to hold internships at regional agencies.

“A master’s degree in experiential and outdoor education is a unique, cross-disciplinary program that further equips non-formal educators to serve in a variety of program settings and schools,” said Andrew J. Bobilya, professor and program director. “This program is ideal for those currently working in the field and those considering further graduate training.”

Students will explore developing trends in program and curriculum design and delivery, research design and program assessment, and investigate issues related to technology, social justice and the environment.

With the natural amenities close to the university and the volume and variety of related organizations and agencies in the region, WCU is an ideal location for the state’s only master’s degree program in experiential and/or outdoor education. The program will fulfill a growing need in training experiential and outdoor education professionals, not just North Carolina but throughout the Southeast and across the country.

WCU is well-regarded as a leader and educator in the outdoor recreation and outdoor education industries. At October’s Outdoor Economy Conference in Asheville, WCU Chancellor Kelli R. Brown said that the university is committed to being an active partner in the region for the outdoor recreation industry, citing the development of innovative curricula for the new master’s degree program in experiential and outdoor education as a prime example.

Twenty states and 39 North Carolina counties were represented at the conference, which focused on harnessing business opportunities available in the outdoor recreation industry and boosting the Western North Carolina economy.

Find more information about the experiential and outdoor education master’s degree program at or contact Andrew Bobilya at 828-227-3326.

Experiential and Outdoor Education

Program Overview

Location: Hybrid, Online and Main Campus

Time to Completion: Two Years

Cohort: 20 People

Deadline: May 1- Priority, Jun 15 - Fall

Credit Hours: 36 Total

Ideal for non-formal educators

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