Taught course

Outdoor and Experiential Learning (Ambleside)

University of Cumbria · School of Outdoor Studies

Entry requirements

1st or 2nd class honours degree. Students with other qualifications may be admitted to the course, please contact the Enquiry Centre for further details. Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) may be considered for relevant prior learning at the same academic level.

Months of entry

January, September

Course content

If you love the outdoors and are passionate about helping others to be confident in who they are and the contribution they are making to society, the environment and the planet, then this outdoor experiential learning masters program is for you.

Our outdoor experiential learning masters will challenge your current understanding and practice by looking through the alternative lens of outdoor experiential learning.

Based at our Ambleside campus in the heart of the Lake District National Park, you will live and study surrounded by mountains, woods, rivers and lakes – an unrivalled location for outdoor education.


This course uses the fundamental process of actual lived experience to explore the cultural, ecological and political lenses which influence our thoughts and behaviour. In contrast to more formal approaches to learning, this course exemplifies experiential learning in its delivery, as well as in the content of its curriculum.

To reflect this contemporary trend, there are 3 pathways to choose from which reflect current applications of experiential learning.

  • Outdoor & Experiential Learning
  • Outdoor & Experiential Learning (Bushcraft)
  • Outdoor & Experiential Learning (Health & Wellbeing)

You will consider the histories, contemporary application and growth of outdoor and experiential learning at the intersections of professional practice, pedagogy and philosophy via debate & discussion, creative reflection, critical analysis and critique of research and evidence.

From your base in Ambleside, you can take advantage of more than 150 lofty peaks, 16 lakes and an abundance of rivers across the Lake District – quite literally a classroom on your doorstep.


  • Be part of a Lake District campus that prioritises hands-on and skills-based learning.
  • Be part of an innovative and creative course that is tailored to the individual for professional development and enhanced employability
  • Have the opportunity to be creative and critical in challenging accepted ideas about both the contexts of experiential learning and about yourself.
  • Be part of a transdisciplinary course including teaching on anthropology, philosophy, Bushcraft, therapeutic landscapes, art, pedagogy, eco-psychology, outdoor and environmental education, experiential learning, environmental humanities, and more.
  • Explore options for your personal and professional lives derived from many disciplines and cultures based on a reconsideration of the very processes of sensation, perception and cognition.
  • Be taught by an internationally renowned, highly-qualified, experienced, empathetic, and diverse staff team with a breadth of expertise in pathway areas and in creative and imaginative teaching and learning.


There are three pathways to choose from in order to complete the MA qualification.

The Outdoor & Experiential Learning pathway engages with current debates around environmental empathy, displacement, social equality, adventurous journeying, embodiment, outdoor recreation, nature-culture philosophies, colonialism, globalization and management of people in organisations, sustainability and alternative forms of education, for example.

The Bushcraft pathway deeply engages the learner with both practical and theoretical concerns within the emerging academic field of Bushcraft. This field speaks to wider implications for educational, therapeutic, commercial and recreational ideas.

The Health and Wellbeing pathway offers a reflective exploration of the student’s own therapeutic relationship with ‘the outdoors’ as well as personal and planetary wellbeing and ill-health. Utilising experimental walks and residential settings, alternative narratives of human-environment relations will be developed whilst exploring historical, traditional and contemporary perspectives of nature based psychotherapies and therapeutic landscapes.

Compulsory modules

  • Introduction to Outdoor and Experiential Learning
  • The Reflexive Practitioner
  • Independent Inquiry
  • Dissertation

Pathway modules

Bushcraft Pathway

  • Histories and Principles of Bushcraft
  • Cultures and Practices of Bushcraft

Outdoor & Experiential Learning Pathway

  • Know Your Place: Place Responsive Approaches to the Outdoors
  • Learning from Adventerous Journeys

Health & Wellbeing Pathway

  • Querying Therapeutic Landscapes & Outdoor Psychotherapies
  • Therapeutic Opportunities in the Outdoors

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    24-48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Enquiry Centre