Help people to learn in nature. Study through extensive fieldwork with highly experienced tutors. Your classroom will be Dartmoor National Park and the rivers and stunning surfing beaches of the South West coast.
Three A-levels at grades CCC or above.
Or BTEC triple grades MMM or above.
Or Access 23-45 with min 6D.
And GCSE English Language at grade 4 or grade C or above.
A DBS check and ISA registration are also required.
Applications from students with non-traditional qualifications are welcome, particularly those who have:
UCAS points 96
UCAS code X391
Duration 3 years full-time or part-time options availableHow to apply for this course
Spend three years with like-minded enthusiasts, developing your career in the outdoors. Study an interesting and exciting way of educating people, with active, practical learning, while you grow and develop your skills in natural settings. Marjon’s outdoor education degree is accredited by the Institute for Outdoor Learning.
We are flanked by the stunning scenery of Dartmoor National Park and the beautiful rivers, estuaries and beaches of Devon and Cornwall. Within these inspiring environments and our excellent on-campus facilities, you’ll explore the theory and practice of adventure education and outdoor learning, studying with experienced and passionate tutors. You'll also enjoy free use of a wide range of outdoors equipment.
Exciting adventures will happen. You will undertake expeditions on Dartmoor and in Snowdonia as well as exploring the Devon and Cornwall coastline in a kayak, canoe or sailing dinghy, discovering the best surfing beaches along the way. Additionally you'll have opportunities to study abroad with partner universities in Canada and Iceland and undertake international placements with organisations such as Camp America.
You’ll be guided by experienced and committed professionals, and you’ll be studying with like-minded people. This outdoor education degree attracts students who love thinking and doing, and people who have a great attitude to learning, trying new things and spending time outdoors having an adventure. You don't need lots of experience or fancy equipment, just a great positive attitude!
Mark: We teach on a range of programs across the university, and in particular, we have a BA in Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning. We're using a whole range of exciting adventurous activities. And that's our classroom, the outdoors. Here at Marjon, we're in a fantastic location in the United Kingdom, just a fantastic place to go and sail and explore, and be outdoors with like minded people.
Sarah: You're right by the coast and Dartmoor, that's just a bonus.
Rhys: It gives a good mix for different experiences, using different types of rock and different areas.
Sarah: You've got the climbing wall, as you can see. We have independent study sessions, which is where it's two hour slot, either in the pool or on the climbing wall, where you can just go along practice any skills you've learned. Got the kayaks and canoes in the pool, and we've got so much more equipment in the Outdoor Adventure Education Centre, that is available to hire at anytime. Marjon is a great university because it's so supportive, there's so many opportunities available here.
Rhys: Marjon's a bit more of a family, it's a smaller university. So if you like the thought of coming to a university, getting to know everyone and getting involved with the university, it's the perfect place because you've got plenty of time to do your outdoors. You're in the perfect location. But at the same time, if you're thinking about, "Oh, how am I going to do all my essays?" or struggling with work and stuff, if you've got those sort of worries, the lecturers are always there, are really supportive. And then it's really easy to talk to second and third years as well.
Aaron: It was quite a worried moment when I decided to actually go to university. I left a full-time job to come and do a full-time education course. And being a little bit older and stuff, I was definitely worried about it and all those sort of things. But actually, it's been one of the best things I've ever done.
Izzy: Studying at Marjon has, educationally, prepared me with the theories that really underpin outdoor adventure. And has given me an idea of how to make concrete outdoor experiences that have a lasting impact on the children.
UK and International field trips include an exciting range of outdoor activities on land and water.
All technical equipment provided for your own adventures.
Independent study in the kayaking pool and climbing wall every week.
Experienced and passionate staff – internationally recognised as leaders in the subject.
Location, location, location! Atmospheric Dartmoor and the Devon and Cornwall coastline!
Our wide range of local, regional, national and international networks helps connect you to employment opportunities in the outdoors sector.
“The best thing about the course has to be the practical and independent study sessions. The practicals give us a great opportunity to bond as a group, and provide an excellent grounding for our academic studies and future industry work. Our lecturers really encourage us to think for ourselves and learn experientially, which has helped develop my critical thinking and is a lot of fun.”
“Plymouth offers something for everyone. Being close to Dartmoor National Park and the sea, every person who loves the outdoors can find something to do here. Furthermore, Plymouth provides many chances to gain work experience in the outdoor field. I’ve worked outdoors, doing all sorts of different activities in various countries over the last couple of years. I wanted a new challenge. This course helps me to improve my personal skills, as well as discovering new interesting activities.”
So why do schools educate indoors?
What makes for an adventure and where does it start?
How do you want to change the world?
Do you really have a comfort zone?
Bear Grylls: is he good or bad for outdoor education?
Why do people think I like getting wet and cold? (I have great waterproofs!)
“ “The Marjon Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning team have been fundamental in developing a dynamic, connected outdoor learning community in the South West. We regularly meet students of this course and on every occasion we have been impressed with the quality of engagement and their passion to learn about the world or outdoor and adventurous learning. I am confident in saying that Marjon really is the hub of outdoor learning in the South West.””
Employment opportunities exist in a variety of professions. Recent graduates have gone on to become an outdoor learning tutor in school; outdoor adventure activity instructor with Neilson Holidays, PGL, Outward Bound; expedition leader for a travel company; social enterprise/own business e.g. slacklining with Ru-Slack; police officers with the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary; fire fighters e.g. Cornwall Fire Service and the Armed forces. You may also undertake postgraduate study such as a PGCE to become a teacher or a Masters degree.
Georgios: So my name is Georgios and I'm studying outdoor adventure education. Well, when I lived in Greece, I used to work as a kite surfing instructor, and I knew that at some point I wanted to do a degree. And generally I looked around at different courses at the universities, and I couldn't quite find something that was related to what I liked doing. But eventually I found this and after reading the description and then having a quick chat with the people who work here, I realized that it's quite strongly linked to what I like doing as a job. So I think Plymouth is great. First of all, because it's next to the sea and growing up next to sea, I really felt I had to be somewhere where it will be the same way. Also, there's a lot of nice places in the city itself, nice pubs, clubs, cafes, just places to hang out and so on.
But most importantly, I reckon it's just got so many places where we can effectively practice what we do in our course. So we've got the moors, there's a lot of tors to climb on and a lot of rivers and canals. So generally it's quite a diverse location overall, where you can really just indulge in whatever it is that you like doing. I think the course is fantastic. I couldn't possibly recommend it more to someone. First year, in halls, it's just really, really good for any first year wanting to get to meet some new people and just have things going on every single day. Because even if you're just sitting in your room and you're bored and nothing's really happening, you can be absolutely sure someone's going to knock on your door and be like, "All right mate, come on, let's go do this, let's go do that."
So the years after that, I lived in the village, which is also great because after first year, I feel you really want to focus a little bit more on your studies. And the village really provides you with a place where you can have a bit more peace and quiet, have your own space. And most importantly be right next to class. So you wake up in the morning, you've got a 9:00 am, you just get up and have a quick shower and two minutes and you're there. It's really great as well on campus, we have a lot of facilities that help us practice whatever it is that we're learning in the classroom. So for example, we have the pool where we go with the kayaks and the canoes, and we practice our strokes and our rolls if you're familiar with kayaking.
At the same time, we have a climbing wall with a great diversity of climbs. And we do spend some hours in the sports science lab and we get to learn a bit more about how our body works in an outdoor education scenario. And just learn a little bit more about the physiology of how everything goes on inside while we're practicing.
I'd say the main thing you have to keep in mind is how much our lecturers care for our students. I realized that from day one, they really made sure that we knew that they would be there for us. And they really, really cared for us doing well. Of course, they expect of you to put the effort in and be interested in what you're doing and love what you are doing. But you have to know that they will always provide you with whatever support is that you're going to need. And again it's because of how relatively small we are as a university, which gives us that opportunity. I say predominantly that, but other than that, as I said before, it's just the place, you have the tours, you have the lakes, the rivers, which just gives us such a great platform to practice everything that we do.
“Having worked in an outdoor environment before university I had only a basic understanding of the wider outdoor commercial sector. University showed me what is available and what impact I could have on the outdoors. I grew as an instructor while at university and continue to grow and learn from that strong foundation today. I am lucky enough to work with young people and the work I do helps those young people overcome their struggles and at times helps show them how very capable they are.”
Aaron is a Centre Manager for Reach Outdoors.
"Although I had previously worked and studied in and around the outdoor industry prior to attending university, the course helped me build my holistic understanding of numerous different sectors of the industry. The course also sparked something inside me that made me enjoy learning for the first time in my life. The lectures on the course and the university have great links within the outdoor industry in the south west, which on the name alone assist you with gaining a good placement."
Ben is the founder of Ru-Slack, a social enterprise.
"I am fascinated by the curiosity that the children display and their natural ability to play, explore and be enthused about the simplest of things. Even in the rain the children are never deterred from going outside. Being at University I was inspired and enthused by the lecturers, encouraged to think for myself and enquire. I was given and made opportunities and experiences which I believe have equipped me for my future."
Izzie is a Learning Outside the Classroom Teacher and Chair of the South West Institute of Outdoor Learning.
“ "The first year of the course was very active as we learnt all the basics in kayaking, canoeing, climbing and navigation, as well as how to research and think academically. In the second year our basic skills became more advanced through traditional climbing, sea kayaking and mountain biking. In the third year, we got to choose an area to specialise in and we will do a placement in an organisation of our choice or learn more about how to run our own business."”
Fees UK students: £9,250 per annum
Fees for International students: £12,000 per annum
Includes fieldwork (for example sailing in Plymouth Sound to explore the social psychology of group work and climbing on granite tors exploring the myths and legends of Dartmoor), seminars, small lectures and tutorials; with extensive resources located on students’ online learning space.
No exams. 100% coursework including a variety of assessments including essays, reports, presentations, practical participation, negotiated assessments and research projects.
Dr Mark Leather is privileged to lead an outstanding team of committed and passionate colleagues who work with amazing young men and women who graduate and then go on to change the world. Mark’s experience includes; managing a residential adventure centre, a sailing instructor in a residential centre in Salcombe, three seasons on Camp America as the Director of the Counsellor in Training program, Head of Science in a rural secondary school with an extensive outdoor programme. Mark is an all-rounder in outdoor activities, and he teaches; paddling, sailing, hill walking and expeditions, and believes that outdoor education is about people, places and the planet. It is always “more than activities!”. Mark is internationally known through his publications, research and conference presentations, which he uses to add richness to this course.View full profile
Visiting Lecturer - Outdoor EducationView profile
Abigail is qualified teacher who has moved from teaching mathematics into the world of outdoor education. She has a special interest in improving inclusivity and accessibility in the outdoors.
Senior LecturerView profile
Fiona, is a qualified teacher and RYA qualified powerboat and senior sailing instructor, BCU Coach Inland kayak and Sea, Mountain Leader and Rock Climbing Instructor; teaching across the programme on the moor, crag and sea. She brings infectious enthusiasm as well as a wide networks of contacts from many years managing Plymouth City Council’s outdoor education provision before joining team Marjon.
Senior LecturerView profile
Su, a qualified teacher and AMI qualified mountaineering instructor knows Dartmoor better than anyone. She has taught climbing, mountain leader courses, and navigation training and assessments for many years. Su is competitive and a talented orienteer and an experienced adventure racer in mountain marathons. She is also a volunteer leader at a local scout group.
Media & Creative Arts Support Team MemberView profile
Hamish is our legendary (according to the students) instructor and technician, he is a great source of technical knowledge and advice. Fortunately, he is also outstanding at fixing broken equipment! Hamish is always on hand to support students wishing to borrow equipment to go off on their own adventures.
"I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with Marjon students and teachers for the last 15 years. Marjon students always impress me with the quality and depth of their underpinning knowledge, their wide terms of reference within and outside their chosen field of study and their enthusiasm for learning. The quality of the students seems to me a direct reflection of the quality of teaching and the learning environment." Orlando Rutter, Senior Learning and Outreach Officer at Dartmoor National Park.
To see more of what you could be doing have a look at:
We are members of the European Institute for Outdoor Adventure Education and Experiential Learning (EOE).