Outdoor Education Applied Minor (AM)

The outdoor education applied minor is designed to prepare students for a leadership role in the outdoor education industry, and/or in programs with remote or extended fieldwork components. Through a combination of coursework and field-based experiential learning, the applied minor emphasizes educational and environmental theory, interpersonal and leadership skills, and an introduction to technical skills such as backpacking, canoeing and rock climbing.

Program details

Earlham has a national reputation for training outstanding outdoor educators. As a complement to the outdoor education applied minor, our Outdoor Education Program provides a unique combination of on-campus courses, field experiences and leadership practica leading to excellent opportunities for development of both technical and interpersonal skills. Graduates have gone on to careers in environmental education, park management, wilderness guiding, and youth social work.

Applied minors (AMs) are distinctive programs allowing you to personalize your education and to help you make direct connections between academic interests and co-curricular activities.

Learn more about applied minors.


The following courses are required:

  • EDUC 221 Outdoor Trip Leadership (offered annually in spring semester)
  • EDUC 311 Wilderness First Responder (offered annually as an early on-campus May term)

Two participation-based courses:

  • At least one of the following advanced skill AWPE courses:
    • AWPE 202 Intermediate Gym Climbing
    • AWPE 300 Canoe Skills Seminar
    • AWPE 304 Outdoor Rock Climbing Seminar
    • Other courses or related Epic Advantage Programs/May Terms will be considered by petition.
  • AWPE 144 Outdoor Activites
  • AWPE 200 Introduction to Canoeing
  • AWPE 201 Indoor Gym Climbing
  • AWPE 207 Backpacking
  • AWPE 210 Trail Building/Invasive Species Control

One of the following education- or leadership-focused academic courses:

  • EDUC 120 Foundations of Education
  • EDUC 210 Outdoor & Environmental Education
  • EDUC 248 Theory and Practice of Education
  • ENSU 320 Pedagogies of Place
  • TESO 344 Studies in Language Learning and Teaching
  • Another course with an education/leadership focus in global management, social services, history, museum studies, peace and global studies, philosophy, psychology or teacher education.
  • Other courses will be considered by petition.

One of the following natural science academic courses:

  • BIOL 111 Ecological Biology
  • BIOL 226 Biological Diversity
  • ENSU 141 Environment, Society and Sustainability
  • ENSU 151 Environment, Science and Sustainability
  • GEOL 201 Earth and the Environment
  • PHYS 115 Encounters with the Cosmos
  • Other natural science courses or related Epic Advantage programs/May Terms will be considered by petition.

Co-curricular activity

Students must complete a qualifying multi-day (seven days+) field practicum experience, including four days in a leader-­of-­the-day or instructor role. Experience to include planning, logistics, field time and debrief/evaluation (e.g., OTL TA, Multi­-day AWPE Instructor, August Wilderness Instructor, Internship, NOLS/Outward Bound course, or another experience approved by the director of outdoor education).

Culminating experience

All students must submit a capstone portfolio and complete a mock job interview with an EC Career Coach. The portfolio includes the following:

  • A statement on personal educational philosophy.
  • A critical reflection essay on qualifying practicum field experience.
  • A sample written lesson plan from qualifying field experience.
  • An outdoor-focused resume.

Related administrative offices

For more information, complete the interest form or contact the director of outdoor education.

Our faculty

In outdoor education classes, we stretch our comfort zones, embrace simplicity and connection and have incredible adventures.

Have questions?

Learn more about declaring your interest in an applied minor and find answers to other questions you may not even know you have.

Next steps

We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.