BHSU Outdoor Education Program

Unique Interdisciplinary Program

BHSU’s Outdoor Education Program prepares students for professional careers across the broad field of outdoor education which includes adventure education, parks interpretation, and environmental education. Our students are grounded in experiential education theory and natural history knowledge. They develop their skills in outdoor pursuits, education methods, interpretive communications, and outdoor program management. They practice program delivery via our numerous partnerships with regional parks, nature centers, schools, and camps, as well as with BHSU’s Collegiate Outdoor Leadership Program.

A degree in Outdoor Education from BHSU equips students for education careers in parks, nature centers, zoos, aquaria, natural resource management agencies, eco-tourism programs, camps, wilderness programs, 4-H extension programs, field stations, non-profits, lodges, and other locations that value hard-working, knowledgeable, well-rounded educators.

In addition to our excellent, well-rounded major, our program includes several electives (free choice credits) in which students can enhance their knowledge, skills, and abilities in their specific areas of interest; many select one of BHSU’s many or minors such as American Indian studies, archives, art, athletic coaching, biology, business, criminal justice, early childhood education, earth science, entrepreneurial studies, geography, health, history, international studies, graphic design, guitar performance, historical site interpretation, journalism, management, museums, philosophy, photography, professional writing, psychology, social & cultural awareness, social resiliency, sociology, and writing.

Do you love the outdoors and working with people?

Then Outdoor Education may be the right program for you!

Composite Major in Outdoor Education

Natural Science Core (24-28) Credits

Science Foundations 

  • BIOL 151 General Biology I & 151L Lab **
  • BIOL 153 General Biology II & 153L Lab **
  • GEOL 201 Physical Geology & 201L Lab

Botany: Choose 1 course

  • BIOL 301 Plant Systematics & 301L Lab
  • BIOL 461 Agrostology & 461L Lab
  • BIOL 462 Dendrology & 462L Lab

General Science: Choose 1 Course

  • BIOL 311 Principles of Ecology & 311L Lab
  • BIOL 321 Conservation of Natural Resources
  • PHYS 185 Introduction to Astronomy & 185L Lab
  • SCI 388 Global Positioning & Geographical Information Systems

Geology: Choose 1 course

  • GEOL 203 Historical Geology & 203L Lab
  • GEOL 310 Volcanology
  • GEOL 320 Field Methods- Environmental & Planetary Science
  • GEOL 340 Mineralogy/Petrology
  • GEOL 350 Environmental Geology
  • GEOL 370 Hydrogeology
  • GEOL 392/492 Special Topics

Zoology: Choose 1 course

  • BIOL 302 Animal Behavior
  • BIOL 355 Mammalogy & 355L Lab
  • BIOL 357 Invertebrate Zoology & 357L Lab
  • BIOL 405 Entomology & 405L Lab
  • BIOL 434 Herpetology & 434L Lab
  • BIOL 463 Ornithology & 463L Lab

Environmental Education & Interpretation

Environmental Education & Interpretation Foundations

  • OE 310 Environmental Education: Theory & Practice
  • OE 350 Environmental Interpretation

Technology Requirement: Choose 1 course

  • EDFN 365 Computer-Based Technology & Learning
  • MCOM 161 Graphic Communication
  • OE 376 Interpretive Media

Sustainability Requirement: Choose 1 course

  • HIST 379 Environmental History of the US
  • SOC 151 Social Issues in Sustainability
  • SOC 463 Environmental Sociology

Adventure Education (19 Credits)

Technical Outdoor Skills: Take 6 credits from the following

  • PE 100 Outdoor Technical Skills Activity Courses
  • OE 292 Special Topics

Physical Education Skills - Choose 1 group
Group 1

  • PE 320 Lifeguard Training & 320L Lab
  • PE 321 Water Safety Instructor

Group 2

  • PE 352 Adapted Physical Education
  • PE 120 Beginning Swimming (Level 3) OR PE 121 Intermediate Swimming (Level 4)

Medical Skills - Choose 1 course

  • EXS 354 Prevention & Care of Athletic Injuries & 354L Lab
  • HLTH 364 Emergency Medical Technician & 364L Lab
  • OE 492 Topics

3 Program & Organization Management - Choose 1 course

  • BADM 360 Organization and Management
  • RECR 420 Community Recreation

6 Field Experience

  • OE 494 Internship

General Education Requirements

  • Gen Ed - Mathematics 3 semester hours
  • Gen Ed - Social Science 9 semester hours
  • Gen Ed - Arts & Humanities 12 semester hours
  • Gen Ed - Natural Science & Lab Satisfied by Major
  • ENGL 101 - Composition I
  • ENGL 201 - Composition II
  • SPCM 101, OR SPCM 215, OR SPCM 222 Speech

A minor is NOT required with this major but electives are required to total 120 hours. 

**Completes one general education requirement.

Notes: This program guide serves as a resource for you. For official program requirements, please check with the official catalog at

Minor in Outdoor Education

18 hours

  • 3 OE 310 Outdoor Education Programs
  • 3 OE 350 Environmental Interpretation
  • 3 OE 376 Interpretive Media
  • 3 RECR 242 Outdoor Skills
  • 3 RECR 420 Community Recreation
  • Take one of the following:
    PE 100 Activity Courses (3 Courses)
    OE 492 Topics
    THM 100 Intro to Travel & Hospitality Mgmt.

Make a Difference Scholarship

Outdoor Education Majors can apply for a generous scholarship and stipend in support of a project they develop to Make a Difference in the community. See Make a Difference Initiative.

Career Opportunities

Outdoor Education majors are able to find careers in a variety of fields:

  • Interpretive park rangers in state and national parks
  • Naturalists in nature centers
  • Educators for zoos and aquaria
  • Information and education program coordinators for natural resource agencies
  • Adventure programmers with youth programs
  • Guides with wilderness programs

BHSU Outdoor Education

The BHSU Outdoor Education program prepares competent, confident, and caring outdoor leaders.

6 questions with 6 BHSU grads: Walter Bordewyk

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Full-time jobs, travels across the world, and advanced degrees. In this series “6 questions with 6 grads,” Black Hills State University will highlight the future plans of some of the University’s May 2018 graduates. Walter Bordewyk, outdoor education major from Fort Collins, Colo., will travel to Asia with the Campus Ventures ministry.

BHSU Black Hills Food Hub brings locally-grown produce to Mt. Rushmore

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Visitors to Mt. Rushmore during the 4th of July weekend will have the opportunity to enjoy locally-grown food from the Black Hills thanks to a partnership between Mt. Rushmore and Black Hills State University.

The Black Hills Food Hub, a program run by Black Hills State University in collaboration with Cobblestone Science, coordinates the purchase and delivery of fresh food from local farmers to cafeterias in the region. The Hub works with more than 20 farmers located throughout the Black Hills – from northeast of Belle Fourche all the way to Custer.