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BHSU OUTDOOR EDUCATION PROGRAM

Passionate about the outdoors?

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.


Electives

Personalize your program and develop a specialty area. Many students select certifications and minors in the following areas:

Certificates:
  • Criminal Justice
  • Entrepreneurial Studies
  • Historical Site Interpretation
  • Social Media
Minors:
  • Biology
  • Earth Science
  • Psychology
  • Business Administration

*Current students, please refer to the DegreeWorks Dashboard in MyBHSU to confirm your major requirements.

Careers in this field

There are employment opportunities in a variety of sectors:
» 4-H Program Specialist
» Adventure Therapist
» Camp Director
» Challenge Course Facilitator 
» Environmental Educator
» Guide
» Naturalist
» Outdoor Program Social Media Specialist
» Outdoor Retail
»Parks Interpreter
» Resource Management Agency Information & Education Specialist
» Wilderness Trip Leader
» Youth Program Specialist


Jessica Alsaker,
Mt. Rushmore Intern
Experimental Learning

• Paid internships that match your interests
• Hands-on learning
• Outdoor skills classes like rock climbing, backpacking, canoeing, cross country skiing, orienteering, winter camping, SCUBA, & archery
• Sustainability field trips
• Wilderness First Responder Course instructed by the National Outdoor Leadership School
• Study abroad options
• Collegiate Outdoor Leadership Program

Collegiate Outdoor Leadership Program

Who We Are

The Collegiate Outdoor Leadership Program (COLP) provides experience in planning and leading outdoor programs for the campus community.

What We Do

• Leadership Development: Attend orientations to become a “COLP Leader,” “ClimbingWall Supervisor,” “Trip Leader” or “Teaching Assistant.”

• Student-Led Programs for Individuals: As a student leader, you will plan and lead outdoor activities for the campus community. Previous events have included: Rock climbing outings, lake and river paddling, fly fishing clinics, caving tours, 5K races, kayak rolling clinics, archery, shooting sports, and ice fishing. The COLP officers decide each year’s slate of programs.

• Meetings: Active COLP members get together twice a month for “mini-programs” on topics such as Leave No Trace, Wilderness First Responder skills, knot tying, and more!

• Programs for Groups Fundraiser: COLP Leaders plan and lead programs for groups of eight or more.

• Outdoor Gear Rental Program: COLP, in partnership with the academic Outdoor Education program, rents outdoor gear to the BHSU community on Mondays and Fridays from 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Active COLP Leaders are able to rent outdoor gear for free for one week (with a $25 deposit)

Certificate Requirements - 12 Semester Hours

  • 3 RECR 242 Outdoor Skills  
  • 3 RECR 420 Organization & Management of Outdoor Programs  
  • OE 492 Topics: S/T Wilderness First Responder

3 credits of required electives may be taken from the following list:​ 

  • 1 PE 100 Activity Courses (Archery, Backpacking, Canoeing, Intermediate Kayaking, Cross Country Skiing, Fly Fishing, Orienteering, Beginning. Rock Climbing, Intermediate Rock Climbing)
  • 1 OE 292 Topics:  (occasional specialty outdoor technical skills classes)

OE and Science Core: 13 Semester Hours

  • OE 101 The Outdoor Education Program
  • BIOL 151 General Biology I & 151L Lab
  • BIOL 153 General Biology II & 153L Lab
  • GEOL 201 Physical Geology & 201L Lab

Botany:4 Semester Hours

Take one course and corresponding lab from the following:

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

General Science: 3-4 Semester Hours

Take one course and corresponding lab from the following:

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

Geology: 3-4 Semester Hours

Take one course and corresponding lab from the following:

  • GEOL 203 Historical Geology & 203L Lab
  • GEOL 310 Volcanology
  • GEOL 340 Mineralogy/Petrology
  • GEOL 350 Environmental Geology
  • GEOL 370 Hydrogeology
  • GEOL 392 Topics
  • GEOL 492 Topics

ZOOLOGY: 3-4 Semester Hours

Take one course and corresponding lab from the following:

  • 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: 6 Semester Hours

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

Technology: 3 Semester Hours

Take one course from the following:

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

Sustainability: 3 Semester Hours

Take one course from the following:

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

Adventure Education: 3 Semester Hours

  • RECR 242 Outdoor Skills

Technical Outdoor Skills: 6 Semester Hours

Take six credits from the following:

  • PE 100 Activity Courses
    • (Archery, Backpacking, Canoe, Intermediate Kayaking, Cross-Country Skiing, Fly Fishing, Orienteering, Beginning Rock Climbing, Intermediate Rock Climbing)
  • OE 292 Topics 
    • (Wilderness First Aid, SCUBA, Archery Instructor-Trainer, Climbing Instructor, Hunting Skills, and other topics depending on interest)

Physical Education Skills: 4 Semester Hours

Take four credits from the following:

  • PE 320 Lifeguard Training & 320L Lab
  • PE 321 Water Safety Instructor
  • PE 352 Adapted Physical Education
  • PE 121 Intermediate Swimming (level 4)

Medical Skills: 3 Semester Hours

Take one course and corresponding lab from the following:

  • EXS 354 Prevention & Care of Athletic Injuries and 354L Lab
  • HLTH 364 Emergency Medical Technician and 364L Lab
  • OE 492 Topics (Wilderness First Responder)

Program Organization & Management: 3 Semester Hours

Take one course from the following:

  • BADM 360 - Organization and Management
  • RECR 420 - Community Recreation

Field Experience: 6 Semester Hours

  • OE 494 - Internship

Gen Ed Requirements - 30 semester hours

  • ENGL 101
  • ENGL 201
  • SPCM - Gen Ed - Speech (1 class) - 3 semester hours
  • MATH - Gen Ed - Mathematics (1 class) - 3 semester hours
  • Gen Ed - Social Science (2 classes from different subjects) - 6 semester hours
  • Gen Ed - Arts & Humanities (2 classes from different subjects or a foreign language sequence) - 6 semester hours
  • Gen Ed - Natural Sciences & Lab (2 classes/corresponding labs) - 6-8 semester hours

ELECTIVES REQUIRED A minor is NOT required with this major but electives are required to total 120 hours, of which 36 hours must be 300-400 level courses.

Minor Requirements - 18 Semester Hours

  • OE 310 Environmental Education: Theory & Practice
  • OE 350 Environmental Interpretation
  • OE 376 Interpretive Media
  • RECR 242 Outdoor Skills
  • RECR 420 Community Recreation

Take one of the following:

  • PE 100 Activity Courses (3, 1-credit outdoor technical skill courses) 
    • Archery, Backpacking, Canoe, Intermediate Kayaking, Cross-Country Skiing, Fly Fishing, Orienteering, Beginning Rock Climbing, Intermediate Rock Climbing, SCUBA
  • OE 492 Topics: Wilderness First Responder
  • THM 100 Introduction to Tourism & Hospitality Management

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Develop valuable personal relationships in a small community with amazing faculty and staff while thriving in the outdoors of the Black Hills.