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Outdoor Studies

Outdoor Studies At APU

Outdoor Studies (OS) is for outdoor enthusiasts wanting to get paid to do what they love.

We prepare students for meaningful lives and careers working with people in the outdoors through expedition and classroom learning. Students earn either a BA in Outdoor Studies or a MS in Outdoor and Environmental Education.


OS classes utilize Alaska’s millions of acres of wildlands and diverse human resources to provide unmatched opportunities to experience and learn the skills and knowledge needed to be an outdoor professional.


Students are prepared for positions in parks and recreation, commercial recreation, outdoor and environmental education, wilderness therapy, and snow science.

Jobs: Alumni are or have been:

  • Educational Specialists: Alaska Avalanche School, Alaska Geographic, Anchorage Zoo, Campbell Creek Science Center,
  • Winterberry School
  • Ski Patrol/Assistant Ski Patrol Director: Alyeska Ski Resort
  • Backcountry Ski Guide: Chugach Powder Guides
  • Ranger: Chugach National Forest, Alaska State Parks
  • Mountain Guide: Alaska Mountaineering School, Mountain Trip, Ascending Path, Wild Alpine
  • Military Recreation Coordinator: Joint Base Elmendorf – Richardson
  • College Outdoor Program Director: Alaska Pacific University
  • Outdoor Apparel Company: Voormi
  • Reality TV/Film work: “Life Below Zero.” “Ultimate Survivor: Alaska,”
  • Outdoor Instructor: National Outdoor Leadership School, Outward Bound
  • Wilderness Therapy: Alaska Crossings, Northstar Behavioral Health
  • Sea Kayaking: Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking, Alaska Sea Kayakers
  • International: Terratribes: China

APU Semester:

Our semester is divided into a four week block and 11 week session. The blocks (September, January, and May) are used for focusing on one class: usually and extended field class.

Classes you will or can take:


Skills: Intro to Wilderness Skills, Packrafting, Swiftwater, Nordic Skiing, Winter Wilderness Skills, Sea Kayaking, Search and Rescue, Climbing Systems, Ice Climbing, and more

Wilderness First Responder
Advanced Topics in Leadership
Risk Management
Snow Science I and II
Expedition: Leadership, Mountaineering, or Sea Kayaking
Human Impacts on Wildland Ecosystems
Applied Exercise Physiology
Research Methods
Outdoor Education
The Business of Recreation
GIS and Remote Sensing
Natural History: Glaciology and Glacier Travel, Marine Mammals, Physical Geology, Meteorology, Ecology, Intro to Botany and Zoology, Climate Change, and more

Curriculum Design
Power of Place
Teaching Methods
Research Methods
Learning Theory in Outdoor Education
Outdoor and Environmental Literacy
Expeditions and skills: Sea Kayaking, Mountaineering, Leadership

K-8 certificate option: receive a Masters degree and a K-8 teaching certificate.