Degree Fit

os-rec-designWhether you want a degree that puts your passion for outdoor recreation at the center of your education or one that will develop field proficiencies you gained through military service into a profession, APU’s Outdoor Studies program leads to relevant practicum and employment opportunities while you’re still in school and prepares you to graduate with the knowledge, the real-world experience and the professional network you need for a career in the outdoor profession of your choice.

Career Outcomes

A degree in Outdoor Studies from APU is a legitimate path to careers in:

  • National Park Service
  • Natural Resource Management
  • Wilderness Therapy
  • Tourism and Recreation

Degree Roadmap


Many undergraduate students combine their interest in science, psychology, business, or liberal studies with their passion for the outdoors by combining a minor in Outdoor Studies with their major degree program. The OS minor gives students the basic skills and knowledge to travel in the backcountry and includes a Wilderness First Responder certificate.


Outdoor EducationOutdoor Education

Outdoor Education is a concentration that often attracts students who dream of guiding, only to discover that instructing is more dynamic. Think of it this way – as a guide, you’ll tie other people’s knots. As an outdoor educator, you’ll teach people how to choose the right knot and safely tie it themselves. An OS concentration in Outdoor Education readies you for careers at outdoor recreation centers around the world, including the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and Outward Bound (OB). We should know. Your Outdoor Studies Faculty members include four former instructors with NOLS, OB – or both!

Land ManagementLand Management

An OS concentration in Land Management helps prepare you for careers with state and national agencies that oversee public lands. This OS program concentration develops your ability to balance best-practice land use and best interests of people who use the land for recreation. Whether you’re rangering at Gates of the Arctic National Park or just starting out on a trail crew, your concentration in Land Management deepens your understanding of land as resource.

Snow ScienceSnow Science

APU’s Snow Science concentration helps you meet a nationwide need for professionals with avalanche hazard training. Snow Science students like you present at national conferences, displaying OS research that relies on thermal imagery and geographic information systems. APU’s relationship with the Alaska Avalanche School and its work with the U.S. Forest Service add to your professional network as you gain real-world knowledge about avalanche forecasting.


Tourism is an interdisciplinary OS concentration that blends your interest in outdoors skills with business courses needed for success in private industry. Focused coursework in topics like ecotourism and entrepreneurship lets you network with like-minded peers while developing knowledge and skills in business fundamentals.

Wilderness TherapyWilderness Therapy

The OS concentration in Wilderness Therapy at APU combines your love of outdoor activities with your desire to help people to thrive. Through courses like Eco-psychology and Therapeutic Uses of the Wilderness and challenging practicum experiences that can take you deep into the Alaska backcountry,  you will gain insight into traditional therapeutic models and skills while enhancing your personal growth as an outdoor professional.

Student Profiles


Get paid doing what you love.

The Outdoor Studies Department at APU prepares students for meaningful lives and careers working with people in the outdoors through expedition and classroom-based learning. Students earn either a BA in Outdoor Studies or a MS in Outdoor and Environmental Education. With Alaska’s millions of acres of wilderness right at our doorstep, OS classes provide you with an educational experience unlike any other.

Outdoor Studies Department