Make Alaska your home. And your classroom.

Among the region’s oldest, most respected university-based programs, Outdoor Studies at APU prepares you as an outdoor professional. Learn field skills like climbing and kayaking; academic skills like analysis and communication; and intangibles like decision making, resilience and teamwork.

Alaska-based projects that involve OS students include:

  • researching avalanche terrain using field data and GIS
  • developing business plans and programs for outdoor organizations
  • contributing to Alaska natural history interpretation

Intentionally small class sizes foster faculty-student collaboration in areas like snow science, outdoor entrepreneurship and outdoor education.

Our partners, your network

Just about every public and private agency concerned with wilderness Alaska is among our partners. Your OS degree offers lots of opportunity for resume-building experience.

APU students just like you are competing successfully for

  • internships at Alaska Avalanche School, National Outdoor Leadership School and Denali National Park
  • careers in fields ranging from National Park Service ranger to small business owner to wilderness therapist
  • graduate programs at places like Lewis and Clark law school and the Master of Science degree in Outdoor and Environmental Education at APU

‘Outdoor Studies graduates are doing what we love, whether it’s climbing mountains, skiing with kids, digging soil pits or counting fish.’ – Meagan Piersma, ’06

Major Studies

  • Introduction to Outdoor Studies
  • Recreation Program Design
  • Wilderness First Responder
  • Applied Statistics
  • Risk Management
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Topics in Outdoor Leadership
  • 2 Natural History Electives
  • 2 OS Upper Division Electives
  • 1 Multi-week Expedition
  • 6 OS skills credits
  • Research Methods for OS
  • Senior Project


  • Packrafting or Swiftwater
  • Glaciology and Glacier Travel
  • Animal Behavior
  • Wildland Ecosystems and Human Impacts
  • Applied Exercise Physiology
  • Snow Science for Outdoor Professionals
  • The Business of Recreation
  • Expedition Mountaineering
  • Expedition Sea Kayaking
  • Dog Mushing
  • Climbing Systems
  • Equipment Design and Repair
  • Recreation, Culture, and Environment

 Application Date Requirements

1 month prior to the start of block or session class


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.

Outdoor Studies Department