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University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI): Outdoor and Adventure Therapeutic Practice

Institution University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI)
Department Business, Management and Leisure
Telephone 01463 279190
Study type Taught


What is special about this course? The PgCert Outdoor and Adventure Therapeutic Practice signals an important development for the adventure and therapy sectors, offering an innovative approach to defining and upholding professional standards for outdoor and adventure-based therapeutic practice.

Placing therapeutic theory and practice in professional adventure settings, this programme is essential for anyone wishing to expand into this field and enhance knowledge of therapeutic interventions in the outdoors.

You will undertake critical examination of the theory and evidence base for outdoor and adventure therapies, as well as reflective practice in building a therapeutic relationship with participants. Group work complements individual study, allowing you to gain experience of therapeutic techniques and ideas, and develop your understanding of them in real-world, outdoor settings.

Your subsequent career path will be unique to you, depending on your prior experience and qualifications. While the interdisciplinary nature of the programme will encourage and support you in building a community of practice, individual reflection will be key to defining your progression route out of the programme.


The key objective of this programme is to prepare students to make an effective contribution to the outdoor and adventure therapy sector through the integration of key knowledge and skill domains. To help position this more clearly, the programme is designed to align with the Institute for Outdoor Learning framework, "Mental Health Interventions model" (Richards, Hardie and Anderson, 2019).

Graduating from this course will enable you to enter employment as a specialist in areas where you may be:

"Introducing a psychological or outdoor dimension to enrich a planned session/programme" (Zone 1) or "Blending outdoor activity and psychotherapeutic practices to enhance targeted interventions" (Zone 2). If you hold additional specialist qualifications and professional registration, you may wish to deepen the application of your skills to integrate "professional competence in both outdoor learning and psychological therapy to meet clients’ needs" (Zone 3), but this is not within the intended remit of the PGCert award.

Special features ◾Unlock your future potential: focus on professional specialisation and synthesis of academic knowledge to shape your future ◾Be part of the story: become a future-shaper of the adventure sector with this innovative new and unique programme ◾Learn in your place at your pace (with some face to face!): supported online learning across all three modules, with two 1-week residential components based in Scotland ◾Learn with Adventure Therapy experts with worldwide experience ◾Access to outstanding adventure facilities set amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK during two residential courses ◾Opportunities to receive tailored outdoor-activity skill development and professional NGB training and assessment with the School of Adventure Studies' continuous professional skills development*

*can be arranged around in-module residential courses for visiting students

How long will my course last? ◾Part-time (structured): 1 year @ 21 hours per week ◾Part-time (unstructured): 2-4 years @ 3.5-7 hours per week (per module)

Number of hours per week indicates the total number of hours you should dedicate to the course, which includes time spent in lectures and your own time spent on individual study and research. You will be required to attend two mandatory residential experiences in Scotland as part of the course.

Postgraduate Certificate - PgCert

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