Academic Programs

Outdoor Adventure Leadership (B.S.)

The mission of the outdoor adventure leadership (OAL) program is to develop visionary outdoor educational leaders who are prepared to be agents of change in the world, whether in a wilderness context or a context where these transferable skills are implemented. Through an innovative, intensive, and experiential curriculum, you’ll learn the technical, teaching, and management skills necessary to help others appreciate, respect, and enjoy the natural environment. Our major is accredited by the Wilderness Education Association, which is recognized across the country for enhancing the safety standards of adventure travel and promoting environmental ethics.

The program emphasizes outdoor program administration, problem solving, leadership, wilderness literacy, and recreational land use. Using the wilderness as a catalyst for personal growth, both in yourself and in those you work with, you’ll develop your sense of responsibility, appreciation of independent thought, respect for others, a spirit of collaboration, awareness of our environmental and cultural connections, and a commitment to lifelong service and learning.

A living lab of gorges, forests, and lakes, the greater Ithaca area provides numerous opportunities to learn and test your backpacking, kayaking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, orienteering, and outdoor leadership skills.

In the spring of your junior year, you’ll head to the Pacific Northwest to participate in our immersion semester program. While exploring the coast and islands by kayak, studying and hiking in Washington’s North Cascades, and rafting the rivers of the west, you’ll get a firsthand look at expedition planning and risk management, examine environmental ethics and land management issues, and develop leadership, judgment, and decision-making abilities in a wilderness environment.

Career opportunities for OAL majors exist in outdoor leadership, ecotourism, outdoor education, camp management, natural resource management, environmental interpretation, youth-at-risk programs, and the adventure education and travel industry. As these industries flourish, the demand for skilled outdoor adventure leaders will grow. And as an Ithaca graduate, you will be at the top of the list.

School of Health Sciences and Human Performance  ·  Ithaca College  ·  Ithaca, NY 14850  ·  (607) 274-3237  ·  Full Directory Listing