Outdoor Adventure - BSc (Hons)

2024/25 Full-time Undergraduate course


Bachelor of Science with Honours


Faculty of Life and Health Sciences


School of Sport


Coleraine campus

UCAS code:

The UCAS code for Ulster University is U20

Start date:

September 2024


To lead, inspire and shape the future of outdoor adventure.


Do you have a thirst for adventure? Do you enjoy the outdoors? If so, would you like to develop a career in the outdoor and adventurous activities? This course is designed to take you on a challenging and enjoyable journey using the outdoor environment as a basis for developing your applied knowledge and practical skills. Active learning is central to the programme, providing you with opportunities to develop your personal skills in range of outdoor activities, achieve industry qualifications and develop your connection to the outdoor environment. The course is delivered through a partnership between Ulster University, Sport Northern Ireland and Tollymore National Outdoor Centre, all our staff are active in the outdoors, passionate and are industry recognised educators. The stunning scenery of Northern Ireland provides the backdrop for the course, much of your learning will take place in locations such as the Mourne Mountains and the North Coast of Northern Ireland. These inspiring environments the backdrop for your own adventure.

We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

About this course


The Outdoor Adventure course is a three year full time programme delivered in partnership with Tollymore National Outdoor Centre. The programme is based at Coleriane campus but also includes two week long residentials per year based at Tollymore in the Mourne mountains. Teaching is designed to immerse students in a range of land and water based outdoor adventure activities developing both personal performance and coaching/leadership skills throughout the three years of the programme. Students will have opportunities to acheive range of professional outdoor adventure qualifications, build work experience and develop key emplyability skills. The programem inlcudes a professinal work placement in year two.


You will attend two week long residentials per academic year, these will be based out of Tollymore National Outdoor Centre.

The rest of your study will be based at the Coleraine Campus (11 weeks per semester). This will consist of lectures, workshops, practical sessions and seminars, typically around 12 to 15 hours per week, the rest of your time each week will consist of independent study.

Start dates

  • September 2024

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

The teaching, learning and assessment strategy for Outdoor Adventure is designed to develop and assess your knowledge and skills across practical, theoretical and work-based learning. The strategy at all levels includes encouraging your active engagement with a broad range of land and water based outdoor activities, developing your ability to connect with and understand the outdoor environment and supporting the development of your leadership skills. A wide range of assessment strategies are employed to assess your subject knowledge and your ability to apply this knowledge in an outdoor environment, these include; reflective assignments to enable you to engage with and lead your own learning and personal development, presentations to support the development of your delivery skills and sharing of knowledge. In addition there are practical assessments throughout the programme of study that assess personal ability, leadership and coaching across a range of outdoor adventure activities. There are opportunities in year two and three for you to participate in a work-based placement, where you are assessed on your ability to apply knowledge and skills developed through the programme of study and to reflect on professional practice.

In first year, teaching, learning and assessment is focused on your personal and practical skills; there are individual written assignments; reflective journals with a focus on skill development; and group presentations. In second year the focus is on delivery and leadership of outdoor adventure activities, practical and written assignments that require application of a wider range of knowledge, paired or individual presentations and reflective writing with a focus on professional practice. In final year the focus is much more self-directed, opportunities for independent research combined with expeditions, entrepreneurship and embedding of professional skills. Throughout your whole programme of study the focus is to develop you as a skilled outdoor professional with the ability to inspire, communicate effectively, think critically and innovate.

Attendance and Independent Study

The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

  • Attendance and Independent Study

    As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

    Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10, 20, or 40 credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate courses typically 15 or 30 credit modules.

    The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Teaching and learning activities will be in-person and/or online depending on the nature of the course. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

    Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

    Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.

  • Assessment

    Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes.  You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessments. This feedback may be issued individually and/or issued to the group and you will be encouraged to act on this feedback for your own development.

    Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification, the assessment timetable and the assessment brief. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised. The module pass mark for undergraduate courses is 40%. The module pass mark for postgraduate courses is 50%.

  • Calculation of the Final Award

    The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

    Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

    All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study.

    In Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

    Figures from the academic year 2022-2023.

Academic profile

Teaching staff are all active outdoor adventure specialists holding academic and professional qualifications in water and land based activities.

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 60% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (19%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (22%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic and learning support staff (85%) are recognised as fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advance HE - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise.  The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff.  This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

Figures from the academic year 2022-2023.

Coleraine campus


A laid-back campus at the heart of a global tourist attraction.

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Sports Facilities

Our Campus in Coleraine boasts a variety of indoor and outdoor facilities that are open all year round to students and members of the public.

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Student Wellbeing

At Student Wellbeing we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

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Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Environmental Systems

Year: 1

This module is designed to introduce students to the theory of environmental systems and provide an understanding of systems behaviour using various environmental systems as examples. The theoretical component of the module will be provided by lectures, which will cover a contemporary thinking into concepts of environmental systems and the practical part of the module will consist of a laboratory exercises.

Foundations of safety, risk and benefit in outdoor education

Year: 1

This is a foundation module for students aspiring to be outdoor adventure professionals. Students will have significant opportunities to engage in a range of active and applied experiences which develop their understanding of the key principles of safety, risk and benefit in outdoor adventuring. Students will also be prepared to participate as competent members of a group in land and water based outdoor adventure activities.

Personal performance skills in land and water based activities

Year: 1

This module provides opportunities for students to develop their personal performance skills in a range of outdoor adventure activities on land and water. Students will be introduced to key outdoor adventure activities which form the basis for the majority of professional practice.

Introduction to outdoor coaching and leadership practice

Year: 1

This module will explore the coaching and leadership skills which underpin practice in outdoor adventure activities. It will also introduce and embed reflective practice in the context of coaching/leadership linking this to how students can draw upon a range of methods to convey their skills, attributes and qualities.

Fundamentals of movement in outdoor adventure

Year: 1

Balance, coordination and agility skills are the foundations for safe, enjoyable and effective engagement in outdoor adventure activities. Students will have significant opportunities to develop an applied understanding of how to observe and develop these skills in the context of a range of outdoor adventure activities.

Year two

The Atmosphere

Year: 2

This module is designed to allow students to gain a good understanding of weather phenomena, atmospheric circulation and our climate. In addition, impact of human activity such as pollution and climate change on the atmospheric conditions and circulations will be explored. Global events such as El Nino and the Monsoon will be discussed as case studies.

Contemporary structure of the outdoor adventure sector

Year: 2

An in-depth knowledge and understanding of how the outdoor adventure sector is structured and has evolved is critical for potential outdoor practitioners. This module will provide opportunities for students interact with outdoor professionals from across the sector through a series of field trips and guest lectures.

Applied outdoor coaching and leadership practice

Year: 2

This module reflects the multi-faceted nature of modern-day outdoor adventure practice and provides the underpinning knowledge and competence required to plan, deliver and evaluate effective coaching and leadership sessions. Students will also actively apply these experiences in the context of recruitment and selection processes.

Professional Placement

Year: 2

Work experience is an essential tool to consolidate, apply and develop key professional skills and knowledge. Students will apply the knowledge and skills developed over the first two years of the programme in a work based setting.

Organisational leadership in sport and recreation

Year: 2

By understanding leadership's role in organisations, this module will draw on the concepts of inclusion, accessibility, ethics and sustainability to equip students with the knowledge essential for navigating sport in the 21st century.

Year three

Research and Professional Skills

Year: 3

Through a variety of teaching methods this module provides students with a clear focus on professional career opportunities and assists them in enhancing their environmental and geographically specific employability skills. Particular emphasis is given to the translation of the specific research skills of project planning, critical literature review and methodological and analytical techniques that they employed in the dissertation project. Students will gain an understanding of the various sources of postgraduate study and professional job opportunities available to Geography and Environmental Science graduates and will provided with the opportunity to experience a full job application, interview and selection process.

Critical interpretation of your context

Year: 3

This module provides significant opportunities for students to apply professional outdoor knowledge and skills in the context of environmental learning. The knowledge and skills required to interpret the environmental context is transferrable to global contexts.

Sports innovation and entrepreneurship

Year: 3

Drawing on the principles of innovation and entrepreneurship this module will provide students with the opportunity to plan, devise and pitch a new idea into the sports market.

Expedition Studies

Year: 3

Students will have a unique opportunity to apply the learning culminated across the whole programme in the planning and participation in an authentic multi-day expedition.

Advanced professional practice in outdoor adventure

Year: 3

This module draws together learning from across the programme, providing students with opportunities to refine their career pathway through critical reflection on their professional practice and the completion of an authentic evidence based research project.

Standard entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

A level


Applied General Qualifications

RQF Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Extended Diploma (2016 suite)

Award profile of MMM

We will also accept smaller BTEC/OCR qualifications (i.e. Diploma or Extended Certificate / Introductory Diploma / Subsidiary Diploma) in combination with A Levels or other acceptable level 3 qualifications.

To find out if the qualification you are applying with is a qualification we accept for entry, please check our Qualification Checker - https://www.ulster.ac.uk/study/entrance-requirements/equivalence

We will also continue to accept QCF versions of these qualifications although grades asked for may differ. Check what grades you will be asked for by comparing the requirements above with the information under QCF in the Applied General and Tech Level Qualifications section of our Entry Requirements - https://www.ulster.ac.uk/study/entrance-requirements/undergraduate-entry-requirements

Irish Leaving Certificate

96 UCAS tariff points to include a minimum of five subjects (four of which must be at Higher level) to include English at H6 if studied at Higher level or O4 if studied at Ordinary Level.

Irish Leaving Certificate UCAS Equivalency

Scottish Highers

Grades CCCCC

Scottish Advanced Highers

Grades DDD

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Overall profile of 55% (120 credit Access Course) (NI Access Course)

Overall profile of 45 credits at Merit (60 credit Access Course) (GB Access Course)


For full-time study, you must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements for admission to a first degree course and hold a GCSE pass at Grade C/4 or above in English Language.

Level 2 Certificate in Essential Skills - Communication will be accepted as equivalent to GCSE English.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Additional Entry Requirements

It is expected that students will have an interest in outdoor adventure and ideally have, or be in the process of obtaining a relevant national governing body coaching award.

Acceptable alternative qualifications include:

Pass HND with overall Merit to include 15 Distinctions in Level 5 credits.

Pass HNC with overall Merit to include 45 Distinctions in Level 4 credits.

You may also meet the course entry requirements with combinations of different qualifications to the same standard as recognised by the University (provided subject requirements as noted above are met).

A selection process will be employed if the number of eligible applicants exceeds the places on the programme. It is anticipated that this would involve assessment of personal statements and an interview process. Places are limited to 20 per academic year.

All successful candidates are required to complete a Health Check before starting the course.

Careers & opportunities

Career options

Graduates can pursue careers in the following contexts: educational welfare, local government, educational and community development, youth work, social/educational research, environmental education, charities at home and abroad; further and higher education, international development, as well as training roles in business-contexts, in human resources and in marketing. Typically, graduates will find themselves in roles where they use their graduate skills to create learning/training content and supporting materials, to mentor adults and young people, to train/teach a variety of learners using a variety of traditional and innovative tools.

Career opportunities include:

  • Outdoor adventure & recreation industry
  • Outdoor adventure activity instructor
  • Outdoor adventure guide
  • Youth development and education sectors - outdoor adventure
  • Travel / tour guide
  • Outdoor learning tutor / facilitator in leadership, education & development
  • Expedition leader
  • Social enterprise / own business
  • Charity
  • Progression to postgraduate study

Work placement / study abroad

Work based learning is central to your study. You will have opportunities to participate in work placements which reflect the broad landscape of the outdoor adventure and recreation industry. These will include, commercial, educational, community and charity settings.


Start dates

  • September 2024

Fees and funding

Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and EU Settlement Status Fees


England, Scotland, Wales and the Islands Fees


International Fees


Additional mandatory costs

Students will be required to have their own personal clothing / kit for land and water based outdoor activities. Specialist equipment will be provided.

Expeditions and study abroad opportunities will incur additional costs for students.

Students are responsible for registration fees related to professional qualifications.

Applicants should also note that they might be required to submit an Enhanced Access NI check during the course, should they be involved in “regulated activity” whilst on a placement or during work based learning. More information on Enhanced Disclosures may be accessed at http://www.accessni.gov.uk An enhanced check currently costs £33.00.

It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals, as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.

There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.

See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.


We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

For more information visit


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