50th Anniversary

Academics at Prescott College

Therapeutic Use of Adventure Education

Therapeutic Use of Adventure Education

Therapeutic applications of adventure education often are used as complementary healthcare modalities for people wanting growth and development in social and behavioral aspects. Wilderness therapy and other outdoor behavior health (OBH) programs continue to grow. Adventure educators are uniquely qualified to help bridge the clinical aspects of these programs with the skills and nature aspects. Master's students working in therapeutic applications of adventure education prepare themselves to employ adventure-based theories and techniques in nature-based settings. 

Areas of focus may be related to wilderness philosophy reflecting ecological elements such as living in the natural world and living in balance and connection with the ecology of place as well as aspects of deep ecology, eco-psychology, rites of passage, and other related perspectives.  Coursework can be outdoor program or practice-oriented, including history and theory of wilderness and adventure-based therapy, therapeutic facilitation skills, risk management, program evaluation, rites of passage, vision quests and ceremonial use of adventure activities, human development, group dynamics, theories of change, professional ethics, helping relationships, social and lifestyle issues, and trauma and addiction.

Master of Arts in Adventure Education

Master of Arts in Adventure Education Faculty are preparing a new generation of educators and adventure-based entrepreneurs through their research and close association with professionals in the field.  Adventure educators understand ecological and human systems and can help address some of the challenges facing society today, including health, environmental, social justice, and sustainability issues.

To prepare for their future roles, students self-design course work exploring the philosophical foundations of experiential and adventure education, with particular attention to these areas: 

  • Leadership
  • Wilderness travel 
  • Safety and risk management 
  • Environmental education 
  • Therapeutic applications and wellness
  • Program administration
  • Expeditionary learning and curricular development

Students create study plans according to their specific interests and backgrounds, emphasizing applied pedagogical concepts, interpersonal communication skills, specialized technical skills, program design, and administration, and/or focus on specific populations, processes, and/or environments. Counseling theories, group facilitation, human growth and development, ecopsychology, and ecotherapy are approaches used to work with diverse populations and educational/therapeutic contexts.

Students entering the Master of Arts in Adventure Education program should have prior experience and skills in an area related to their proposed concentration of study. For example, many students have spent several years wilderness backpacking, mountaineering, technical rock climbing, kayaking, canoeing, working as ropes course facilitators, sailing, etc. Others have taught in the public schools, independent schools, community facilities or international programs. Regardless of starting point, students who are interested in expanding their knowledge with studies in adventure education will find it a rich, dynamic and growing field.

Each student has the opportunity to design a specialization that fits her or his professional needs, the concentrations featured below have crystallized as being central to the department’s mission and vision.

Concentration in Therapeutic Applications of Adventure Education 

Limited-Residency Master of Arts Program students working in Therapeutic Applications of Adventure Education will prepare themselves to employ adventure-based theories and techniques in settings that focus on non-clinical counseling methodologies. This focus was created to enrich professional adventure educators’ depth and breadth of knowledge and skills in working with the affective needs of individuals and groups. It will enrich adventure educators’ applied integration of counseling theories and group dynamics and human development.

Concentration in Integral Adventure Education 

The integral approach to Adventure Education seeks to integrate the mind, body, and spirit of the individual and/or group. Students in this field work to create experiences and programs that tap into the depth of transformational learning through adventure experiences. Examining these situations through the lenses of individual development, and cultural and societal interaction, integral adventure education unfolds and considers the relationship among humans as well as humans in a biological context. This integration of inner and outer realms of being is a primary focus of this concentration.

Challenge Course Facilitation 

This academic discipline focuses on building the basic skills and knowledge necessary for safely and effectively leading groups through team challenge courses.

Expeditionary Learning Theory and Practice 

This discipline explores the learning associated with exploration and journey-based experiences or expeditions. Learning activities involving elements of challenge, adventure and leadership can take place in a variety of settings, including wilderness, classrooms and even virtual spaces. Participants in expeditionary education can be directly involved in the expedition or may be linked to expeditions undertaken by others.

Outdoor Program Administration 

Students in this concentration focus on leadership development, program management, program assessment, and other areas of study necessary for preparing the next generation of outdoor program educators and administrators.

Academic Elements-Lim Res MA and MS

Academic Elements-Lim Res MA and MS


All incoming Prescott College students are required to participate in New Student Orientation at the beginning of their first semester. During Orientation, you will receive information and experience activities designed to guide you through your specific program.  Orientation is a time during which students and faculty from diverse cultures, different areas of study, and with a variety of expertise can come together to build friendships, exchange ideas, and develop cohorts or informal networks to support you through your distance learning journey.  Students typically come away from Orientation inspired, energized and ready for the next phase of independent scholarship.


Limited Residency Master’s students attend colloquia on the Prescott campus during each Fall and Spring semester.  Each Prescott Colloquium begins on Friday morning and goes until Sunday or Monday afternoon. During the colloquia, students connect with their cohort, make presentations, and contribute to ongoing dialogue and scholarship among peers and faculty. Colloquia also include workshops that address the nuts and bolts of the limited-residency programs and presentations from internationally known keynote speakers.

Life & Career Outcomes

Life & Career Outcomes
  • Adventure Educator
  • Adventure Program Administrator
  • Collegiate Adventure Programmer
  • Professional Guide
  • Wilderness Advocate
  • Wilderness Educator
  • Wilderness Medicine Educator
  • Wilderness Therapist

Faculty & Mentor Guides

Faculty & Mentor Guides

Academic Resources

Academic Resources

Prescott College Library

Library From Above

The Prescott College Library supports the curriculum with a variety of print and electronic resources. Our library catalog  reflects not only our collection but that of more than 30 other libraries in Yavapai county. A system-wide library card allows borrowers to request books from any library in the county.  Online resources include millions of full-text articles available through our article databases, and over 130,000 e-books available through ebrary.  

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River Studies and Leadership Certificate

The River Studies and Leadership Certificate is designed to offer undergraduate students—who have become inspired to join the next generation of river professionals—a foundation of knowledge, skills, and experience in river-based science, policy, conservation, education, and recreation.  Undergraduate students are awarded this certificate by the River Management Society after they have successfully completed a cogent package of river-focused coursework and a river-related professional project.

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Tuition & Fees

Tuition & Fees