Outdoor and Environmental Education

Professional Development Programme

The Professional Development Programme is a practical component of the Outdoor Education and Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education Diploma and MSc programmes.

It provides learning experiences through which theory can be examined, helps build strong relationships with students and staff that will benefit all learning and teaching experiences throughout the year, and develops skills and capacities fundamental to your career.  We are one of the few programmes at the University that has a Professional Development Programme, but we do not see how we can run respectable outdoor environmental education programmes without a practical, outdoor element to them.

Each programme has a selection of 'core' courses which are included in the tuition fees. 'Optional' courses may be taken at an additional cost to be paid at the beginning of the academic year.

Cairngorm Canoeing

This is a multi-faceted course that emphasises an introduction to and increasing familiarity and experience in canoes in a range of water environments. Students will gain the skills to direct their canoe. They will also learn about water hazards, river crossings and introductory rescue techniques.

First Aid

All OE and OESE students are required to hold a First Aid qualification, and it is an essential prerequisite for all national governing body (NGB) awards for adventurous activities.


All postgraduate diploma students will be required to complete a successful placement.

Scottish Rock Climbing

In the UK, rock climbing began with the botanic exploration of cliffs in the mountains, and was later used as preparation for scaling the higher peaks of the Alps and greater ranges.

Cairngorm Summer Hill-Walking

Outdoor and environmental educators intending to take others into the hills and mountains of the UK, and beyond, will recognise the value of increasing their competence in the technical and group management skills required for safe learning and enjoyment in this environment.

Cairngorm Winter Hill-Walking

The Winter in the Mountains course covers fundamental winter walking skills (e.g. using axe and crampons), building on existing skills and developing new skills.

West Coast Sea-Kayaking

Crystal clear waters, abundant wildlife, deserted islands and pristine beaches; the West Coast of Scotland is widely recognised as a world-class destination for sea kayaking.

Hill Skills

This course provides all students an introduction to the essentials of group management, the strategies and techniques for effective navigation and an introduction to learning and teaching outdoors.