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PgCert Outdoor Environmental Education

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Why choose Herts?

  • Excellent reputation: Ranked 1st as best university provider for Teacher Training in the UK (NSS, 2020-21).
  • Employment prospects: There is a significant call from the government, national charities, conservation trusts and schools for outdoor environmental education. It is a growing sector in high demand. We offer opportunities to gain governing body and nationally recognised qualifications in addition to your postgraduate degree, making you highly employable.
  • Industry connections: Our course places a strong emphasis on networking with experts and professionals in the sector. From our seminar series to real-world briefs, you’ll benefit from expert feedback and experience throughout your studies.

Flexible study options


100 fieldwork hours

About the course

The climate emergency and global pandemic have highlighted the importance of spending time in natural environments. Our intrinsic link to the world around us is unbreakable. It demands care, respect and creative solutions. To keep ourselves safe, we have seen all aspects of life, from social, recreation, education, transportation and even employment, benefit from taking a nature-centred approach. Educators have moved away from stationary classrooms and utilised outdoor education more and more. There is a growing need to learn in and from our local environment. There is an urgent need to care for it. The environmental education sector is flourishing.

This course will help you gain a solid foundation to nurture change in educational practices in a multitude of sectors. We’ll teach you underlying theories and how to apply them to practice. We’ll analyse sustainable experiential education theory through practical fieldwork and consider now we can connect to nature and place. Together, we’ll explore equality of access to environmental education. Every step of the way, we’ll guide you to become a reflexive and inclusive educator. To foster environments and activities where everyone can join in. To learn, you must experience. To teach, you must first inspire. What greater inspiration is there than the natural world?

Why choose this course?

  • You understand nature is a powerful educator and are excited to work with and for the environment
  • You want to improve mental and physical wellbeing by improving the human-nature connection
  • You want to actively engage with environmental challenges and find creative solutions
  • You want to find out more about outdoor environment education without committing to a longer programme
  • You’re looking for course content, which is memorable, meaningful and impactful – similarly that is exactly the type of educator you aspire to be
  • You want the opportunity to gain nationally recognised awards in outdoor education – increasing your employability
  • You want to learn from an expert teaching team who have experience and knowledge to share
  • You want to engage with practical fieldwork in every module
  • You want to feel empowered by a range of innovative assessment opportunities
  • You share our passion to provide environmental education which doesn’t cost the earth.

What will I study?

In this introductory course to outdoor environmental education, you’ll gain a rich insight into experiential education theories, place-based education and nature-connection education. You’ll be encouraged to make meaningful connections between theory and experiential activities. For example, you could be asked to deliver a project through the lens of an educator, policy writer, government official or stakeholder. This will give you valuable insight into the complexity of situations and how to deliver measurable outcomes. Our course is designed with memorable and rich learning experiences at its heart. You’ll engage with fieldwork, including residential and day activities. These are designed to help you develop your current practice or to gain an insight into the sector. Our unique curriculum offers transformative experiences for you to begin to see yourself as both a learner and educator.

You’ll immerse yourself in self-managed projects. Even while learning, we’ll be expecting you to make a social contribution. Each assignment is audience led, focussing on the requirements of an employer or public stakeholder. You’ll be encouraged to collect evidence and demonstrate your knowledge in a variety of ways. For example, you may choose the written word to demonstrate your understanding, or perhaps a podcast, video or photo essay is more your style? We encourage a creative approach to assignments, giving you the platform to make a social contribution in a powerful way.

We adopt a partnership approach to teaching and learning, which spans online, face-to-face and fieldwork activities. Our enriching environment inspires personal and professional growth through co-production. We’ll help you identify your passion, your core values and your voice within the sector. Throughout your journey, you’ll be encouraged to work with organisations and employers to gain industry knowledge, expert feedback, real-life experience and contacts. We really do believe that employer and sector collaboration is fundamental to our programme. In fact, our course has been influenced by the work of national organisations, like RSPB and YHA and we hope you’ll gain knowledge and experience of their work. We’ll invite you to attend a seminar series delivered by experts and practitioners in the field. This will increase your understanding of research, policy and practice. Together we’ll tackle complex and diverse topics. When you complete your studies, you’ll feel confident to incorporate your new knowledge and understanding into your daily life. Whether you work in a school, in adult education, outdoor education, or the environmental sector more widely – we are experts in helping make ideas come alive. We will support you to plan your professional journey.

  • Level 7
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Skills for Outdoor Environmental Education 0 Credits Compulsory
    Introduction to Outdoor Environmental Education: Theories in Practice 30 Credits Compulsory
    Connecting to Nature and Place through Outdoor Learning 30 Credits Compulsory
    Climate Catastrophe and Educational Environments 30 Credits Compulsory
  • Key staff

    Dr Barry Costas
    Find out more about Dr Barry Costas

    Dr Frances Harris
    Senior Lecturer
    Find out more about Dr Frances Harris

    Mr Lewis Stockwell
    Programme Leader and Admissions Tutor
    Find out more about Mr Lewis Stockwell

    Further course information

    Course fact sheets
    MSc Outdoor Environmental Education Download
    Programme specifications
    MSc Outdoor Environmental Education Download
    Additional information

    Sandwich placement or study abroad year


    Applications open to international and EU students


    Student experience

    At the University of Hertfordshire, we want to make sure your time studying with us is as stress-free and rewarding as possible. We offer a range of support services including; student wellbeing, academic support, accommodation and childcare to ensure that you make the most of your time at Herts and can focus on studying and having fun.

    In the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education, you’ll benefit from a dedicated personal tutor, access to practical workshops and small group supervision. Our programme team offer regular drop-in hours, both face to face and online. Plus there’s an outdoor education reading group which you’re encouraged to join. You’ll be able to graduate from this courseat the end of one semester (full-time or two semesters part-time). We’ll support you every steph of the way, and have a lot of support opportunities in place even if you have not studied in higher education before or if it was a long time ago.

    If you find that you like the course and want to carry on your studies, as long as you successfully complete the PgCert, you can then move up and onto the PgDip or MSc Outdoor Environmental Education. We know that flexibility is such an important part of your experience – we have designed this route so that if you catch the bug for outdoor learning, there are plenty of ways to continue the thrill.

    You’ll have plenty of opportunities to develop life-long professional relationships and friendship through significant fieldwork experiences. We make use of the latest curriculum design and planning methods to make sure you have the best experience we can provide for you. For instance, no module is planned or taught in isolation, which means that all of your tutors are fully aware of what you have been learning prior to your sessions with them and where you’ll head next. We’ll teach ‘on the go’ and ‘around the place’ to model excellent outdoor learning and teaching, so that you can use similar strategies in your future work. We’ll explain how we came to make our decisions for activities and talk you through how we might vary the curriculum in different settings, scenarios, age groups and abilities. We know that the course will be exciting, challenging, rewarding and ultimately life-enhancing. These ideas are at the centre of your student experience.

    Find out about how we support our students

    You can also read our student blogs to find out about life at Herts.