Minor in Outdoor Education







Hiking in the Tetons


Alpine Skiing




Great Nearby Climbing Resources




Fun on the River







River Trip CampingNote: Idaho State University also offers a Major in Outdoor Education:  More information on the Major.


Below is a summary of requirements.  We've also include some questions and answers specifically related to the Minor: Minor Questions & Answers.



Summary of the Requirements for an Outdoor Education Minor

A minor in Outdoor Education requires a total of 22 credits from the following four components:


•    Leadership and Teaching Component.  Nine (9) credits required.

PE 3386  Outdoor Leadership (3 credits)
PE 4440  Survey of Outdoor Education Literature (3 credits)
PE 4445  Methods of Teaching Outdoor Activities & Practicum (3 credits)

•    Outdoor Education Safety Component.  Minimum of five (5) credits

One Required Course:


'PE 2283  Leave No Trace Trainer Course  (1 credit)

And . . . choose a minimum of four (4) additional credits from the following list. One of the courses (and no more than one course) must be wilderness first aid-related.


PE 2271 Winter Survival Skills (1 credit)
PE 2272 Wilderness Survival Skills (1 credit)

PE 2282  Map, Compass and Backcountry Navigation (1 credit)

PE 2286  Avalanche & Winter Sports Safety (1 credit)

PE 2285 Wilderness First Aid (1 credit)

PE 3381  River Safety & Swiftwater Rescue (1 credit)
PE 3383  Advanced Rock Climbing and Climbing Safety (2 credits)

PE 4441 Wilderness First Responder (3 credits)

•    Your Choice of One of the Following Two Options . . .

Option A: Natural History.  Three (3) credits required. (The following courses are not required if you are majoring or working on a minor in geology, biology, botany, zoology or ecology.)

    BIOL 1101 &1101L Biology I and Biology I Lab (4 credits)

    BIOL 1102 & 1102L Biology II and Biology II Lab (4 credits)

    BIOL 2209 General Ecology (3 credits)

    BIOL 2213 Fall Flora (2 credits)

    BIOL 2214 Spring Flora (2 credits)

    BIOL 3337 Conservation Biology (3 credits)

    BIOL 4426 Herpetology (3 credits)

    BIOL 4427 Ichthyology (3 credits)

    BIOL 4438 Ornithology (4 credits)

    BIOL 4441 Mammalogy (3 credits)

    BIOL 4489 Field Ecology (4 credits)

    GEOL 1100 & 1100L The Dynamic Earth & Lab (4 credits)

    GEOL 1101 Physical Geology (3 credits)

    GEOL 1101L Physical Geology Lab (1 credit)

    GEOL 1110 Physical Geology for Scientists Lab (1 credit)

    GEOL 2210 Earth in Space and Time (3 credits)

    GEOL 4456 Geology of Idaho (2 credits)

    GEOL 4491 Seminar (1 credit)

    PHYS 1152 Descriptive Astronomy (3 credits)

    PHYS 1153 Descriptive Astronomy Lab (1 credit)

    PHYS 3325 Introduction to Weather and Climate (3 credits)

Option B: Outdoor Business. Three (3) credits required. (Courses in this option are waived for business related majors or minors.)

    BA 1110 The World of Business (3 credits)

    MKTG 2225 Basic Marketing Management (3 credits)

    ACCNT 3303 Accounting Concepts (3 credits)

•    Experiential Skills Component

Minimum of five (5) credits required.  Courses selected must be different than those used to fulfill the requirements of the Outdoor Education Safety Component. 

PEAC 1101 Adaptive Snow Skiing (1 credit)

PEAC 1108 Instructor Training of Adaptive Snowskiing (1 credit)

PEAC 1163 Backpacking (1 credit)

PEAC 1165 Backcountry GPS Navigation (1 credit)

PEAC 1166 Canoeing (1 credit)

PEAC 1167 Kayak Touring (1 credit)

PEAC 1175A Beginning Kayaking (1 credit)

PEAC 1176A Beginning Rock Climbing (1 credit)

PEAC 1177A Beginning Cross-Country Skiing (1 credit)

PEAC 1118A Beginning Telemark Cross-Country Skiing (1 credit)

PEAC 1178B Intermediate Telemark Cross-Country Skiing (1 credit)

PEAC 1181 Mountain Biking (1 credit)

PEAC 1182C Advanced Dutch Oven Cooking (1 credit)

PEAC 1185 Basic Mountaineering (1 credit)

PEAC 1186B Intermediate Fly Fishing (1 credit)

PEAC 1189 Beginning Gym Climbing (1 credit)

PEAC 1191B Intermediate Horsemanship (1 credit)

PEAC 1194 Caving Workshop (1 credit)

PE 2200 Team Building Leadership (2 credits)

PE 2271 Winter Survival Skills (1 credit)

PE 2272 Wilderness Survival Skills (1 credit)

PE 2280 Winter Camping and Backcountry Travel (1 credit)

PE 2281 Practical Outdoor Skills (1 credit)

PE 2282 Map, Compass and Backcountry Navigation (1 credit)

PE 2284 Intermediate Kayaking and Whitewater Safety (1 credit)

PE 2286 Avalanche and Winter Sports Safety (1 credit)

PE 2287 Snowboard Instructor Training (1 credit)

PE 2288 Ski Instructor Training (1 credit)

PE 3381 River Safety and Swiftwater Rescue (1 credit)

PE 3383 Advanced Rock Climbing and Climbing Safety (2 credits)

PE 4491 Physical Education Workshop* (1-3 credits)

*When workshop relates to outdoor education, i.e. Canoe Workshop (1 credit), Whitewater Rafting Workshop (1 credit), Backpacking Workshop (1 credit), Advanced Kayaking-Summer Field Experience (1 credit), Beginning Rock Climbing-Summer Field Experience (1 credit), Advanced Rock Climbing-Summer Field Experience (1 credit).


Questions and Answers About a Minor in Outdoor Education


What is the Outdoor Education Minor?


The Outdoor Education Minor, offered through the Department of Sports Science, Physical Education and Dance (SSPED), is a course of study in four general areas including outdoor leadership and teaching, outdoor safety, natural history or outdoor business, and outdoor recreation activity skills.  A total of 22 credits are required for the minor and consist of a variety of skill and theoretical classes, concluding with a 32-hour practicum.  Lower division courses included in the minor are designed to help students learn basic skills and safety procedures in outdoor education activities, while upper division courses combine practical teaching and leadership opportunities with theoretical work in leadership theory, legal liability, ethics, and a study of the field’s literature.


Who is the Minor For?


The Outdoor Education Minor is designed to supplement a major taken in another field.  Here are a few examples of students who might be interested in the minor:

  • Majors in Geology, Biology, Zoology or Botany will find the Outdoor Education Minor (Natural History Option) particularly helpful since it provides them with practical experience and skills useful in outdoor field work.  Moreover, it also provides them with leadership and teaching experience which they’ll find valuable if their future work combines outdoor teaching applications along with scientific study. 
  • Majors in Business may wish to take the Outdoor Education Minor (Outdoor Business Option) if they have an interest in entrepreneurship or working in the growing outdoor industry.
  • Majors in Journalism and Mass Communication may find the Outdoor Education Minor helpful in their field if they hope to include outdoor topic matter in their future work.
  • Since outdoor education is gaining a broader acceptance in public schools, Majors in Sports, Science, Physical Education and Dance may want to enroll in Outdoor Minor courses to broaden their employment opportunities.
  • Teaching Majors who are planning to incorporate outdoor activities and outdoor field trips into their classroom activities will find the Outdoor Education Minor a natural and practical additional to their existing course of study.
  • Psychology and Counseling Majors who want to merge therapeutic applications with outdoor activity—such as outdoor team building or youth-at-risk wilderness programs—will find the skills and knowledge gained in the Outdoor Education Minor advantageous for such work.
  • Majors in a variety of other fields—from English to History, Health Sciences to  Engineering, and so on—may want to enroll in Outdoor Education Minor courses to prepare themselves for work with community service and volunteer programs such as Boy and Girl Scouts, 4-H programs, church groups, ski patrol, and county search and rescue organizations.
  • And, finally, some students may want to take the Outdoor Education Minor because they simply have an abiding interest and love for the outdoors.  The Minor provides them with life-long skills to enjoy the outdoors safely—and the means to pass on that enjoyment to others.

What Are the Limitations of the Minor?


It’s important to understand that outdoor education course work at Idaho State University is not a major field of study. Graduating with an Outdoor Education Minor doesn’t guarantee a job in the outdoor education field.  While there is little doubt that it will help in gaining employment, those who want to go into outdoor education or related fields will need to seek out additional training and gain experience above and beyond what is offered in a college minor program.  The great value of the Outdoor Education Minor lies in enhancing employability in other fields.


Who Can Advise Me?


Advisors in the Outdoor Education Minor include the following:

  •  Peter Joyce (joycpete@isu.edu) 282-3912
  •  Justin Dayley (dayljust@isu.edu) 282-3912
  •  Ron Watters (wattron@isu.edu) 282-3912  or 232-6857

All four advisors can help answer questions and help plan the your class load.  Peter Joyce, and Justin Dayley are staff members of the Outdoor Program and are integrally involved in teaching outdoor education class.  Ron Watters is a Senior Lecturer with the Sports Science and Physical Education Department.


When are Classes Taught & Where Can I Find Scheduling Information?


Almost all outdoor education classes involve class time on Saturday and Sunday.  The reason for this is that time is needed to travel to various backcountry sites where classes take place.  Often classes leave Friday evening or Saturday morning, spend the night out and return Sunday evening.  Students who have other activites taking place on weekends (sports, organizations, work, family and church responsibilities) need to realistically assess whether they can fit such weekend classes into their schedule.


Because of the seasonal nature of outdoor activity classes- and the need to hold classes on weekends - classes often do not follow a regular schedule like many other university classes.  Instead many classes are held on workshop or adapted workshop basis.  This allows the instructor to take advantage of the season:  early winter for winter-related activities and early fall or late spring for summer related activities. 


Because classes involve a combination of evening and weekends, scheduling is much more complicated than regular college classes, and there’s simply not enough space on the University Class Schedule to include all the important information.  The Class Schedule only provides an abbreviated list of times and dates.


If you are signed up for a class, your best source of information is check the Moodle site for the class.  If you're not signed up for a class and you'd like to find out about the schedule, drop the class instructor an email, and he or she will be more than happy to provide that information.  You are also welcome to contact the Outdoor Adventure Center which maintains information on all of the classes.  Feel free to call the Outdoor Program office (282-3912).


What is the Attendance Requirement?


Students have run into trouble when they didn’t take time to double check the dates that the class was held.  In the past, instructors have made an attempt to send out reminder letters, but the letters were ineffectual since many students change apartments and residences frequently while going to school and addresses on file with the university are often out-of-date.


Thus, it is your responsibility to make sure you know when to meet.  Remember don’t rely on the the University Class Schedule.  Check the Internet listing and write down the dates in the your schedule book. 


It’s important not to miss a Saturday or Sunday.  Outdoor Education classes follow the same policy as all SSPED classes.  No student can pass a class that they attend less than 75% of the time--and thus missing one weekend day (Saturday or Sunday) will easily drop the total time spent in class to less 75%.  It is on the weekend when much of the instruction and participation takes place.  Missing a weekend day is the same as missing weeks of a class that meets on an hourly basis each week--and it is impossible for an instructor to provide make up work for clases that involve active participation.  Please keep this in mind, and make sure your schedule is arranged so you can attend all aspects of the class.


Why Do Outdoor Education Classes Have Fees?


Almost all Outdoor Education classes have extra fees.  The fees are used for class equipment, transportation and supplies.  Moreover, safety is an overriding concern in outdoor classes, and the fees are also used for extra instructors to make sure enough knowledgable people are present to help keep the class safe.    Without the fee, it simply wouldn’t be possible to run many of the outdoor education classes. 


All outdoor education instructors are aware of the financial burdens of attending college, and when possible for lower division classes, they try to help keep costs low by not requiring the purchase of class texts.  Instead, class reference materials are placed on reserve at the Outdoor Program library. This usually works to your advantage since texts are often much more expensive than class fees.  However, if you plan to do further outdoor education work--volunteer or paid--it’s important while in college to start building a small personal library of reference materials.  In your outdoor education classes, you’ll become familar with a wide variety of reference works, and from the available literature, you can choose the materials which best meet your needs and interests.


What ISU Departments Are Involved With the Minor?


The Outdoor Education Minor is offered through the Department of Sports Science, Physical Education and Dance (SSPED), a part of the College of Education.  With the minor’s emphasis on teaching and leadership, the College of Education is a perfect fit for the program. 


To maximize efficiency, keep costs low, and utilize existing University resources, the Department works closely with the ISU Outdoor Program which is under the Division of Student Affairs. The Outdoor Program provides many of the instructors for the classes and maintains the Intermountain Outdoor Resource Center, the largest collection of outdoor reference materials in the regional area. 


The Outdoor Education Minor is an example of the wonderful cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship that can exist between different departments at the university.  It is a win-win situation for all involved.  The state benefits by having a highly efficient and low-cost program.  The individual programs benefit.  And most of all, students benefit by having a course of study that they desire and support.


How Do I Sign Up For the Minor? 


Early in your course work at Idaho State University, it is not necessary to formally sign-up for the minor.  We do recommend, however, that you stop in and see one of the outdoor education advisers to help you plan out your course load.  When you are ready to announce your intent to be an Outdoor Education Minor, and set the process in motion which assures that the minor will appear on your school and graduation records, you’ll need to fill out a “Declaration” form available from any of the outdoor education advisers. 

Outdoor Education Links


Outdoor Education Major

Questions & Answers

Brief Descriptions of Outdoor Classes

Course Syllabi & Course Information

Great Video on Outdoor Education at Idaho State


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