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Experiential and Outdoor Education (EOE)

Panthertown August 2021


Applications currently being accepted for the August 2023 cohort

M.S. EOE Snapshot

Program Overview

Hybrid: Face-to-face and online

Two-Years to Complete

20 Person Cohort

App Deadline: Priority Feb 1-Final Jun 1

36 Total Credit Hours

Ideal for non-formal educators

Virtual Open House

Wednesday, May 17: 5-6pm

Join us at one of our upcoming virtual Graduate School Open House events on Zoom! You'll have the opportunity to learn more about Western Carolina University,  understand the Graduate School application process, and meet key program representatives.

Register Today

About the Program

The M.S. in Experiential and Outdoor Education is a two-year hybrid program. Hybrid coursework is a mix of online (synchronous and asynchronous) and face-to-face weekend (Friday and Saturday) core class sessions during Year 1 and elective courses (offered online, face-to-face and hybrid) in Year 2. The degree utilizes the philosophy of experiential education combined with the modality of outdoor education to provide students with necessary training to serve in a variety of educational contexts.

This degree works well for a wide range of professionals who work in outdoor and educational programs including: expeditionary learning schools, charter schools, independent schools with an experiential education program, community colleges, residential and day camps, environmental education programs, therapeutic experiential agencies and camps, university outdoor programs, and wilderness leadership programs.

Application and Admission Requirements

Start Your Application and Apply Today

If you have any questions, or would like more information, please contact Dr. Andrew Bobilya at

Admission Requirements

  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 minimum (or conditional admission with otherwise exceptional application)
  • Bachelor’s degree from accredited institution (or conditional admission pending conferral of degree)
  • Strong recommendations from three academic and/or professional sources
  • Strong writing skills
  • Relevant professional experience and/or goals

Application Documents

  • Graduate School Application and Fee
  • 3 References
  • Essay (see prompts in online application)
  • Academic Transcripts
  • Work History Resume

Apply Now

Request more info!

The M.S. in Experiential and Outdoor Education is a two-year hybrid program.

In the first year, face-to-face coursework will include a 5-day intensive during the first week of classes in August on the Cullowhee campus followed by four weekends each in the fall and spring semesters (class all day Friday and Saturday). The weekend sessions are rotated between the Biltmore Park instructional site in Asheville and the Cullowhee campus. Students will be engaged in online (asynchronous and synchronous) coursework throughout year 1. Face-to-face class sessions in year 1 are 8:00 am – 6:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays with an occasional evening session.

During the second-year, students will complete additional required and elective coursework (individual choice of face-to-face, online and/or hybrid course formats) including a thesis or project.

This format allows for students to remain employed full-time and/or pursue field-based coursework (e.g. internships) at regional agencies.

Directions to Biltmore Park Instructional Site

Tentative Fall 2022 Dates
(Cohort 3 Face-to-Face; All-Day Sessions for EOE 500, EOE 501, EOE 502 & EOE 503)

EOE 500 – 5-day intensive (August 22 – 26) (Cullowhee)
Weekend 1 – September 9/10 (Cullowhee)
Weekend 2 – October 7/8 (Biltmore Park)
Weekend 3 -  November 18/19 (Cullowhee)
Weekend 4 – December 9/10 (Biltmore Park)
**Cohort 2 Thesis and Project Proposals are October 5, 6, and 7 at Biltmore Park

Tentative Spring 2023
(Cohort 3 Face-to-Face; All Day Sessions for EOE 600, EOE 601, and EOE 602)

Weekend 1 – January 20/21 (Cullowhee)
Weekend 2 – February 17/18 (Cullowhee)
Weekend 3 – March 17/18 (Biltmore Park)
Weekend 4 – April 20/21/22 (Biltmore Park) *3 Days
**Cohort 2 Thesis and Project Defenses are March 15, 16 & 17 at Biltmore Park

Tentative Fall 2023
(Cohort 4 Face-to-Face; All Day Sessions for EOE 500, EOE 501, EOE 502, and EOE 503)
EOE 500 – 5-day intensive (August 21 – 25) (Cullowhee)
Weekend 1 – September 8/9 (Cullowhee)
Weekend 2 – October 6/7 (Biltmore Park)
Weekend 3 -  November 10/11 (Cullowhee)
Weekend 4 – December 1/2 (Biltmore Park)
**Cohort 3 Thesis and Project Proposals are October 4, 5 & 6 at Biltmore Park

Tentative Spring 2024
(Cohort 4 Face-to-Face; All Day Sessions for EOE 600, EOE 601, and EOE 602)

Weekend 1 – January 19/20 (Cullowhee)
Weekend 2 – February 16/17 (Cullowhee)
Weekend 3 – March 15/16 (Biltmore Park)
Weekend 4 – April 25/26/27 (Biltmore Park) *3 Days
**Cohort 3 Thesis and Project Defenses are March 13, 14 & 15 at Biltmore Park

Students will:

  1. Develop a theoretical and philosophical foundation for experiential and outdoor education.
  2. Understand research methods as they apply to experiential and outdoor education scholarship.
  3. Design learning experiences for diverse populations that integrate theory into practice.
  4. Demonstrate an ability to identify a need in the literature, propose and complete a graduate level thesis or
    project to meet that need.

The Association of Experiential Education defines Experiential Education as: “… a philosophy that informs many methodologies in which educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, clarify values, and develop people's capacity to contribute to their communities.”

Total credits: 36
Required core credits: 27
Electives credits: 9

Transfer credits are limited to 6 from an accredited university. Additional electives may be taken from the list below and other WCU Gradute programs.
Note: Counseling electives available for EOE students may change. Contact the Counseling program for current course offerings. EOE students should contact the instructor for permission to register. All Counseling courses are offered in a face-to-face format at the Biltmore Park Instructional Site

EOE 500: Foundations of EOE (3)
EOE 501: Philosophy & Theory of Experiential and Outdoor Education (3)
EOE 502: Diversity and Social Justice (3)
EOE 503: Research Methods in Experiential and Outdoor Education (3)
EOE 600: Advanced Research Methods and Evaluation Techniques (3)
EOE 601: Current Trends and Issues in Experiential and Outdoor Education (3)
EOE 602: Group Facilitation and Teaching Methods in EOE (3)
EOE 679: Thesis I/Project  1 (3)
Elective 1: (3)
Elective 2: (3)
EOE 699: Thesis II/Project II (3)
Elective 3: (3)
Elective 4: (3) (optional)
EOE 621: Interpretation and Environmental Education (3)
EOE 622: Social Theory for EOE
EOE 623: Youth Development (3)
EOE 624: Social Media, Technology and EOE (3)
EOE 625: Experiential and Outdoor Education Expedition (3-6)
EOE 626: Interpreting the Natural World for EOE (3)
EOE 627: Wilderness Education (3-6)
EOE 628: Scholarly Writing Intensive for EOE (3)
EOE 630: Outdoor and Sustainability Education: A Pedagogy of Place (3)
EOE 635: Sites, Facilities and Programs in EOE (3)
EOE 680: Independent Study in EOE (3, R6)
EOE 683: Internship in EOE (3, R6)
EOE 693: Topics in EOE (3, R9)
EOE 799: Continuing Reserach, Thesis (1)
COUN 612: Sexuality Counseling
(3) (Summers)
COUN 615: Cross Cultural Counseling
(3) (Spring semesters)
COUN 617: Addictions Counseling
(3) (Spring semesters)
COUN 620: Counseling Children and Adolescents (3) (Spring semesters)
COUN 693: Topics in Counseling
(3) (possibly every semester)

"Educators working in this field have extremely varied backgrounds. We're excited that the Experiential and Outdoor Education masters program will provide an opportunity for educators from across the southeast to expand their skill sets, so they can create better learning experiences for their students."
Lauren Pyle, Executive Director, Environmental Educators of North Carolina

"This is an exciting development to help prepare the future of the outdoor industry for the demands of the next generation. WCU is gifted with an amazing faculty, outstanding natural resources, and a tradition of excellence in training leaders in Experiential and Outdoor Education. We at Southwestern Community College are proud of our strong educational partnership over the decades that has allowed our Outdoor Leadership and Wilderness Therapy graduates to continue their studies at WCU with seamless articulation to help raise the bar of professionalism in our field. This new graduate program simply extends that reach to impact graduates to make a difference in their lives and those of others."
Paul Wolf, Program Director of Outdoor Leadership and Wilderness Therapy at Southwestern Community College and Chair of Standards of the Association for Experiential Education Accreditation Council.

"WCU has had wonderful foresight in designing and implementing this new program, at a time when creative initiatives and leadership development are key components for a productive economy for our outdoor industry."
Mairi S Padgett, Administrative Director, Landmark Learning

Diversity Statement
Diversity involves the affirmation, understanding, and professional application of the richness of human differences, ideas, practices, and beliefs that result from, but are not limited to, age, race, color, disability/health, ethnicity, gender identity, language, national origin, religion/spirituality, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, rural or urban status, as well as the intersectionality of these multiple identities.  Professional practice that is responsive to diversity includes culturally appropriate communication skills; understanding power differentials and dynamics; and attending to the social and cultural values which influence the multiple areas of practice represented in EOE.

Commitment to Social Justice
A commitment to social justice serves as a guiding principle of the EOE Program and reflects our belief in the values and goals of a socially just society.  Socially just societies are dependent upon the optimal functioning, health, and well-being of all persons in that society.  Optimal functioning, health, and well-being of persons are contingent upon access to healthy environments that support healthy development and functioning.  Our program is centered on a social justice approach by helping students to examine power structures resulting in social injustices and to adopt an advocacy role in working with marginalized and underserved populations.  Our goal is to foster the development of professional advocates who work to change societal structures, practices, values, and policies which have long served to perpetuate unhealthy environments for these populations.  By working to effect change at the individual, institutional and systemic level, our students assist in promoting greater access to economic, social, political, and cultural resources.

EOE Faculty

EOE FacultyLeft to right, front to back: Linda Oakleaf, Jeremy Schultz, Callie Schultz, Paul Stonehouse, and Andrew Bobilya


Andrew Bobilya


EOE Program Director

Linda Oakleaf

Assistant Professor of Practice


Callie Schultz

Assistant Professor

EOE and Parks & Recreation Management

Jeremy Schultz

Assistant Professor

EOE and Parks & Recreation Management

Paul Stonehouse

Assistant Professor

EOE and Parks & Recreation Management

Brad Daniel

Adjunct Instructor


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