Students will learn leadership skills including competence, self–awareness, self-reliance, tolerance for adversity and uncertainty, communication, judgment, decision-making, respect, vision, and action. This is done through practical experience and timely feedback.

Outdoor Adventure Leadership

Our graduates are theoretically and technically competent outdoor specialists who can apply their skills as leaders to diverse groups and environments in a world with a growing population and finite wilderness resources.Leadership skills are invaluable for everyday life and a great way to learn and practice them is in an outdoor educational environment.

These interdisciplinary majors require a core progression of Outdoor Adventure Leadership courses blended with another discipline (Entrepreneurship, Ski Business and Resort Management, Psychology, English/Journalism, or Environmental Science). In a unique liberal arts experience, students incorporate leadership training and outdoor skills with a specialization in another academic department.

Outdoor Adventure Leadership majors will:

  1. Demonstrate a skills-based knowledge, a working vocabulary, and a conceptual understanding of theoretical foundations in adventure education experiences.
  2. Employ a variety of experiential leadership styles, teaching progressions, and interpersonal communication skills to specific leadership settings.
  3. Assess good judgment and risk management in wilderness settings using wilderness first-aid skills and organizational protocols and policies.
  4. Define and evaluate the current and historical issues involved around wilderness ethics.
  5. Identify the management protocols for land use at the local, state, and national levels.
  6. Demonstrate awareness of interdisciplinary links between outdoor adventure leadership and the particular discipline (Entrepreneurship, Environmental Science, English/Journalism, or Psychology), both conceptually and in practice.

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Katherine Zanto
Interdisciplinary Studies Program Chair
775-831-1314 x7529


Student Quotes:

Being in nature brings us to a very basic fundamental way of operation: be optimistic, resourceful, and THRIVE, or, be pessimistic, closed down, and FLOUNDER.
Beau Kissler

One thing I’ve learned about living well is that adventure, exploration and understanding are just as important as air and food. ODAL reminded me of that. It brought back my childlike curiosity and let me play again. Though I don’t collect worms or pretend to be a dog anymore, I’m having fun while learning outdoors. This is my education. It’s only a couple classes a semester, but one day I’ll be able to escape the classrooms and cubicles forever. The outdoors will be my office; the wilderness will be my home.
Savannah Hoover

A year after I completed my interdisciplinary major of outdoor adventure leadership and journalism, I now call myself a freelance filmmaker. Based mostly in the action sports industry, I have transferred many of the crucial skills learned from the ODAL program into what I do now. While my role as a videographer may be slightly different than what I did as an instructor in the outdoor industry, the tools acquired are invaluable to my current job. Whether it is bringing a film crew into the backcountry or simply facilitating an idea to a specific rider, I owe a great deal of what I know to what I gained from Sierra Nevada College.
Ben Bishop ’10

Degree Requirements

Outdoor Adventure Leadership Requirements
ODAL 101Introduction to Outdoor Skills4
ODAL 201Principles of Outdoor Leadership3
ODAL 250Wilderness First Responder3
PHED/ODALChoose either ODAL 350, 302 or PHED 229, 235, 240, 253, 345.3*
ODAL 301Fundamentals of Environmental Interpretation3
ODAL 380Extended Field Expedition: Leadership Practicum3
ODAL 401Wilderness Ethics3
Total Outdoor Adventure Leadership22
Interdisciplinary Studies Requirements
INTD 250Principles of Interdisciplinary Studies3
INTD 300Service Learning3
INTD 493Senior Portfolio3
Total Interdisciplinary Studies9
*One unit may be satisfied by General Education PHED Core Requirement.

Choose one area to integrate with Outdoor Adventure Leadership from the following:

ENGL 240Introduction to Journalism3
ENGL 250Introduction to Shakespeare3
ENGL 295Intro to Literary Criticism3
ENGL 326Early American Literature3
ENGL 327Contemporary American Literature3
ENGL 3XXUpper Division World Lit (330, 384, 455)3
ENGL 350 or 351Shakespeare’s Tragedies or Comedies3
ENGL 381Language Thought and Culture3
ENGL 435 or 436British Literature3
ENGL 204, 290, 304, 307, 340, 390Advanced Composition or Advanced Journalism3
COMM 211Communications or other Speech course approved with advisor3
ENGL 411Descriptive Grammar3
Total English:  36
ENGL 205Introduction to Creative Writing Workshop3
ENGL 295Introduction to Literary Criticism3
ENGL 204, 206, 210, 288, 295Lower division creative writing choices: Choose 39
ENGL 304, 305, 306, 307, 388, 404, 405, 406, 408, 488Upper division creative writing choices: Choose 39
ENGL 326, 327, 328, 329Early or Contemporary American Literature or Early or Contemporary British Literature3
Upper Division ENGL Literature choiceConsult with advisor3
HUMN 493, ENGL 493Senior Project: Thesis or (depending on choice for INTD 493) professional practices, or upper division writing course, determined with advisor.3
Total English/Creative Writing Credits:  33
ENGL 204Introduction to Creative Non-fiction Workshop3
ENGL 240Introduction to Journalism3
ENGL 340Journalism Workshop3
ENGL 345Editing 13
ENGL 375 or 440Journalism Workshop II or Intermediate Multimedia Journalism3
BLAW 240 or ENGL 346Media Law and Ethics or Mass Media an American Society3
DART, PHTGPick one strand of Beginning to Intermediate courses: Digital Darkroom, Video Practices, Photography or Photojournalism6
Upper Division ElectiveWith advisor, choose (2): ENGL 446 – Case Studies in Journalism, ENGL 447 – Data Journalism and Research Techniques, ENGL 445 – Editing II, ENGL 304 – Intermediate Creative Nonfiction or, ENGL 307 – Travel and Adventure Writing; BLAW 410 – Intellectual Property, UD INTL course ex., INTL 420 – International Terrorism and the Peace Process or INTL 480 – Regional Studies, ENGL 370 – Intermediate Multimedia Communications, or DART 305 – Web Design6
Total English/Journalism Credits:  33
ACCT 204Financial Accounting
ECON 102Macroeconomics3
GBUS 291Business Communications3
MGMT 260Principles of Management3
MKTG 201Introduction to Marketing3
ENTP 310Opportunity Recognition3
ENTP 313, 410Creating Entrepreneurial Ventures/ Social Ventures3
INTB 320Global Business Environment3
ENTP 320Financing Entrepreneur Ventures3
BLAW 360Business Law3
ENTP 475Capstone in Entrepreneurship3
Total Entrepreneurship:  33
BIOL 110Cells, Inheritance, Evolution and Animal Systems3
BIOL 381/385, BIOL 421/425, BIOL 420, BIOL 386Ecology & Lab, Aquatic Ecology & Lab, Tropical Field Biology, or Intertidal Ecology of Central Pacific Coast4
ESCI 101/105, 301/305, 311/315, 420Geology and Lab, Hydrology and Water Resources & Lab, Soils & Lab, or Geology of Death Valley and the Eastern Sierra4
ASTR 121, BIOL 101/105, CHEM 101/105, PHYS 101/105The Art and Science of Modern Astronomy (3 credits), Biology I & Lab, Chemistry I & Lab; or Physics I & Lab3-4
ENVS, ESCI, BIOLChoose 3 field courses: Lake Tahoe Basin Ecosystems (BIOL 357), Desert and Montane Ecosystems (BIOL 358) and other BIOL FIELD courses: 356,357, 359, 386, 4209
ENVS 353, BIOL301/305, ENVS 421/425, ENVS 355/356Alternative Energy, Animal Behavior & Lab, or Geographic Information Systems, or Environmental Engineering & Lab3-4
BIOL 407Conservation Biology3
*Consult with advisor
EDUC 460Introduction to Education & Educational Research or Internship or other course chosen in consultation with advisor3
Total Environmental Science:  30-35
* Students interested in applying to a MAT Teaching program must consult with their undergraduate advisor and MAT faculty.
PSYC 101Introduction to Psychology3
PSYC 202Human Development3
PSYC 240Social Psychology3
PSYC 291Introduction to APA Style2
PSYC 322Counseling and Clinical Psychology3
PSYC 331Adventure Therapy3
PSYC 370Learning Theory and Cognitive Psychology3
PSYC 371Abnormal Psychology3
PSYC 415Research Methods4
PSYC 450Capstone in Psychology3
MATH 251Statistics4
Additional (3-4) courses suggested for a Psychology graduate school track include PSYC 325, PSYC 445 and a choice between PSYC electives (301, 303, 304, 330, 335, 351, 365, 425, 441)
Total Psychology:  34
ACCT 204Financial Accounting3
ECON 102Macroeconomics3
GBUS 291Business Communications3
MGMT 260Principles of Management3
SBRM 215Introduction to Ski Business3
SBRM 325Resort Profit Center Management3
SBRM 330Resort Marketing and Sales3
SBRM 450Resort Real Estate Development3
SBRM 460Resort General Management3
SBRM 475Capstone: Resort Master Planning3
Total Ski Business and Resort Management:  30

Outdoor Adventure Leadership and additional discipline:

Total Core Requirements:30
Total Outdoor Adventure Leadership Requirements22
Total Interdisciplinary Studies Requirements9
Total additional discipline requirements:
English/ Creative Writing33
English Journalism36
Environmental Science30
Ski Business30
Total Discipline Requirements:  61-67
Electives:  29-23
Total Degree Requirements:  120

*Requirements listed above are based off the 2013-2014 Catalog, for other information check past catalogs or graduation requirements.