Learn to lead
in the outdoor laboratory of the majestic Sierra Nevada

Outdoor Adventure Leadership

When ODAL students graduate, they have a large skill set. They can navigate through rugged terrain, cook a gourmet backcountry meal, facilitate a discussion on land ethics, climb a vertical wall, guide a raft down a river gorge, relocate a dislocated shoulder . . . all while practicing leave no trace principles.

But the skills that they learn that really matter in the “civilized world” are endurance, persistence, and resourcefulness. It is these three skills that are honed when one ventures out into the wild and it is these three skills that make all the difference in one’s success in life.

The Outdoor Adventure Leadership Program at Sierra Nevada College is not your typical outdoor recreation program.

Like most other outdoor education programs, we spend much of our class time navigating mountainous terrain, climbing granite walls, descending snowy slopes, and maneuvering through river gorges.

However, UNLIKE other outdoor education programs, we move beyond the small group field experience to apply our leadership skills into the wider community through service learning and senior portfolio projects that require integration of disciplines.

It is this fusion of an independent study and an internship that enables a student to bring his or her skills learned in wilderness settings into the real world.

Through these projects, students gain professional experience working with non-profits, building their own business plans, organizing events, developing curriculum, teaching, and exploring innovative ideas.

Climbing at Lover’s Leap

Our Students Say It Best . . .

. . . Follow Their Adventures!

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Jeff Reiffers

Major: Interdisciplinary Studies in Outdoor Adventure Leadership and Environmental Science

Class of 2013

It was hard for me to find the right place to go to school. I attended five community colleges, and traveled the world trying to find my niche. Sierra Nevada College seems like it was made for me. I can pursue my passions of rock climbing, skiing, and backpacking, while obtaining a degree in Outdoor Adventure Leadership and Environmental Science. . . . Read More

Sydney Pinkerton

Major: Interdisciplinary Studies in Outdoor Adventure Leadership and Art, Psychology

Class of 2016

I’ve always felt a need to encourage individual empowerment and teach people self-love, and the path I am on now is taking me closer to making that passion a career. I hope to work in established adventure and art therapy programs on the way to starting my own! . . . Read More

Ask A Question

Rosie Hackett
Outdoor Adventure Leadership Program Director
775-831-1314 x7499

Katherine Zanto
Interdisciplinary Studies Program Chair

Scout Sorcic
ODAL Student Representative


ODAL Degree Requirements

ODAL is housed in the Interdisciplinary Studies Program and is not a stand-alone degree. A student must integrate ODAL with another discipline, such as Environmental Studies, Entrepreneurship, Psychology, English/Journalism, Ski Business Resort Management, and Art.

See how ODAL pairs with other disciplines

Outdoor Adventure Leadership Requirements
ODAL 101 Introduction to Outdoor Skills 4
ODAL 201 Principles of Outdoor Leadership 3
ODAL 250 Wilderness First Responder 3
PHED Intermediate/Advanced outdoor skills ODAL 302, 380, 450, PHED 229, 253, or instructor approval 3*
ODAL 301 Fundamentals of Environmental Interpretation 3
ODAL 380 Extended Field Expedition: Leadership Practicum 3
ODAL 401 Wilderness Ethics 3
Total Outdoor Adventure Leadership 22
Interdisciplinary Studies Requirements
INTD 250 Principles of Interdisciplinary Studies 3
INTD 300 Service Learning 3
INTD 493 Senior Portfolio 3
Total Interdisciplinary Studies 9
*One unit may be satisfied by General Education PHED Core Requirement.

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