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 education major.

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, at one of the best outdoor colleges in the country.

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.

Our Students Say It Best . . .

. . . Follow Their Adventures!

ODAL on Facebook   ODAL on Instagram   ODAL on Flickr

Brandon Sorel

Major: Interdisciplinary Studies in Outdoor Adventure Leadership and Entrepreneurship

Class of 2012

Neither my mother nor my father graduated from college For them, seeing their children succeed means more than their own success. I am incredibly grateful that they made sure I grew up with a strong concrete foundation. My father constantly reminded me that “education is the most important thing in life,” and his message is becoming clear. . . . Read More

Jason Paladino

Major: Interdisciplinary Studies in Outdoor Adventure Leadership and Journalism

Class of 2012

Jason Paladino went on to get his MA from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism in 2015 after graduating from SNC. While still in grad school, Jason began an in-depth investigation into safety issues on U.S. Navy aircraft, which resulted in achieving a spot in the Investigative Reporting Program, three NBC Nightly News broadcasts, and and a piece on the IRE (Investigative Reporters & Editors) Radio Podcast. . . . 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

Request Info   Apply Now!

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.

Our Partners