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


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 101 Introduction to Outdoor Skills 4
ODAL 201 Principles of Outdoor Leadership 3
ODAL 250 Wilderness First Responder 3
PHED/ODAL Choose either ODAL 350, 302 or PHED 229, 235, 240, 253, 345. 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.

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

ENGL 240 Introduction to Journalism 3
ENGL 250 Introduction to Shakespeare 3
ENGL 295 Intro to Literary Criticism 3
ENGL 326 Early American Literature 3
ENGL 327 Contemporary American Literature 3
ENGL 3XX Upper Division World Lit (330, 384, 455) 3
ENGL 350 or 351 Shakespeare’s Tragedies or Comedies 3
ENGL 381 Language Thought and Culture 3
ENGL 435 or 436 British Literature 3
ENGL 204, 290, 304, 307, 340, 390 Advanced Composition or Advanced Journalism 3
COMM 211 Communications or other Speech course approved with advisor 3
ENGL 411 Descriptive Grammar 3
Total English:   36
ENGL 205 Introduction to Creative Writing Workshop 3
ENGL 295 Introduction to Literary Criticism 3
ENGL 204, 206, 210, 288, 295 Lower division creative writing choices: Choose 3 9
ENGL 304, 305, 306, 307, 388, 404, 405, 406, 408, 488 Upper division creative writing choices: Choose 3 9
ENGL 326, 327, 328, 329 Early or Contemporary American Literature or Early or Contemporary British Literature 3
Upper Division ENGL Literature choice Consult with advisor 3
HUMN 493, ENGL 493 Senior 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 204 Introduction to Creative Non-fiction Workshop 3
ENGL 240 Introduction to Journalism 3
ENGL 340 Journalism Workshop 3
ENGL 345 Editing 1 3
ENGL 375 or 440 Journalism Workshop II or Intermediate Multimedia Journalism 3
BLAW 240 or ENGL 346 Media Law and Ethics or Mass Media an American Society 3
DART, PHTG Pick one strand of Beginning to Intermediate courses: Digital Darkroom, Video Practices, Photography or Photojournalism 6
Upper Division Elective With 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 Design 6
Total English/Journalism Credits:   33
ACCT 204 Financial Accounting
ECON 102 Macroeconomics 3
GBUS 291 Business Communications 3
MGMT 260 Principles of Management 3
MKTG 201 Introduction to Marketing 3
ENTP 310 Opportunity Recognition 3
ENTP 313, 410 Creating Entrepreneurial Ventures/ Social Ventures 3
INTB 320 Global Business Environment 3
ENTP 320 Financing Entrepreneur Ventures 3
BLAW 360 Business Law 3
ENTP 475 Capstone in Entrepreneurship 3
Total Entrepreneurship:   33
BIOL 110 Cells, Inheritance, Evolution and Animal Systems 3
BIOL 381/385, BIOL 421/425, BIOL 420, BIOL 386 Ecology & Lab, Aquatic Ecology & Lab, Tropical Field Biology, or Intertidal Ecology of Central Pacific Coast 4
ESCI 101/105, 301/305, 311/315, 420 Geology and Lab, Hydrology and Water Resources & Lab, Soils & Lab, or Geology of Death Valley and the Eastern Sierra 4
ASTR 121, BIOL 101/105, CHEM 101/105, PHYS 101/105 The Art and Science of Modern Astronomy (3 credits), Biology I & Lab, Chemistry I & Lab; or Physics I & Lab 3-4
ENVS, ESCI, BIOL Choose 3 field courses: Lake Tahoe Basin Ecosystems (BIOL 357), Desert and Montane Ecosystems (BIOL 358) and other BIOL FIELD courses: 356,357, 359, 386, 420 9
ENVS 353, BIOL301/305, ENVS 421/425, ENVS 355/356 Alternative Energy, Animal Behavior & Lab, or Geographic Information Systems, or Environmental Engineering & Lab 3-4
BIOL 407 Conservation Biology 3
*Consult with advisor
EDUC 460 Introduction to Education & Educational Research or Internship or other course chosen in consultation with advisor 3
Total Environmental Science:   30-35
* Students interested in applying to a MAT Teaching program must consult with their undergraduate advisor and MAT faculty.
PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology 3
PSYC 202 Human Development 3
PSYC 240 Social Psychology 3
PSYC 291 Introduction to APA Style 2
PSYC 322 Counseling and Clinical Psychology 3
PSYC 331 Adventure Therapy 3
PSYC 370 Learning Theory and Cognitive Psychology 3
PSYC 371 Abnormal Psychology 3
PSYC 415 Research Methods 4
PSYC 450 Capstone in Psychology 3
MATH 251 Statistics 4
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 204 Financial Accounting 3
ECON 102 Macroeconomics 3
GBUS 291 Business Communications 3
MGMT 260 Principles of Management 3
SBRM 215 Introduction to Ski Business 3
SBRM 325 Resort Profit Center Management 3
SBRM 330 Resort Marketing and Sales 3
SBRM 450 Resort Real Estate Development 3
SBRM 460 Resort General Management 3
SBRM 475 Capstone: Resort Master Planning 3
Total Ski Business and Resort Management:   30

Outdoor Adventure Leadership and additional discipline:

Total Core Requirements: 30
Total Outdoor Adventure Leadership Requirements 22
Total Interdisciplinary Studies Requirements 9
Total additional discipline requirements:
English 36
English/ Creative Writing 33
English Journalism 36
Entrepreneurship 30
Environmental Science 30
Psychology 34
Ski Business 30
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.