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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!

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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

Jennifer Sheridan

Major: Interdisciplinary Studies in Outdoor Adventure Leadership and Journalism

Class of 2013

Jenn Sheridan has leveraged her experience in ODAL and Journalism into a career which encompasses both her passions. Working on the Eagles's Eye taught her the newsroom skills she uses as the associate editor at the Tahoe Weekly. As manager of an international team of ambassadors for Coalition Snow, her ODAL training has been invaluable keeping her Coalition Snow ambassadors organized, safe, and informed during their travels and adventures. . . . Read More

Ask A Question

Rosie Hackett
Outdoor Adventure Leadership Program Director
rhackett@sierranevada.edu
775-831-1314 x7499

Katherine Zanto
Interdisciplinary Studies Program Chair
kzanto@sierranevada.edu
775-881-7529

Scout Sorcic
ODAL Student Representative
scout_sorcic@snceagles.sierranevda.edu

Request Info   Apply Now!

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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.

ODAL Majors may also choose an optional 6 credit Skills Development Emphasis.

  • River Skills (Rogue River, Swift Water Rescue, Whitewater Kayaking, Whitewater Rafting, Upper Level River Field Course, etc.)
  • Backcountry Leadership Skills (Wilderness Orientation, Canyoneering, Challenge Course, Mountaineering, etc.)
  • Snow Skills (AIARE, Backcountry Skiing, Upper Level Winter Field Course, etc.)

See how ODAL pairs with other disciplines

Our Partners


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