Online Graduate Certificate in Outdoor Leadership and Education

Online Graduate Certificate in Outdoor Leadership and Education

The online Graduate Certificate in Outdoor Leadership and Education provides students with hands-on practice and theory to create meaningful, high-quality outdoor learning experiences for all ages.

Learning Outcomes

Upon earning an Outdoor Leadership and Education Graduate Certificate, students will be able to:

  • Plan and facilitate safe, meaningful, and appropriate outdoor activities and outdoor learning experiences for diverse participants in diverse settings
  • Use and build upon their existing professional knowledge, experience, and skills to incorporate outdoor activities and learning into their instructional practices in dynamic and innovative ways
  • Thoughtfully and ethically incorporate elements of place into the learning experience


The Outdoor Leadership and Education Graduate Certificate is a blended program meaning some courses have in-person components. While a majority of classes are held online, KPE 550: Bringing the Classroom Outdoors and EHD 657: Practicum are required courses that require in-person components.


The curriculum is focused on the professional knowledge and field experiences needed for anyone interested in successfully incorporating more experiential and place-based learning into settings such as PK-12 schools, as well as post-secondary and adult education.

Required Courses

The following courses are required (6 credits):

  • KPE 512: Ethics and Social Justice in Outdoor Leadership (3 credits) Fall
  • KPE 550: Bringing the Classroom Outdoors (3 credits) Summer
    Hybrid/Blended course with a 5-day intensive in-person field experience

Pedagogy of Place Courses

Choose at least two of the following courses (6 credits):

  • EHD 590: Topics in Education: Rural and Community Leadership (3 credits)
  • EHD 691: Graduate Apprenticeship (2-6 credits) Offered through UMaine Machias
  • MES 520: Advanced Topics in Maine Studies (3 credits)
  • MES 540: Maine and the Northeast Borderlands (3 credits) Spring
  • NAS 401: Advanced Topics in Native American Studies: Teaching Wabanaki Studies (3 credits) Spring

Field Experience

  • EHD 657: Practicum (3 credits)
    Students will complete their practicum by taking on an in-person leadership role in collaboration with the instructors in one of the following courses (3 credits):
    • KPE 280: Introduction to Paddling Instruction and Safety (3 credits)
    • KPE 396: Outdoor Leadership Field Experience (3 credits)
    • REM 227: Backcountry Expedition Skills (3 credits) Offered through UMaine Machias


We have rolling admissions so you can apply and be accepted into the program at any time. However, the following dates are recommended:

  • Fall Semester: August 15
  • Spring Semester: December 15
  • Summer Semester: April 15


  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university

Students may take individual courses before applying. However, you must pass all courses with a B- or higher to apply them toward the certificate.

Application Materials

When you are ready to apply, please first review the application instructions. Then submit the following:

  • Online application
  • Official academic transcripts from all institutions attended
  • 300-500 word essay based on the following prompt
  • Current resume or CV

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Contact Us

Have questions about earning your Graduate Certificate in Outdoor Leadership and Education online with UMaine? Contact Amanda Cupps, UMaineOnline Senior Advisor, at 207.581.3452 or

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The outdoors is an essential part of Maine’s heritage and an increasingly critical component of our modern economy. Outdoor industries and recreation are particularly important for the sustainability of rural communities. Maine needs a skilled cadre of stewards, educators, and outdoor guides to lead groups knowledgeably, ethically, and safely on trips in our wilderness and natural resources. 

In addition to practicing teachers in PK-12 schools looking to gain skills and experience in outdoor education and instruction, this certificate is also appropriate for people in careers such as guiding and outfitting, wilderness therapy, and natural resource management.


Our outstanding faculty has a wealth of research and practical knowledge to help working educators and other professionals address current challenges in education and improve the human condition. Courses in the Graduate Certificate in Outdoor Leadership and Education program are taught by faculty from our School of Kinesiology, Physical Education, and Athletic Training and the University of Maine at Machias’ Outdoor Recreation and Leadership program.

scholarships available - click here to learn about scholarship opportunities