Course details

Study options

Full-time: 2 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year (2019/20)

International fee

£13,250 per year (2019/20)

UCAS points

72 (September 2019 entry)

UCAS code


Course level




Start date



Buxton Campus

Course description

If you’re seeking adventure and could see yourself working in the outdoor sector, our foundation degree is your first step to an action-packed career.

Packed with hands-on learning opportunities, this inspiring foundation degree will help you develop the key skills, knowledge and personal qualities which are valued most in the outdoor leadership industry.

Build an impressive CV

With the magnificent Peak District National Park as the backdrop to your learning, we’ll introduce you to all aspects of outdoor adventure and activity leadership.

As part of the course, you’ll have the chance to gain national government body qualifications in a variety of outdoor activities. These include the Mountain Leader Summer Award, Single Pitch Award, Climbing Wall and Coaching Awards, and British Canoe Union Coaching Awards at Levels 1 and 2. All will boost your professional credibility and look great on your CV.

To help you chart your future career direction, we also offer optional modules so that you can specialise in areas such as outdoor experiential education and inclusive adventure in the outdoors.

A unique centre for outdoor learning

You’ll study mainly at our  on the edge of the Derbyshire Peak District. Set in 55 acres of mixed woodlands, its attractions include a 30 foot climbing wall, high and low rope courses and an artificial underground caving course.

It’s the ideal setting for the next generation of outdoor leaders. You’ll build your own skills in outdoor activities but also gain insights into the running of a centre which is popular with corporate clients, children’s groups and outward bound enthusiasts.

Reach your Peak

Where better to prepare for a career in outdoor activity leadership than the Peak District? The perfect setting for outdoor pursuits all year round, it’s a stunning natural classroom where you’ll enjoy real-world learning to the maximum.

Our proximity to classic gritstone and limestone crags such as the Roaches, Chee Dale and Stanage (over 400 venues within 30 miles) – together with our exceptional facilities – earned us a place in the top ten list of ‘climber friendly’ universities drawn up by the British Mountaineering Council.

Broaden your horizons

 are one of the most exhilarating features of this course, introducing you to outdoor leadership in a broad variety of environments and preparing you for the workplace.

Apart from regular excursions into the Peak, you could find yourself on expeditions to other parts of the UK such as Wales, the Lake District and Scotland.

There may be opportunities to head overseas too. In recent years, our students have pushed their abilities to the limit with ice climbing in Norway, kayaking in Slovenia, sport climbing on the Greek island of Kalymnos and trekking in Morocco.

Fully equipped for the working world

This is a highly vocational course, so you’ll apply the theory in practical settings, work with diverse client groups and tailor your studies to match your career ambitions.

We have strong links across the outdoor and adventure sector so the course is underpinned by latest industry practices and standards. Such partnerships lead to a variety of professional development opportunities for you, including work-based learning with employers.

Learn from the experts

Our teaching team is made up of highly qualified experts with a wealth of professional experience in outdoor and adventure sport as instructors, leaders, coaches and international competitors.

We also call on our extensive contacts across the sector to add an extra dimension to your studies through specialist tuition and guest lectures. These could open up even more career avenues for you: recent talks have, for instance, covered adventure photography and adventure journalism.

What you will study

You’ll study modules core to outdoor adventure and activity leadership, with options to specialise in areas such as outdoor practical skills, experiential education and inclusive activity. A key theme will be your vocational development and gaining practical and professional skills to work in the applied world and tailor your career.

You'll study modules such as:

  • Research and Academic Skills *
  • Leadership of the Adventure Experience Δ
  • Introduction to the Natural Environment
  • Work Based Learning Module 1 Δ
  • Introduction to Outdoor Adventure Δ
  • Risk Management in Adventure *
  • Outdoor Research *
  • Approaches to Programme Leadership and Management Δ
  • Applied Coaching Practice
  • Work Based Learning Module 2 Δ

Optional Modules:

  • Outdoor Experiential Education
  • Inclusive Adventure in the Outdoors
  • Outdoor Conservation

These modules have been aligned, where appropriate, to the  course to enable you to top up onto the bachelors degree upon successful completion of stage two, if you meet the criteria for progression.

* Module includes Professional Development Activities

Δ Module includes Work Placement

Students welcoming guests to a Buxton Open Day

Find out more about Outdoor Activity Leadership

The best way to find out if studying at Buxton is right for you is to experience an Open Day. Get a feel for the campus, tour our first-class facilities and see where you could be living.

Book your Open DayBook your Open Day

How you will learn

We pride ourselves on delivering valuable learning experiences. Our course material is innovative and inspiring, so that you are prepared for the world of work. The course is based in our specialist outdoor centre in Buxton, providing a variety of hands-on learning opportunities, which will enable you to apply theory in a practical setting and develop your skills working with diverse groups.


We provide a diverse range of assessment methods to suit the needs of learners, as well as developing the skills valued by industry. Assessment methods will include oral and video presentations, written assignments, in-class exams, and practical assessments in the outdoors.

Entry requirements

September 2019 typical entry requirements

UCAS points72 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-levelN/A
Specific requirements at GCSE

GCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification.

Interview / AuditionN/A

Alternative entry qualifications:

We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

An Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service certificate cleared by the University is required for this course. We will contact you with information on how to complete this once you have applied. More information.

Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.

Fees and funding

2019/20 Fees


£9,250 per year



£13,250 per year


Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

UK/EU students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit

International students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree


On successful completion of this foundation degree, you can stay at the University of Derby and top up your qualification to gain the BA (Hons) Outdoor Leadership and Management with just another year of full-time study.

Wherever possible, our foundation degree modules have been aligned to the honours degree to make your transition as smooth as possible.

You can also progress to rewarding and challenging employment in areas such as expedition leadership, adventure sport coaching, outdoor facility management, outdoor activity instruction, outdoor sport development or teaching within mainstream education. Take a look at our PGCE Post-14 with Specialism.

In addition, the skills and knowledge you develop on the course will be invaluable if you choose to pursue careers in public services, youth work and the Armed Forces.

Programme leader

Dr Linda Birch

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

Contact us Contact us

† Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, state-of-the-art facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.


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