Start date

3 year(s) full-time


Program Code


Assumed Knowledge

2021: AUD$ 33,600 per annum (per 1.0 EFTSL)

English Language Requirements
  • IELTS total [6.0]
  • IELTS reading [6.0]
  • IELTS writing [6.0]
Equivalent English qualifications (PDF)

International Admission by Country
See full entry requirements


Degree overview

  • Study with the No.1 university in South Australia for research in environmental sciences.1
  • Develop in-demand skills and knowledge in core areas such as health and wellbeing, environmental leadership, social justice and sustainable living.
  • Tailor your studies to suit your interests with a major in ecosystem sciences or select courses in the areas of community engagement and sustainability, management, counselling and interpersonal skills, Aboriginal cultures and biology.
  • Graduate career-ready when you complete more than 400 hours of practical experience and fieldwork in a wide range of real-world settings.
  • Undertake early-career professional development in outdoor education and leadership from your first year of study.
  • Learn from a curriculum informed by well above world-class research in environmental sciences and management,2 taught by industry experts and experienced Outdoor Education Educators.
  • Benefit from flexible study options, with the ability to study part-time or engage in online courses through a virtual classroom.     
  • Follow on from this degree with postgraduate studies in Master of Teaching (Secondary), enabling you to teach across Science, Biology and Environmental Science. 

1The only university in SA to have all its assessed Environmental Sciences research rated well-above world standard. 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).
22018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).



As the only degree of its kind in SA, the Bachelor of Outdoor and Environmental Leadership combines foundational environmental science and outdoor leadership concepts to equip future Outdoor Education professionals with a unique set of skills and knowledge.

This industry-relevant degree provides the foundational skills and knowledge for a rewarding career in nature-based tourism, environmental interpretation, education, adventure therapy or adventure-based leadership. Develop the reflective, evaluative and critical-thinking skills required to implement and lead culturally aware and environmentally sustainable outdoor experiences.    

You will complete more than 400 hours of practical experience working directly with industry, including outdoor fieldwork, peer leadership and experiential learning.     

Align your studies with your interests, with the opportunity to study a major in ecosystem sciences or select courses in the areas of community engagement and sustainability, management, counselling and interpersonal skills, Aboriginal cultures and biology.

What you'll learn

What you Learn

You will explore an integrated range of industry-relevant topics balancing core concepts of bioscience and social science. Develop foundational knowledge in key areas such as biodiversity, sustainable ecosystems, caring for country, coastal environments and Earth systems.

In your final year, you will strengthen your understanding of professional practice, advanced environmental science, as well as specialised management skills fostering your transition into the workforce.

In addition to placement opportunities within leading industry environments, you will apply your learned skills through intensive fieldwork including:

  • leading an introductory kayaking or canoeing experience for UniSA students
  • planning and implementing a four-day experiential learning program for more than 200 participants
  • conducting interpretive experiences such as a ‘Water Workshop’ at a primary school
  • undertaking a week-long immersive field trip including a day of service learning in areas such as the Nantawarrina Indigenous Protected Area.

Develop in-demand research skills alongside world-class researchers during your degree, focussing on areas such as species study, laboratory analysis of soils and contamination, sampling and field-based data collection, and critical analysis of human-nature interactions.

Degree structure

Course name Area and cat no. Units Reference  
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Biodiversity for the Environment BIOL 1014 4.5
Earth Systems EART 1010 4.5
Environment: A Human Perspective ENVT 1013 4.5
Foundations of Outdoor Leadership HLTH 2024 4.5
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
Soils in the Australian Landscape EART 1011 4.5
Sustainable Ecosystems BIOL 1015 4.5
Caring for Country ENVT 1017 4.5
Introduction to Group and Team Psychology HLTH 1017 4.5
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Coastal Environments BIOL 4001 4.5
Elective 1 4.5
Environmental Interpretation and Community Engagement ENVT 3016 4.5
Life on Earth A BIOL 2045 4.5
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
Life on Earth B BIOL 2046 4.5
Outdoor, Wilderness and Adventure Education HLTH 3052 4.5
Leadership in Terrestrial Environments HLTH 3051 4.5
Elective 2 4.5
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Leadership in Aquatic Environments HLTH 3050 4.5
Park and Ecotourism Management ENVT 2004 4.5
Elective 3 4.5
Elective 4 4.5
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
Professional Practice in Outdoor Leadership HLTH 3068 4.5
Leadership in Recreation and Sport SPRC 3018 4.5
Elective 5 4.5
Elective 6 4.5

Study hours

For each course you study, you will need to allocate time for various classes such as lectures, tutorials, workshops, seminars and practicals. Plus you will need additional hours to study in your own time to complete assignments, readings and projects, as well as to contribute to online discussion forums (independent study). So as a general rule, if you are studying full-time you would need to allocate 12–26 hours of study when at university and 14–28 hours of independent study per week.

Global opportunities

Enrich your studies and your life – make overseas study part of your qualification. You may have the option to undertake an exchange, short-term program or study tour overseas while you study. We have links with universities worldwide, as well as a range of travel grants available to make going overseas much more accessible.

You can choose short-term or semester-long study from a range of universities and countries depending on your area of study and cultural interests.

Take a look at the global opportunities available.

Global opportunities

Why Bachelor of Outdoor and Environmental Leadership

Why this Degree

Gain a competitive edge with this unique degree combining environmental science and outdoor leadership, tailored to meet growing industry demand for outdoor adventure guides, educational practitioners and environmental leaders. Develop a holistic understanding of the bioscience and social science concepts informing this emerging field and become a recognised leader in growing professions such as outdoor education, adventure therapy, ecotourism and environmental interpretation.

In your Second year of study, you will have the ability to register as a Bushwalking Assistant Leader with Bushwalking Leadership South Australia. In your third year, you will also have the opportunity to register as a Paddle Supervisor with Paddle Australia, and as a Rock-climbing Assistant Guide with the South Australian Rock-climbing Education Association (SAREA) (if certain course requirements are met).

Benefit from a curriculum based on well above world-class research in environmental sciences and management,1 with a focus on practical real-world experiential learning and strong foundational research practice skills. Apply your learned skills and knowledge during more than 400 hours of intensive and immersive industry placement and fieldwork, including the opportunity to lead groups in outdoor programs and undertake self-guided adventure trips.

You will develop core knowledge and skills in biodiversity, ecology, Earth systems, sustainable ecosystems and caring for country. This critical knowledge base will be further enhanced by studies of leadership, professional practice and management foundations.    

12018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).

Career outcomes

Your career

The field of Outdoor Environmental Leadership is currently experiencing rapid expansion, with very strong future growth in employment outcomes predicted.1 In fact, the demand for outdoor adventure guides is expected to increase by more than 19 per cent over the next five years, with low levels of unemployment.2   

Outdoor Environmental leaders can be employed in a wide range of settings, with the versatility of expertise applicable to the global industry of nature-based leadership and environmental interpretation.

Graduates will be able to consider careers such as:

Outdoor education practitioner: facilitate nature-based outdoor learning experiences for personal and group development, health and wellbeing, environmental learning, sustainability and social justice       

Community development officer: design, implement and lead initiatives and collective solutions to address issues associated with recreational, health, housing and other community welfare matters

Ecotourism guide: plan and lead culturally aware and environmentally sustainable experiences to assist with nature-based therapy and responsible tourism practices

Outdoor adventure instructor: provide adventure-based learning experiences with accreditation in bushwalking, kayaking and rock-climbing.

Youth worker: collaborate with social workers, psychologists and support agencies to provide therapeutic outdoor experiences for at-risk youth and community members

Environmental interpretation officer: provide guidance and consultation for human interaction with natural environments and educate visitors and tourists in areas of cultural and conservationist significance.

Following on from this degree you may consider furthering your studies with a Master of Environmental Science, or a Master of Teaching (Secondary). You will be able to teach science up to Year 10 and Biology* and Environmental Science in Year 11-12.Master of Teaching (Primary) or Master of Teaching (Early Childhood) are also available options. However, you must complete the required biology elective subjects.
Visit 'How do I become a secondary teacher?' for more information.

Interested in a career using your outdoor and environmental leadership skills and knowledge to help others? Follow this degree with a Master of Social Work.

Graduates are also well-placed for further study in areas such as psychology, management, engineering, project management or Indigenous leadership.

1Australian Government, Job Outlook 2019.
2Australian Government Department of Jobs and Small Business 2019.
*Conditions apply.

Industry facts


Employment for Outdoor Adventure Guides is projected to increase by 19.3 per cent by May 2024.1 

1Australian Government Department of Employment, Occupational Employment Projections 2019


To May 2024, employment in the arts and recreation services industry is projected to increase by 38,400 jobs (10.4 per cent).2

2Australian Government Department of Employment, Industry Employment Projections 2019


Employment for sports and personal service workers is projected to increase by 15.6 per cent by May 2024 - an increase of 262,600 jobs.2

2Australian Government Department of Employment, Industry Employment Projections 2019  

How to apply

How to apply for international students will give you helpful information about the application process at the University of South Australia. When you are ready, apply through our International Application System. If you would like to talk to someone near you about studying at the University of South Australia, we have agents all over the world who can assist you. Find an Education Agent in your country.

Alternative Pathways


There are other pathways you can follow to study this degree, including:

TAFE and RTO pathway

The minimum entry requirement for applicants seeking entry from TAFE or another registered training organisation (RTO) is a diploma-level qualification. Alternatively, the minimum entry requirement for applicants with a current Enrolled Nurse Practising Certificate is a Certificate IV-level qualification.

There are other pathways you can follow to study this degree, including:
SAIBT Diploma of Health Science


Every year, over 2,500 UniSA students are supported in their studies through scholarships and grants worth millions of dollars. Check out the scholarships below. One of them may be perfect for you. Visit our scholarships page for more.

More scholarships

Your study experience and support

As a UniSA student, you will have unique access to work placement opportunities, overseas study tours and exchanges, networking events, internships, guest speakers and more.

Our campuses are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries, workshops and laboratories, as well as spaces that simulate real work environments. These are all supported by the latest technologies and a 24/7 online learning platform. We have health services on campus, gymnasiums, technology zones and great student lounges. You will also gainaccess to a range of community clinics, which provide professional and cost effective services in areas of health, business, law and psychology. There are campus sport activities to keep you active, and if you are keen to explore the social side of university life, there are movies, cooking demonstrations, parties and lots more.

Adelaide also has a variety of accommodation options to suit different requirements and budgets should you need, from dedicated student accommodation to private rentals. See our long-term accommodation pages or explore our student accommodation by urbanest on Bank Street in Adelaide’s lively cultural precinct, an ideal perfect location for students. It is within easy reach of UniSA’s city and metropolitan campuses, Rundle Mall shopping, the Central Market, Chinatown, and the West End’s vibrant nightlife. It is also across the road from the Adelaide train station, and on bus and tram routes.

Student services

Student services

Our international student services provide you with all the support you need at university. We want you to succeed, and if you need help, we're here to assist. You can access a full range of support services, including:

  • career advice and mentoring
  • help with student visas and health cover
  • personal counselling
  • academic counselling
  • fees and finance help
  • common rooms
  • prayer rooms
  • security officers
  • accommodation services 
  • as well as services offered through our student association, USASA

We also offer study support from our Learning Advisers face-to-face or online. They are here to help you develop academically and professionally during your studies, and can offer help with the English language too. When you become a UniSA student, you can also contact Campus Central for help with anything related to your degree. They will help you with your enrolment, ID cards, fees, timetables and more.

24/7 digital environment

Our learnonline facilities include a personal learning environment with virtual classrooms, lecture recordings, emails, learning support, administration, library access and results. The environment is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you can tailor your learning to your life. We are continually investing in innovative digital technologies for a high-quality student learning experience.

Student services

Your campus

We have six campuses in metropolitan and regional areas, each with advanced facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries and laboratories, as well as spaces that simulate real work environments.

Location This degree is delivered at the following campus.

Your program director

I am excited to collaborate with some amazing researchers and teachers to deliver this degree that combines a passion for the outdoors and the environment where students graduate industry-ready and with excellent postgraduate options. Graduates will take on the challenge to develop individuals and communities to promote knowledge and positive relationships essential for the well-being and future of individuals, society and our environment.

Mr Scott Polley

Program Director

Portrait image for Mr Scott Polley
Portrait image for Mr Scott Polley

Mr Scott Polley

Program Director


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