Experiential Education (MS)


The MS in Experiential Education prepares professionals and educators for effectively and ethically leading, teaching, and facilitating experiential learning for all learners – all ages, all abilities, all cultures, all identities.

Graduates serve across the nation and world as leaders in experiential education* as program owners and/or operators, public school and university faculty and staff, and leaders in non-profit or privately-operated organizations.  The program serves as a gateway to career opportunities in project-based, problem/inquiry-based, place-based, service-based, and active learning settings and in outdoor, environmental, and adventure education.

Experiential Education is a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to learning, teaching, and leading that integrates direct experience with focused reflection for developing new knowledge, relevant life skills, and socially-conscious dispositions. 

Catalog Year



Master of Science

Total Credits







Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

Program Requirements

Common Core

This course examines the writings of historical and current thinkers who have made contributions to the field of experiential education. The philosophical underpinnings of Plato and Dewey, as well as more current experiential education literature will be discussed and examined.

Prerequisites: none

Students will acquire a solid foundation of teaching methods in experiential learning. Learners will discuss and practice implementation of various teaching approaches that promote experiential learning including active learning, project based learning, service learning, place based education, and problem based learning. Learners will design curriculum that promotes hands-on learning and develop performance based assessment tools. Learners will collaboratively develop lessons that utilize experiential learning, and create assessment tools to align with lessons. This course meets program needs and introduction of assessment tools that align with experiential learning.

Prerequisites: none

This course examines the complexities of ethical dimensions of leadership utilizing theoretical ethics, historical and contemporary ethical conceptual lenses, and case studies focused on leadership and moral dilemmas.

Prerequisites: none

This graduate level course examines key aspects of guiding reflective group processes including principles, techniques, best practices, and activities. The design of this course uses active learning, discussion of readings, and applied practice through participating in reflective individual and group exercises.

Prerequisites: none

This course entails the creation of an assessment portfolio that documents student's progress and growth throughout their master's program. Portfolio components will include coursework, field experiences, essays, learning proposals, reflection papers, and capstone experiences.

Prerequisites: none

Research/Methods Course(s)

This 3-credit course offers an introduction to research methods as well as tools for becoming a critical consumer of the body of research that exists in experiential education. Class members will conduct secondary research that can be used toward the completion of a Capstone Project. The course design will offer a combination of readings, individualized secondary research, presentations, and interactive learning exercises.

Prerequisites: none

Restricted Electives

Choose 9 - 18 Credit(s).

A field experience that will further the learning of the student in Experiential Education. This course can be repeated in the degree plan of study.

Prerequisites: none

A field experience which typically entails working with a specific person or organization. This course can be repeated in the degree plan of study.

Prerequisites: none

This course provides both graduate students and faculty the opportunity to work together with a specific theme that is timely and relevant for the field.

Prerequisites: none

This course engages learners in critical examination of definitional and controversial issues in experiential education and utilizes a variety of large and small group discussion, readings, and interactive exercises to investigate these issues. Class members will research and present their positions through group and individual forums.

Prerequisites: none

Students will examine the writings of individuals who have made contributions to experiential learning and educational reform. Current national education reform initiatives will provide examples of how K-12 education and higher education have reformed teaching methods and educational practices. Learners will apply information to develop programs or curricula useful to their specific disciplines and interests.

Prerequisites: none

This course offers opportunities to survey the past and current literature pertaining to experiential education and subsequently engage in meaningful philosophical and interpretive discourse. Comprehensive foundational readings about the philosophy, principals, and values of experiential education will be included.

Prerequisites: none

This course explores strategies and approaches that are commonly used for facilitating experiential learning and are compatible with the principles and philosophies of experiential education.

Prerequisites: none

A field-based course typically used for independent research or projects. This course can be repeated in the degree plan of study.

Prerequisites: none

This course provides a venue for the completion of the Creative Project, one of the options for the graduate Capstone Experience required by the College of Graduate Studies and Research. The intent of a Creative Project is to develop a professional project that provides evidence of mastery in selected areas within the field of experiential education.

Prerequisites: none

This course provides a venue for the completion of an Alternate Plan Paper, one of the options for the graduate Capstone Experience required by the College of Graduate Studies and Research. The intent of an Alternate Plan Paper is to engage in secondary research and scholarly writing using APA format and citation style. The APP is usually focused on an in-depth review of literature on a topic of choice within experiential education and is usually a minimum of 24 pages.

Prerequisites: none

This variable credit course is for the development and completion of the Thesis Capstone option for the MS in Experiential Education. Typically, after consultation with their advisor, students register for 3 credits of ExEd 699 for thesis proposal writing that entails the introduction, review of literature, and method chapters. In the following semester(s), 3 additional credits of ExEd 699 entail data collection, data analysis and writing of the final complete thesis.

Prerequisites: none

Unrestricted Electives

Choose up to 9 credits.