M.A. in Outdoor and Adventure Leadership


This is an example. Please note that the most current and official curriculum information is found in our Course Catalog.

Master of Arts in Outdoor and Adventure Leadership

The M.A. in Outdoor and Adventure Leadership is designed to deepen your personal walk with Christ, sharpen your critical thinking and leadership, and equip you with wholistic programming skills to work with emerging adults, youth, and children in a variety of ministry contexts. The degree is offered in three concentrations that allow focus on vocational interests:

Students are expected to be engaged in work that allows them to continuously integrate academic work with ministry practice. This may be at HoneyRock for residential Graduate Assistants, or as flexible learning students at partner camps, and other organizations. To enable these options, courses are offered in modalities that include synchronous in-person sessions or remote via video; 7-10 day in-person intensives; hybrid formats – part online with 2-3-day intensives; and fully online courses. Courses are planned to limit travel to one 1-2 week, in-person session a semester whenever possible, by sometimes scheduling them to run back-to-back.

Program requirements – 38 hours

All students complete 38 hours of credit to graduate. They include 26 hours of core courses, and 12 hours for each concentration.

26 credit hours - required core

  • OAL 503 Cultural Engagement (2)
  • OAL 512 Leadership and Spiritual Formation (4)
  • OAL 518 Assessment and Innovation (2)
  • OAL 549 Program Philosophy and Planning (4)
  • OAL 662 Theology and Practice of Outdoor Ministry (4)
  • OAL 663 Organizational Leadership and Staff Development (4)
  • BITH 565/566/576 Biblical or Theological Studies course (4)
  • OAL 682 Integrative Seminar (2)

12 hours from one of the three concentrations as follows

Program Leadership Concentration

  • OAL 534 Care and Counsel in Ministry (2)
  • OAL 595 Foundations of Experiential Education (2)

      And 8 hours of electives (see options below)

Organizational Leadership Concentration

  • LEAD 611 Foundations of Organizational Structure: Finance, Operations, Governance & Legal (2)
  • LEAD 621 Introduction to Non- Profits (2)
  • LEAD 652 Strategic Leadership (2)
  • LEAD 662 Leading Multicultural Teams (4)

     And 4 hours of electives (see options below)

Higher Education Leadership Concentration

  • OAL 534 Care and Counsel in Ministry (2) or HESD 608: Well-Being in Young Adults
  • OAL 595 Foundations of Experiential Education (2) or HESD 546 Holistic Growth in College
  • HESD 595 Higher Education Past, Present and Future (4)
  • HESD 641 Emerging Adult Development (4)

Elective courses

The elective options allow students to gain further in areas related to their context and calling. Students choose from OAL, LEAD or HESD electives listed in the course progression charts or from other available and accessible courses in the Wheaton College Graduate School with approval by your Advisor. Additional electives from the three departments include:

OAL electives available include

  • OAL 516 Camp Ministry in Global Contexts (2)
  • OAL 555 Women in Outdoor Ministry
  • OAL 556 Gap Year Programming (2)
  • OAL 566 Temporary Communities and the Church (2)
  • OAL 664 Wilderness Programming and Leadership (4)
  • OAL 665 Wilderness Program Management (4)
  • OAL 692 Creative Project (2)
  • OAL 694 Advanced Leadership Seminar (2)
  • OAL 695 Independent Studies (2-4)
  • OAL 698 Thesis/Applied Thesis (2)

Leadership Program electives available include

  • LEAD 559 Organizational Change and Leadership in Ministry (4)
  • LEAD 615 Entrepreneurial Marketing (2)
  • LEAD 557 Foundations of Leadership in a Globalized World (4)
  • LEAD 558 Personal Leadership and Ethics (4)
  • LEAD 631 Leading Non-Profit Organizations (4)
  • LEAD 645 Mental Health and Leadership (2)

Higher Education and Student Development electives available include

  • HESD 614 Diversity & Student Development: Building Communities of Shalom (2)
  • HESD 639 Legal Issues in Higher Ed (2)
  • HESD 636 Leadership in Higher Ed (2)
  • HESD 546 Facilitating Collegiate Learning (2)
  • HESD 608 Well-Being in Young Adults (2)

Other courses at Wheaton College Graduate School with Advisor’s approval


graduate student at whiteboard

B.A. and M.A. in 5 Years!

Earn an accelerated Masters at Wheaton! Check out the progression.

View the Accelerated Masters PDF