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Ara Institute of Canterbury


Ara Institute of Canterbury

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Bachelor of Sustainability and Outdoor Education

Key information

Level of study:
Bachelor's Degree
Tuition fees:
3 years
Start date: 08-February-2022
Ara Institute of Canterbury
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Course details


Develop and share your passion for health and wellbeing, sustainability, outdoor education and New Zealand's geography.

This degree provides a unique combination of theory and practice to produce high quality graduates with a sound understanding of contemporary social and cultural issues, geography and sustainability, and proven capability in outdoor education. It is a broad degree that allows students opportunities to tailor their learning to meet the needs of a variety of career aspirations.

During your studies, you will engage with the natural landscape to develop an in-depth understanding of sustainability, and what it means to our society now and for the future. You will explore flora and fauna, and consider social geography with the human influences and impacts on our environment including how decisions on land use are made.

You will also develop the personal skills and learn effective methods for teaching, guiding and helping other people to engage with and respect our spectacular outdoor settings and instruct activities within it.

Essential studies include health and physical education, geography, environmental science, professional practices, leadership and safety. These are mixed with elective courses to foster your personal strengths and interests in adventure pursuits like rock climbing and ropes courses, white water and sea kayaking, surfing and winter back country touring.

In addition to your degree you can further enhance employment opportunities by gaining at least two industry awards such as New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association Leader Award, Surf Lifesaving New Zealand Award, Wilderness Advanced First Aid Award and Avalanche Awareness Award.

You will need to participate in field trips off campus and outside Christchurch. Specialist equipment is provided, however personal clothing and equipment are necessary - a list will be provided for you on request.

Career Opportunities

On successful completion of this degree you can seek work as an environmental educator, outdoor instructor, adventure or ecotourism guide, or take your skills into community health, recreation or conservation.

Study Pathways

You can continue your studies and enter graduate teacher training, specialising in social studies, health and outdoor education. You can also continue on to Masters study.

Entry criteria

University Entrance: NCEA Level 3 (60 credits at level 3 and 20 credits at level 2 or higher) which must include 14 credits at Level 3 in each of three approved* subjects and:

Literacy* - 10 credits at Level 2 or above, made up of 5 credits in reading, 5 credits in writing,

Numeracy* - 10 credits at Level 1 or above (specified achievement standards, or unit standards 26623, 26626, 26627)

OR New Zealand Certificate in Outdoor and Adventure Education (Multi-skilled) (Level 4) or equivalent

OR New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4) Ara Outdoor Education Pathway or equivalent

Due to Covid-19 disruption, if you studied and achieved NCEA Level 3 during 2020, you only need 12 credits per Level 3 subject (i.e. total of 36 credits). Literacy and Numeracy requirements remain the same

If you have undertaken examinations other than NCEA (e.g. International Baccalaureate, Cambridge Examination), Ara will assess your qualification for academic entry equivalency.

* NZQA approved subjects

IELTS test - Academic score of 6 with no band score lower than 5.5


TOEFL (pBT) - Score of 550 (with an essay score of 5 TWE)

TOEFL (iBT) - Score of 60 or higher (with a writing score of 18)

Cambridge English Qualifications - B2 First, or B2 First for schools, or C1 Advanced, or C2 Proficiency with a score of 169. No less than 162 in each skill

PTE (Academic) score of 50 with no band score lower than 42


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