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Berkshire Outdoor Center, partnering with Springfield College’s School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, has developed a Master’s degree with a concentration in Experiential Education:

Master of Education (Advanced Pedagogy)

  • Concentration in Experiential Education
  • Research Requirement-Independent Study

Master of Science (Advanced Pedagogy)

  • Concentration in Experiential Education
  • Research Requirement-Thesis

These graduate degrees are made up of academic coursework and hands-on practicum experience. Berkshire Outdoor Center provides all training through the practicum experience, and additional coursework for students. This training includes hundreds of hours of in-the-field instructor, host and coordinator skill development. This training is provided through an adviser/advisee relationship, in-service trainings, review trainings and shadowing. Students (known as Graduate Fellows) participate alongside paid employees in all trainings and the corresponding practicum learning experience. By the end of the program, students have received thousands of hours of hands-on experience.

Springfield College provides the academic component to the program, which takes place at Becket-Chimney Corners YMCA, as well as at Springfield College. This academic coursework exposes students to research in outdoor education, and give students the opportunity to further this research with their own independent study or thesis.

Eligibility Requirements/Prerequisites

Students are required to have an undergraduate degree from an accredited university, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students are also required to have undertaken a Graduate Record Examination (GRE). International Students are required to have been accepted as a Springfield College International Student.

Applicants will be assessed based on:

  • Bachelor’s Degree qualification and Grade Point Average (GPA)
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score
  • Professional Experience in Education/Experiential Education
  • Academic or Professional Recommendations

Two Year and Three Year Options

This is a full-time graduate college workload. Students are expected to commit to obtaining 34 credits. Students may choose between the regular three-year program, or a two-year program if they have significant prior outdoor education experience.

Semester Dates and Workload

Fall Semester Dates

While the Springfield College semester begins shortly after Labor Day, the Berkshire Outdoor Center season commences 2 weeks before Labor Day. The fall semester ends around mid December.

Spring Semester Dates

Springfield College programs begin mid-January, however Berkshire Outdoor Center season commences on January 1. The Springfield College spring semester ends early May, however the Berkshire Outdoor Center continues through mid-June.

Summer Obligations (Practicum)

Graduate Fellows should anticipate a heavier practicum workload between May and September, and a heavier academic workload between October and April, with the following 'maximum student hours':

  • 160 practicum hours per month May-Sep
  • 60 practicum hours per month Jan, Feb, Oct
  • 40 practicum hours per month Apr, Nov
  • 20 practicum hours per month Dec, Mar

These practicum hours will earn the Graduate Fellow the fellowship for 11-12 credits per year (16-17 credits per year in 2 year program).

Any additional hours worked beyond these practicum hours are as an employee and is paid at $11.00 per hour. Any non-program work completed (such as support work) is as an employee and is also paid at $11.00 per hour.

Graduate Fellows should anticipate a practicum workload very close to 1,100 student hours per year at Berkshire Outdoor Center.

Program Assessment

Students assess the quality of BOC programming through academic course assignments. Research methods include the development of tools to study BOC operations, trainings and the impact of the Master’s program on BOC programs and staff. The graduate program research requirement can be directly tied to the program assessment.

More Information

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