About Our Program
Outdoor studies minors foster a lifelong appreciation and respect for the natural world through classes, professional opportunities on and off campus, immersive experiences like the Adirondack Semester, and outdoor adventures of all kinds.
Your experiences inside and outside the classroom will help you become a more inclusive navigator of the natural world and a better steward of the environment. As you grapple with some of today’s biggest ethical questions regarding climate change, natural resources, and preservation, you’ll learn how you can make a positive impact while empowering others to do the same—starting right in your North Country backyard.
Learning Experiences to Prepare for Your CareerThe outdoor studies minor emphasizes learning through doing. We take full advantage of our North Country location to help you build your practical skills, understand your relationship with nature, and acquire professional outdoor leadership experience.
Outdoor Leadership Training and Education
Earn credit toward your minor while taking courses on outdoor leadership and education, snow science, river dynamics and safety, and ethics in outdoor recreation.
Lead Off-Campus Trips and Excursions
Explore a possible career path by becoming a guide for the Outdoor Program. Whether you’re leading an advanced group on a rock-climbing trip to Spain or taking students into the Adirondacks for their first backpacking experience, you’ll help individuals of all abilities and experience levels fall in love with the outdoors while honing your leadership skills.
Wilderness First Responder Certification
Earn the tools you’ll need to handle crisis in remote circumstances as an outdoor leader, guide, ranger, or counselor. All students who complete this course earn a certification card from Wilderness Medical Associates and a two-year American Heart Association “Healthcare Provider” certification.
Outdoor studies minors like you can seek employment on campus helping others safely experience the outdoors. Lead pre-orientation trips for first-year students in the summer, work at our canoe shack in the spring or fall, teach snowshoeing lessons in the winter, or help out at the Munro Family Climbing Wall year-round.
Environmentally conscious students of any major can apply for this unique year-long program where you’ll live and work on our organic farm.
Nature Up North
Based at St. Lawrence, this program gets our entire community out into the environment through citizen scientist projects and outdoor adventures. You can also pursue internship and volunteer opportunities that will further strengthen your connection to nature in the North Country
Learn by doing in a real-world environment. Our minors intern with a wide range of organizations, many of which are right in our backyard, including:
- North Country Public Radio
- North Country Creamery
- Adirondack Explorer
- Northern Lights School
You can also gain experience while making a difference through service work.
- Nature Up North
- Habitat for Humanity
- Campus Kitchens
The Adirondack Semester
Explore and examine your relationship with nature while living off-the-grid in our remote yurt village and using the great outdoors as a classroom. You’ll take classes on nature writing and environmental ethics, bond with peers and faculty over locally-grown, home-cooked meals, and immerse yourself in the Adirondack community through a homestay and internship. In the past, students have apprenticed with woodworkers and blacksmiths, worked on a local dairy farm, investigated stories in the community for North Country Public Radio, and practiced meditation and Zen Buddhism while homesteading in the North Country.
Throughout the semester, you’ll foster a deep, mindful relationship with your surroundings—a relationship that will inspire you to make decisions that positively impact the environment no matter where you go or what you do after graduation.
You can also choose from more than 30 semester-long programs offered in more than 20 international locations, including Australia, China, Denmark, New Zealand, and Thailand.
Short-Term Trips & Field Experiences
In addition to semester- and year-long programs, we offer opportunities to put your guide training to the test with outdoor excursions around the North Country, throughout the Adirondack Park, and beyond.
Among the 150+ clubs and organizations at St. Lawrence, you’ll find many that involve the outdoors, wildlife and environmental advocacy, including:
- Outing Club
- Outdoor Program
- Environmental Action Organization
- CLAW - Connecting Laurentians Around Wilderness
- The Finer Things Cheese and Turophile Society
- Seed to Table
- St. Lawrence River Alliance
- The Greenhouse
- Model U.N.
- Divestment Club
- Geology Club
- Euphrates Institute
- SLU Legal
Why St. Lawrence for Outdoor Studies
of St. Lawrence graduates are employed or continuing their education within a year
acres make up our campus - an outdoor experience in itself
Our student-to-tree ratio.
miles from the Adirondack Park and St. Lawrence River
Your home base for rock climbing, backpacking, and backcountry skiing in the heart of the Adirondack Park
oldest collegiate outdoor club in the nation
Challenge yourself with new techniques or climb for the first time at the Munro Family Climbing Wall
Rivers, ponds, and lakes for kayaking and canoeing, swimming, and fishing in St. Lawrence County
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Program Requirements & Courses
Explore outdoor studies minor requirements, as well as electives and popular major combinations.
Complementary and Related Programs
If you’re interested in minoring in outdoor studies, you may be interested in pairing it with these majors.
Passionate, Adventurous Faculty
Our faculty are geologists, martial artists, mountaineers, and wilderness medicine experts. They’re into sea kayaking, ice climbing, meditating, and back-country skiing. Some are even St. Lawrence graduates, passionate about sharing their experience with the next generation of outdoor leaders.
“Students learn professional skills as they develop a deep connection to the environment. We believe that if you care deeply about something, you’ll work to save it.”
"The Snow Science course is a great example of [experiential learning]. In this course, a group of students traveled to Wyoming and got to see the differences in snow conditions, terrain, and pitch while receiving our Level 100 Avalanche Certificates."
Adirondack Semester Alumni
Alumni of our Adirondack Semester love to bond over their unique shared experience. They’re eager to connect with current students and share how their time living off the grid has impacted their lives.
Lasting North Country Connections
As you get to know our North Country neighbors through internships and volunteer experiences, you’ll acquire a better understanding of our region and a more meaningful connection to your home at St. Lawrence.
You don't have to travel far from campus to find an outdoor adventure or a quiet place to connect with nature. At St. Lawrence, outdoor recreation is for everyone, no matter your level of experience.
Connect With a Current StudentYou've heard enough about our program from us; connect with a current student to learn first-hand about their faculty mentors, favorite classes, or unique experiences. No question is too big or too small—ask away!
Langley Sieve (she/her)
- Portsmouth, New Hampshire
- Portsmouth High School
- Environmental Studies and Philosophy combined major, Outdoor Studies and Biology minors
Divest SLU, Nature Up North Intern; participated in the Adirondack Semester
Elsa Eckhardt (she/her)
- St. Johnsbury, Vermont
- St. Johnsbury Academy
- Global Studies major, Religious Studies and Outdoor Studies minor
Outing Club Guide, Divest SLU, Calling All Saints, Campus Gear Room; participated in the Adirondack Semester and studied abroad in Nepal
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We’re excited to learn more about you, tell you more about our interdisciplinary academic programs, show you around our beautiful campus, and help you navigate your college search.