Graduate Academic Programs

Graduate Certificates

Therapeutic Outdoor Programs Certificate

Description of Program

The 15 credit hour Graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Outdoor Programs incorporates the knowledge and skills of outdoor leadership, therapeutic recreation, outdoor programming, therapeutic processes, and practicum opportunity for applying these skills. The certificate reflects the students’ ability to learn specific outdoor leadership skills and intervention techniques for working with specific populations in various outdoor programs and environments.

Degree Requirements

A graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Outdoor Programs (TOP) is offered through the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies. TOP provides students and professionals with a comprehensive foundation of therapeutic interventions, theory, and practice offered through Indiana University and Bradford Woods. The certificate requires the successful completion of a package of six courses totaling 15 credits. A minimum cumulative GPA is required in all courses used for this certificate program.

Complete each of the following courses:

  • HPER-R 504 Outdoor Instructorship (3 cr.)
  • HPER-R 511 Leadership in Challenge Education (2 cr.)
  • HPER-R 512 Principles of Outdoor Experiential Therapy (3 cr.)
  • HPER-R 561 Advanced Therapeutic Recreation Processes (3 cr.)
  • HPER-R 564 Introduction to Outdoor Experiential Therapy (1 cr.)
  • HPER-R 643 Practicum in Recreation and Parks (3 cr.)

Additional work may be possible, depending on the goals and training needs of the student.

Special Opportunities

Therapeutic outdoor programs involve the instruction, leadership, and facilitation of outdoor activities for persons with disabilities. The curriculum for this certificate provides a unique opportunity for students to receive academic as well as experiential training in an outdoor setting.


Students in this program greatly enhance their ability to work in specific camping and other outdoor programs for persons with disabilities (such as Bradford Woods), as well as integrated national organizations such as Wilderness Inquiry, YMCA, Christian youth organizations, and other private and/or local outdoor programs. They gain marketable skills as outdoor leaders with the background and knowledge of facilitation and intervention techniques for special populations.

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