Graduate Academic Programs

Graduate Certificates

Therapeutic Outdoor Programs Certificate

Description of Program

A graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Outdoor Programs (TOP) is offered through the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies. TOP provides graduate students and professionals with a comprehensive foundation of therapeutic interventions, theory, and practice as they apply in an outdoor context, for groups with specific needs. The 16 credit hour Graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Outdoor Programs incorporates the knowledge and skills of outdoor leadership, adventure therapy, outdoor programming, therapeutic processes, and a final practicum experience for applying these skills. The certificate reflects the students’ ability to learn outdoor leadership skills and therapeutic intervention techniques for working with specific populations in various outdoor programs and environments.


Applicants for admission to this graduate certificate program must have completed a bachelor's degree from an accredited university with a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.5. Most students pursue the Graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Outdoor Programs while completing a graduate degree.  However, it is possible to apply for admission to this certificate program as the sole academic objective. Students interested only in earning this certificate may apply online for graduate program admission to Indiana University at

Indiana University graduate students wishing to add this certificate their existing academic objective must have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA for certificate program admission. All students interested in applying for admission to the Certificate in Therapeutic Outdoor Programs should:

  • visit the Therapeutic Outdoor Programs Web site at
  • download the application form and complete it.
  • submit the completed application and required materials to:
    • Dr. Alison Voight
      Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies
      Indiana University
      1025 East 7th Street, SPH 133
      Bloomington, IN 47405

      Phone: (812) 856-1965
      E-mail: avoight [at] indiana [dot] edu

Students will be notified of the admission decision by Dr Alison Voight.

Certificate Requirements (16 cr.)

The Graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Outdoor Programs requires the successful completion of the following package of five courses totaling 16 credits. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required in all courses used in this certificate program. A minimum grade of C- is required in each graded course used in this certificate program. As student earning a grade lower than a C- in a required course must retake the class.

Complete each of the following courses:

  • SPH-O 504 (Formerly: HPER-R 504) Outdoor Experiential Education: Instruction Principles (3 cr.)
  • SPH-O 520 (Formerly: HPER-R 512) Principles of Therapeutic Outdoor Programs (3 cr.)
  • SPH-O 521 (Formerly: HPER-R 511) Group Processes and Facilitation in Adventure and Experiential Education (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 695 (Formerly: HPER-R 643) Practicum in Recreation and Parks (4 cr.)
  • SPH-Y 561 (Formerly: HPER-R 561) Advanced Therapeutic Recreation Processes (3 cr.)
Special Opportunities

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


Students in this program greatly enhance their ability to work in specific areas related to adventure therapy, wilderness therapy, therapeutic camping and other outdoor programs for persons with specific needs. Several of these organizations may include state and local programs such as Bradford Woods, Wilderness Inquiry, YMCA, Veteran Affairs, National Association of Therapeutic Wilderness Camping, Outdoor Behavioral Health, Equine Therapy, 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 specific populations.

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