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masters degree

Minnesota State University, Mankato Masters Degree in Experiential Education

The Masters Degree in Experiential Education at Minnesota State University, Mankato is the oldest graduate degree program experiential education in the United States. Minnesota State University, Mankato’s program located in the Educational Leadership department has had time to develop an ever-increasing number of options for graduate students to explore their passions in experiential education. This program was originally started in 1971, as a joint venture between Mankato State University (now Minnesota State University) and Minnesota Outward Bound School (now apart of Outward Bound Wilderness). Much of the program's foundation is based on the principals of John Dewey's philosophy of education. In addition to their classroom experiences, the program offers students an opportunity to develop meaningful experiences away from school through practicums, internships, field-based and project-based activities. Although there is a strong and still viable tradition of involvement in outdoor oriented activities, the department is committed to the idea that experiential education is broad and can be integrated into multiple facets of education.

The Master's program holds to the fundamental assumption that cognitive understanding must be coupled with educative experiences for learning to occur. Therefore, graduate students in the program are encouraged, and even required, to leave the classroom and develop meaningful learning experiences for themselves. Whether their interest is outdoor programming, classroom teaching, administration, psychological interventions or others, the program gives students academic credit for practicing and implementing what they have learned. The program is designed for strongly self-directed individuals who want to research, test, and investigate different approaches to experiential education.

To support, challenge, and broaden students’ own learning, carefully thought-out core seminars are also offered to complement the students’ raw, direct experiences. The core seminars focus on the analysis and exploration of the fundamental theories of experiential education. In addition to the core seminar courses, students are encouraged to pursue their passions by taking graduate level elective courses of their own choosing. The goal of this multi-faceted program is to unite practical skills with scholarly pursuits in the interests of the individual student.

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