Master of Science in Experiential Education

What is it?

Experiential Education is a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to learning, teaching, and leading that integrates direct experience with focused reflection for developing new knowledge, relevant life skills, and socially-conscious dispositions. The mission of the MS in Experiential Education program is to prepare self-reflective professionals for effectively and ethically leading, teaching, and facilitating experiential learning for all learners - all ages, all abilities, all cultures, all identities. The curriculum offers theory courses on philosophies and instructional modalities that are integrated with independent learning courses to provide opportunities for direct experiences and to apply experiential learning principles and strategies. The experiential education faculty embrace active learning, peer-to-peer interactive seminar approaches, small group collaboration, and project-based learning.

Who is it for?

The MS in Experiential Education is for working professionals or fulltime graduate students who are interested in exploring their passions for leading/teaching/facilitating experiential learning in formal or non-formal education-related settings. Many of our students come from outdoor adventure academic or professional backgrounds, but our program is equally appropriate for educators and leaders who are not focused on the outdoors or adventure. Our graduates are working in the United States and around the globe in PK-12 schools, higher education, alternative education settings, nonprofit agencies, and private sector businesses.

Where, When, and How is it offered?

The MS in Experiential Education program can be completed in three ways: all in-person at our Mankato main campus, a combination of in-person and independent learning options, or our new low-residency (mostly online) cohort option at our satellite site in the Twin Cities. Learn more.

  • In-Person at Mankato Campus. Join Fall or Spring. Classes meet on weeknights 5:00-8:00 pm, during Fall and Spring terms. Independent learning and electives are available in Summer terms. Competitive Graduate Assistantships across campus are available. Learn more.
  • Low-Residency Cohort in Twin Cities. A new cohort begins once a year in June, meeting in-person on a few consecutive days each Summer, Fall, and Spring term with the remainder online. Classes meet at Edina satellite campus on west side of Minneapolis. Learn more.

What life skills are supported?

Critical Thinking & Inquiry, Problem-solving, Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, Flexibility & Adaptability, Initiative & Leadership, Self-directed Learning, Personal & Social Responsibility.

What VAlues & socially-Conscious Dispositions are embraced?

  • Know yourself so that you can know others.
  • Embrace your uniqueness and creativity so that you can inspire others to embrace theirs.
  • Engage in meaningful experiences for yourself so that you can authentically encourage others to learn through meaningful experiences.
  • Reflect deeply and often so that you can better guide reflection for others.
  • Unearth and deconstruct your assumptions, biases, and beliefs so that you can better ensure equitable, inclusive, and respectful learning experiences for others.
  • Seek understanding of multiple perspectives of history to better navigate an informed future with others. Engage in cultural humility in all that you do.
  • Seek out opportunities to teach, lead, and facilitate experientially so that you can refine your practice for the benefit of others.
  • Recognize the importance of the environment as a classroom and source of meaningful experiences in order to preserve future opportunities and promote environmental stewardship throughout humanity.
  • Instill a lifelong curiosity for learning, so that you can inspire lifelong learning in others.
  • Learn holistically. Learn enthusiastically. Learn always.

The Minnesota State University, Mankato's flame on office wall


Watch our video

View our Brochure

For more information, email:

Julie Carlson, Ed.D.
Coordinator of MS in Experiential Education
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Phone: 507-389-5441