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 is it offered?

The MS in Experiential Education is offered in full at the Mankato main campus. Parts of the program can be completed through independent distance learning options. [We are awaiting approval to add a low-residency hybrid (mostly online) option for our program to begin in Summer 2021 that will have limited sessions held at MSU's satellite site in the Twin Cities. Learn more here.]

When is it offered?

Courses are scheduled weekly or bi-weekly on weeknights, usually beginning at 4:30 or 5:00 pm. [We are awaiting approval to add a low-residency hybrid (mostly online) option for our program to begin in Summer 2021that will have limited sessions held at different times. Learn more here.]

What life skills are supported?

Critical Thinking & Inquiry, Problem-solving, Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, Flexibility & Adaptability, Initiative & Leadership, Self-directed Learning, Personal & Social Responsibility – including Cultural Awareness and Competence.

What socially-Conscious Dispositions are embraced?

  • Know yourself so that you can know others.
  • Embrace your uniqueness so that you can inspire others to embrace theirs.
  • Unleash your creativity so that you can inspire others to unleash 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 and inclusive learning experiences for others.
  • Seek out opportunities to teach, lead, and facilitate experientially so that you can refine your practice for the benefit of others.
  • Instill a lifelong curiosity for learning, so that you can instill lifelong learning in others.
  • Learn holistically. Learn enthusiastically. Learn always.

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For more information, email:

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