Transcultural European Outdoor Studies (TEOS)

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Deadline: Dec 15, 2023
301–350 place StudyQA ranking:2249 Duration:2 years

Photos of university / #philippsunimarburg

The two-year degree programme of a Master in Transcultural European Outdoor Studies (TEOS) offered by the Philipps-Universität Marburg (Germany, coordinator), the University of Cumbria (England) and the Norges Idrettshogskole in Oslo (Norway) is a response to the fact that outdoor practice and the pedagogy connected with it has gained tremendous significance in all industrial countries in recent years. The aim of the course is to impart a qualifications profile that, on the one hand, embraces the accumulated knowledge of the three central traditions of the philosophy of outdoor pedagogics - the Norwegian Friluftsliv, the English Outdoor Education and the German Erlebnispädagogik, and that, on the other hand, leads to the development of a transcultural sensitivity which allows students to discern the cultural transitions and open borders between the three national concepts that have been there from the beginning and have been retained until today.
The degree programme has been designed as a peregrinatio academica, in which a study group remains together throughout the whole course of studies and spends a semester each at one of the three universities in England, Norway and Germany. This organisational frame quite consciously picks up the metaphor of travelling, not as a reminder of a past phase of European university history, but to illustrate the process of temporarily leaving one culture and entering another - the transition, in fact. To read about a culture and study it from books is one thing, to experience it first-hand is quite another.
The qualifications profile graduates thus acquire will enable them to take on leadership and planning tasks especially on a conceptional level in outdoor centres, in youth work and in clubs, in schools development, in personnel development or in companies of the outdoor industry.
The classes of the two-year full-time course of studies (120 credits) will be conducted in English. The first semester will take place at the University of Cumbria in Ambleside and will comprise the teaching of the English national outdoor discourse as well as the historical origins of outdoor practice in Europe. Following this, the students will travel to the Norges Idrettshogskole in Oslo to study the second part of transcultural rationality (landscape and outdoor practices) and the Norwegian concept of Friluftsliv. The third semester will be offered in autumn/winter at the Philipps-Universität in Marburg, where the topic of adventure pedagogics in Germany will be dealt with as well as the design and processing of cultural transitions. In the middle of December, students will choose either Ambleside, Oslo or Marburg in order to write their MA thesis at the place of their preference.

Educational organisation

Curriculum / Modules
The modular structure of the degree programme reflects a debate that has been conducted in cultural studies for a long time, which can be located between the poles of homogenisation and heterogenisation of cultures, or between traditionalism and modernity of cultures. This debate is conducted along the lines of the question and its answers as to whether cultures are homogeneous structures that can be distinguished from each other by clear (conceptual) borders or whether the borders are open and permeable, which do not rule out that foreign ideas and concepts are imported.

Thus, in the face of a world that is continuously getting more mobile and that has, furthermore, by the establishment of the Internet helped to make knowledge and therefore also cultural patterns more independent of definite locations, the national outdoor cultures of Norway, England and Germany with their mutual relations also have to concern themselves with these questions. The course tries to reflect this basic situation, which can also be reconstructed as a question of reproduction or transformation, in the following modular structure.

  • Modular area I: The reconstruction of cultural units
The modules of modular area I represent the country-specific outdoor concepts as they are taught in the Master's degree programmes of the individual university institutions. The content of modular structure I comes from the existing Master's degree programmes in Ambleside, Oslo and Marburg (total of 18 to 20 ECTS credits each semester).

  • Modular area II: The concept of transcultural rationality
The content of the courses of the three modules are intended to teach and consolidate knowledge of and sensitivity to the transitions, similarities, overlappings, interconnections, "impurities", etc that exist between the English, Norwegian and German approaches. Following the philosopher Wolfgang Welsch, this sensitivity is called "transcultural rationality". It is, on the one hand, promoted by the knowledge that derives from the analysis of the internal structure of the individual approaches and from the observation of the cultural to-and-from movements which result from the external connections and openness that exists between the different individual approaches. It is to be expected that by creating awareness for transcultural rationality not only the attention to processes of cultural heterogenasation and pluralisation is increased, but also an awareness is created that will promote the discussion of any marginalisation of heterogeneity. It is also to be expected that increased understanding of the interconnection between heterogeneity and homogeneity, which is between modernity and traditions, will create an attitude that will be able to react to new, other and foreign matters confidently and appropriately.
This concept of transcultural rationality, which also provides the frame for the conception of the Master's degree programme as a whole, is intended to be imparted by means of three modules, which are carried out by the three cooperating institutes in the form of "joint teaching". Specifically, these are the following courses (10 to 12 ECTS credits each):

Semester one at the University of Cumbria:
  • Origins and early development of outdoor activities (10 ECTS, modular area II)
  • Outdoor and Experiential Learning: Contexts and applications (10 ECTS)
  • Know your places: Landscape interpretations for outdoor practitioners (10 ECTS)

Semester two at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences:
  • Landscape and outdoor practices (10 ECTS, modular area II)
  • Specialisation (10 ECTS)
  • Policy Making and Practical Context (10 ECTS)

Semester three at the Philipps-Universität Marburg:
  • "Being on the way" as practice of transition (9 ECTS, modular area II)
  • Adventure as category of "Bildung" (6 ECTS)
  • Adventure in the context of child and youth development (9 ECTS)
  • Practical Placement (6 ECTS)

Semester four:
  • Master's thesis (30 ECTS)

Study abroad unit(s)

Semester one: University of Cumbria, UK (30 ECTS, September to December)
Semester two: Norges Idrettshogskole, NO (30 ECTS, January to June)
Semester three: Philipps-Universität Marburg, GER (30 credits, September to February)
Semester four: dependent on choice of the students (30 ECTS)


An internship of six weeks is to be completed during the summer break between the second and third semesters. Programme advisers will assist students with finding an appropriate internship.

Forms of assessment

Essays, oral exams

Course objectives

This Master's degree programme offers:
  • Teaching of knowledge of the individual national disciplines, discourses, traditions and practices of the subject

  • Theoretical and practical study of transitions, thresholds, borders and connection options between concepts and traditions of outdoor pedagogies typical for the individual countries: Outdoor Education in England, Friluftsliv in Norway and Erlebnispädagogik in Germany

  • Promotion of job-relevant attitudes of transcultural rationality, which not only demand theoretical reflection and subject-related practical processing, but which are also based on the informal learning taking place in the half-year stay in each of the countries of the three participating European universities

Language requirements

English language requirements: Students must be able to study courses in English effectively. We therefore require certified English language skills of at least B2 level in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) or equivalent. The minimum English language requirements for obtaining a scholarship and/or to enrol are e.g. TOEFL: 87 points (internet-based), IELTS: Band 5 (academic), First Certificate in English; TOEIC: min. 785 points.
(Native speakers do not need a special certification. Students with a first study course which has been conducted in English can add a university certification.)

Academic requirements

First degree: The minimum academic qualification is a Bachelor's degree or comparable qualification with a background in Outdoor Education, Education, Social Sciences or Environmental Sciences. Applicants must have acquired a minimum of 45 points within the framework of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) in educational or social/cultural related modules (classes) during their university studies.

Enrolment fees

The university charges a registration fee of 50 EUR and student union fees. State law requires all students to be members of the student union. These fees entitle students to subsidised accommodation as well as meals and automatically include a free travel pass for public transport in most of the state of Hesse. In summer 2016, the student union dues amounted to approx. 313 EUR.
For further information, see:

Costs of living

Living costs depend on individual lifestyles and on regional prices. The Marburg foreigners' registration office ("Ausländerbehörde") requires international students to prove that they have at least 600-700 EUR per month at their disposal in order to cover their living costs.
For further information, see:

Job opportunities

Within certain legal limits, job opportunities are available for international students. Fluent German is required for most jobs. Employment for international students must be approved by the foreigners' registration office. There are hardly any legal restrictions on taking academic assistant jobs at the university.
For further information on job opportunities and university career services, see:

Arrival support

Marburg is located 100 km north of Frankfurt and can easily be reached by plane, public transport, or by car. For detailed descriptions of the different routes to Marburg and to find one's way around the town, see:

Services and support for international students

Philipps-Universität Marburg offers an intensive one-week welcome and orientation programme for all new international students. It includes a variety of services such as practical help with authorities, setting up health insurance, and opening a bank account. It also includes cultural and social events and the opportunity to make initial contacts with fellow students. The second week is usually dedicated to orientation programmes organised by the faculties.
Special services for doctoral candidates are provided by Marburg University Research Academy (MARA).

For further information, see:


The situation on the accommodation market in Marburg is not easy. However, the university assists international students in finding suitable and affordable accommodation.
The Studentenwerk Marburg maintains 20 student residence halls with a total of 2,049 units. Apart from single rooms, there are 129 flats with two to three rooms for married couples. Only students registered at Philipps-Universität Marburg are entitled to a place in a residence hall. The Konrad Biesalski House, in which handicapped and non-handicapped students live together, offers round-the-clock assistance. There is a bus service and other services such as physiotherapeutic exercises and massage baths.
Many students live in private accommodation or shared flats. The supply of flats in the centre of Marburg is limited, especially in the Oberstadt, but the situation on the outskirts of Marburg and in the immediate vicinity is better. There are good bus connections (bus timetables are available in the Customer Centres of the Municipal Department of Works on Rudolphsplatz). Experience shows that demand is highest on the accommodation market at the beginning of each semester (April, October), so you should start looking for accommodation around the end of the previous semester (February, July) if possible.
For further information, see:
Similar programs: