VCE Outdoor Education

What is this subject about?

Outdoor and Environmental Studies is about understanding different types of environments and developing ‘relationships’ with them through having experiences in the outdoors. This subject is for students who lean towards learning through ‘doing’ rather than just sitting and thinking about ideas abstractly.

Ultimately, this subject is about individuals’ and society’s relationships with the environment in the past, present and future. Practical activities are designed to give students a deeper understanding of these relationships through experience. Practical activities may include things that you would expect such as: bushwalking, rock-climbing, canoeing, surfing, snorkelling etc. but may also include activities such as conservation work and farming.

What are we going to be studying?

If you are interested in reading more about the actual unit descriptions make sure you go and read the Study Design for this subject written by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA).

Where does this subject go?

Further studies in Outdoor and Environmental Studies may include but is not limited to:
* Certificate III and IV in Outdoor Recreation
* Bachelor of Environmental Science
* Certificate in Horticulture
* Certificate in Parks and Gardens
* Landscape Construction
* Bachelor of Education (Specialising in Outdoor Education)

Outdoor and Environmental Studies may lead to the following careers:
* Outdoor Education Teacher
* Outdoor Instructor
* Professional Guide e.g. World Expeditions Leader
* Marine Biologist
* Conservationist
* Professional (i.e. sponsored) Athlete e.g. Rock-Climber, Surfer, Mountaineer etc.
* Park Ranger

Or it can simply be the beginning of you developing the passion, skills and independence to plan, design and guide your own adventures in the outdoors in Australia and overseas.

Any questions?

Frequently Asked Questions…

When is the best time to do OES?
VCE Outdoor Education is completed as an accelerated subject in Year 11

How much time is spent on camps?
One camp per Semester (three duration), three full day activities and some half day activities (to be decided and finalised prior to each Semester).

Another thing about camps
Although you will miss classes while away on camp, this is balanced by the fact that there is substantially less homework for OES than other VCE subjects, allowing you to catch up or get ahead in your other subjects.

OES and Scaling
First things first. You should never choose to do or not do a subject based on scaling. You should choose subjects based on interest, because it is interest (not scaling) which gets you the high mark. But because you are going to look anyway, you might as well look properly:

* Please visit VTAC to read about how scaling works
* It is important to note that scaling is not the same for every score.

Here is the scaling for OES:

2023 Scaling – OES


St. Dev.

























What is the ideal OES student?
* Adventurous – Open to new ideas. Willing to do things they haven’t done before. Willing to do things that they have done before in a different way.
* Prepared to push themselves repeatedly out of their comfort zone
* Loves prac.
* Strong academically. Many people think that OES is a good subject for students who struggle academically because it is more practical. The problem with this is that missing school because of camps puts more pressure on them academically. Strong and organised students who want to balance their subjects with something more practical are better suited for this subject.

What is the best possible combination of subjects to have the best year you could have (at school)?
Year 9/10 – OES, plus Fit4Action

The Levy
Another thing worth considering is that the camp component of this subject is not covered entirely by school fees, so, students who do this subject are required to pay an additional levy on their school fees. The levy is between approximately $375.00 each per semester.
Some personal equipment is also required (e.g. sleeping bag, sleeping mat, thermals, rain jacket and pants etc.).
However, every effort is made to make this subject affordable for all students and arrangements can be made for any student that may have financial difficulties.