Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Science & Mathematics Teaching Center


Jason M. Katzmann, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Secondary Education

Second Advisor

Jason M. Katzmann, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Secondary Education

Third Advisor

Courtney B. Carlson, MFA, Assistant Lecturer, Haub School of Environment


This literature review explores adventure education programming through the lens of basic human need fulfillment. The psychological needs theory of Self-­‐ Determination Theory (SDT) identifies fulfillment of the need for competence, relatedness, and autonomy as necessary conditions for well-­‐being and mental health in one’s life. Literature involving adventure education is assessed for evidence of SDT need fulfillment in the course setting. Findings indicate that there is potential for SDT need fulfillment on adventure education courses. Recommendations for increasing SDT need fulfillment are outlined for each need, along with recommendations for instructors, course structures and transference. This literature review has implications that are relevant to course instructors, both adventure and experiential education organizations, and the broader role of educational institutions as a whole.


Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters in Science in Natural Science in the Science and Mathematics Teaching Center of the University of Wyoming.