Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Adventure Guide Diploma

. . . the best known adventure training program in the world

The Adventure Guide Diploma is a fast-paced, two-year course of study comprised of field trips, outdoor skills instruction, and self-directed expeditions. Courses cover a wide range of adventure activities and theoretical topics. Field trips make up 60 percent of the course load.

The 60-credit Adventure Guide Diploma is comprised of 38 required credits and 22 elective credits. The Diploma transfers into the Bachelor of Tourism Management degree (BTM) or the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree for students who wish to complete a degree. The Diploma itself is also a credential recognizing two years of study if a student chooses not to continue studies in a degree program.

The private sector is a major supporter of this program through training, certifying, and helping students build a network for future employment.

Adventure Guide Diploma graduates work as outdoor skills instructors, mountain or river guides, and in other wilderness-related leadership occupations. Where are TRU Adventure Studies graduates working now?

Areas of Study


The TRU Adventure Guide Diploma focuses on activities such as these:

  • Backpacking
  • Mountaineering
  • Sailing
  • Canoeing
  • Natural history
  • SCUBA diving
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Nature observation
  • Sea kayaking
  • Heli-hiking
  • River rafting
  • Search and rescue
  • Heli-skiing
  • Rock climbing
  • Ski touring
  • Hiking
  • Ice climbing
  • Snowboarding
  • Surfing
  • Whitewater kayaking

Compressed, modularized classroom course instruction complements the seasonal field activities. Theory courses include the following:

  • guiding leadership
  • emergency management
  • legal liability
  • business management
  • accounting
  • customer service
  • marketing
  • instructional skills

The Adventure Guide Diploma provides students with a solid foundation in adventure activities and builds on their previous experience. Skill assessments at the start of the program ensure that students are developing their skills at the level most advantageous to them throughout their course of study.

The TRU advantage — industry certification

TRU Adventure Guide Diploma students have a unique advantage: they may distinguish themselves by achieving any of more than thirty-five industry certifications from provincial and national adventure associations and the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG).

Association of Canadian Mountain Guides/TRU:
  • Assistant Alpine Guide
  • Alpine Guide
  • Assistant Ski Guide
  • Ski Guide
  • Assistant Rock Guide
  • Rock Guide
  • Hiking Guide
  • Backpacking Guide
  • Climbing Gym Instructor Level I
  • Climbing Gym Instructor Level II
  • Climbing Gym Instructor Level III
  • Top-Rope Climbing Instructor
Association of Canadian Sea Kayaking Guides:
  • Assistant Guide
British Columbia River Rafting Guide License:
  • Oar
  • Paddle
British Columbia Provincial Emergency Program:
  • Rope Rescue Team Leader
  • Rope Rescue Team Member
  • Search and Rescue Manager
Canadian Avalanche Association:
  • Safety for Ski Operations I
Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance:
  • Level I Instructor
Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors:
  • Telemark Instructor Level
National Association of Scuba Diving:
  • Open Water
  • Advanced Open Water
  • Master Diver
  • Dive Supervisor
Paddle Canada:
  • Trip Instructor
  • Flatwater Canoe Instructor
  • Moving Water Instructor
Rescue Canada:
  • Swiftwater Rescue Technician
  • Swiftwater Rescue Specialist
  • Swiftwater Rope Rescue Technician
  • Swiftwater Rescue Instructor
Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of British Columbia:
  • Level One Guide
  • Assistant Overnight Guide
Transport Canada:
  • Restricted Marine Radio Operators License
Whitewater Kayak Association of British Columbia:
  • Basic River Instructor
  • River Instructor
  • Advanced River Instructor
Wilderness Medical Associates:
  • Wilderness First Responder

Travel — at home and abroad

Activity courses in the Adventure Guide Diploma travel extensively throughout Alberta, British Columbia, and the western United States, Alaska and the Yukon. Expeditions often take place overseas; including previous trips to Nepal and Tibet.

Program information sessions

Applications to the Adventure Guide Diploma will NOT be accepted without applicants having first attended a program information session (see dates and locations).

Program progression and course lists

The following lists courses for year one and two studies in the Adventure Guide Diploma. Detailed course descriptions can be found in the TRU calendar.

Year 1
ADVG 1020-3 Wilderness Travel
ADVG 1050-3 Guiding Leadership
ADVG 2010-3 The Wilderness Environment
ADVG 2030-3 Advanced Wilderness First Aid
  Elective Activity
  Elective Activity
  Elective Activity
ADVG 1010-3  the Adventure Tourism Industry
ADVG 1900-2 Expedition I
ADVG 2830-3 Expedition Planning and Leadership
  Elective Activity
  Elective Activity
Year 2
ACCT 1000-3 Financial Accounting
ADVG 2060-3 Legal Liability & Risk Management
ADVG 2850-3 Instructional Skills Workshop
  Elective Activity
  Elective Activity
  Elective Activity
ADVG 1110-3 Search and Rescue Management
ADVG 2040-3 The Business of Adventure
TMGT 1150-3 Marketing and Customer Service
  Elective Activity
  Elective Activity
  Elective Activity

Required activity courses:

Students must include the following five activity courses in their selection:

  1. ADVG 1530-2 Kayak 1 or ADVG 2490-2 Kayak II
  2. ADVG 1510-2 Flatwater Canoe Instructor or ADVG 2640-2 Sea Kayking I
  3. ADVG 1550-2 Skiing I, or
    ADVG 2450-2 Alpine Ski Instructor I, or
    ADVG 2550-2 Telemark Instructor 1
  4. ADVG 1560-2 Ski Tour I, or
    ADVG 1580-2 Mountaineering I, or
    ADVG 2810-2 Mountaineering 2
  5. ADVG 1570-2 Rock Climbing I, or
    ADVG 2800-2 Rock Climbing 2

Application guidelines

Educational requirements
  • BC Grade 12 (or equivalent) or mature student status (graduates prior to 2013)
  • BC Math 11- Principles (C minimum), OR Math 0510 (TRU upgrading, C minimum) OR equivalent (graduates of 2013 onwards)
  • BC Math 11 – Foundations (C minimum), OR BC Math 11 – Precalculus (C minimum), OR Math 0510 (TRU upgrading, C minimum), OR equivalent
  • BC English 12 or equivalent with a C+ minimum grade (within the last 5 years) or LPI – Level 3
General requirements
  • Age - Applicants must be a minimum of 19 years of age at the start of the program
  • Attend a Program Information session in person or by phone. See dates and locations
  • Completion of the Adventure Studies Department Application and Information Form

International students

If you are an international student interested in the Adventure Guide Diploma, please visit the International Student page for admissions information.