Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Adventure Guide Diploma


Please Note

Program changes are in progress.  The information on-line and in the Program Information Packages are changing so that all students will enter the Adventure Studies programs via the Adventure Guide Certificate for Fall 2017 entry.


. 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 builds upon the technical skills and leadership within each of the activities achieved in the first year of study.  Students will develop focus and refinement within their areas of interest, while having the option to add new technical skill areas as well.  Areas study by activity type include: 

  • Hiking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Ice Climbing
  • Mountaineering
  • Ski Touring and Avalanche Education
  • Rope Rescue
  • Expedition Skill Development
  • Adventure Photography
  • Moving Water Canoeing
  • Sea Kayaking
  • White Water Rafting
  • White Water Kayaking
  • Swift Water Rescue
  • Surfing
Program Structure

Over two years of study the Adventure Guide Diploma provides students with a solid foundation in adventure activities. Compressed, modularized classroom course instruction complements the seasonal field activities.  Theory courses include the following:

Year 1
Theory Courses - Required (18 credits)
ADVG 1010-3    The Adventure Tourism Industry
ADVG 1020-3 Wilderness Travel
ADVG 1050-3 Guiding Leadership I
ADVG 2010-3 The Wilderness Environment
 ADVG 2830-3 Expedition Planning and Leadership
 ADVG 2030-3    Advanced Wilderness First Aid
 Field Courses - Required (4 credits)
ADVG 1530-2    Kayak I
ADVG 1570-2 Rock Climbing 1 (or 2)
Field Courses - Required Minimum of 1 of the following 2 courses  

 ADVG 2640-2

ADVG 1510-2   

Sea Kayak I and / or

Flatwater Canoe Instructor

Field courses - Required Minimum of 1 of the following 2 courses  

ADVG 1560-2   

ADVG 1580-2

Ski Touring I and / or 

Mountaineering I

Electives (two or  more electives activity courses - may include above courses) (4 credits) 
 ADVG 1550-2   Ski Skills
 ADVG 2080-2 CASI Snowboard Instructor Level I

 ADVG 2450-2

ADVG 2550-2

Alpine Ski Instructor I, or

Telemark Ski Instructor I

 ADVG 1600-2    Swiftwater Rescue Technician III
ADVG 2650-2       Sea Kayak 2
 ADVG 2660-2 Rafting I
 ADVG 2750-2 Rafting 2
 ADVG 2590-2 Avalanche I
ADVG 2070-2    Ocean Surfing I
ADVG 2260-2 Ocean Surfing 2
ADVG 1900-2 Expedition Skill Development
Theory Courses - Required (18 Credits) 
ADVG 2850-3 Instructional Skills
ADVG 2060-3    Legan Liability and Risk Management
ADVG 1100-3 Search and Rescue Management
ADVG 2040-3    The Business of Adventure
ACCT 1000-3 Financial Accounting
TMGT 1150-3    Marketing and Customer Service


 Students specialize in activity areas, refining proficiency and developing a deeper understanding of that industry sector.  


Field Courses Listed for Adventure Guide Certificate

ADVG 2200-2 Climbing Gym Instructor Level I
ADVG 2270-2 Ocean Surfing 3
ADVG 2530-2       Kayak 3
ADVG 2540-2 Senior River Kayak Instructor
 ADVG 2652-2 Sea Kayak 3
 ADVG 2730-2    SRT IV
ADVG 2800-2 Rock Climbing 2
ADVG 2810-2 Mountaineering 2
ADVG 2930-2 Rock Climbing 3
ADVG 2940-2 Mountaineeering 3
ADVG 2470-2 White Water Play Boating
ADVG 2510-2 Moving Water Canoe
ADVG 2570-2 Ski Tour 2
ADVG 2620-2 Rope Rescue Team Member
ADVG 2652-2 Sea Kayak 3
ADVG 2760-2 Ice Climbing
ADVG 2770-2 Adventure Photography
ADVG 2790-2 Ski Tour 3
ADVG 2840-2 Coastal Sailing

 Industry certification - The TRU Advantage

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 they may ladder into the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG), depending upon their course selection. 

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).


ADVG 1530-2
Kayak 1 or ADVG 2490-2 Kayak IIRequired activity courses:

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

  1. ADVG 1510-2 Flatwater Canoe Instructor or ADVG 2640-2 Sea Kayking I
  2. ADVG 1550-2 Skiing I, or
    ADVG 2450-2 Alpine Ski Instructor I, or
    ADVG 2550-2 Telemark Instructor 1
  3. ADVG 1560-2 Ski Tour I, or
    ADVG 1580-2 Mountaineering I, or
    ADVG 2810-2 Mountaineering 2
  4. 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.