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Department of Recreation Administration

Students at Machu Pichu tourist site

Outdoor Recreation and Natural Resource Management

Exploring Outdoor Recreation and Natural Resource Management

The focus of the Outdoor Recreation and Natural Resource Management option is to provide students with an understanding and appreciation for outdoor recreation opportunities and the management of natural resources. Students are provided with practical and real-world skills and tools that enable them to develop into outdoor recreation professionals with knowledge and experience to successfully lead others and oversee the natural settings in which others recreate. Students in this option typically have a passion for the outdoors and seek opportunities to work and recreate in the outdoors.

Experience in the Profession

While taking classes in the major, students gain experience that prepares them for their capstone internship. This is accomplished as all RA students complete 200 pre-internship hours with various organizations that are focused in their option area. Students commonly rely on community partnerships with the Army Corps of Engineers, The US Forest Service, BLM, and various local environmental-based nonprofit organizations. Students interested in outdoor recreation gain experience working at camps, parks, and guiding companies. Additionally, students gain experience by attending professional conferences, networking, and while serving on the RA Association. Upon completion of required coursework, and 200 focused pre-internship hours, students complete a 525-hour semester-long internship within outdoor recreation or natural resource management under the supervision of a current full-time recreation professional. These positions often act as springboards that launch students into professional, career positions.

Job Placements and Career Outlook

Graduates of this option are trained and qualified to seek employment in a variety of organizations and agencies. Career areas include: • Outdoor educators • Wilderness guides • Mountaineering instructors • Park rangers • Park superintendents • Outdoor recreation managers (government agencies) • Outdoor recreation planners • Corporate trainers


Major requirements (70-71 units)
The following core program courses are required of all candidates for this degree. Additional required courses dependent upon the selected option area.

  • RA 55. Foundations and Careers in RPT
  • RA 60. Technologies in RPT
  • RA 73S. Leadership in RPT
  • RA 77S. Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Programming
  • RA 80. Lifelong Learning in the Natural Environment
  • RA 101. Leisure and Human Behavior
  • RA 125. Diversity and Inclusive Practices in RPT
  • RA 128. Legal and Financial Aspects of RPT
  • RA 179. Supervision and Administration in RPT
  • RA 180. Professional Placement in RPT

*27 units total

  • RA 131. Foundations of Special Events and Tourism
  • RA 133. Recreation and Parks Facilities Planning and Operations
  • RA 135 or MKTG 100s. Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Marketing OR Marketing concepts
  • RA 139. Research and Evaluation in RPT
  • RA 145. Environmental Interpretation
  • RA 146. Adventure Based Programming
  • RA 184I. Internship in RPT
  • REC 82. Wilderness Survival Skills
  • REC 87. A Yosemite Experience

*32-33 units total 

  • COUN 174. Introduction to Counseling
  • ENTR 81E. Introduction to Entrepreneurship
  • GEOG 135. Environmental Protection
  • GEOG 139T. Environmental Regions
  • EES 3. Geology Field Trip
  • PH 48. First Responder and Emergency Care
  • KINES 122. Nontraditional Games and Outdoor Education
  • RA 106. Challenge Course Facilitation
  • RA 113. Programming for Youth At-Risk
  • RA 130. International Tourism: Multicultural Issues and Impacts
  • RA 192T (Topics course offerings vary by semester)
  • REC 74. Games for All Ages
  • REC 75. Adventure Ropes Course Experience
  • REC 83. Whitewater Rafting
  • REC 84. Orienteering
  • REC 86. Backpacking in the Sierra Mountains
  • REC 88. Rock Climbing

*11 units total - must be selected from whole list

General Education requirements (48 units)

Other requirements (9 units) 
American Government and Institutions (PLSI 2), Multicultural and International (MI), and Upper-division writing

Sufficient elective units to meet required total units (varies)

*Total units (120)

Contact Us

Dr. Jason Whiting
Option Coordinator and Associate Professor
PHS 125