If you love the outdoors, feel connected to the environment and enjoy educating people, you can turn that passion into a career in outdoor recreation. CMU outdoor and environmental recreation students combine class and fieldwork to prepare for careers in parks, protected areas, camps, and outdoor or environmental education programs — including at national parks or adventure programs. A minor and a required internship enhance your leadership skills, such as planning and supervising others.
Put Your Degree to Work
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sample data
|Job||Median Pay||Job Growth through 2022|
|Conservation scientist||$59,060 per year||3% (900 more jobs)|
|Recreation worker||$22,240 per year||14% (49,000 more jobs)|
|Community service manager||$59,970 per year||21% (27,700 more jobs)|
The course listings below are a representation of what this academic program requires. For a full review of this program in detail please see our official online academic bulletin AND consult with an academic advisor. This listing does not include the General Education courses required for all majors and may not include some program specific information, such as admissions, retention, and termination standards.
(Click on the course name or number for a complete course description.)
Recreation Major: Outdoor and Environmental Recreation Concentration
An internship and a minor are required on this concentration. A minor or equivalent in Anthropology, Biology, Geography, Geology, Museum Studies, or Sustainability and Environmental Policy is preferred; other appropriate minors may be considered only through consultation and approval from a departmental advisor.
Total: 51-66 semester hours
Required Professional Core Courses
Note: RPL 310 must be taken two semesters prior to actual internship.
Note: RPL 320 (Internship) is a capstone experience following the completion of all other course work at the university. Students electing the B.A. or B.S. degree plans will complete a 15 credit internship. Students electing the B.A.A. degree plan will complete a 30 credit internship.
Introduction to Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Services
The nature, scope, and significance of recreation, parks, and leisure in today's world. A survey of professional opportunities.
Introduction to outdoor leadership; study of leadership in outdoor and camp settings.
Inclusive Recreation with Diverse Populations
Introduction of inclusive recreation and activity programming with diverse populations. Recommended: RPL 118.
Introduction to Outdoor Recreation
Introduction to history and development of Outdoor Recreation as a profession. Overview of federal, state, and local governments as providers of outdoor recreation.
Pre-Internship in Leisure Services
Preparation for participation in the internship experience. Should be taken two semesters prior to internship. CR/NC only. Prerequisites: RPL 204 or 210 or 216 or 261.
Professional Internship in Recreation
In-depth, capstone internship experience in commercial, community, therapeutic, or outdoor recreation. Prerequisite: RPL 310.
Foundations of Outdoor and Environmental Education
Introduction to the foundational concepts, principles, and teaching methods of outdoor and environmental education for non-formal and formal education settings. May by offered as Writing Intensive.
Leave No Trace Ethics
Examines the seven principles of Leave No Trace. Instruction in effective Leave No Trace teaching techniques and certification as professional Leave No Trace Trainers. Prerequisite: RPL 216 and RPL signed major/minor.
Park and Natural Resource Management
Management of federal, state, and local park systems, and natural resource areas. Focuses on environmental issues, administration, planning, and visitor management. May be offered as Writing Intensive. Prerequisites: RPL 118; one of the following: RPL 204, 216, 261.
Budgeting & Funding for Leisure Service Agencies
Budgetary and fund development procedures for leisure service agencies. Quantitative Reasoning. Prerequisite: One of the following: RPL 204, 216, 222, 261, graduate status. Pre/Co-requisite: One of the following: RPL 358, 430, 431.
Liability and Risk Management in Leisure Services
Situational analysis of the legal systems impacting the delivery of recreation and leisure services. Emphasis on applied legal understanding and loss control strategies. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Prerequisite: 6 credits in RPL or signed Event Management Minor; or Graduate Status.
Research & Philosophy in RPL
This course explores the philosophical, social, and historical foundations of parks, recreation and leisure. Develops skills for research in leisure service settings. Prerequisites: 14 credits in RPL or graduate status.
Through consultation with an advisor, the student will select from the following classes for a total of six (6) credits:
Teaching of Outdoor Skills
Techniques of teaching traditional outdoor recreation pursuits (archery, fishing, canoeing, map and compass). Emphasis on assisting people to develop lifetime outdoor recreation skills.
Leadership in Adventure Education Programming
Leadership in trip-planning, risk management, and outdoor etiquette in adventure education. In-depth content in facilitation, processing, campcraft skills, and environmental ethics. Weekend trips required. Prerequisites: RPL 205.
Advanced concepts and skills for cultural and natural heritage interpretation in parks, natural resource areas, non-profit agencies, zoos, camps, and nature centers. Prerequisites: RPL 358 or graduate status.
Wilderness Issues and Policy
Exploration of wilderness as a unique natural resource context. Examines legislative origins, policy decisions, and management philosophies in relation to current issues and trends. Prerequisites: RPL 216 or graduate status.