Parks and Recreation Management, Bachelor of Science

Department of Geography, Planning, and Recreation

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

The Outdoor Education and Leadership Emphasis is only offered at Flagstaff campus.

The Park Protection Emphasis is only offered at the Flagstaff campus.

Beginning Fall 2024, the Park Protection program will be offered as the Natural Resource Law Enforcement Minor or the Natural Resource Law Enforcement Undergraduate Certificate.

Through this degree, recreation resource professionals are prepared for diverse careers in the field of parks and recreation. The PRM Program focuses on small class size, high student-teacher interaction, on-site field experiences, and experiential learning opportunities. The faculty are are dedicated to expanding the scholarly knowledge base of people and organizations to enhance the quality of leisure experiences and places.

This program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT)

This program is recognized by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).

  • Available Emphasis Areas:
  • Community, Commercial and Tourism - Emphasis
  • Individualized Study - Emphasis
  • Outdoor Education and Leadership - Emphasis
  • Park Protection - Emphasis (ending Summer 2024)

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's diversity, liberal studies, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.

    The full policy can be viewed here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 54 units of major requirements
  • At least 18 units of minor, emphasis, or individualized study requirements

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements.

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Major GPA C
Highest Mathematics Required STA 270
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Required
University Honors Program Optional
Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Plan Optional
AZ Transfer Students complete AGEC-A Recommended
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan
Emphasis, Minor, or Coursework Required

An emphasis, minor, or coursework is required for this major.

Purpose Statement

The Northern Arizona University (NAU), Parks and Recreation Management faculty, staff and students are committed to promoting successful professional careers, service learning, active healthy life-styles, life-long education, global awareness, and creating meaningful social connections between individuals and their surrounding environment.

  • Success as Professionals: We believe in equipping our students with essential entry level professional skills which lead to successful careers in parks, recreation, tourism or related organizations.
  • Service Learning: We believe in integrating teaching and learning experiences through meaningful community service focusing on civic responsibility and strengthening communities.
  • Global Awareness: We believe in creating opportunities, awareness and experiences focused on diversity, international travel, and education.
  • Life-Long Education: We believe individuals who continually engage in new recreation and leisure experiences learn new skills and gain valuable knowledge and help promote positive aspects of human existence.
  • Connection to others and the Environment: We believe that the human condition of compassion for others and the surrounding environment can be fostered and supported through participation in leisure activities which raise awareness of overall inter-connectedness and thereby creating a more sustainable future.
  • Healthy Life-Styles: We believe that involvement in leisure and recreation activities leads to decision making for better balanced healthy life-styles, effectively lowering illness (both physical and psychological), and allows people to live more rewarding and fulfilled lives
Student Learning Outcomes

Outcomes align with Standards from the Council on Accreditation for Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions

Overall Parks and Recreation Management Outcomes
  • Demonstrate the following entry-level knowledge:
    • The nature and scope of the relevant park, recreation, tourism or related professions and their associated industries.
    • techniques and processes used by professionals and workers in these industries.
    • The foundation of the profession in history, science and philosophy.
  • Demonstrate the ability to design, implement, and evaluate services that facilitate targeted human experiences and that embrace personal and cultural dimensions of diversity.
  • Demonstrate the ability to design, implement, and evaluate services that facilitate targeted human experiences and that embrace personal and cultural dimensions of diversity.
  • Demonstrate, through a comprehensive internship of not less than 400 clock hours and no fewer than 10 weeks, the potential to succeed as professionals at supervisory or higher levels in park, recreation, tourism, or related organizations.  The PRM program expects to accomplish these outcomes in the following ways
Community, Commercial & Tourism Emphasis
  • Create, organize, identify sponsors, market, implement and evaluate large community events.
  • Describe the fundamental concepts and principles of ecotourism and sustainable development as it relates to transportation, lodging and cultural impacts.
  • Use accounting and budgeting practices to prepare, analyze and interpret financial statements.
  • Respond to budgetary constraints while achieving the positive guest outcomes.
  • Develop, use, and evaluate appropriate and effective strategies to address cultural differences, values, and expectations in the planning and implementation of recreation programming.
  • Plan, design and operate recreation facilities and adjoining areas to increase tourism, commercial, and community benefits.
  • Design programming in a manner that best promotes cultural and environmental awareness.
Outdoor Education & Leadership Emphasis
  • Make critical decisions related to injury and illness prevention, assessment, treatment and evacuation of patient(s), through application of wilderness first responder training, in response to medical and outdoor emergencies, while in wilderness and other remote backcountry settings.
  • Implement the basic hard and soft skills necessary to competently lead others in outdoor environments of the Southwest with a focus on canyon terrain.
  • Develop experiential curriculum lesson plans and effectively deliver to a pre-determined audience in a wilderness environment.
  • Lead Leave No Trace Trainer Courses and Awareness Workshops within the standards of the Leave No Trace Master Educator certification
  • Analyze an in-depth case study of an outdoor non-profit organization and/or for-profit company of their choosing.
Park Protection Emphasis
  • Make critical decisions related to injury and illness prevention, assessment, treatment and evacuation of patient(s), through application of wilderness first responder training, in response to medical and outdoor emergencies, while in wilderness and other remote backcountry settings.
  • Articulate the functions of park operations, management and protection in the United States in terms of its historical roots, structure, and contemporary issues.
  • Analyze and evaluate Federal regulations protecting America’s natural resources
  • Examination of the evolution of environmental laws regulating the consumptive and non-consumptive uses of plants, wildlife and fish
  • Apply the basic precepts of criminal law, authority and jurisdiction in the protection of state and national parks
  • Acquire knowledge, skills, and abilities in law enforcement tactics (e.g., firearms, physical control techniques, emergency vehicle operations)

Finally, students will have developed a personal signature leadership style that is situationally appropriate for effectively leading others in a backcountry setting.


Major Requirements
  • This major requires 72 - 78 units distributed as follows:

    • Parks and Recreation Common Course Requirements: 54 units
    • Complete a PRM Emphasis, Minor or Individualized Study: 18 - 24 units
      • Community, Commercial and Tourism Emphasis: 18 units
      • Outdoor Education and Leadership Emphasis: 18 units
      • Park Protection Emphasis: 18 units
      • Individualized Study Emphasis: 18 units
      • Minor: 18 - 24 units

    Take the following 72 - 78 units

  • Emphasis or Minor Requirement - Select One (18 - 24 units)

    • Individualized Study Emphasis (18 units)

      • You must work with your advisor to determine the courses you will use for this student-individualized plan as early as possible to ensure that you graduate in a timely fashion. Please be aware that your advisor must approve these 18 units of coursework.
    • Minor Requirement (18 - 24 units)

      • You must complete a minor of at least 18 units from those described in this catalog. In consultation with your advisor, you should select a minor that is appropriate for your career aspirations and educational needs. Your minor advisor will advise you about this part of your academic plan.
General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit.

    You may take these remaining courses from any of the academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. You may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.

    We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you.

Additional Information
  • You must maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average in the lower-division core in order to move forward into upper-division core courses. In addition, you must have a Grade of "C" or better in all lower- and upper-division core courses, including repeated courses, in order to graduate.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.

  • This program is available as an Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Plan wherein a student may start a master's degree while simultaneously completing their bachelor's degree.