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.

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.

The PRM core curriculum 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

  • 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:

  • 48 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 Parks and Recreation Management (PRM) program fulfills the discipline of preparing students for careers in parks, recreation, tourism, and related fields. The program provides an equitable, inclusive, and justice-oriented approach to education that develops students' critical thinking skills and competencies needed for these careers.

The curriculum incorporates experiential learning opportunities, scaffolds pedagogies and skills, and encourages curiosity through relationships with self, community, and world. Students develop competencies in areas like program delivery, outdoor recreation, event management, community engagement, environmental education, and more based on their chosen focus emphasis area.

Outdoor Education and Leadership

The Outdoor Education & Leadership (OEL) provides specialized skills and certification for students interested in careers in outdoor and environmental education, adventure leadership, guide services, and related fields. Students develop competencies in backcountry medicine, outdoor leadership, experiential education curriculum design and delivery, Leave No Trace ethics and training, and organizational management. In the OEL focus area students obtain a Wilderness First Responder Medical Certification, Leave No Trace Level-2 Instructor Certification, as well as the ability to effectively lead groups in the outdoors, develop and deliver environmental education programming, and analyze outdoor-focused organizations. Graduates are prepared for opportunities such as outdoor educators, wilderness guides, adventure program leaders, park naturalists, environmental interpreters, and related roles supporting healthy, ethical engagement with the natural world.

Community and Commercial and Tourism

Community, Commercial & Tourism (CCT) provides students with skills and knowledge related to planning and managing programs, events, facilities, and services for community recreation, commercial recreation businesses, sustainable tourism, and hospitality. Students develop competencies in areas like event planning, sponsorship, marketing, budgeting, financial analysis, cross-cultural program design, sustainable tourism development, hospitality services, recreation facilities operation, and environmental and cultural interpretation. They gain abilities to organize events, track finances, design inclusive programs, apply tourism and hospitality best practices, and promote environmental awareness. Graduates are prepared for careers such as special event coordinators, recreation supervisors, tourism development specialists, program managers, commercial recreation entrepreneurs, and related roles serving communities and businesses through accessible programming and sustainable tourism.

Further, students may use an Individualized Study or relevant minors, such as the Natural Resource Law Enforcement minor, to meet compliment their career interests, while completing the academic requirements of their bachelor’s degree in PRM.

The PRM program prepares students for opportunities serving communities in positions like recreation programmers, park rangers, tourism coordinators, outdoor educators, event planners, community engagement specialists, environmental advocates, and more. Graduates are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and experiences needed to promote justice, foster healthy communities, and contribute to a sustainable future in their careers.

Student Learning Outcomes

The core curriculum of the PRM bachelor’s degree aligns with the Council on Accreditation for Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT).
  • Demonstrate the following entry-level knowledge: a) the nature and scope of the relevant park, recreation, tourism, or related professions and their associated industries; b) techniques and processes used by professionals and workers in these industries; and c) 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 the sustained ability to apply the recreation process, use diverse, structured ways of thinking to solve problems related to different facets of professional practice, engage in advocacy, and stimulate innovation.
Community, Commercial & Tourism Emphasis
  • Create, organize, identify sponsors, market, implement, and evaluate community events.
  • Describe the fundamental concepts and principles of ecotourism and sustainable development as they relate to transportation, lodging, and cultural impacts.
  • Use accounting and budgeting practices to prepare, analyze, and interpret financial statements.
  • Respond to budgetary constraints while achieving 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 the 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 them to a predetermined audience in a wilderness environment.
  • Lead Leave No Trace Level-1 Instructor Courses, Awareness Workshops, and Skills Courses within the standards of the Leave No Trace Level-2 Instructor Certification.
  • Analyze an in-depth case study of an outdoor non-profit organization and/or for-profit company of their choosing.
  • Develop a personal signature leadership style that is situationally appropriate for effectively leading others in a backcountry setting.

Major Requirements
  • This major requires 66 - 72 units distributed as follows:

    • Parks and Recreation Common Course Requirements: 48 units
    • PRM Emphasis, Minor, or Individualized Study - Select one: 18 - 24 units
      • Community, Commercial and Tourism Emphasis: 18 units
      • Outdoor Education and Leadership Emphasis: 18 units
      • Individualized Study Emphasis: 18 units
      • Minor: 18 - 24 units

    Take the following 66 - 72 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 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's appropriate for your career aspirations and educational needs. Your minor advisor will advise you about this part of your academic plan.
  • Students enrolled in this plan may not enroll in or pursue the following due to the number of overlapping units:

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 cumulative GPA of 2.0 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.