Parks and Recreation Management

Parks and Recreation Management Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree On-campus

Parks and Recreation Management

Prepare for a career that promotes leisure lifestyles to benefit people and communities.

The parks and recreation management (PRM) program at PennWest California is dedicated to improving the quality of life for our citizens and our communities. Students who seek to earn the Bachelor of Arts in Parks and Recreation Management will develop qualified and professional leadership skills to promote individual and family leisure lifestyles that enrich people and their communities.

 Students in the PRM program learn and acquire practical experience in community recreation management, park and resource protection, recreation programming, interpretation, outdoor leadership, outdoor recreation research, and recreation facility and area planning.

Gain a career advantage with PennWest California's accredited program. 

PennWest California's Parks and Recreation Management Program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT). The Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT) accredits baccalaureate programs in parks, recreation, tourism, sport management, event management, therapeutic recreation, and leisure studies offered at regionally accredited institutions within the United States and its territories, and at nationally accredited institutions in Canada, and Mexico.


Comprehensive learning : Courses in the PRM program are designed to develop student learning in many areas, including the design, implementation and evaluation of park, recreation and human service experiences; operational and strategic management of organizations in parks, recreation and related professions; leisure services delivery systems; programming strategies, planning and evaluation; professional ethics, legislative and legal aspects; facility design, operations and management; and the administration and management of parks and recreation systems. Additionally, classes and teaching methods stress gaining diverse, real-world applied field experiences.

Meeting demand : The parks and recreation management program of study is dedicated to the effective preservation, management and use of our natural resources. The steady growth of leisure time among Americans increases demands on our natural resource base and the social framework of our nation. The need for trained parks and recreation management professionals is continuing to grow, given our expanding population, increased disposable per capita income, improved modes of transportation, trends toward urbanization and suburbanization, and the growing propensity of people to live richer, more complete lives.

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Student-to-faculty ratio at PennWest California.
Credit hours for the bachelor's degree in parks and recreation management, which can be completed in four years.
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Degree Benefits

How people use their free time is increasingly important. Parks and recreation professionals are trained to identify opportunities in outdoor recreation, community recreation and commercial recreation to help all citizens to better their lives and improve their quality of life. A variety of professional networking opportunities also is available in the parks and recreation management program. Students can obtain free membership to the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society (PRPS), where they can attend regional workshops along with the annual state conference. Students also can join the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and attend its national conference. These professional organizations allow students to continue their education and meet with professionals in the parks and recreation field.


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Graduate Outcomes

The parks and recreation profession offers diverse job opportunities throughout the country. A career in parks and recreation means enhancing the quality of life for all people by advancing environmental conservation efforts, social equity, and health and wellness. This field is ideal for those who have a passion for being outdoors, helping people and bettering the community. Courses that specifically focus on preparing our students for the real world include Professional Development in Recreation. This course provides students with the opportunity to gain practical experience through a practicum experience in an agency or other organization while being supervised by an agency professional and a faculty member. Our graduates have gone on to work at recreation centers, national parks, cruise ships, summer camps and in other fields that support exercise and healthy living.


Curriculum and Related Courses


Course Credits
General Education Courses 40 or 41
Building a Sense of Community
UNI 100 First-Year Seminar
ENG 101  English Composition I
Public Speaking
CDC 101  Public Speaking
Mathematics and Quantitative Literacy
MAT 181  College Algebra
Health and Wellness
REC 165  Introduction to Recreation and Leisure
Technological Literacy
MIS 201  Management Info Systems
PHI 115  Logic and Language (or other humanities with adviser approval)
Fine Arts
Any Fine Arts Course
Natural Sciences
Any Natural Sciences Course
3 or 4
Social Sciences
PSY 100  General Psychology 
Ethics and Multicultural Awareness Emphasis Course
REC 361  Parks and Recreation for Diverse Populations
General Education Options
  • ENG 211  Business Writing I  OR  ENG 102  Composition II
  • MAT 225  Business Statistics 
  • BUS 281  Management Science I
Business Core Courses 30
ACC 200  Financial Accounting 3
ACC 321  Managerial Accounting 3
BUS 242  Business Law I 3
BUS 381  Management Science I 3
BUS 499  Integrated Strategic Capstone
ECO 201  Principles of Microeconomics 3
ECO 202  Principles of Macroeconomics 3
FIN 301  Financial Management 3
MGT 300  Principles of Management 3
MKT 300  Principles of Marketing 3
Required Concentration Courses
REC 362  Recreation Site Design and Management 3
REC 365  Recreation Resource Management 3
REC 374  Commercial Recreation Management 3
REC 378  Recreation Management and Leadership 3
REC 412  Recreation Program Planning and Evaluation 3
GEO 474  Developing the Master Plan 3
TOU 450  Research Methods for Tourism Studies 3
REC 478  Professional Development in Recreation 3
GEO 479  Internship
Related Electives 6
Select two courses from the following:
  • REC 195  Leisure and Wellness Recreation
  • REC 220  Youth Competitive Recreation Activities
  • REC 225  Recreation and Youth Development
  • REC230  Youth Camp Counseling and Administration
  • REC 235  Special Event Management in Recreation Settings
  • REC 240  Human Ecology
  • REC 246  Scenic Areas of U.S.
  • REC 250  Non-Profit and Community Recreation
  • REC 255  Water-Based Rec Management
  • REC 270  Interpretative Methods in Parks and Recreation
  • REC 275  Sustainable Recreation and Green Parks
  • REC 280  Adventure and Outdoor Recreation Outfitting
  • TOU 400  Impacts and Sustainability of Tourism
  • REC 415  Challenges & Trends in Parks and Recreation
Free Electives 10 or 11
Total 120

Additional requirements, not counted toward the General Education requirements, include:

  • Special Experience Course (1 course required): GEO 479 Internship
  • Writing-Intensive Component Courses (2 courses required): BUS 499 Integrated Strategic Capstone AND REC 412 Recreation Program Planning and Evaluation
  • Laboratory Course (1 course required): BUS 381 Management Science II
Related Courses
  • Introduction To Recreation And Leisure
  • Parks And Recreation For Diverse Populations
  • Site Design And Management
  • Recreation Management And Leadership
  • Professional Development In Recreation
  • Developing The Master Plan
  • Recreation Resource Management
  • Commercial Recreation Management


  • Parks and Recreation



A parks and recreation management student interns in snowy conditions.

Valuable Training

Upper-level parks and recreation management courses offer students hands-on training in the field. For example, in the Site Design Management course, students work with a local planner to create a recreation site plan for an actual community park. In the Special Events in Recreation Settings course, students volunteer at local events to gain a better understanding of behind-the-scenes event planning. The annual Pike Run Youth Fishing Festival is the borough of California's largest and longest running community recreational event. It is completely planned, organized and implemented by students in the Parks and Recreation Society and students in the Program Planning and Evaluation class. Arranging this event gives students the kind of hands-on experience in running a recreation program that will be beneficial in future career positions.

Parks and recreation mangement students helped build a new park.

Career Preparation

Students must complete a 12-credit, 480-hour full-time internship at a parks and recreation venue of their choice. The internship provides the student with the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge and theory to realistic, professional-level situations. It is intended to give students a concentrated practical experience in a professional organization and the opportunity to apply concepts they've learned as they get ready to start a career. Many PennWest California graduates in parks and recreation say their internship was one of the most important opportunities in the PRM program to prepare them for full-time employment. Additionally, in the Professional Development in Recreation course, students learn to develop cover letters, resumes, materials for the Hire CalYOU career portal and LinkedIn profiles; participate in practice interviews; and meet and interact with guest speakers from the parks and recreation industries.

A PennWest California student sits on rocks and Laurel Mountain park.

Faculty Resources.

Each faculty member in the parks and recreation management program provides opportunities for students to work with the community.  Most classes have some component of field experience, where classroom material is directly applied to real-world locations. This includes field trips and experiential opportunities, guest speakers, class projects in parks and recreation venues, practicums and internships. Also, faculty regularly attend state, regional and national conferences to acquire current knowledge that can be used in the classroom. Each faculty member brings unique expertise to the program: Dr. John Confer has an extensive background in outdoor/adventure recreation and park resource management; Dr. Candice Riley has career experience in the commercial recreation industry and tourism, and an academic background in recreation management and youth development; and Dr. Thomas Wickham has expertise in resource management, community recreation planning and public administration.

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