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 California University of Pennsylvania 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 Cal U's accredited program. 

California University of Pennsylvania's parks and recreation management program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT). Cal U's PRM program is one of only 75 programs fully accredited by the COAPRT. This accreditation tells employers that our graduates are effectively prepared to excel in any recreation-related career position.


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.

Learn more about applying

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

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.


Cap icon.

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.


Parks and Recreation Management (B.A.)
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 Cal U 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 Cal U 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.

CHEA logo

Important Information Regarding Degree Mills and the Value of Accreditation


Course Credits
Freshman Year  
First Semester 16
ENG 101  English Composition I** 3
REC 165  Introduction to Recreation and Leisure* 3
UNI 100  First-Year Seminar** 1
Professional Elective* 3
General Education Courses 6
Second Semester 15
ENG 102  English Composition II** 3
Professional Elective* 3
General Education Courses 9
Sophomore Year  
Third Semester 15
Professional Electives* 6
General Education, Minor OR Related Elective Courses 9
Fourth Semester 15
REC 361  Parks and Recreation for Diverse Populations 3
300- or 400-level General Education, Minor OR Related Elective Courses 12
Junior Year  
Fifth Semester 15
REC 362  Site Design and Management*  3
REC 378  Recreation Management and Leadership* 3
REC 478  Professional Development in Recreation* 3
300- or 400-level General Education Minor OR Related Elective Courses 6
Sixth Semester 14
300- or 400-level Related Electives 9
General Education, Minor OR Elective Courses 5
Senior Year  
Seventh Semester 15
REC 365  Recreation Resource Management* 3
REC 374  Commercial Recreation Management* 3
GEO 474  Developing the Master Plan* 3
300- or 400-level General Education, Minor OR Related Elective Courses 6
Eighth Semester 15
GEO 479  Internship* 12
General Education, Minor OR Related Elective Course 3
Total 120

* Required major and related courses

** Required and recommended General Education courses



B.A., Parks and Recreation Management Courses

Courses are designed to develop qualified and professional leaders who will help people achieve leisure lifestyles that enrich the lives of individuals, families and communities.

Example 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

View full course sequence

B.A., Parks and Recreation Management Minor

  • Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation Management Faculty

Dr. John Confer

View profile
Dr. Candice Riley
Temporary Assistant Professor

View profile
Dr. Thomas D. Wickham

View profile