Recreation and Parks Leadership Studies (BS) Cultural and Natural Resource Management


Cultural and Natural Resource Management recognizes the intertwined aspects of the resources people hold dear. Culture and nature are at the center of important conversations across the world, and the Cultural and Natural Resource managers of tomorrow will be tasked with ensuring the prosperity of both.

Catalog Year



Bachelor of Science

Major Credits


Total Credits




Career Cluster

Hospitality and Tourism



Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions

Program Requirements

Major Common Core

A foundation course that introduces the student to the profession of leisure services. Emphasis is placed on recreation in the student's life, the development of the profession, the community leisure service system and careers in recreation, parks and leisure services.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-09

In this course we will explore the importance of the natural world and how individuals and societies interact with and impact nature. Students will apply ethical frameworks of sustainability, rights, and justice to understand conservation and resource management practices in public and private lands. Students will analyze and reflect upon complex narratives that guide how diverse people and natural systems interact.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-03

Through interactive assignments, students will learn and practice the skills and techniques used by direct leaders in the Recreation and Parks profession. Topics include an introduction to leadership practices, program planning, activity selection, and activity facilitation for diverse groups.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-1B

This course addresses leisure wellness and incorporates leisure into life as a balancing force for healthy living. Leisure is studied in relation to: work, time and money management, stress management, healthy relationships, life choices and decisions, personal and community resources, career opportunities and in relation to current issues in politics and in the work place.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-11

This course introduces students to basic management and operations techniques for a wide variety of indoor and outdoor recreation facilities.

Prerequisites: none

The emphasis of this course is on the program planning process-from creating the idea through evaluation of the program-and how it fits into the agency profile. Various formats such as leisure learning, tournaments, trips and outings, and special events are highlighted for a variety of leisure service agencies.

Prerequisites: none

Diversity, equity, and inclusion within RPLS has evolved from a focus on control by othering to a strategic-level effort to enhance quality of life and wellbeing in our communities. While we aspire to create a community climate that acknowledges and appreciates diversity, equity, and inclusion, current community practices lag behind this aspiration. We will explore language around diversity, equity, and inclusion to engage in discourse that requires us to acknowledge our history and ways we can learn, heal, and advocate for equitable practices related to recreation programming and access to spaces.

Prerequisites: none

This course examines leadership roles in and principles of human resources in recreation and park organizations to build and maintain an effective work force. A range of human resource topics and leadership theories are explored.

Prerequisites: none

This course explores the philosophical and theoretical foundations that intersect and connect our multifaceted discipline of recreation, parks and leisure services. Specifically, the relationships between nature, conservation, wilderness, social equity, disability, commodification of leisure, and recreation experiences will be explored from the vantage point of a variety of influential scholars. Students will critically analyze the material and discuss potential implications for the profession. Upper division prerequisites can be taken concurrently with instructor permission.

Prerequisites: none

The Practicum, which is one full semester of professional work experience, is completed at the end of the student's course work and requires 560 hours of service at a Department approved agency where the student works full-time for 14 weeks. Written permission is required from the student's advisor, one semester in advance. All required RPLS courses must be completed with a C or better grade.

Prerequisites: All required RPLS courses completed with a 'C' or better.

Emphasis Restricted Electives

Choose 12 Credit(s).

An introduction to experiential education practices, methods for instruction and planning in outdoor settings, and outdoor skill development.

Prerequisites: none

Students will be introduced to various methods and skills used to design and deliver interpretive programs and materials to various audiences. Students will also apply the philosophies, concepts, theories and practical skills necessary for implementing effective interpretive programs.

Prerequisites: none

This course is designed to teach a wide variety of interventions and facilitation techniques used in therapeutic recreation programs to give the student knowledge, practice and ability in the implementation of leisure and recreation programs for persons with special needs.

Prerequisites: none

This course explores aspects of sustainable tourism including conceptual background, planning, consensus building, ethical considerations, and implementation. Students will engage in experiential learning opportunities centered around the application of ideas and will better understand the benefits and drawbacks of sustainable tourism as a revenue-producing endeavor.

Prerequisites: none

Traces the history of public lands in the United States, their acquisition and disposal. Congressional charges to executive agencies managing national lands and state and local government responsibilities for managing nonfederal public lands. Attention is given to international oceanic resources and how the international community will manage these resources.

Prerequisites: none

An examination of advanced leadership theories, models, and techniques used by professionals in the RPLS field. Topics may include teamwork, conflict resolution, power and influence, and other related concepts to promote high-performing workplaces.

Prerequisites: none

This course examines major topics of social science research aimed at learning the preferences, attitudes, behaviors, experiences and benefits of visitors to outdoor recreation areas.

Prerequisites: none

This course introduces students to some basic natural resource and visitor management techniques in outdoor recreation settings. Topics such as interpretation and environmental education, visitor management and ecosystem management are among those discussed.

Prerequisites: none

Traces the history of the parks movement in the United States, selected legislation establishing parks and the enactment of funding legislation. The importance of public participation, planning and political strategies are stressed. Upper division prerequisites can be taken concurrently with instructor permission.

Prerequisites: none


Admission Standards

  • RPLS 100 Introduction to Recreation and Parks Leadership Studies completed with a “C” grade or better.
  • Students should have completed at least 12 college-level or equivalent course credits.

Progression Standards

Students must earn at least a “C” grade in each RPLS course in order to remain in good standing in the program.

Completion Standards

Senior Internship Policy. Each student must complete the senior internship requirement. Students must meet the following requirements to be eligible to register for RPLS 495 Senior Internship:

  • Completion of all other required RPLS coursework with a "C" (2.0) or better in each RPLS class,
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in the major,
  • Completion of RPLS Field Experience form,
  • Completion of an Application for Senior Internship approved by the student's faculty advisor prior to beginning the senior internship; and
  • Permission to register from the student's faculty advisor.

P/N Grading Policy. RPLS majors and minors must take required courses for a letter grade with the exception that the senior internship course must be taken on a P/N basis. Non-majors may elect RPLS courses for pass/no credit where this option is available.