If you aspire to become a park ranger, forest school instructor, recreation manager or fly fishing guide, you’ll find your place in Western Colorado University’s Recreation program. Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the Gunnison Valley is the perfect environment to pursue your passion for outdoor recreation.

Program Overview

Make your dream job a reality.

In Western Colorado University’s Recreation program, you’ll gain the skills, knowledge and experience to make your mark on the billion-dollar outdoor industry. Through applied and service-oriented courses, you’ll learn how to develop recreation programming in a variety of diverse environments: urban areas, schools, remote mountain ranges and everywhere in between. You’ll also learn how to craft stories and curate content in sophisticated marketing campaigns that relate the importance of outdoor recreation programs.

To gain hands-on experience in the field, you’ll have the opportunity to travel to developing nations in the Advanced Leadership Expedition and gain backcountry experience in Field Courses. Before graduating, you’ll be required to obtain 100 hours of professional certifications in addition to your Wilderness First Responder certification. Through a comprehensive curriculum and immersive training, you’ll be able to secure an internship or join the workforce at local organizations like Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Coldharbour Institute and Gunnison Valley Mentors.

Reaching the peak

The Recreation emphasis trains students through applied and service-oriented courses, learning the skills necessary to develop recreation programming in many environments: urban areas, schools, remote mountain ranges and everywhere in between.

Courses

Code Title Credits Description
ESS 282 Principles of Sport and Fitness Management 3 View
ESS 382 Management of Sport and Fitness Facilities 3 View
ESS 450 Risk Management in Physical Activity Settings 3 View
ROE 293 Outdoor Pursuits Education- Water Based (with laboratory) 1-20 View
ROE 295 Outdoor Pursuits Education- Snow Based (with laboratory) 1-20 View
ROE 296 Outdoor Pursuits Education- Land Based (with laboratory) 1-20 View
ROE 333 Recreation and Sport Marketing 3 View
ROE 364 Entrepreneurship and Commercial Recreation 3 View
ROE 466 Facilities and Administration 3 View

Careers

Career preparation starts your first year at Western and is the primary focus of every degree.

Visit Career Services in Library 120 or online to discover your interests, define your goals, and land the career of your dreams.

The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.

Scholarships

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant. For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student's GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

News & Research

Colorado Outdoor Recreation Office Leader Luis Benitez Headed to VF Corp

Colorado Outdoor Recreation Office Leader Luis Benitez Headed to VF Corp

Read More

Get Involved

Take your education beyond the classroom.

Get the hands-on learning experience you need to apply your knowledge and launch your career.

  • Advanced Leadership Expedition: Students expand their global perspectives and hone their leadership skills by traveling to developing nations.
  • Certifications: Students are required to obtain 100 hours of professional certifications in addition to their Wilderness First Responder certification.
  • Field Courses: Four courses feature multiple days and nights spent in the backcountry.
  • Internships: Students often land full-time professional positions in the agencies they intern with for their capstone experience.
  • Teaching: Many students apply to work as TAs after their freshman year.

A passion for the outdoors

Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the Gunnison Valley is the perfect environment to pursue your passion for outdoor recreation.

Department Chairperson

Lance Dalleck, Ph.D.

Professor of Exercise & Sport Science

Administrative Assistant

Terri Stinson

Administrative Assistant

Contact Information

970.943.7129

970.943.7125

Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Paul Wright Gym 209
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231