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Recreation

Bachelor of Arts

If you aspire to work for the National Park Service, the United States Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, Municipal Parks and Recreation, the United States Military’s Moral Welfare and Recreation, or work with adaptive populations, the Recreation emphasis in the Recreation & Outdoor Education Program is for you. Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Western Colorado University is a living laboratory to study recreation and we are here to guide you all along the way. Pursue your passions with a rewarding career in the recreation industry.

Program Overview

Recreation

Make your dream job a reality.

In Western Colorado University’s Recreation program, you will climb the six pillars of our program: Leadership, Communication, Involvement, Application, Knowledge, and Environment. Through hands-on experiential education, you will be challenged to develop leadership skills, interpret and present information, work with external agencies, apply your knowledge and skills, practice Leave No Trace Principles, and discover ways you can be of service to your community. You will be challenged to develop the skills you need to become a professional in the billion-dollar recreation industry. Are you up for the challenge? We are here to make it happen! For over 30 years we have been working with students to realize their full potential in the recreation and leisure services field.

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.

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

Program Requirements

Recreation consists of 51 credits including the 36-credit Recreation and Outdoor Education Core:

Course List
Code Title Credits
Recreation and Outdoor Education Core
ROE 182Introduction to Recreation and Outdoor Education3
ROE 189PRINCIPLES OF OUTDOOR EDUCATN3
ROE 240Alternative Programming3
ROE 283Leadership and Facilitation3
ROE 351Inquiry into Sustainability3
ROE 398Program Planning (with laboratory)3
ROE 454Human Development and Counseling for Outdoor Educators3
ROE 468Leadership and Administration3
ROE 490Recreation Philosophy and Ethics3
ROE 491Senior Seminar3
ROE 499Internship in Recreation and Outdoor Education3-9
Total Credits33-39

Medical Requirement

All Recreation and Outdoor Education majors must obtain a medical competency prior to graduation. Recreation emphasis majors must take ESS 276 Emergency Response or equivalent. Students with an emphasis in Outdoor Environmental Education, Outdoor Leadership, or Recreation and Outdoor Education Major: Comprehensive Program with Five-Year Master in Environmental Management must obtain certification as a Wilderness First Responder (WFR).

First Aid/CPR Competency and the following courses:

Course List
Code Title Credits
ESS 282Principles of Sport and Fitness Management3
ESS 450Risk Management in Physical Activity Settings3
Select one of the following:3
ROE 293
OTDR PURSUITS EDUC-WATER W/LAB
ROE 295
OTDR PURSUITS EDUC-SNOW W/LAB
ROE 296
OUTDR PURSUITS EDUC-LAND BASED
One of the following:3
ESS 382
Management of Sport and Fitness Facilities
ROE 466
Facilities and Administration
One of the following:3
ROE 333
Recreation and Sport Marketing
ROE 364
Entrepreneurship and Commercial Recreation
Total Credits15

Capstone Course Requirement

The following courses in the Recreation and Outdoor Education Major fulfill the capstone course requirements: ROE 499 Internship in Recreation and Outdoor Education

Graduation Requirements

Undergraduate programs require a minimum of 120 semester credits for graduation.  Of those 120 credits, 40 credits must be in upper-division courses (those marked 300 and above).  Fifteen of these 40 upper-division credits must be earned in courses that are part of the standard or comprehensive major program being pursued. 

Students are expected to review all graduation requirements, which can be found in the Western Undergraduate Catalog: Graduation Requirements

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
ENG 102 Writing and Rhetoric I (GT-CO1) 3
Essential Skills MATH 3
Gen Ed Natural Sciences 3
Gen Ed Social Sciences 3
HWTR 100 First Year Seminar 1
ROE 182 Introduction to Recreation and Outdoor Education 3
 Credits16
Spring
ENG 103 Writing and Rhetoric II (GT-CO2) 3
Gen Ed Social Sciences 3
Gen Ed Natural Sciences 3
ROE 189 PRINCIPLES OF OUTDOOR EDUCATN 3
ROE 283 Leadership and Facilitation 3
 Credits15
Summer
ROE 293
or ROE 296
OTDR PURSUITS EDUC-WATER W/LAB
or OUTDR PURSUITS EDUC-LAND BASED
3
 Credits3
Year Two
Fall
ESS 282 Principles of Sport and Fitness Management 3
Gen Ed Arts & Humanities 3
Gen Ed Natural Sciences 3
ROE 240 Alternative Programming 3
 Credits12
Spring
ESS 276 Emergency Response 3
Gen Ed Social Sciences 3
Gen Ed Arts & Humanities 3
ROE 333
or ROE 398
Recreation and Sport Marketing
or Program Planning (with laboratory)
3
ROE 351 Inquiry into Sustainability 3
 Credits15
Year Three
Fall
ROE 398 Program Planning (with laboratory) 3
ESS 450 Risk Management in Physical Activity Settings 3
Elective ROE Elective (Rec&Sport Mktg or Ent/Com Rec) 3
Elective Elective 3
Elective Elective (upper-division) 3
 Credits15
Spring
Elective ROE Elective (Outdoor Pursuits) 3
Elective Elective (Mgt Sport/Fit Facilities/Facilities Mgt) 3
Gen Ed Arts & Humanities 3
Elective Elective 3
Elective Elective (upper-division) 3
 Credits15
Summer
ROE 296
or ROE 293
OUTDR PURSUITS EDUC-LAND BASED
or OTDR PURSUITS EDUC-WATER W/LAB
3
 Credits3
Year Four
Fall
Elective Elective 3
ROE 454 Human Development and Counseling for Outdoor Educators 3
ROE 496 Field Experiences 3
ROE 499 Internship in Recreation and Outdoor Education 3-9
 Credits12-18
Spring
ROE 468 Leadership and Administration 3
ROE 490 Recreation Philosophy and Ethics 3
ROE 491 Senior Seminar 3
Elective Elective (upper-division) 6
 Credits15
 Total Credits121-127

Western is committed to doing our part to provide each student a clear path to graduation. This four‐year degree plan is a sample map for fulfilling requirements in the major and General Education. The pathway that you take to your degree may differ somewhat from this illustration, depending on where you start and the detours and side trips you may take along the way. You are responsible for ensuring your overall, upper division, and major‐specific credits as well as GPA requirements are fulfilled for graduation.

Careers


Top Skills

  • Communication Skills
  • Leadership & Teamwork
  • Organizational Skills
  • Outdoor Skills
  • Problem Solving & Decision Making
  • Program Planning & Management



Career Pathways

  • Camp Director
  • Community Recreation Specialist
  • Park Manager
  • Recreation Coordinator
  • Resort Activities Director
  • Sports Facility Manager

Take the first steps toward your academic and personal growth.

Fostering your intellectual development is the primary focus of every academic program at Western. Our professors and Office of Career Services will help you identify your strengths, hone your skills, define your goals, and prepare for a fulfilling and enriched life after graduation. Wondering how you can apply your program of choice to your intellectual and personal journey? Check out our “What Can I Do With This Major?” tool to explore the diverse opportunities and pathways within any degree program.

Scholarships

Western’s Scholarship Application portal allows you to search for, apply to and manage your scholarship opportunities. This platform houses over 300+ departmental and privately funded scholarship opportunities available to both new and returning students. Through the scholarship portal, students may identify scholarship opportunities based on academic program, campus involvement, academic standing, specific keywords and more. Students may click below to begin learning about what scholarship opportunities are available to them.

Please check individual scholarship opportunity start dates and deadlines as there are exceptions.

Find your scholarships!

Western’s Scholarship Application portal allows you to search for, apply to and manage your scholarship opportunities. This platform houses over 300+ departmental and privately funded scholarship opportunities available to both new and returning students. Through the scholarship portal, students may identify scholarship opportunities based on academic program, campus involvement, academic standing, specific keywords and more. Students may click below to begin learning about what scholarship opportunities are available to them.

Please check individual scholarship opportunity start dates and deadlines as there are exceptions.

Find your scholarships!

Alumni Association Future Alumni Scholarship

The Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western.

Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.

  • This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
  • Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
  • GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).

Due date has been extended to April 30 for 2024. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Council, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.

Apply

Alumni Legacy Scholarship

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).

Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:

  • This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
  • Nominee must be an incoming first-year student or new transfer.
  • The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
  • The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
  • GPA must be 2.5 or above (high school or college of transfer).

The applicant must fill out the application form found below. Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.

Apply

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.

Get Involved

Recreation

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.

News & Research

Western Earns Accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission

Western Earns Accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission

Read More about Western Earns Accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission
Colorado Outdoor Recreation Office Leader Luis Benitez Headed to VF Corp

Colorado Outdoor Recreation Office Leader Luis Benitez Headed to VF Corp

Read More about Colorado Outdoor Recreation Office Leader Luis Benitez Headed to VF Corp

Department Chairperson

Gary P. Van Guilder, Ph.D.

Professor of Exercise & Sport Science; Chair, Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science Department

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

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