Undergraduate Academic Programs

Degree Programs

Bachelor of Science in Recreation (B.S.R.), Parks, Recreation & the Outdoors Major

Description of Program

Housed within the Department of Health & Wellness Design, this program prepares professionals to enhance the quality of life of individuals and communities through careers related to parks, recreation, and engagement with the outdoors. With a focus on purposeful design, organizational management, and service delivery, students will learn how to succeed in a wide variety of settings in the public, non-profit, and private sectors. All of this is developed under the umbrella of public health to amplify the covenants of social justice, equity, access, and most of all: the pursuit of happiness.

Quality courses with small faculty/student ratio and varied fieldwork opportunities assure our students an outstanding, engaging educational experience.

Degree Requirements

This is a four-year program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Recreation with a major in Parks, Recreation, and the Outdoors. Graduation requirements include:

  • completion of general education requirements.
  • completion of parks, recreation and outdoors major requirements.
  • a minimum of 120 successfully completed credit hours which count toward the degree program.
  • a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA.
  • a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA in courses used to complete the major.
  • No Pass/Fail except for free electives.
General Education (20–39 credits)

All undergraduate students must complete the IU Bloomington General Education Common Ground Requirements. Visit gened.indiana.edu to review them.

Major (75 cr.)

Parks, Recreation & the Outdoors Focus Area (24 credits) 

  • SPH-R 101 Resource Development & Fundraising (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 220 Foundations of Parks, Recreation & the Outdoors (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 221 Creating Sense of Place through Design (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 414 Legal Aspects of Recreation (3 cr.)
  • SPH-O 244 Natural History & Field Ecology (3 cr.)
  • SPH-O 340 Interpretation & Tour Guiding (3 cr.)
  • SPH-O 360 Human Health & Natural Environments (3 cr.)
  • SPH-O 413 Capstone in Parks, Recreation, and the Outdoors (3 cr.)

Required Core Courses (30 credits)

  • SPH-R 200 Health & Happiness by Design (3 cr.) +S&H
  • SPH-R 210 Inclusion in Recreation, Parks & Tourism (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 311 Management in Recreation, Parks, & Tourism (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 312 Career and Internship Preparation (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 314 Data-Based Decision-Making (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 410 Event Planning & Program Development (3 cr.)
    320 Hours Field Experience completed, documented, and approved prior to SPH-R 497
  • SPH-R 497 Professional Internship (12 cr.)

Professional Electives (Select any 21 credits from the list below.)

  • SPH-O 214 Wildflowers & Wild Edibles (3 cr.)
  • SPH-O 279 Outdoor Adventure Education (3 cr.)
  • SPH-O 305 Integrated Resource Management (3 cr.)
  • SPH-O 310 Ecosystem Management (3 cr.)
  • SPH-O 313 Wilderness and Protected Lands (3 cr.)
  • SPH-O 318 Outdoor Recreation Consortium (3 cr.)
  • SPH-O 324 Outdoor Experiential Educ. Instructional Techniques (3 cr.)
  • SPH-O 341 Field Techniques in Environmental Education (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 230 Recreational Sports Programming (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 235 Sport and Violence (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 250 Topics in Rec, Park, & Tourism Studies (1-3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 321 Aquatic Management (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 350 Seminar in Recreation & Parks (1-3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 388 Marketing for Leisure Services (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 413 Fiscal Management of Leisure Service Orgs (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 426 Human Resource Management in Leisure Services (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 431 Youth Sport Management (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 391 Readings in Rec, Park, and Tourism Studies (1-3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 395 Practicum in Rec, Park, and Tourism Studies (1-6 cr.)
  • SPH-R 484 Workshop in Rec, Park, and Tourism Studies (1-6 cr.)
  • SPH-R 492, Research in Rec, Park, and Tourism Studies (1-3 cr.)
  • SPH-T 302 Managing Food/Beverage Operations (3 cr.)
  • SPH-T 323 Festival & Event Management (3 cr.)
  • SPH-W 305 Intro to Outdoor Leadership (3 cr.)
  • SPH-W 331 Wilderness First Responder (3 cr.)
  • SPH-Y 225 Disability, Health & Function (3 cr.)
  • SPH-B 310 Healthcare in Diverse Communities (3 cr.)
  • SPH-B 366 Community Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-K 200 Microcomputer Applications in Kinesiology (3 cr.)
  • SPH-K 216 Foundations of Physical Activity and Public Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-M 328 Issues: Intercollegiate Athletics (3 cr.)
  • SPH-M 333 Sport in America: Historical Perspective (3 cr.)
  • SPH-M 382 Sport in American Society (3 cr.)
  • SPH-M 426 Sales Management in Sport (3 cr.)

+ Courses followed by an A&H notation apply toward completion of both the major requirement and the general education, arts and humanities requirement.

+ Courses followed by an S&H notation apply toward completion of both the major requirement and the general education, social and historical studies requirement.

Special Opportunities

During the course of study, students have the opportunity to work and train in a variety of professional public, nonprofit, private, and community settings. Through course practicums, projects, field experiences, and a culminating internship, students acquire leadership, management, programming, marketing and evaluation, legal, and communication skills. The department boasts more than 75 years as a leader in the field with a wide network of alumni to support deep connection and options for career placement.


According to the National Recreation and Park Association, a career in Parks, Recreation, & the Outdoors (PRO) means enhancing the quality of life for all people through advancing environmental conservation efforts, social equity, and health and wellness. The job outlook for PRO graduates is excellent. The U.S. Department of Labor bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that employment of recreation workers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. As more emphasis is placed on the importance of lifelong well-being, more recreation workers will be needed to work with children and adults in a variety of settings. The Department of Health & Wellness Design prepares a monthly nationwide listing of jobs in the field totaling more than 1,500 potential positions for graduates annually. 

A large number of transferable skills are developed through the PRO program from personnel, facility, site, financial/fiscal, and natural resource management to research methods. PRO students also develop skills in promoting justice, equity, diversity, accessibility, and inclusion in the sites where they work. These skills prepare students for a wide range of careers.

Many PRO graduates go on to pursue advanced degrees including the Master of Science (M.S.) in Recreation with options in Outdoor Recreation or Recreation Administration, Master of Public Health (M.P.H) in Parks and Recreation, and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Leisure Behavior.

Careers could be centered around:


Park and protected area manager (municipal, state, national), Park Ranger/Specialist (Resource Management, Interpretation & Education; Visitor & Resource Protection), Trail Planner, Ecological Restoration Specialist, Wildland Firefighter/Fire Effects Monitor, Visitor Wellness Specialist, Conservation Officer, Adventure Educator, Outdoor/Environmental Educator, Naturalist (private, public, or non-profit sector), Wilderness Guide.


City Parks and Recreation Director, Summer Residential Camp Director, Youth Recreation Specialist, Recreation Facility Manager, Community Specialist, Community Special Events Manager, Aquatics Manager/Director, Community Recreation Health and Wellness Coordinator, Sport Facility Manager, Event Manager, Military Recreation Personnel, Recreation Manager/Supervisor, Youth and Adult Sports Program Director, Campus Recreation Administrator, Afterschool and Day Camp Director, Community Farmers' Market Director.

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