The Outdoor Recreation Economy program at CU Boulder provides learners with a variety of opportunities to expand their knowledge and advance their careers in the outdoor recreation industry. This program’s flexible options allow you to engage in a way that fits both your career goals and your budget. Become an innovative leader, foster sustainable business operations, govern and promote access to public lands or leverage outdoor amenities to grow local, sustainable economies.

This program explores four central areas of the outdoor recreation business and how they intersect:

  • Outdoor recreation business and leadership: The manufacturers, retailers, tour operators and guides who facilitate the public’s enjoyment of open spaces and who can motivate consumer spending toward sustainability and public lands stewardship.
  • Public lands policy: The policies and regulations that govern access and sustainable use and that are crucial to the appropriate use, conservation and enjoyment of public lands.
  • Resilient communities: The communities that leverage natural resources to enhance or create new recreation economies. They face a variety of challenges, including competition and stressed infrastructure, but also the opportunity to diversify, showcase their culture and grow.
  • Inclusivity: The best practices for developing a more welcoming and inclusive outdoor recreation economy and expanding access to the outdoors to everyone.

 I ultimately knew that I’d be working full-time while I was earning my master’s degree, and I loved that the classes were so flexible to fit around my job and spending my weekends outdoors. But at the same time, I wanted to have fully involved and collaborative online classes that were focused on the outdoor industry, which is exactly what the program has offered me.

– Cassie Elrod | Outdoor Recreation Economy Program Student

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Apply by April 15 for May 2024 start

online coursework

Career-relevant coursework for professional advancement

100% Online

Flexible courses to fit your schedule


2 to 3 years to complete