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Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality BS

Our career-focused bachelor’s degree in Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality offers superior preparation for one of the world’s most exciting industries. You’ll gain more than 500 hours of hands-on workplace experience, while learning from faculty who’ve spent years in the travel and leisure industry and have extensive professional connections. The degree provides you with a comprehensive overview of recreation and tourism trends, marketing tools, audience segments and entrepreneurial opportunities. 

Launched in 1964, UNC’s pioneering program has a long tradition of educating industry leaders. Our graduates work all over the world, with a particularly strong presence in Colorado’s world-class recreation, tourism and hospitality sites. You’ll enter the job market with outstanding skills, experience and connections.

Degree Options

B.S. in Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality: Parks and Recreation Concentration

The Parks and Recreation concentration offers preparation for careers in fitness, athletics, open space and related fields. You’ll learn about facilities, programming, community outreach, leadership and management, with extensive hands-on experience via internships and volunteer activities.

B.S. in Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality: Tourism and Hospitality Concentration

In this concentration you’ll build a foundation of skills to work at tourist destinations (such as resorts, hotels, museums and state and national parks), as well as tourism-related agencies such as conference centers, visitor bureaus and heritage districts. The program offers extensive opportunities for travel, field experience and volunteering.

Minor Options

Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality Minor

You’ll earn 18 credits in this minor, which can include a 50-hour practicum in a professional workplace. The recreation, tourism and hospitality minor can serve as a valuable complement for numerous majors, including business, sport and exercise science, athletic training and nutrition.

Alumni Spotlight

Sara Beamish

Sara Beamish
2016 Commencement Speaker

Originally, 2016 Commencement Speaker Sara Beamish was planning to study interior design. But once she got to campus, she switched her major to Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality.  

“I associated myself with things I was passionate about,” says Sara. “It’s a lot easier to find time for the things you’re passionate about.”

Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality was an ideal fit for Sara, whose outgoing personality led her to get involved in activities all over campus. She served as a resident assistant in the dormitories, a web designer for Campus Recreation, a member of the Student Senate, a fundraiser in the Alumni and Development Center and a student representative on the Campus Climate Initiative.

As she prepares for a five-month internship with a Boston-based event-planning firm, the 2016 graduate says she’ll miss the strong support she had at UNC. “My academic advisor was amazing,” says Sara. She adds that it’s the many diverse experiences she had in college that helped prepare her to take on the world.


Your Future in Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality

UNC’s Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality degree stands out for its strong career focus. Our faculty offer personalized academic guidance and career counseling to help you tailor your education to your professional goals. We have extensive connections with premier recreation sites throughout Colorado and around the world, enabling you to get outstanding work experience at industry-leading facilities.

Consider UNC’s B.S. in Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality if you:

  • Love to travel
  • Are passionate about recreation and tourism
  • Enjoy working with children and adults from diverse backgrounds
  • Are energetic, outgoing and friendly

You’ll learn:

  • The business side of hospitality and tourism
  • Marketing and outreach
  • Operations and facilities management
  • Legal, administrative and entrepreneurial skills

Sample courses:

  • Commercial Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality
  • Leadership in Parks and Recreation
  • Programming Planning
  • Facilities Design and Operation
  • Evaluation and Research in Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality

Beyond the Classroom

As a recreation and tourism mecca, Colorado provides extraordinary options for real-world learning—and UNC enables you to make the most of your opportunities. You’ll complete a 90-hour practicum during your junior year and a 480-hour internship as a senior. In addition, you'll be able to tap into UNC’s vast network of alumni and industry connections to arrange summer jobs, volunteer positions and other career-boosting activities. You’ll also attend the Colorado Parks and Recreation Association’s annual conference during your senior year.

Where can your degree take you?

  • Municipal parks and rec supervisor
  • Park ranger
  • Convention center manager
  • Hospitality coordinator
  • Special events director
  • Marketing or community outreach professional
  • Nonprofit fundraiser

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