WCU's Parks and Recreation Management (PRM) Program prepares students for jobs in the leisure service and tourism industries, as well as with land agencies such as the National Parks and U.S. Forest Service. Students in the program earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Parks and Recreation Management. A minor option is also available.
Promoting resourcefulness, independent thinking, and service, our program prepares leaders for professions in recreation and outdoor education. Students learn from our accomplished faculty in an intellectual and caring environment in which hands-on experiences complement classroom
To be accepted into the PRM Program, students must achieve and maintain a 2.5 GPA overall and write an essay explaining why they want to be a PRM major. As a major in the PRM program, students will meet with an advisor to complete a strategic plan which will outline courses, certifications, and professional development options to help them achieve their academic and career goals.
To become a PRM major, students are required to write an essay on why they want to be in the program. To prepare for the essay, students should research potential careers through online searches, the career connection bulletin board in Reid 122, reviewing professional journals, and interviewing PRM faculty. Parks and Recreation Management is a very diverse field, so it is important for students to research which direction they would like to take and formulate a strategy to help them prepare.
Students are introduced to the PRM Essay in PRM 250. A copy of the essay directions can be found here.
Additionally, students will be able to select 12 hours from a focus area in consultation with their advisor.
Landmark Learning has a special relationship with Western Carolina University to provide nationally recognized certifications to Western Carolina University students for course credit. National certification enhances work opportunities in the field of Outdoor Education and Recreation post graduation. Click here to download the PRM and Landmark Learning Course Equivalency Guide.
The minor in parks and recreation management requires 18 hours consisting of two core courses and any 12 hours of electives approved by your PRM advisor. The two core courses are PRM 250 and PRM 270.
The strategic plan: As a PRM major, you will be appointed an advisor to assist you in your academic and career planning. At the first advising meeting, you and your advisor will develop a strategic plan that will cover your academic and career goals. If you are a transfer student, you will only have two years to execute your plan, so it is important to set up a meeting in your first semester at WCU to develop your strategic plan. Feel free to download the strategic plan to get a head start.
The portfolio: As a PRM major, you will earn certifications, complete meaningful projects, present research, obtain references, and participate in conferences. It is important to save and document each of these items to be used as you begin your career search. In PRM 350: University & Career Planning, students will begin the process of developing an interview portfolio, both as a hard copy and an electronic one using a platform such as LinkedIn. It is important to save all of your work as you progress through the program. In PRM 495: Senior Seminar, you will complete your portfolio for a final grade.
The portfolio is extremely important. It demonstrates the knowledge, skills and abilities you have obtained through the course of your academic career at WCU. A well-organized portfolio which includes samples of your various projects, certifications, outdoor activities, resume, and reference letters will assist you in obtaining your capstone internship. These items can also be used as templates in your future career.
The portfolio may contain the following items depending upon your focus area in PRM:
The field of parks and recreation offers graduates a wide range of career options in community recreation, outdoor leadership and instruction, commercial and resort recreation, and recreation resource management.
We encourage you to gain experience in your chosen area through coursework, internships, and summer employment. You’ll gain leadership and participatory experience through volunteer work at Base Camp Cullowhee, where a range of activities are planned for the on- and off-campus community.
The PRM program provides numerous opportunities to seek additional training and certification in areas including wilderness medicine, skiing, canoeing, kayaking, outdoor leadership and more. Landmark Learning is in a special relationship with Western Carolina University to provide nationally recognized certifications to Western Carolina University students for course credit. National certification enhances work opportunities in the field of Outdoor Education and Recreation post-graduation.
Excellent internship opportunities, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Navitat, Nantahala Outdoor Center, Project SOAR, and several camps, surround the WCU campus. The strongest industry in the region is tourism, so our students enjoy internships at attractions and resorts in Western North Carolina and in the coastal areas of both North and South Carolina at places like Wilmington, Hilton Head Island, Myrtle Beach, and Charleston. Community parks and recreation agencies also abound in the region.
The mission of the Parks and Recreation Management Program is to promote resourcefulness, independent thinking, the ability to cope with change, and service to society -- by preparing leaders in the recreation resource and outdoor education professions. The program strives to maintain an intellectual and caring environment through cooperation and collaboration in active learning. Experiential education is also an important component to encourage application and modification of theories learned.
The program prepares professionals to design, plan, promote, and deliver the physical and social components of the leisure service industry. This includes skills in administration, management, research and evaluation, leadership, and instruction. Graduates will be prepared to manage resources, facilities and programs, and to lead and instruct for programs in commercial, public, and non-profit settings.