CU Boulder to offer masters in outdoor recreation economy

BOULDER — The University of Colorado Boulder will begin to offer a new degree that builds on one of Colorado’s growth industries — outdoor recreation.

The masters of science in outdoor recreation economy was approved June 18 by the CU Board of Regents and is pending approval by the Colorado Department of Higher Education. It will be an online professional graduate program that will begin in 2021.

Four Colorado higher education institutions have programming that incorporate some of the elements of the outdoor industry, and several other states offer undergraduate degrees in outdoor recreation economy, but this masters program will be the only exclusively online, interdisciplinary outdoor recreation economy graduate degree program.

The program will focus on three core thematic areas: the outdoor recreation industry sector, public lands policy, and resilient communities. The program will consist of a series of stackable certificates, which can be taken individually or over the course of up to three years. The first of these certificates will be available in spring 2021, with the full degree program launching in fall 2021.

“We created a program that allows professionals who may be at a variety of career stages — whether they’re new to the outdoor industry, seasoned veterans, or pivoting from another industry — to advance their careers in a meaningful way,” said Joel Hartter, associate professor and the director of CU Boulder’s masters of the environment program.  

A unique focus of the program will also be on public lands and building relationships with western communities. Although students will be taking the program remotely, they will engage with communities and companies to work on real-world problems, such as recommendations for community economic resiliency planning. 

Nationally, outdoor recreation accounts for 7.6 million jobs and provides $887 billion in annual consumer spending. The state of Colorado supports 511,000 direct jobs and $28 billion in annual consumer spending.

“The responsible stewardship of Colorado’s vibrant outdoor recreation industry relies on the continued cultivation of knowledgeable leaders and advocates who can serve our industry’s evolving needs,” said Nathan Fey, director of the Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry in the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. “CU’s new graduate program focusing on the outdoor recreation economy will play a major role in producing tomorrow’s outdoor industry workforce.”

BOULDER — The University of Colorado Boulder will begin to offer a new degree that builds on one of Colorado’s growth industries — outdoor recreation.

The masters of science in outdoor recreation economy was approved June 18 by the CU Board of Regents and is pending approval by the Colorado Department of Higher Education. It will be an online professional graduate program that will begin in 2021.

Four Colorado higher education institutions have programming that incorporate some of the elements of the outdoor industry, and several other states offer undergraduate degrees in outdoor recreation economy, but this masters program will be the only exclusively online, interdisciplinary outdoor recreation economy graduate degree program.

The program will focus on three core thematic areas: the outdoor recreation industry sector, public lands policy, and resilient communities. The program will consist of a series of stackable certificates, which can be taken individually or over the course of up to three years. The first of these certificates will be available in spring 2021, with the full degree program launching in fall 2021.

“We created a program that allows professionals who may be at a variety of career stages — whether they’re new to the outdoor industry, seasoned veterans, or pivoting from another industry — to advance their careers in a meaningful way,” said Joel Hartter, associate professor and the director of CU Boulder’s masters of the environment program.  

A unique focus of the program will also be on public lands and building relationships with western…