Why study Outdoor Recreation at MC?

Outdoor Rec Program Overview

If you are inspired by the outdoors (rain, sleet, snow or sun), outdoor recreation is for you! If you study in outdoor recreation, you’ll be prepared to teach and guide activities in parks, camps, and other outdoor settings. We combine traditional classroom learning with field-based experiential learning. Much of the outdoor recreation program is field-based experiential learning with classes such as outdoor leadership, group facilitation, and wilderness first responder.

These courses combined with courses in rock climbing, paddling, and backpacking will be both physically & intellectually demanding. These classes challenge you to balance technical skills with interpersonal development, and theoretical as well as historical concepts of outdoor recreation & education. Our majors spend a semester working with our Mountain Challenge program as well as completing a summer internship.

Maryville College Works is a comprehensive career preparation program that is integrated into the College’s four-year liberal arts curriculum. Key components include assessment, advising, networking and professional experiences.

External Relationships

Cycology Bicycles
Little River Trading Company
Maryville-Alcoa-Blount County Parks and Recreation
Ocoee Adventure Center
Phoenix Experiential Designs
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
University of Tenn-Knoxville Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management Program

On Campus Opportunities

Founded on the MC campus in 1987 by alumnus Bruce Guillaume ’76, Mountain Challenge, LLC, is an outdoor adventure and teambuilding program serving students and businesses that strives “to provide high-quality, safe outdoor experiences designed to change the world for the better, one person at a time.” Mountain Challenge activities are incorporated into Orientation classes and, year-round, students can sign up for offcampus trips to canoe, hike, raft, bike, rock climb and cave.

Meet a current student

Roland Parker ’19
Hometown: Birmingham, Ala.

Double-majoring in Outdoor Recreation and Child Development and Learning, Roland is considering a career directing summer camps or teaching physical education, but he’s open to other outdoor career opportunities. As a Mountain Challenge Fellow, he earns tuition dollars in exchange for work with the on-campus outdoor adventure and teambuilding program. “Working with Mountain Challenge is a great way for me to develop my skills as a facilitator while gaining practical experience,” he said. “My classes have a similar value – all placing focus on practice and issues that I’ll encounter in the future.”

Outcomes of Recent Grads

Featured Graduate

Caitlyn Hogg ’16
Currently: Office Manager/ Group Facilitator at Mountain Challenge, LLC

As an Outdoor Recreation and Management double major, Caitlyn found the perfect place to gain experience in both fields: Mountain Challenge, LLC. In her internship there, she led student and business groups in outdoor activities and furthered her knowledge of running a business. She also helped implement Camp 4, an outdoor fitness initiative open to the campus and public. After graduation, her internship became a paid position. She spent last summer assisting with the College’s Great Smokies Experience for high school students and is currently working and observing at nearby Rocky Park Organic Farm. “All of these jobs and opportunities were made possible by my MC degree and the passionate work of Mountain Challenge,” she said.

Course Offerings

The Major in Outdoor Recreation consists of a minimum of 53 hours that includes the following courses:

PHR 102: Historical, Philosophical, and Sociological Foundations of Physical Education, Recreation, and Sports (3 hrs.)
PHR 235: Group Facilitation (3 hrs.)
PHR 315: Wilderness Emergency Response (3 hrs.)
PHR 321: Physical Education and Recreation for Special Populations (3 hrs.)
PHR 335: Outdoor Recreation Leadership (3 hrs.)
PHR 337: Internship in Physical Education of Outdoor Recreation (7-15 hrs.) (9 hours required)
PHR 347: Professional Seminar (1 hr.)
PHR 351-352: Senior Study (6 hrs.)


PSY 101: Introductory Psychology (3 hrs.)
BUS 201: Principles of Management (3 hrs.)
BIO 311: Natural History of the Sothern Appalachians (4 hrs.)
Six activity courses (Five must be outdoor related)

One of the following courses:
ENV 101: Introduction to Environmental Issues (3 hrs.)
ENV 316: Population (3 hrs.)
ENV 345: Environmental Politics (3 hrs.)

Students majoring in outdoor recreation are encouraged to complete coursework for a minor such as business, psychology or sociology.

 The Minor in Outdoor Recreation consists of 16 credit hours. Required courses include:

PHR 107: Paddling I (1 hr.)
PHR 172: Camping and Outdoor Education (1 hr.)
PHR 174: Orienteering [Map & Compass] (1 hr.)
PHR 235: Group Facilitation (3 hrs.)
PHR 321: Physical Education and Recreation for Special Populations (3 hrs.)
PHR 335: Outdoor Recreation Leadership (3 hrs.)
BIO 311: Natural History of the Sothern Appalachians (4 hrs.)

The minor also requires the completion of the Red Cross certification in Standard First Aid and Community CPR. The Minor in Outdoor Recreation is not open to physical education majors.