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NMU Adds Master’s in Outdoor Rec, Nature-Based Tourism June 6, 2022

Northern Michigan University’s College of Graduate Studies & Research has added a new master’s degree program titled Administration of Outdoor Recreation and Nature-Based Tourism, effective this fall. The program will be delivered largely online through NMU’s Global Campus, with two in-person summer seminar courses. It is designed for individuals currently working in the parks and recreation fields who wish to advance to administrative positions, as well as prospective students interested in entering these occupations.

“The outdoor recreation industry is one of the largest aspects of the U.S. economy,” said Professor and Program Director Scott Jordan of NMU’s School of Health and Human Performance. “The AORNBT degree has been designed to produce leaders in this field.”

Prospective students in the following fields could use this degree to advance in their careers: National Park Service; National Forest Service; federal, state or community recreation and land management agencies; nonprofit organizations; and private sector outdoor recreation and tourism managers.

“Outdoor recreation and nature-based tourism are among the fastest growing and most popular ways of spending leisure time, and the demand for qualified professionals to administer relevant programs and facilities is growing proportionately,” added Assistant Professor Ryan Hines.

Required courses address the history and philosophy of leisure; sustainability, current issues and legal and ethical aspects of outdoor recreation; and management and administration. There are also electives and research components, in addition to the summer seminar.

Professor Jacquie Medina added that the program “not only offers administrative and leadership preparation for career advancement, but also a foundation for pursuing doctoral studies.”

Examples of occupations for which people have completed similar degrees include federal land management agencies, community parks and recreation, the guiding service industry and community planners for areas wishing to develop a tourism economy or the knowledge to sustainably manage an outdoor recreation economy.

For more information on the 34-credit program, visit


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