Do you long to hike the Appalachian Trail, backpack around Europe or go surfing in Costa Rica? Are you adventurous, passionate and people-oriented?  If so, the outdoor studies and tourism major may be for you.

As tourism and hospitality continue to become significant sectors, so too do their intersection with issues of sustainability. Managing travel and adventure with their impacts on the environment is an increasingly important skill in the modern economy.

Outdoor Studies and Tourism prepares students for careers that emphasize the importance of the natural environment, how humans can respectfully enjoy and interact with nature, and the value of active, outdoor experiences. Graduates often pursue positions in the tourism industry, the management of outdoor programs and services, park management and law enforcement, or graduate study and work in the helping professions. Certification as a Wilderness First Responder is required.

Compatible with many majors, this minor begins preparation for careers in such sectors with an eye toward environmental sustainability.

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

We must not speak or think of the outdoors alone or of people alone, but always and only of both together

- Wendell Berry

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


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 Studies and Tourism 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.