Why study Outdoor Studies and Tourism at MC?

With the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the east, Music City in the center, Graceland in the west and numerous historical and recreational sites in between, Tennessee enjoys a tourism industry that adds several billion dollars to its economy annually. As the tourism and hospitality sector grows, so too does its intersection with issues of sustainability. Managing travel and adventure with their impacts on the environment is an increasingly important skill in the modern economy.

Maryville College’s Outdoor Studies and Tourism major will uniquely prepare you for careers that emphasize the importance of the natural environment, how humans can respectfully enjoy and interact with nature and the value of active, safe, outdoor experiences. The curriculum equips you with the leadership skills and knowledge necessary to create, manage and evaluate effective outdoor experiences and sustainable tourism programs.

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.

Adding the Child Development and Learning major to his outdoor studies, 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 Gradsclick or touch to open

Featured Graduate

Jackie EulJackie Eul ’18
Currently: Fit. Green. Happy.® Projects Manager at Mountain Challenge and AmeriCorps Outdoor Classroom Instructor for Knox County Schools

As the first student to graduate in the College’s outdoor studies and tourism major, Jackie found the perfect place to gain distinctive and valuable experience: Mountain Challenge, LLC, the on-campus outdoor adventure and teambuilding corporation. As a member of the staff, she led many student and business groups in outdoor experiences. Through her internship as the Mountain Challenge Operations Manager, she learned all aspects of running a business. “Graduating with this major and my experience with Mountain Challenge set me up well for my first position,” she said. “I am confident both will continue to provide competitive advantages.”

Caitlyn HoggCaitlyn Hogg ’16
Currently: Wilderness Therapy Guide for Pacific Quest in Hilo, Hawaii

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. After graduation, her internship became a paid position. Joining Pacific Quest in 2017, Caitlyn uses sustainable horticulture, meditation, hiking and the ocean in working with young adults and adolescents who are undergoing rehabilitation and therapy. "Graduating with this major and my four-year experience with Mountain Challenge allowed me to develop the qualifications I need for this job, " she said.