leadership in the
outdoor recreation industry

The Graduate Certificates

The University of Denver has partnered with the VF Foundation to launch the Outdoor Recreation Industry Program, two interdisciplinary graduate certificates designed for individuals seeking to enter or advance in the outdoor industry.

These graduate certificates, which include courses from the Daniels College of Business, Josef Korbel School of International Studies and Sturm College of Law, will be taught fully online, including both asynchronous and synchronous content. A “Sprint” format, consisting of focused one-credit courses, will allow students and organizations extensive flexibility to tailor the programs to their specific needs.

Outdoor Recreation Industry Business Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in ORIB will prepare students to assume business-oriented roles across a range of functions and industries in the outdoor recreation sector. This certificate is best for:

  • Front line operators in the outdoor recreation industry who are interested in transitioning to business-oriented roles
  • Recent college graduates (with business or non-business degrees)
  • Individuals with limited professional experience in other industries, looking to transition to the outdoor recreation industry

Students will be educated in:

  • Functional areas of business, including accounting, finance, marketing and management
  • Legal and regulatory issues, such as land use and development policies
  • Policy considerations, including issues related to environmental sustainability and public-private partnerships.

View the curriculum

Outdoor Recreation Industry Leadership Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in ORIL will prepare participants to assume senior leadership roles in the outdoor recreation industry. Participants will be educated on salient issues and decisions facing the outdoor recreation industry in a range of domains:

  • Financial models and supply chain challenges
  • Legal and regulatory issues such as land use and development rules
  • Government relations and public policy

In addition, the certificate includes courses designed to further students’ individual leadership skills—understanding one’s own weaknesses and strengths as a leader, neuroleadership, emotional intelligence, negotiations, and having difficult conversations.

The certificate should be particularly relevant to:

  • Mid-level professionals in the outdoor recreation industry looking to assume leadership roles and advance their careers
  • Graduate students (with experience) interested in the outdoor recreation industry
  • Individuals with professional experience in other industries, looking to transition to and assume leadership roles in the outdoor recreation industry

View the curriculum

Learn more about the admissions requirements and application deadlines for these two certificates. Applicants must hold bachelor’s degrees to be eligible for the program.

Sprint Course Schedule

Certificate courses will be structured as 5-week, one-credit Sprints. Each of the University’s 10-week academic quarters will be divided into two cycles of 5-week Sprints.

For the first 4 weeks of each sprint, classes will meet online two hours per week, 4-6 p.m. or 4:30-6:30 p.m. The 5th week of each sprint will be dedicated to assessment activities. 

Application, Tuition and Scholarships

To select these programs in the application, you need to first select Daniels College of Business as the college or school and then choose Specialized Graduate Certificate (4-course) from the degree selection. From there, you will see these two degrees.

Tuition is based on a cost-per-credit-hour rate set by the University of Denver. The 2023–2024 academic year rate is $1,612 per credit hour.

While all certificates at DU are eligible for merit-based scholarships and no separate application is necessary, these certificates are unique in that they are also eligible for need-based aid. Once you begin your application, we will reach out to share information about how to apply for need-based aid.



4.3 million jobs

$689 billion in consumer spending annually

Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2021

1.8% of the U.S. GDP

The Outdoor Industry

According to the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, the outdoor recreation economy generates more spending and jobs than industries such as mining, utilities, farming and ranching, and chemical products manufacturing. In Colorado alone, the outdoor recreation industry generates $28 billion in spending annually and employs 229,000 people earning $9.7 billion in wages and paying $2 billion in state and local taxes each year.

There is an increasing demand for tailored workforce development and professional education to meet the demands of this rapidly growing industry.

mountain bikers

An Interdisciplinary Approach to Outdoor Recreation

The newly launched program will provide inclusive and interdisciplinary training to individuals seeking to enter the outdoor industry and those within the industry seeking to acquire advanced industry-specific knowledge and leadership skills.

This unique program, which integrates courses in business, law and public policy, was created with a generous grant from the VF Foundation to strengthen and redefine the talent pipeline for the outdoor industry, with a particular focus on developing a more diverse workforce and outstanding leaders.


Chris Castilian, JD,

Chris Castilian, JD,

Senior Executive Director

If you have questions about the LORI program, contact Senior Executive Director Chris Castilian, JD, at christopher.castilian@du.edu.

Learn more about the Outdoor Recreation Industry certificates.


About the VF Foundation

The VF Foundation is the philanthropic arm of VF Corporation, one of the world’s largest outdoor apparel and footwear companies, and is headquartered in Denver. The VF Foundation supports nonprofit organizations in driving movements for the betterment of people and the planet.

VF Foundation logo