Park Planning Certificate

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Gain a comprehensive understanding of effective park planning through five e-courses based on the five steps of community park planning.




The Park Planning Certificate provides learners with skills needed to manage the expanding portfolio of public resources valued in the billions of dollars.

How will we do this? In order to manage these public resources effectively, park and recreation professionals must embrace planning. Learners will be guided through the planning process via five e-courses corresponding to the five steps to community park planning.

Upon successful completion of this certificate program, you’ll receive a certificate issued by the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands, Indiana University.

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Course Schedule

This program allows for complete flexibility. You may take a couple of months or up to a year to complete the program. The Eppley Institute recommends that you complete one course and all companion assignments each month to ensure maximum retention and connection of material.

Course Progression:

  • Course 1: Principles of Park Planning
  • Course 2: Public Engagement
  • Course 3: Assessment and Research
  • Course 4: Defining Your Needs
  • Course 5: Producing your Plan

Course Format

The Park Planning Certificate Program is entirely web-based and consists of five courses each culminating with an applied assignment that relates to your organization or a case study organization. At the end of each course, students will be assessed in two ways: (1) multiple choice quiz that addresses key concepts and (2) written response to a portfolio prompt. Upon successful completion of the assessment and portfolio item you will be issued a certificate of completion. 

The certificate program includes the following elements:

  • Five self-paced, self-study e-courses
  • Independent study assignments, which are reviewed by course instructors, with substantive feedback provided
  • A Distributed Learning Platform site for storage of work and feedback

Be able to:

  • Develop a work plan utilizing a project checklist
  • Summarize the keys to a successful public engagement process
  • Define place, users, and system as they shape a community and impact public facilities
  • Apply the steps needed to conduct a SWOT, LOS, ROS, and Issues Analysis
  • Recognize the steps and inputs to develop strategic goals and a corresponding action plan for a parks and recreation agency

Recommended Background

The course will be most beneficial for professionals in parks and public lands agencies, individuals who work in a non-profit setting or organization that desires to learn about community park planning.


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