Graduate Academic Programs

Master's Degree Programs

Master of Science in Recreation Degree (MSR), Recreation Administration Major

Description of Program

A Master of Science in Recreation degree in Administration provides students with a general approach to management of recreation and leisure services in a wide variety of settings. Because people today spend more time and money on leisure, fitness, and recreation activities than ever before, the job outlook for recreation and park administration graduates is excellent. This option is for students interested in public agencies, private/commercial agencies, college unions, or general park administration/management. All degree candidates in this program complete a capstone experience - either an intensive master's project that summarizes the knowledge and skills obtained from coursework or a master's thesis based on research related to the specialty area. The student's area of specialization determines which capstone experience is pursued.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 35 credit hours is required for this program. The Master of Science in Recreation degree must include a minimum of 20 credits from the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies.  A minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) is required for graduation. A minimum grade of C– is required in each course. All electives for completing the degree must be approved by the advisor.

Complete each of the following foundation courses (18 cr.):

  • SPH-Q 501 (Formerly: HPER-T 591) Introduction to Statistics in Public Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 510 (Formerly: HPER-R 500) Philosophy of Leisure and Recreation (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 512 (Formerly: HPER-R 525) Administrative Theory and Management Practices in Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Public Lands (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 544 (Formerly: HPER-R 544) Legal Aspects of Recreation (3 cr.)
  • SPH-X 505 (Formerly: HPER-C 505) Principles and Foundations of Public Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-X 590 (Formerly: HPER-T 590) Introduction to Research in Health, Kinesiology, and Recreation (3 cr.)

Complete one of the following courses (2 – 5 cr.):

  • SPH-R 598 (Formerly: HPER-R 539) Master's Project in Administration (2-4 cr.)
  • SPH-R 599 (Formerly: HPER-R 599) Master's Thesis (5 cr.)
  • SPH-R 697 (Formerly: HPER-R 642) Internship in Recreation and Parks (3 cr.)

Complete each of the following emphasis courses (9 cr.):

  • SPH-R 511 (Formerly: HPER-R 520) Organizational Leadership for Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Public Lands (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 531 (Formerly: HPER-R 530) Comprehensive Recreation Planning/Park Design (3 cr.)
  • SPH-X 561 (Formerly: HPER-T 594) Finance and Budgeting (3 cr.)

Complete remaining electives to reach the required minimum 35 credits. (3 – 6 cr.)
Select electives with approval of advisor. The following courses are recommended:

  • SPH-R 522 (Formerly: HPER-R 580) Strategic Planning and Management in Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Public Lands (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 524 (Formerly: HPER-R 524) Strategic Fundraising and Partnerships for Recreation, Parks, Tourism, and Public Lands (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 691 (Formerly: HPER-R 641) Readings in Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Public Lands (2-3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 693 (Formerly: HPER-R 640) Independent Study and Research in Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Public Lands (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 695 (Formerly: HPER-R 643) Practicum in Recreation and, Parks (cr. arr.)
  • SPH-T 513 (Formerly: HPER-R 522) Economics and Marketing for Leisure and Tourism (3 cr.)
  • SPH-X 580 (Formerly: HPER-T 580) Qualitative Research in Public Health (3 cr.)
  • Others: See Advisor.

Pre-requisites (If required)

  • SPH-R 311 (Formerly: HPER-R 330) Management in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 390 (Formerly: HPER-R 391) Graduate Prerequisite in Recreation and Park Administration (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 426 (Formerly: HPER-R 471) Human Resource Management in Leisure Services (3 cr.)
Special Opportunities

The graduate program offers opportunities to learn from a dedicated faculty of recreational sports professionals who are committed to the success of their students. Students are given a wide variety of research opportunities from the faculty and through outstanding community, youth, and family recreation programs and facilities on and off campus.


Following are some typical job descriptions for career positions in recreational administration:

Recreation and Parks Director: manages both recreation and park functions, including recreation programs, recreation areas, and facilities. Also serves as the technical advisor to the recreation and parks commission, board, or other authority responsible to the public for recreation and park services.

Park Planner: responsible for professional planning work including gathering, compiling, and analyzing resource data, and preparing proposed solutions to planning problems and designs.

Park Manager: directs the operational and developmental phases of parks, boulevards, recreation areas, and facilities. Also plans, directs, and participates in maintenance and construction including inspection of grounds, direction of property security, and providing information and services to visitors.

Facility Operations Coordinator: determines work procedures, prepares work schedules, and expedites workflow. Studies and standardizes procedures to improve facility and employee productivity. Prepares and coordinates assigned recreational programs and ensures that facilities meet city, state, and federal guidelines for operation. Coordinates planning and development of programs, activities, and special events for recreational facilities to include procuring vendors and entertainment, site operations, staff and volunteer scheduling, budgeting and contracting, fundraising, and advertising.

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