Graduate Academic Programs

Master's Degree Programs

Master of Science in Recreation Degree (MSR), Recreational Therapy Major

Description of Program

The major in recreational therapy prepares students to assume positions as recreational therapists. Using a variety of techniques, including arts and crafts, animals, sports, games, dance and movement, drama, music, and community outings, therapists treat and maintain the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of their clients. Professionals assess individuals' needs, plan and implement specific interventions to meet those needs, and document and evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions. All students graduating from the major are eligible to sit for the National Council on Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) examination.

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 (15 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) Administration Theory and Management Practices in Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Public Lands (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 each of the following emphasis courses (12 cr.):

  • SPH-Y 560 (Formerly: HPER-R 560) Professional Development of Therapeutic Recreation (3 cr.)
  • SPH-Y 561 (Formerly: HPER-R 561) Advanced Therapeutic Recreation Processes (3 cr.)
  • SPH-Y 562 (Formerly: HPER-R 562) Social Psychology of Therapeutic Recreation (3 cr.)
  • SPH-Y 563 (Formerly: HPER-R 563) Program Development and Consultation in Therapeutic Recreation (3 cr.)

Complete one of the following capstone projects (3 – 5 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 remaining electives to reach the required minimum 35 credits. (3 – 5 cr.)
Select electives with approval of advisor.

Note: Students entering the degree program without eligibility for national certification in recreational therapy are required to complete an internship that meets requirements for national certification. Students entering the degree program with national certification eligibility or national certification in recreational therapy may elect to meet emphasis requirements through either an internship or thesis. Students who do not have a background or preliminary coursework in recreational therapy may be required to take Anatomy and Physiology, Life Span Development, Abnormal Psychology, and Techniques in Recreational Therapy.

Special Opportunities

The major in recreational therapy provides students with opportunities for direct experience with clients with disabilities through local agencies. Through class practica, projects, internship opportunities, and field experiences, students learn intervention planning, therapeutic communication skills, service planning, and intervention techniques. Students in both undergraduate and graduate programs have opportunities to participate in faculty research.


Careers for M.S. degree-Graduates with an M.S. degree may assume positions as master clinicians who work directly in client care services as well as administrative positions supervising departments or service lines.

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