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, sports, and recreation activities than ever before, the job outlook for recreation administration graduates is excellent. This option is for students interested in public agencies, private/commercial organizations, campus recreation, military recreation, or general park administration/management. All degree candidates in this program complete a capstone experience - an intensive master's project that summarizes the knowledge and skills obtained from coursework, an internship through which concepts and principles learned from coursework is applied, 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 (21 cr.):

  • SPH-Q 501 Introduction to Statistics in Public Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 510 Philosophy of Leisure and Recreation (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 512 Administrative Theory and Management Practices in Leisure Services (3 cr.) --or-- SPH-R 511 Organizational Leadership of Leisure Services (3 cr,)
  • SPH-R 544 Legal Aspects of Recreation Administration (3 cr.)
  • SPH-X 505 Principles and Foundations of Public Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-X 561 Finance and Budgeting (3 cr.)
  • SPH-X 590 Introduction to Research in Health, Kinesiology, and Recreation (3 cr.)

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

  • SPH-R 598 Master's Project in Administration (2-4 cr.)
  • SPH-R 599 Master's Thesis (5 cr.)
  • SPH-R 697 Internships in Recreation and Parks (3 cr.)

Complete from the following electives to reach the required minimum 35 credits. (9 – 12 cr.)
Select electives with approval of advisor.

Management and Administration

  • SPH-M 581 Sales and Service Management in Sport (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 522 Tourism Planning and Management in Recreation, Park, and Nonprofit Agencies (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 571 Recreational Sports Administration (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 574 Human Resource Management in Recreational Sports (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 695 Practicum in Recreation and, Parks (1 – 3 cr.)

Theory and Foundations

  • EDUC-Y 520 Strategies for Educationational Inquiry (3 cr.)
  • SPH-M 521 History of Sport in the United States (3 cr.)
  • SPH-M 522 The Role of Sport in Society (3 cr.)
  • SPH-M 525 Psychological Foundations of Exercise and Sport (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 691 Readings in Recreation (2 – 3 cr.)
  • SPH-X 580 Qualitative Research in Public Health (3 cr.)

Topics and Trends

  • SPH-K 560 Corporate Fitness and Wellness (3 cr.)
  • SPH-M 514 Sport Marketing and Sponsorship (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 524 Fundraising for Public and Nonprofit Agencies (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 573 Seminar in Recreational Sports (2 cr.)
  • SPH-R 693 Independent Study and Research (3 cr.)
  • SPH-T 513 Economics and Marketing for Leisure and Tourism (3 cr.)
Special Opportunities

The graduate program offers opportunities to learn from a dedicated faculty of recreation professionals who are committed to the success of their students. Students also have a wide variety of research opportunities with the faculty. Classroom learning is enhanced by a variety of functioning recreation programs that provide many learning opportunities such as a diverse and comprehensive campus recreational sports program, a local parks and recreation program including 40 park sites, a golf course, ice arena, two pools, three community centers, and over 30 miles in trails. Additionally, there are outstanding commercial, non-profit, youth and family recreation and sports programs and facilities available for learning opportunities both 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.

Campus Recreation Program Director: manages the comprehensive administrative functions of personnel, budget, facilities, and programming for intramural, informal, aquatics and sport clubs in student recreational sport facilities at colleges and universities.

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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