Graduate Academic Programs

Master's Degree Programs

Master of Science in Recreation Degree (MSR), Tourism Management Major

Description of Program

The tourism management program prepares students to enter the world's largest and most diverse industry. Tourism is the business of attracting and catering to the needs and expectations of visitors. This program focuses on the marketing to and management of tourists, tourist facilities, and destinations. These include government and non-government tourism organizations, hotels, resorts, convention centers, theme parks, visitor centers, cruises, airlines, and other tourist businesses.

The tourism management program may also serve as a stepping-stone to a doctoral program. Students interested in eventually pursuing a Ph.D. degree are encouraged to complete a Master’s Thesis, SPH-R 599, which will enhance their ability to conduct timely and useful research to further the field of tourism. Students are provided the necessary tools and encouraged to both initiate research projects and work with faculty on existing projects. Check with your academic advisor for more information including the opportunity to apply for department, school, and university grants to support your research interests.

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 courses (27 cr.):

  • SPH-Q 501 Introduction to Statistics in Public Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 510 Philosophy of Leisure and Recreation (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 511 Organizational Leadership for Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Public Lands (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 512 Administrative Theory and Management Practices in Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Public Lands (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 550 Special Concerns in Parks and Recreation: Issues in Tourism Studies (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 550 Special Concerns in Parks and Recreation: Foundational Issues in Research in Tourism (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 (3 – 5 cr.):

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

Complete one of the following courses (3 cr.):

  • SPH-O 512 Ecotourism: Management and Systems
  • SPH-R 522 Strategic Planning and Management in Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Public Lands (3 cr.)
  • SPH-T 513 Economics and Marketing for Leisure and Tourism (3 cr.)

Complete remaining electives, if needed, to reach the required minimum 35 credits.
Select electives with approval of advisor.  The following courses are recommended:

Prerequisites (If required)

  • SPH-R 412 Marketing for Leisure Services (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 425 Strategic Planning for Recreation, Park and Tourism Organizations (3 cr.)
  • SPH-T 301 Sustainable Tourism (3 cr.)
  • SPH-T 311 Convention Management and Meeting Planning (3 cr.)
Special Opportunities

Due to its global significance, tourism often involves practices in the international arena. The program offers overseas courses and trips that allow students to explore a multicultural landscape in a fashion that is conducive to learning. Further, internship opportunities can help students to preview the operation of interest within the tourism business in order to build a competitive edge in the field of specialization (e.g., hotel/resort management) prior to graduation.


Typical tourism job titles are hotel manager, marketing director of a city visitor and convention bureau, coordinator of a university conference bureau, event and meeting planner, researcher for a state department of tourism, and manager for a theme park.

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