Graduate Academic Programs

Master's Degree Programs

Online Master of Science in Recreation Degree (M.S.R.), 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 Health and Wellness Design. 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 the following list of requirements:

Public Health Foundations Requirement (0 credits)
All new master's degree students must complete the Public Health Foundations online course no later than the end of their first semester of graduate study. Complete details and registration information for this course can be found

Foundation Courses (21 credits)
Complete each of the following courses:

  • 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 Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Public Lands (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 542 Fiscal Management in Recreation Administration (3 cr.) -or- SPH-X 561 Finance and Budgeting (3 cr.)
  • SPH-T 550 Foundational Issues in Research in Tourism (3 cr.)
  • SPH-T 552 Contemporary Issues in Tourism Studies (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 590 Introduction to Research in Health & Wellness Design (3 cr.)

Capstone Course (2–4 credits)
Complete the following course:

  • SPH-R 598 Master's Project in Administration (2–4 cr.)

Electives (10–12 cr.)
Complete electives to reach the required minimum 35 graduate-level credits. Electives must be selected with advisor approval.

  • SPH-573 Current Events in Recreation Admin (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 585 Leisure as a Determinant of Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-T 513 Economics & Marketing for Leisure 7 Tourism (3 cr.)
  • SPH-O 510 Human Health, Quality of Life & Natural Environments (3 cr.)
  • SPH-R 544 Legal Aspects of Recreation (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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