About the Department


To improve understanding of the leisure experience as well as human well-being across the life span through interdisciplinary and internationally relevant research, teaching, and service related to recreation, park, and tourism phenomena and resources.


To attain international preeminence among departments of recreation, park, and tourism management providing research, teaching, and service activities that:

  • advance intellectual and professional development of graduate and undergraduate students
  • address socio-cultural, economic, and environmental problems
  • foster sustainable development of people, economies, and the environment
  • influence policy
  • promote healthy living and quality of life for individuals, families, and communities


Our programs prepare students for supervisory and administrative positions with park systems, environmental centers, commercial recreation and tourism agencies, golf courses, hospitals and assisted living facilities, private voluntary agencies, schools and colleges, and other commercial, nonprofit, and public organizations that provide recreation and leisure services. Students interested in developing an understanding of and conducting research that addresses the social, psychological, and economic aspects of human behavior in recreation and leisure should also consider pursuing undergraduate and/or graduate degrees offered by the department.

InternshipsInternships and service learning opportunities like this one in Harrisburg, PA, allow students to hone their skills in real-world settings.

The program combines a broad educational foundation with specific courses designed to accommodate each student's career interests in recreation, park, and tourism management. By requiring undergraduates to obtain 300 hours of “real-world” experience and to work full-time for twelve weeks with professionals in the setting of the students’ choice, the program helps students gain the theoretical, managerial, technical, and experiential skills they need to become the next generation of leaders in the field. (In place of completing 300 hours of field work and twelve weeks of full-time experience, students pursing the Professional Golf Management option complete sixteen months of co-op education under the direction of a Class A member of the Professional Golfers' Association of America. Students complete a minimum of five separate co-op experiences to satisfy the sixteen-month requirement.)

Strong relationships with faculty (many of whom who have extensive experience with and conduct research with the industry), alumni (including many who have become the leaders in their chosen profession), and other industry leaders only serve to bolster this incredible learning experience.

Our programs have existed for six decades and are considered to be among the most outstanding recreation, park, and tourism management programs in the nation. It should come as no surprise that our students are some of the most highly sought-after graduates in the field, and that the employment rate for our graduates is extremely high.

Strategic Themes

Recreation, Park, and Tourism Experiences and Opportunities on Healthy Living

  • Impact of recreation, park, and tourism experiences and opportunities on individuals’ health and well-being across the life span
  • Impact of recreation, park, and tourism experiences and opportunities on the health of communities
  • Administrative, managerial, and policy developments that promote healthy participation in recreation, park, and tourism experiences

Recreation, Park, and Tourism Disparities

  • Equity and disparities in provision and participation in recreation, park and tourism
  • Role of recreation, park, and tourism in developing whole communities within sustainable environments
  • Administration, management, and policy development associated with provision of equitable, sustainable, and profitable recreation, park, and tourism