About the Department

We aim to transform human and environmental health and well-being. To do this, we work to understand all of the factors that impact how people spend their leisure time. By understanding these factors, we can better support and develop interventions that focus on improving the benefits that people get from their leisure time.

And these benefits are extensive, impacting the environment, economy as well as mental, emotional, and physical well-being of people and communities.

Our work is wide-reaching, from lawmakers on Capitol Hill to the landscape of Yellowstone National Park. Our research, teaching, and services influence policy making, environmental impact, marketing strategies, and much more.

As a student in RPTM, we will help you prepare for a career where you can make a positive impact on human, social and environmental issues. Over the past sixty years, the RPTM program has earned the reputation for being among the most outstanding recreation, park, and tourism management programs in the nation. 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.

Our Mission

To transform human health and well-being through engaging people in recreation, park, tourism, and leisure settings.

Vision

We look to be an international leader by 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

Overview

Our programs prepare you 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.

The program combines a broad educational foundation with specific courses designed to accommodate your career interests in recreation, park, and tourism management. The program helps students gain the theoretical, managerial, technical, and experiential skills they need to become the next generation of leaders in the field. Additionally, you obtain 300 hours of real-world experience through our internship program. And you will work full-time for twelve weeks with professionals in a setting of the your choice.

Strong relationships with faculty, alumni, and other industry leaders round out this incredible learning experience.

Research

Our research makes a difference.

As RPTM faculty members, we are international leaders in research and productive scholars who collectively have published in many highest-quality peer-reviewed journals. We have contributed significantly to management practices and developed health-improving interventions for people across their lifespan. Local, state, and federal government officials recognize the importance of the research we are performing in RPTM, and have awarded a number of large grants to fund this work. Likewise, we have been recognized with many local, state, national, and international accolades. In keeping with Penn State's land-grant mission, our work has direct appplication to improving people's lives and promoting sustainability.

We mentor graduate and undergraduate students in the research process and facilitate their direct involvement in faculty-led projects. We encourage you, as a student, to get involved in various research labs to gain as much experience as possible.

Service and Outreach

We believe in a moral obligation to provide service and outreach to communities and professional organizations, and we encourage our students to help us in this obligation. A shining example of outreach is Shaver's Creek Environmental Education Center where we help the Center achieve its mission of helping people and communities obtain and maintain harmony between human activities and the environment.

You will have the opportunity to gain invaluable hands-on experience through classes and outreach experiences, such as designing creative community events, working in a team, consulting with professionals in the field, and managing projects.

We make a positive impact by:

  • Providing content expertise to local, state, national, and international organizations
  • Engaging in leadership capacities in numerous organizations such as the Travel and Tourism Research Association, Academy of Leisure Services, the World Leisure Association, the National Recreation and Park Association, and the Society for Applied Anthropology
  • Serving as reviewers or on editorial boards for numerous journals, including Leisure Sciences, Journal of Leisure research, Prevention Science, Environment and Behavior, and Tourism Management