Graduate Programs

We strive to educate and inspire graduate students to make contributions to society, and our conceptual approach serves as the foundation of what and how we teach. In particular, we integrate topics such as diversity, environmental sustainability, human development, health and well being, social innovation and entrepreneurship, community and economic development, and leadership and management across the curricula. We provide the opportunities and resources for you to learn critical thinking, problem solving and systems thinking so you are prepared to effectively respond to human, social, and environmental issues.

Specific ways that RPTM faculty members make a difference through teaching include:

  • Engaging students in experiential learning
  • Providing opportunities for international experiences
  • Encouraging involvement in professional organizations

Research, Theory, and Practice

Our multidisciplinary graduate program is designed to educate students about research, theory, and practice related to leisure and recreation as experienced at the individual, societal, and cross-cultural levels.

Both the M.S. program and Ph.D. program help students develop an understanding of the social, environmental, psychological, and economic aspects of human behavior in recreation and leisure activities and also allow students to concentrate their studies in:

  • Recreation/tourism management and marketing
  • Commercial recreation and tourism
  • Therapeutic recreation
  • Outdoor recreation and protected area management
  • Community recreation
  • General leisure behavior

Course work and collaborative research with faculty offer students the opportunity to gain broad-based knowledge about leisure and recreation but also to concentrate on particular sub-fields of interest. These include disciplinary areas, such as the psychological, social, and cultural aspects of leisure and recreation; and applied areas, including recreation management, tourism, and outdoor resource based recreation.

Programs Offered

Master of Science in RPTM (M.S. RPTM) - a program for individuals wishing to pursue a Ph.D at Penn State.

Doctor of Philosophy in RPTM (Ph.D. RPTM) - an advanced graduate program designed for individuals who wish to become leisure researchers and instructors at the college and university level or who seek training appropriate for high level positions with public or private recreation providers

Additional Information

Individuals interested in either the M.S. or Ph.D. programs in RPTM may contact:

Melissa Strouse 814-863-6599


Dr. Deb Kerstetter, Professor-in-Charge of Graduate Studies