Recreation Studies Masters Degree Program Overviews

Mar 28, 2021

Essential Information

Graduate students in recreation studies learn the dynamics of different leisure settings, such as parks, camps, sports facilities and rehabilitation centers. Some master's programs in recreation studies offer more theoretical, research-oriented coursework. Furthermore, most programs give students the option to concentrate in therapeutic recreation, a subfield of recreation studies concerned with disabled and recovering participants.

Students can earn a master's degree in recreation studies within one to two years. Depending on their concentration, graduates of master's programs in recreation studies often go on to work as recreation designers and administrators or find employment as recreational therapists.

Before enrolling, prospective students must first earn a bachelor's degree in recreation studies or a related field and graduate with a minimum GPA of 3.0. In addition, they must submit either GRE or MAT scores, recommendation letters, and a personal statement.

Master's Degree in Recreation Studies

In a master's degree program in recreation studies, students learn about the dynamics of different leisure settings. Coursework covers a variety of areas in recreation studies and topics include:

  • Community development
  • Data analysis
  • Philosophy of leisure
  • Recreation design
  • Recreation management
  • Recreation marketing

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The employment outlook of recreation professionals is much faster than average compared to other occupations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS,, jobs should grow by 10% for all recreation workers from 2019 to 2029. Recreational therapists, specifically, will see 8% employment growth during the same time frame.

As of May 2019, recreational therapists made a median income of $48,220 a year. The highest ten percent earned over $77,970 annually, while the lowest ten percent earned under $30,880 annually. Recreational therapists working for the federal government earned the highest salaries, followed by those working in local, state and private hospitals.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates of recreational studies master's programs can continue on to earn a Ph.D. in recreation studies, which often leads to research and teaching positions. In addition, several organizations, including the National Recreation and Park Association, offer certification to recreation professionals.

In summary, a master's degree in recreation studies equips students with the fundamentals of leisure settings and includes courses on data analysis, community development and recreation management. Programs offer different areas of concentration that allow graduates to eventually work as recreation designers and administrators or as recreational therapists.

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