Recreation Studies PhD Program Information

A few different degree programs are available for students who want to study recreation at the Ph.D. level. These programs allow students to customize their studies and research to prepare for their chosen career.

Essential Information

Graduate students interested in recreation can find program fields like recreation and leisure studies, recreation resources, or recreation and tourism studies. Most Ph.D. programs related to recreation studies last anywhere from 3-5 years, and students choose a particular area of focus, such as recreation and leisure administration, recreational behavior and cultural studies, or resources for recreational and leisure activities. Students are typically expected to complete graduate-level coursework, pass examinations and complete a dissertation project.

Most Ph.D. programs require that applicants have completed a master's degree program, or at least a bachelor's degree program, and submit an essay indicating their chosen concentration of study. Some schools also require that students select a faculty advisor in their concentration area.

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Recreation Studies PhD Programs

Students are often required to do a great deal of individual work and research related to their specific chosen concentration, in addition to core classwork. Common core classes include:

  • Theoretical issues in leisure studies
  • Quantitative research data analysis
  • Resources and policy in recreation
  • Contemporary issues in recreation
  • Work and health research seminar
  • Fundamentals of aging and well-being

Popular Career Choices

Many individuals who graduate with a doctoral degree eventually enter the field of academia as professors or administrators. Some other professions related to recreation that might be of interest to doctoral graduates include:

  • Park recreation administrator
  • Director of recreational services
  • Tourism coordinator
  • Athletic director
  • Research manager, therapist or sales agent
  • Recreation and leisure consultant

A Ph.D. program in recreation allows students to choose an area of concentration and conduct independent research leading to a dissertation. Graduates may find work as park administrators, research managers or service directors, among other career paths.

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