Recreation Major, Minor 1800 x 540 Recreation Major, Minor 1800 x 540 Recreation-Major-Minor-420x560

Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Services Administration

(Major, Minor)

Program Overview

In this major, you'll focus on enhancing the quality of life, and providing social development for people, lifting them up, and creating stronger communities. You'll learn how to combine recreation operations, facilities, marketing, planning, and management to meet the needs of people of all ages and abilities. As a student in the recreation program, you'll spend your time doing what you love—and help others make the most of their free time.

Program Snapshot

Program Type: Full-Time
Location: On-Campus
Program Length: 4 years
Credit Hours: 21 - 66

Why This Program & What You'll Learn

Recreation is a vital part of health and wellness, but a lot of people find it hard to find time for themselves. As a recreation major, you'll help others learn the importance of finding that time.

You'll choose from one of three concentrations in this major: outdoor and environmental recreationrecreation and event management, and recreation therapy. Each concentration offers extensive opportunities for hands-on, service-learning-based projects and assignments to put your classroom knowledge to use. The unique natural resources of our region, such as 15 area parks, the Chippewa River, and the Great Lakes, offer many opportunities to gain professional skills and contacts through fieldwork, internships, and volunteering.

Students in the recreation and event management program, the first of its kind in Michigan, participate in community projects at sports and entertainment venues, corporate events, and county parks and recreation. Outdoor and environmental recreation students build leadership skills on our rock climbing wall and plan activities for camps and outdoor education programs. Our therapeutic recreation concentration gives you the knowledge, skills, and experience to become a nationally certified therapeutic recreation specialist providing recreational therapy interventions to people with disabilities in a variety of settings.

Before you start your career, you'll get real-world experience. Lots of it. Finish up your academic career with a 30-week internship, the longest of any recreation program in the nation. Our Center for Leisure Services can help you find a perfect match. You might even earn your mouse ears at Disney World, through the Disney College Program.

Our programs have been accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions for nearly four decades.

Program Highlights

As a student in our recreation program, you'll:

  • Be surrounded by an inclusive, welcoming, and passionate faculty and student body in Finch Fieldhouse. Faculty have an open door policy and are on a first-name basis with students.
  • Be part of an event management program recognized as the world's best by The International Festivals and Events Association.
  • Surround yourself with high achieving peers — our therapeutic recreation grads pass their certification exam at a 94.9% rate, higher than the national average.
  • Earn credits while working or volunteering at a camp, nature center, park, or zoo in our outdoor recreation program.
  • Have opportunities to join many student groups, including the Association of Recreation and Event Professionals, the High Adventure Club, and the Therapeutic Recreation Student Club.


Filter Concentrations by Location:

Our program is where learning takes you to the great outdoors, preparing you to give others the road map to understanding our natural world. Combine your passions for outdoor, wilderness and environmental education in this program, and we'll prepare you for a career in a variety of settings, such as nature centers, national parks and adventure camps.

If you love the outdoors, feel connected to the environment, and enjoy educating people, you can turn that passion into a career in outdoor recreation. Our outdoor and environmental recreation students combine class and practical application in the field to prepare for careers in parks, protected areas, camps, and outdoor or environmental education programs — including at national parks or adventure programs. A minor and a required internship provide supplemental skills and practice in programming, leadership, and administration.

Good times don't just happen, they're often planned down to the smallest detail. You'll learn what it takes to carry off a memorable event in our Recreation & Event Management program. Grads go on to work in music festivals, convention centers, amusement or theme parks, community centers, non-profit organizations, and more.

What and Why

If you're going to bring an event from concept to wow, you need more than a great idea. You have to know how to handle a budget You need impeccable organizational skills. You'll work with marketing teams, contractors, speakers, and others who will bring your vision to life.

Our event management minor can teach you to do all that and more. This interdisciplinary minor complements many majors, which makes you more marketable. By the time you graduate, you'll be ready to plan activities ranging in scope from intimate gatherings to multi-day events in the U.S. and abroad. You'll find event planners at work in a range of industries, including business, education, and government.

You'll get hands-on experience in this minor, which is part of our award-winning Recreation and Event Management program. Your classes will cover topics such as catering, lodging, tourism, public relations, and graphic design.

Program Highlights

As a student in the event management program, you will:

  • Work with an organization to plan and produce a live event as part of your minor.
  • Study with faculty members who have professional event-planning experience.
  • Network with industry leaders when you join the Association of Recreation and Event Professionals.
  • Be involved with a program identified as the best events management bachelor’s degree in 2019 by the International Festivals and Event Association.
  • Be part of a program accredited by the Council of Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT).

Learn more about Recreation and Events Management.

You won't do much sitting in a classroom for this program. You will learn first-hand how to use recreation as a form of therapy in working with clients that have disabilities. To do this you will engage in classroom activities such as wheelchair basketball, riding our adaptive bikes, taking part in stress management techniques, using virtual reality, and learning about journaling as a therapeutic technique and much more! Our program is designed to provide you with the knowledge, skills, and practical experience necessary to become a nationally certified therapeutic recreation specialist (CTRS).

What and Why

You'll learn how to provide functional treatment interventions and adapted recreational activities for clients with intellectual disabilities, psychiatric conditions, physical disabilities, and chemical dependency issues. Your clients will range from pediatric patients to older adults with disabilities.

A culminating clinical internship will complete your training and prepare you to work as a professional recreational therapist. Upon graduation, you can expect to work as a recreational therapist on physical rehabilitation units, mental health facilities, pediatric medical camps, long-term care facilities, medical camps, and community inclusion programs. Many students also go on to further their education in occupational therapy graduate school.

Program Highlights

  • Receive your degree from one of the most successful programs in the U.S., with our program ranking as the top five programs in the nation for the number of certified therapeutic recreation specialists.
  • Become a recreational therapist then directly upon graduation pursue a graduate degree in occupational therapy or other allied health graduate programs
  • Graduates of this program pass the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) exam at a 94.9% rate - above the national passing rate.
  • Take part in a unique faculty-led study abroad program to Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia.
  • Finish up your academic career with a 15 or 30-week clinical internship

Learn more about Recreational Therapy.

Careers & Outcomes

Our recreation graduates work for many types of organizations across the country including parks departments, sports complexes, hospitals, festivals, schools, and many more.

Career Projected Salary
Recreational Therapist $48,220
Conservation Scientist/Park Ranger $41,982
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planner $50,600
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