Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration

Faculty and staff at Horn Field Campus Celebration

Graduate Studies in Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration

The purpose of the graduate program is to advance academic and professional competency in critical and integrative thinking, problem-solving, and social responsibility essential to the provision of leisure services through an examination of the literature, research, focused coursework, and participation in experiential programs and pre-professional field experiences. In a world characterized by new technology and rapidly changing human needs, leisure is increasingly recognized for its contribution to a fulfilling life. Through a combination of classroom and experiential learning opportunities, our faculty train tomorrow’s leaders for fulfilling administrative careers in:

  • Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management
  • Non-profit administration
  • Camps
  • Outdoor recreation
  • Resource management
  • Recreation therapy and inclusion
  • Campus Recreation
  • Park districts and public recreation
  • Community sport and entertainment

Career Opportunities

Leisure industries are poised to grow greatly within the next 10 years according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Recent RPTA graduates have found employment with: 

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • National Park Service
  • Entertainment Cruises
  • Park Districts across Illinois
  • HyVee
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Country Clubs across Illinois
  • Mark Twain State Park
  • Adventure Works
  • Washington State Parks
  • American Cancer Society
  • TOP Golf
  • S. Forest Service
  • George Johnson Development
  • …and many others.

The RPTA Department has an extensive network of committed alumni around the world; students are provided opportunities to develop relationships with alumni and professional networks as they complete their degrees.

Master of Science in Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration  Learning Outcomes

In order to assess the MS in Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration degree program, competencies gained from five core courses will be assessed. In addition, students’ mastery of learning outcomes will be demonstrated through the defense of their exit option. Students will be informed of the learning outcomes at the annual RPTA Graduate Student Orientation and when they meet with the RPTA Graduate Director for initial advising. 

  1. The student will be able to interpret basic descriptive and inferential statistics commonly used by leisure service organizations.
  2. The student will be able to critique research/evaluation practices commonly used by leisure service organizations and scholars.
  3. The student will be able to apply philosophical concepts/theories commonly used as frameworks in leisure research.
  4. The student will demonstrate mastery of software used to construct budgets and fiscal documentation prevalently used in program, departmental and agency budgets.
  5. The student will demonstrate mastery of administrative principles common in leisure service organizations.
  6. The student will demonstrate professional competency, presentation creation skills, and written and oral communication skills through the public presentation of their exit option experience.