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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree in Recreation Studies

Majors Overview February 1, 2015

Receive information about bachelor’s degree programs in recreation studies and their educational requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education options.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree Programs in Recreation Studies

The focus of the majority of bachelor’s degree programs in recreation studies is primarily on the operation, philosophy, and history of leisure and sports events.

Students enrolled in these programs are commonly taught about trends within the field, and they become adept at conducting risk analyses, finding funding for, and planning and managing league operations, tournaments, or special events.

Some programs offer concentration areas within the field, including specialization in youth development, sports management, therapeutic recreation, travel and tourism, or community recreation. Schools may also give students the opportunity to gain practical experience in real-world settings with internships at recreational places, including YMCAs, rehabilitation centers, or state parks.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma, in addition to submission of official ACT or SAT scores.


Students enrolled in a recreation program typically explore areas of management, and activity development and leadership. Additionally, students may be offered coursework in areas of park programs and inclusive recreation. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Leisure administration
•Recreation philosophy
•Facility design
•Leisure history
•Event planning
•Marketing enterprises
•Area design
•Special populations
•Leisure services legal issues

Career Choices

Those who complete an undergraduate program in recreation can seek entry-level careers with nonprofit, commercial, and private organizations in various leisure and sports related fields. The choice of work setting may depend on an individual’s interests and include nature areas and state parks.

Alternatively, graduates may prefer to work with community sports associations or fitness centers. Some may even wish to develop leisure activities for recovering addicts, in order to help others rehabilitate. Graduates may choose from positions such as:

•Athletic trainers
•Athletic directors
•Park rangers

Job and Wage Outlook

A job growth rate of 19% has been predicted for athletic trainers and exercise physiologists, over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, these professionals brought home an average annual wage of $42,690 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Those who successfully graduate from the bachelor’s degree program in recreation studies may opt for continuing education by earning a master’s degree in the field. Schools have devised master’s degree programs in recreation to make students adept at developing leadership and promoting social change through individualized programs aimed at helping individuals to advance their careers in research in recreation, management, or administration.

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