Undergraduate Programs

Transforming Health and Well-Being

Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management is designed to help you gain knowledge and skills in the transformation of human and environmental health and well-being through engaging people in recreation, park, tourism, and leisure experiences.

The number and diversity of places where you can study and work is broad. These settings can include resorts, arenas, national parks, YMCAs, golf courses, event planning agencies, and tourism companies, to name a few.

As a student in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, you will learn, for example, how economic, cultural, and other factors affect individuals’ behavior during their free time as well as the impact recreation, park, and tourism development has on the health and well-being of individuals and their communities. You will also develop leadership, planning, and evaluation skills both in and out of the classroom.

Some examples include leading outdoor education programs at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, planning a special event for an agency in the community, or evaluating the success of a golf clinic at the Penn State Golf courses. With a focus on management, students in the program learn to administer natural resources, facilities, and individuals’ experiences.

Program Mission

We strive to educate and inspire undergraduate students to make contributions to society, and our conceptual approach serves as the foundation of what and how we teach. In particular, we integrate topics such as diversity, environmental sustainability, human development, health and well being, social innovation and entrepreneurship, community and economic development, and leadership and management across the curricula. We provide the opportunities and resources for you to learn critical thinking, problem solving and systems thinking so you are prepared to effectively respond to human, social, and environmental issues.

Specific ways that RPTM faculty members make a difference through teaching include:

  • Engaging students in experiential learning
  • Providing opportunities for international experiences
  • Encouraging involvement in professional organizations

Options Available

Our department offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management. There are three options within the program.

Common Career Paths

A degree from RPTM is suited for you if you have career interests in supervisory and administrative positions in the following fields:

  • Parks and land management agencies
  • Environmental interpretation centers
  • Commercial, community, and municipal recreation organizations
  • Tourism bureaus and private industry
  • Golf courses
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Schools, colleges, and universities


In order to enhance your classroom experiences, you will have the opportunity to improve your skills and knowledge with internships.

Students in the Outdoor Recreation option or the Community and Commercial Recreation option complete a two-tiered internship requirement. Students in PGM take part in sixteen months of internships experiences.

The primary purpose of these internships is to enable you to meet your educational objectives through preparation in a well-planned and personalized practical experience related to your career.

Study Abroad

For those interested in studying internationally, RPTM has study abroad opportunities for you.

The Australia and New Zealand courses focus on topics related to sustainable development through educational travel, field trips, active participation, lecture presentations and seminars, and course work exercises.

The goal of these courses is to use regions in the South Pacific as cases to integrate the different perspectives of diverse natural, biological, and social science disciplines to improve understanding of relationships between human societies and the natural environment and the role of tourism in those interactions.

Shaver's Creek

Shaver’s Creek was founded in 1976 as a resource for the community, and as a field laboratory for Penn State students to get hands-on experience teaching about the natural world. The programs at the Environmental Center, Outdoor School, Raptor Center, and Team Development Center provide a mix of educational and recreational opportunities for families, schools, corporate groups, and Penn State students.