Skip to main content
Explore Health and Human Development

The Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. The master's program is designed for students who wish to continue their studies at the doctoral level at Penn State. Thus, students who wish to pursue a Ph.D. degree but do not have an M.S. degree will complete a thesis and earn a master's degree in the process of working toward the doctorate. The doctoral program provides in-depth preparation for research and teaching positions at the college and university levels as well as higher-level administrative positions.

Students who enter either the master's or doctoral program without a background in recreation, park, or tourism management will be required to take additional course work to provide the necessary foundation for successful graduate study. Both degrees require the completion of a research-based thesis.

Master's Degree Program of Study

The M.S. program requires a minimum of 30 graduate credits and a 3.00 (B) grade-point average for graduation. The master's degree must be completed within eight years from matriculation as a degree candidate. If a student enters without needing additional course work, the normal duration of the master's degree is four semesters for students entering in the fall semester and omitting summer sessions. Choice of thesis research may alter this timing, however. Studies may be started in any semester during the school year although the normal sequence of classes is based on fall enrollment. The program cannot be completed by enrollment in summer sessions only.

Prerequisites for graduate students who do not have an undergraduate degree in RPTM typically ranges from 3 to 9 credits, depending on the student's background and experience. Students may petition their academic adviser and the graduate program director if they feel that their previous educational or work experience should satisfy some or all of their prerequisites. Prerequisites for incoming graduate students with undergraduate majors in RPTM range from 0 to 6 credits. Incoming graduate students with undergraduate degrees in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management from Penn State are assumed to have met all prerequisite requirements. The graduate program director determines prerequisites for all incoming students. For updated information on specific course requirements, please refer to our RPTM Graduate Handbook

All RPTM master's degree candidates must complete a data-based thesis and a total of 30 credits, excluding deficiencies/provisions and prerequisites.

RPTM course descriptions

For information on specific course descriptions, visit$programs.htm.

Past research projects

For information on specific research projects completed by previous graduate students visit

Tuition and fees

For information on tuition and fees, visit