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Penn State's Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management program 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.

Transforming Health

Manage natural resources, venues, and programs for the benefit of individuals and their communities. There are numerous and diverse settings where you can study and work. These settings can include resorts, arenas, national parks, golf courses, event planning agencies, and tourism companies.

Learn 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.

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


The Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management program is a bachelor of science (B.S.) degree program. There are three options in the program.

Community and Commercial Recreation

The Community and Commercial Recreation option focuses on the management of recreation and tourism venues and programs. The courses are designed to help you develop a well-rounded view of the business of recreation and tourism with courses in marketing, event planning, tourism, and management. Work in resorts, theme parks, or convention centers, or improve the quality of life for others through recreation program delivery in government and non-profit agencies or the tourism industry.

Outdoor Recreation

In the Outdoor Recreation option, those with an interest in the outdoors can learn the business of recreation programs, environmental education and interpretation services, as well as outdoor venue management. Through courses and experiences outside of the classroom, you will study how people, communities, and environments can benefit from interaction with the natural world. Take advantage of Penn State’s Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center and its 7,000-acre outdoor laboratory.

Professional Golf Management

The PGA Professional Golf Management option allows you to pursue a career in the golf industry and can help you meet the standards and accreditation by the Professional Golf Association of America (PGA) and fast track to full PGA membership. Courses in the option focus on the business of golf as well as hospitality management and turf grass management. The experiences beyond the classroom can include working at or visiting golf courses around the world. There you can learn first-hand how to deliver golf instruction and gain experience in retail and facility management.


Recreation, Park and Tourism Management offers a minor to students who are interested in deepening their understanding of recreation and tourism as a complement to their field of study. The minor is designed to help you gain skills and knowledge in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management. It can be useful to a number of majors, including journalism, advertising, public relations, hospitality management, and business.

Professional Development

Student Organizations

RPTM Student Society provides opportunities for professional development, educational enrichment, and social, physical and cultural programs.

PGA Golf Management Society provides a forum for all Professional Golf Management students to openly discuss relevant golf-related issues.

Professional Interaction

Alumni of the program regularly return to campus to take part in professional and social events. You will have the opportunity to meet and work with a number of these engaged alumni and learn from them.

Networking Opportunities

Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management students participate in the College's alumni-student mentor program, which supports networking with alumni. Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management students complete internships at over 100+ different recreation service delivery agencies each year. We are currently developing a database of internship agencies with alumni contacts.

Alumni professionals in PGM are also paired with students through both formal and informal mentorship. An alumni network of over 500 PGM graduates, PGMSS monthly meetings with guest speakers, travel to the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, and the internship program that requires five internships exposing students to multiple networks of golf professionals and members.

Specialized Corporate Recruiting

All student recruitment is conducted through the program’s internship coordinators. Some on-campus interview days are held each semester as well as guest speakers from industry visit and recruit through both the Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management and PGM Student Societies. Marriott Vacations Worldwide has recently established a formal recruiting opportunity for both corporate and property internships for students in all options.

Tailored Career Events/Fairs

Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management students participate in the People to People Career Fair hosted by Penn State Career Services.

Travel to the PGA Merchandise Show is an opportunity for all current PGM students.

Professional Resources

Take advantage of the many resources available to you as a student, including: