Graduate Programs

Our multidisciplinary graduate program is designed to educate students about research, theory, and practice related to leisure and recreation as experienced at the individual, societal, and cross-cultural levels. Both the M.S. program and Ph.D. program help students develop an understanding of the social, environmental, psychological, and economic aspects of human behavior in recreation and leisure activities and also allow students to concentrate their studies in a variety of areas: recreation/tourism management and marketing; commercial recreation and tourism; therapeutic recreation; outdoor recreation and protected area management; community recreation; and general leisure behavior.

Graduate students study and conduct research on the impact of recreation and leisure at individual, societal, and cross-cultural levels.

Course work and collaborative research with faculty offer students the opportunity to gain broad based knowledge about leisure and recreation but also to concentrate on particular sub fields of interest. These include disciplinary areas, such as the psychological, social, and cultural aspects of leisure and recreation; and applied areas, including recreation management, tourism, and outdoor resource based recreation. Entering students who lack a background in RPTM are required to take course work to provide the necessary foundation for continued graduate study. Both the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees require the completion of a research-based thesis.

Programs Offered

Master of Science in RPTM (M.S. RPTM) - a program for individuals wishing to pursue a Ph.D at Penn State.

Doctor of Philosophy in RPTM (Ph.D. RPTM) - an advanced graduate program designed for individuals who wish to become leisure researchers and instructors at the college and university level or who seek training appropriate for high level positions with public or private recreation providers

Research Laboratories

RPTM research labs

Additional Information

Individuals interested in either the M.S. or Ph.D. programs in RPTM may contact:

Melissa Strouse 814-863-6599


Dr. Deb Kerstetter, Professor-in-Charge of Graduate Studies