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Recreation & Tourism Management

Please Note: The Recreation and Tourism Management Program is no longer accepting students to the Recreational Therapy emphasis. The program has a strong plan to make certain that current students will be able to complete the requirements for the Recreational Therapy emphasis and sit for the certification exam. Students are encouraged to email their advisors at the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences Advisement Center regarding guidance on how to proceed with course planning. Additional questions should be directed to Dr. Beth Myers, Chair of the School of Human Ecology:   

Recreation & Tourism Management Program

By choosing one of the emphasis areas in the Recreation Program, you’re choosing a rewarding profession that provides life-changing experiences. You will learn the skills you need to become a young professional who can:

  • provide enriching experiences for adults;
  • bring families and communities together;
  • care for the natural and cultural environment; and
  • provide the basis for the economic growth of communities.

Our students learn how to thrive in this competitive and compelling field. The Recreation Program at Georgia Southern University is the only accredited four-year bachelor’s degree for this field in the state of Georgia. Since 1983, our students have been gaining rewarding, exciting, and fun professions that provide life-changing experiences.

Georgia Southern offers three distinct emphases for students:

Outdoor Recreation

Experiential Learning that Prepares Students for Careers in the Outdoors

Students are involved in numerous experiential learning opportunities designed to develop knowledge and skills necessary for success in the outdoor recreation industry.

  • Students in RECR 3230 (Adventure Education) plan and lead multi-day adventure trips under instructor supervision. Activities include backpacking, canoeing, sea kayaking, and whitewater rafting. An emphasis is placed on using the adventure experience as a means of promoting personal and professional growth for participants.
  • Students in RECR 3235 (Outdoor Recreation Management) participate in an overnight service learning trip for National Public Lands Day. Previous locations include Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and Strom Thurmond Lake. The class frequently meets in other outdoor settings around
  • Students in RECR 4230 (Environmental Education & Interpretation) conduct site visits to the Georgia Southern Museum, the Botanical Gardens, the Center for Wildlife Education and other locations to evaluate educational and interpretive programs. Students actively participate in program design and implementation, and receive both Project Learning Tree and Project WILD Educator certifications upon course completion.
  • Students have the opportunity to earn academic credit for courses offered through Landmark Learning, the National Outdoor Leadership School, Outward Bound, and related
  • All students complete a minimum of 200 experience hours and a 480-600 hour internship in an approved organizational

Careers in Outdoor Recreation

There are two general career paths that outdoor recreation students can pursue: Outdoor Recreation Management and Outdoor Program Administration.

Outdoor Recreation Management: public sector employment with federal, state, and local land management agencies.

Recent employment and internship locations for Georgia Southern alumni include:

  • Army Corps of Engineers
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Georgia DNR – State Parks & Historic Sites; Law Enforcement; Wildlife Resources
  • Local park and recreation departments
  • National Park Service
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Forest Service

Outdoor Program Administration: provision of recreational, educational, developmental, and therapeutic adventure programs in the private, non-profit, and public sectors.

Recent employment and internship locations for Georgia Southern alumni include:

  • Camps, private schools, and residential facilities
  • Commercial guide services and tourism providers
  • Destination ski resorts
  • Military Morale, Welfare, and Recreation programs
  • National Outdoor Leadership School
  • Outdoor education centers and science schools
  • Outward Bound
  • University Outdoor Programs
  • Therapeutic Wilderness Programs

The Outdoor Recreation emphasis is comprised of six required courses:

  • RECR 3230 – Adventure Education
  • RECR 3235 – Outdoor Recreation Management
  • RECR 4230 – Environmental Education and Interpretation
  • RECR 4630 – Professional Development in Recreation
  • Two Upper Division RECR Electives

Students interested in the outdoor recreation management career path are required to minor or pursue 15 credits of Guided Major Electives in areas such as anthropology, biology, communication studies, geographic information sciences (GIS), geography, geology, graphic design, history, or justice studies.

  • Students interested in the outdoor recreation management career path are strongly encouraged to complete a minimum of 24 natural science course credits (includes RECR 3235, and RECR 4230).

Students interested in outdoor program administration are required to minor or pursue 15 credits of Guided Major Electives in areas such as business, child and family

development, communication studies, exercise science, geography, health education & promotion, justice studies, psychology, or sociology.

For more information about Outdoor Recreation at Georgia Southern University, please contact:

 Dr. John Peden

Professor & Program Coordinator Recreation & Tourism Management


Recreational Therapy (Not Accepting New Students)

Recreational Therapists provide recreation and activity interventions to clients who desire to improve their health and quality of life. Recreational Therapy (RT) is the purposeful use of recreation and activity interventions to improve clients’ functioning in six domains:

  • Cognitive
  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Social
  • Spiritual
  • Leisure

Recreational Therapy Job Tasks and Responsibilities

  • Formal client assessments
  • Planning purposeful interventions based on assessment results
  • Implementation of selected interventions for groups of clients or individuals
  • Evaluation of intervention effectiveness
  • Regular documentation of RT services

Recreational Therapy Employment Settings

  • Hospitals
  • Institutions
  • Nursing homes
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Residential schools
  • Schools
  • Correctional facilities
  • Camps
  • Mental Health Centers
  • Parks and Recreation Departments

Recreational Therapy Populations Served

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spina bifida
  • Autism
  • Mental health
  • Mental retardation
  • Cerebral palsy

Selected Recreational Therapy Interventions

  • Adventure Therapy
  • Anger Management Techniques
  • Aquatic Therapy
  • Expressive Arts
  • Leisure Education
  • Stress Management Techniques
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Amputations
  • Cerebral vascular accidents
  • Adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders
  • Elderly
  • Therapeutic Horseback Riding
  • Therapeutic Reminiscence
  • Animal Assisted Therapy
  • Therapeutic Use of Exercise
  • Therapeutic Use of Play
  • Values Clarification

Recreational Therapy at Georgia Southern University

Students who complete the Recreational Therapy emphasis area at GSU are qualified to become nationally certified as Recreational Therapists and serve the rehabilitation and recreation needs of individuals in a variety of settings. Recreational Therapy students participate in many experiential opportunities where they observe practitioners in clinical, medical, and community settings as well as participate in disability simulations to gain a greater understanding of the clients they will work with. As a part of their coursework, students will complete a minimum of 100 experience hours and a 560-600 hour internship in an approved RT setting of their choice.

Recent GSU RT alumni employment and internship locations

  • Shepherd Center
  • Coastal Harbor Treatment Center
  • Roosevelt Warm Springs Rehabilitation Institute
  • Peachford Care Hospital
  • The Bridge (Residential Treatment Center)
  • VA Hospital in Augusta
  • Rockdale County Parks and Recreation
  • Camp Twin Lakes
  • Coliseum Rehabilitation Center
  • Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center

RT Coursework at GSU

As one of the emphasis areas within the Recreation and Tourism Management Program, students in the RT emphasis complete five core Recreation courses in addition to their Area F requirements. The RT emphasis is comprised of five RT specific courses:

  • RECR 2131 Introduction to Recreational Therapy
  • RECR 3135 Program Planning in Recreational Therapy
  • RECR 4130 Assessment in Recreational Therapy
  • RECR 4135 Intervention Techniques in Recreational Therapy
  • RECR 4730 Professional Advancement in Recreational Therapy

Additionally, students complete coursework in Anatomy and Physiology, Lifespan Development, and Abnormal Psychology. Students in RT are strongly encouraged to identify a minor or area of concentration that will compliment their future employment setting. Suggested minors and areas of concentration include:

  • Child and Family Development
  • Community Health
  • Exercise Science
  • Health Behavior
  • Justice Studies
  • Nutrition and Food Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

Tourism & Community Leisure Services

The Tourism and Community Leisure Services emphasis areas enable students to acquire the skills and practical experiences required to succeed in a variety of career paths. Those interested the Tourism track learn about the diverse nature of this industry and how to work effectively in the fields of destination marketing and management; conference, festival and event planning; hotel and resort management; and attractions management. Additionally, students are prepared for careers in the vast array of recreation and leisure service delivery businesses located at tourism destinations.

The Community Leisure Services track provides students the skills and experiences required to manage recreation programs and facilities. Career opportunities abound in organizations such as community parks and recreation departments, campus recreation centers, YMCA’s, Boys and Girls Clubs, and tourism destination resorts and hotels.

In both areas, students gain practical experience in a number of field-based settings, complete 200 experience hours (paid or unpaid) and a 480-600 hour internship at a location related to the student’s specific interests. These program features provide Tourism and Community Leisure Services students the flexibility needed to tailor their education around their passions and interests all while preparing for a future career. Our graduates are employed by a wide range of public, private, and non-profit organizations throughout the United States.

Potential careers in tourism

  • Destination Marketing & Sales
  • Tourism Promotion & Planning Agencies
  • Visitor’s Bureau Director
  • Special Event Planner
  • Event, Conference, Festival or Wedding Planner
  • Tourism Attraction Manager
  • Convention Center Director
  • Resort Recreation Director
  • Resort Operations & Management
  • Tour or Travel Guide
  • Cruise Ship Recreation Director
  • Airline Flight Attendant

Potential careers in community leisure services

  • Campus Recreation/Intramurals Director
  • Recreation or Sport Facility Director
  • City/County Recreation Department Director
  • Aquatics Director & Water Park Operations
  • Athletic/Sport Program Director
  • Youth Athletics Supervisor
  • Facilities/Athletics Coordinator
  • US Military Morale, Welfare & Recreation Programs
  • Fitness Center Director
  • Recreation Facility Maintenance Director
  • Corporate Recreation Director
  • City/Regional Arts Center Director
  • Golf Course Operations & Management

Recent employment and internship locations

  • Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority
  • Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Island
  • Savannah International Trade & Convention Center
  • Launchpad Advertising, New York, NY
  • Delta Airlines, Atlanta, GA
  • Destinations South Meetings + Events, Atlanta, GA
  • Discover Dunwoody CVB, Dunwoody, GA
  • Johns Creek Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa, Denver, CO
  • The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds (Plantation), Lake Oconee
  • Vail Resorts, Vail, CO
  • Disney’s All-Star Resort, Orlando, FL
  • Great Western Lodging, Breckinridge, CO
  • Chateau Elan Winery & Resort
  • Atlanta Tech Village
  • Atlanta Parent Magazine
  • Meeting Expectations, Atlanta, GA
  • Gulfstream Aerospace, Savannah, GA
  • Campus Recreation & Intramurals (various states)
  • Averitt Center for the Arts, Statesboro, GA
  • Statesboro-Bulloch County (GA) Parks & Recreation Department
  • Byran County (GA) Parks & Recreation Department
  • Charleston County (SC) Parks & Recreation Commission
  • Cherokee (GA) Recreation & Parks Agency
  • Dalton (GA) Parks & Recreation Department
  • Dooly County (GA) Parks & Recreation Department
  • Fannin County (GA) Parks & Recreation Department
  • Lake Cane Tennis Center, Orlando, FL
  • The Clubhouse, Statesboro, GA
  • Tormenta Football Club, Statesboro, GA
  • Major League Baseball Teams

For more information about Tourism and Community Leisure Services at Georgia Southern University, please contact:

Dr. James Bigley IAB Building Room 3085 912-478-5601

Dr. Thomas Sweeney IAB Building Room 3082 912-478-5463