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Recreation Professions Major

Program Description

Our four-year undergraduate program leads to a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation Management, Therapeutic Recreation, or as a Recreation Generalist.  Knowledge is gained through quality classroom instruction and practical experiences preparing students for professional placement in the recreation and park service industry. 

The Recreation Professions program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions (COAPRT).  COAPRT accredits baccalaureate programs in parks, recreation, tourism, sport management, event management, therapeutic recreation, and leisure studies offered at regionally accredited institutions within the United States and its territories, and at nationally accredited institutions in Canada and Mexico.  COAPRT is accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHEA).

 Academic Accreditation

Academic Accreditation is an assurance of the quality of an academic program.  

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) defines accreditation as "the primary means of assuring and improving the quality of higher education institutions and programs in the United States. Active for the past 100 years, this private, voluntary system of self-examination and peer review has been central to the creation of a U.S. higher education enterprise that is outstanding in many respects."  Read more about the Value of Accreditation.

Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT)      

Undergraduate baccalaureate programs in parks, recreation and leisure services are eligible to apply for this accreditation. At present, no accrediting program exists for two-year programs or for advanced  master's and doctoral programs in the field.

The Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions, formally established in 1974, conducts the process of accreditation for recreation, park resources and leisure services curricula. The Council was first recognized by the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation (COPA) in 1986 and by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) in 2003.  Recognition by CHEA affirms that the standards and processes of the accrediting organization are consistent with the academic quality, improvement and accountability expectations that CHEA has established, including the eligibility standard that the majority of institutions or programs each accredits are degree-granting.

Quality Programs and Degree Mills

CHEA and accrediting organizations are concerned about degree mills, institutions granting diplomas as a commodity to be bought and sold.  Degree mills demean the value of learning and the impotance of educational standards.

 Please watch this important video regarding degree and accreditation mills.  According to CHEA, "Degree mills and accreditation mills mislead and harm. In the United States, degrees and certificates from mills may not be acknowledged by other institutions when students seek to transfer or go to graduate school. Employers may not acknowledge degrees and certificates from degree mills when providing tuition assistance for continuing education. “Accreditation” from an accreditation mill can mislead students and the public about the quality of an institution. In the presence of degree mills and accreditation mills, students may spend a good deal of money and receive neither an education nor a useable credential."  Read more on CHEA's website.



The Recreation Professions program provides scholarly instruction and practical experiences to prepare students as skilled recreation professionals and leaders.  Emulating the missions of the Health Professions Department and MSU Denver, our student success is achieved through a diverse, multi-disciplinary design that focuses on excellence in teach and learning.


The Recreation Profession program within the Department of Health Professions, with the contributions of dedicated professionals, will continue to provide educational and practical instruction to establish a solid foundation in recreation and leisure studies.


1)     Support student creativity and individual diversity.

2)     Encourage student leadership both on and off campus.

3)     Promote health and wellness within classroom and practical settings.

4)     Encourage community engagement through service and volunteerism.

5)     Nurture community relationships with recreation professionals and alumni.

6)     Continue to provide meaningful learning experiences to support individual growth and increase knowledge-base in recreation services.

The Recreation Professions major prepares students with the knowledge and skills for employment in municipal, military, commercial/private, clinical, outdoor, campus, park, and not-for-profit settings. Job titles vary but include recreation director, aquatics specialist, recreation therapist, sports coordinator, facility manager, camp director, resort manager, park ranger, and armed forces recreation administrator, to name a few.

In conjunction with the core course requirements, the student selects either the Recreation Management concentration or the Therapeutic Recreation Services concentration.  The concentration provides the student with specialized knowledge and skills and further prepares them for certification in the field.  Students passing the Therapeutic Recreation Services concentration meet eligibility requirements to sit for the national certification examination administered through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification ( and upon passing the test, become Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists.  Upon graduation, our Recreation Management students are eligible to sit for their exam to become Certified Park and Recreation Professionals.

Recreation Professions Program Description

RECR Internship Manual

The Academy For Older Adult Wellness:

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Recreation Professions Minor

The Recreation Services minor assists interested students in getting basic information for part-time or seasonal employment in the recreation and parks fields.

Recreation Services Minor Program Description