Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are required for admission to the M.S. and Ph.D. programs.

For admission to the graduate program, a bachelor's or master's degree is required. Applicants from majors other than recreation and parks are welcome to apply; however, additional course work is required. Students with a 3.00 junior/senior average (on a 4.00 scale) and with appropriate course backgrounds will be considered for admission.

Degree Requirements

Master of Science (M.S.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

The master's program is designed for students who wish to continue their studies at the doctoral level at Penn State. 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 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 student. 

Prerequisites for graduate students who do not have an undergraduate degree in RPTM typically range from 3 to 9 credits, depending on the student's background and experience. 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. 

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

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 builds on the master's program to achieve depth in scholarship and research. Students who have not completed a data-based thesis as part of their master's degree will be required to do so during the first three semesters as a doctoral student. The general requirements of the degree, sequentially, are:

  1. course work,
  2. qualifying examination by the third semester,1
  3. comprehensive examination (written and oral),
  4. dissertation proposal presentation, and
  5. final defense of dissertation.

Between the qualifying examination and completion of the degree program, a Ph.D. student must have attended Penn State in residence a minimum of two semesters over a twelve-month period. (This may include the semester in which the qualifying exam is taken.) Students have a limit of eight years after the qualifying exam to complete the doctoral program. A 3.00 (B) average is required for graduation.

Prerequisites for graduate students who do not have an undergraduate degree in RPTM typically range from 3 to 9 credits, depending on the student's background and experience. 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. 

Dual-Titles

Dual-Title M.S. and Ph.D. in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

Admission Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program. After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment dual-title program. Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment Bulletin page. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment prior to taking the qualifying examination in their primary graduate program.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the degree they are enrolled in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment, listed on the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment Bulletin page

The qualifying examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. There will be a single qualifying examination, containing elements of both Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for Ph.D. committees, the Ph.D. committee of a Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the Ph.D. committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment, the member of the committee representing Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment must be appointed as co-chair. The Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment representative on the student’s Ph.D. committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their Ph.D. committee and reflects their original research and education in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.

Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management (RPTM) Course List

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate advanced knowledge of recreation, park, and tourism management issues.
  2. Analyze and synthesize the literature from a variety of perspectives and disciplines in a specific area recreation, park, and tourism management.
  3. Integrate and apply transdisciplinary concepts of recreation, park, and tourism management to contemporary issues in the field.
  4. Design and implement independent research to address a contemporary issue in recreation, park, and tourism management.
  5. Effectively communicate diverse and contrary perspectives regarding recreation, park, and tourism management orally and in writing.

Contact

Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Peter Newman
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Brendan Derrick Taff
Program Contact

Priscilla Jean Cetnar
801 F Ford Building
University Park PA 16802
pjc25@psu.edu
(814) 863-6599

Program Website View