Park, Recreation & Tourism Studies

Bachelor's Degree

This program is designed to prepare students to enter the professional fields of park & recreation management and tourism & hospitality management.

B.S. in Park, Recreation & Tourism Studies

Explore the degree, including two areas of concentration.

Curriculum

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Advising

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About the Program

The mission of the Park, Recreation and Tourism Studies (PRTS) Program is to facilitate the professional preparation of students interested in pursuing and/or continuing a career in the recreation and leisure service industry. Through quality instruction, applied research, and community engaged learning, the PRTS program stimulates the pursuit of knowledge and the development of professional competencies in park and recreation management, and tourism and hospitality management, encouraging students to be leaders in the field. In addition to outstanding teaching and community engagement, the PRTS faculty are dedicated to making valuable contributions to the field of leisure through regional, national and international research.

The Park, Recreation and Tourism Studies program aims be a regionally and nationally recognized program that positively impacts and influences the fields of park and recreation management, and tourism and hospitality management through its teaching, research, and service initiatives. Knowledgeable, engaged, and effective PRTS alumni will promote and provide opportunities for life-long and sustainable recreation to all individuals. Faculty's scholarly research will advance the leisure discipline's body of knowledge and contribute to the overall well-being of members of society.

The PRTS program value:

  • Self-determination: autonomous behavior in decision-making within park, recreation and tourism spaces
  • Diversity and inclusion: equity for all people and embrace all abilities
  • Environmental stewardship: sustainable use and preservation of natural resources
  • Well-being: a balanced lifestyle to ensure physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and spiritual health
  • Social justice: positive social change to achieve a more equitable society

Members

We have currently suspended the advisory board as the PRTS program undergoes some changes. We will be re-evaluating the advisory board composition in the near future. We greatly value receiving input from professionals in the field, and it is vital to the success of our program.

The PRTS program was approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) in 1980 as the Recreation and Leisure Studies (RLS) program and conferred its first degree in 1981. RLS was first accredited in 1984 as a stand-alone baccalaureate degree housed within the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER), and we had four concentration areas: (1) Outdoor Education, (2) Public and Military Recreation, (3) Therapeutic Recreation, and (4) Tourism and Commercial Recreation.

PRTS Fall Festival 2011

In 1998, the department was re-named Exercise Science, Physical Education and Recreation (ESPER). In 2002, we changed both our program and department name to Recreation and Tourism Studies (RTS) and Exercise Science, Sport, Physical Education and Recreation (ESPER), respectively, and decreased our concentration areas in RTS to two: (1) Therapeutic Recreation and (2) Recreation and Tourism Management.

The department name was changed to Human Movement Sciences (HMS) in 2010. Our most recent change occurred in 2012 when the program's name was changed to its current form of Park, Recreation and Tourism Studies (PRTS) to reflect current trends and practices within the field, and we added an additional concentration area, bringing our concentration areas to three: (1) Therapeutic Recreation, (2) Tourism Management, and (3) Park and Recreation Management. Tourism Management became the Tourism & Hospitality Management major in Fall 2022 and Recreational Therapy moved to the College of Health Sciences in Fall 2023.

The Park, Recreation and Tourism faculty include one associate professor and one lecturer, both of whom hold terminal degrees. Additional faculty include adjunct instructors with many years of experience in their professional fields.

Summer camp participants pumping a bicycle tire

The mission of the Park, Recreation, and Tourism Studies Lab is to facilitate regional, national, and international research and community engagement opportunities through applied research, experiential learning, and evidence-based programming. Learn More

The mission of the Park, Recreation and Tourism Studies (PRTS) Program is to facilitate the professional preparation of students interested in pursuing and/or continuing a career in the recreation and leisure service industry. Through quality instruction, applied research, and community engaged learning, the PRTS program stimulates the pursuit of knowledge and the development of professional competencies in park and recreation management, and tourism and hospitality management, encouraging students to be leaders in the field. In addition to outstanding teaching and community engagement, the PRTS faculty are dedicated to making valuable contributions to the field of leisure through regional, national and international research.

The Park, Recreation and Tourism Studies program aims be a regionally and nationally recognized program that positively impacts and influences the fields of park and recreation management, and tourism and hospitality management through its teaching, research, and service initiatives. Knowledgeable, engaged, and effective PRTS alumni will promote and provide opportunities for life-long and sustainable recreation to all individuals. Faculty's scholarly research will advance the leisure discipline's body of knowledge and contribute to the overall well-being of members of society.

The PRTS program value:

  • Self-determination: autonomous behavior in decision-making within park, recreation and tourism spaces
  • Diversity and inclusion: equity for all people and embrace all abilities
  • Environmental stewardship: sustainable use and preservation of natural resources
  • Well-being: a balanced lifestyle to ensure physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and spiritual health
  • Social justice: positive social change to achieve a more equitable society

Members

We have currently suspended the advisory board as the PRTS program undergoes some changes. We will be re-evaluating the advisory board composition in the near future. We greatly value receiving input from professionals in the field, and it is vital to the success of our program.

The PRTS program was approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) in 1980 as the Recreation and Leisure Studies (RLS) program and conferred its first degree in 1981. RLS was first accredited in 1984 as a stand-alone baccalaureate degree housed within the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER), and we had four concentration areas: (1) Outdoor Education, (2) Public and Military Recreation, (3) Therapeutic Recreation, and (4) Tourism and Commercial Recreation.

PRTS Fall Festival 2011

In 1998, the department was re-named Exercise Science, Physical Education and Recreation (ESPER). In 2002, we changed both our program and department name to Recreation and Tourism Studies (RTS) and Exercise Science, Sport, Physical Education and Recreation (ESPER), respectively, and decreased our concentration areas in RTS to two: (1) Therapeutic Recreation and (2) Recreation and Tourism Management.

The department name was changed to Human Movement Sciences (HMS) in 2010. Our most recent change occurred in 2012 when the program's name was changed to its current form of Park, Recreation and Tourism Studies (PRTS) to reflect current trends and practices within the field, and we added an additional concentration area, bringing our concentration areas to three: (1) Therapeutic Recreation, (2) Tourism Management, and (3) Park and Recreation Management. Tourism Management became the Tourism & Hospitality Management major in Fall 2022 and Recreational Therapy moved to the College of Health Sciences in Fall 2023.

The Park, Recreation and Tourism faculty include one associate professor and one lecturer, both of whom hold terminal degrees. Additional faculty include adjunct instructors with many years of experience in their professional fields.

Summer camp participants pumping a bicycle tire

The mission of the Park, Recreation, and Tourism Studies Lab is to facilitate regional, national, and international research and community engagement opportunities through applied research, experiential learning, and evidence-based programming. Learn More

Career Opportunities

Tourism & Hospitality Management Major

This major focuses on management in the travel and tourism industry. Students will develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities to plan events, deliver high quality customer service, market tourism products and manage visitors in tourism destinations. This major will be of interest to students seeking careers in festival, meeting and event planning, hotel management, travel and tour services, and tourism destination marketing.

Employment:

  • Hotels and Resorts
  • Convention and Visitors Bureaus
  • Theme Parks
  • Cruise Lines
  • Travel Agencies
  • Event Planning Companies
  • Vacation Rental Companies

Park and Recreation Management Major

This major prepares students to work in community recreation, parks and protected areas, military recreation, camps and in the outdoor recreation industry. Students will develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities to provide recreational programs for individuals from preschool age through older adults, as well as manage outdoor recreation opportunities in urban and wilderness settings. This major is designed for students seeking careers with the state and federal land management agencies, municipal recreation agencies, for-profit guiding services or nonprofit charitable, recreation and education organizations.

Employment:

  • State and Federal Land Management Agencies
  • Municipal Parks and Recreation
  • Outdoor Adventure Programs
  • Campus Recreation
  • Camps
  • Military Recreation
  • Non-Profit Organizations

Location is often a determining factor in salary range. Cost of living impacts greatly on pay scales. Whether you work for a public, non-profit, or private agency also affects pay levels. Many of our graduates in the Tourism & Hospitality Management major have been promoted and advanced quickly within hospitality companies; some of them obtaining mid-upper management positions within 2-3 years of graduation. Starting wages/salaries in the PRT industry can range from $30,000-$60,000.

Yes, many of our PRTS graduates have gone on to graduate school. Some examples of alternate career paths include:

  • Business Administration
  • Public Administration
  • Nonprofit Administration
  • Conservation Leadership
  • Corporate Training and Development
  • Environmental Education
  • Outdoor Retail
  • Business and Franchise Ownership