Cool Majors: Recreation and Parks Management

Posted on October 16, 2023

A group of people walk along a trail with a dog.

The recreation and parks management major, located in the School of Health and Human SciencesCommunity and Therapeutic Recreation Department, is perfect for students who want to promote wellness. “Our lens is studying and delivering recreation services through a developmental and health-oriented approach to create a positive quality of life,” says Department Chair Benjamin Hickerson.

Associate Professor Justin Harmon says it’s a profession that reaches people with what they love. “Recreation and leisure are sometimes viewed as trivial and indulgent, but I don’t think you’ll ever find anyone who would give up their leisurely activities. Our graduates are able to provide healthy opportunities to people.”

Job Prospects 

Tracks lead to recreational therapy and recreation and event planning. Graduates find that community-focused planning jobs are in high demand. Recreation and parks management majors lead to positions in the following fields:

  • Local government recreation
  • National parks management
  • YMCA or Boys and Girls Clubs leadership
  • Community festival management
  • Athletic administration and sports programming
  • Military recreation programming and events

Professional Track Assistant Professor Joan Sutton says, “Say there’s a new community center in town. There’s the grand opening, fundraising, and raising awareness. Duties could include concerts, youth and adult sports, festivals, and even major structural changes in the community. Our students get the opportunity to learn how to implement these types of programs.”


Courses cover all aspects of management, planning, and budgeting. Examples of popular classes: 

  • Leisure in American Lifestyles 
  • Creating a Meaningful Life 
  • Trends and Issues in Recreational Therapy 
  • Disabling Conditions 

What makes UNCG’s program stand out? 

People lift weights in the UNCG pool.

“Unlike other allied health professionals who would need graduate schooling, we are a four-year-to-practice allied health profession.”

– Associate Professor Brent Wolfe, executive director of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association

Ready to work: UNCG’s recreation and parks management program provides students with the course requirements and eligibility to meet North Carolina’s license requirements in accordance with professional standards, to become a Licensed Recreational Therapist (LRT).

Networking opportunities: UNCG’s strong connections with professionals help students network and gain practical experience.

“I doubt there’s a recreational therapist within a hundred-mile radius that we don’t already know or have some form of internship or practicum relationship with,” says Department Chair Benjamin Hickerson. “UNCG students are in the community and the community is part of us.”

Save on grad school: Recreation and Parks Management’s accelerated master’s program allows undergraduates to take graduate courses during their senior year and get a head start on completing their master of science degree. This can save up to a whole year of schooling.

Story by Janet Imrick, University Communications
Photography by Sean Norona and Martin W. Kane, University Communications

Paddlers move about Piney Lake at UNCG.

Build a culture of wellness.


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