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Therapeutic Recreation Concentration

The therapeutic recreation concentration (MS) prepares students for employment in management and leadership positions with agencies that deliver health care services. Students find successful employment in psychiatric institutions, physical rehabilitation units, drug and alcohol treatment centers, community-based programs, long-term care facilities, outdoor and school-based programs, and children’s programs.

Professional Certification
Students enrolled in the therapeutic recreation concentration are urged to prepare for and take the professional certification examination offered by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification. Many public, quasi-public, and nonprofit employers mandate professional certification as a condition of employment. The primary purpose of certification is to ensure that personnel employed in therapeutic recreation meet high standards of performance.

Because we require our students to be eligible for national certification, they must have courses in the following areas, either in their bachelor’s or master’s program. These courses will not count toward the master’s degree.

  • Human Development (birth through death)
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Human Anatomy
  • Human Physiology
  • In addition, students who receive their undergraduate degree in other disciplines must take three “make-up courses” which are generally RSM 310, RSM 320, and RSM 430.
Non-Thesis Option Thesis Option
Course(s) Credit Hours Course(s) Credit Hours
RSM 508, 515, 554 9 RSM 508, 515, 554 9
RSM 520, 521, 522, 525 12 RSM 520, 521, 522, 525 12
RSM 595* 6 RSM 595* 6
Statistics 3 Statistics 3
Electives 6 Thesis 6
Total 36 Total 36

*Must meet national certification requirements

Thesis vs. Non-Thesis

  • The non-thesis option consists of thirty hours of coursework and a written comprehensive examination.
  • The thesis should be considered a contribution to the field of knowledge in the concentration discipline. Six semester hours of credit may be earned in preparation of the thesis. You must continue to register for three hours of thesis credit even if you do not finish the thesis in the semester intended. You will continue to do this until the completion and acceptance of the thesis.
  • The thesis should represent original research limited in scope so there will be sufficient time to complete it. The thesis experience culminates with a formal presentation to the thesis committee with attendance open to the public.
  • Those who plan to continue their education at the PhD level and pursue careers as faculty in higher education tend to pursue the thesis option.