This program is designed to prepare students to enter the professional fields of park & recreation management, tourism & hospitality management, and recreational therapy. The Park, Recreation and Tourism Studies curriculum is accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions.
B.S. in Park, Recreation and Tourism Studies
This program is designed to prepare students and practitioners for advanced study in the concepts, theories, research, management, and administration of park, recreation and tourism services. Course work (30 credit hours) is designed to prepare the students for the "bigger picture" which is often required of middle and top management in the recreation and tourism industry, including positions in public agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private businesses. The program combines social science and management concepts and theories with applied problem-solving techniques specific to parks, recreation and tourism.
M.S. in Park, Recreation and Tourism Studies
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, recreational therapy and tourism 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, recreational therapy, and tourism 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
Dianna Starkey, Virginia Arts Festival
Martha Fraser, Hilton Virginia Beach
Allyson Hagan, The Barry Robinson Center
Joshua Bennett, Southeastern Virginia Training Center
Mark Palamarchuck, Portsmouth Parks, Recreation & Tourism
Jennifer Huggins, First Landing State Park
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.
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.
PRTS has been continuously accredited since 1984, celebrating over 30 years of accreditation.
Images from our past
The Park, Recreation and Tourism faculty include two associate professors and one assistant professor, all of whom hold terminal degrees. Additional faculty include a master lecturer and senior lecturer. Combined, the faculty have over 50 years of teaching experience in higher education within the field of park, recreation and tourism. Research faculty have established records as productive scholars and content experts, with over 60 peer-reviewed publications in top-tier, international and specialized journals.
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