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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU Launching Parks, Recreation and Tourism Masters in Fall 2017

The Darden College of Education will offer, beginning fall 2017, a new graduate program in Park, Recreation and Tourism studies.

The move makes Old Dominion University the only higher education institution in the Commonwealth to offer a master's-level degree in the field that is an integral part of the Hampton Roads economy.

Housed within the Department of Human Movement Sciences, the 30-credit-hour Master of Science program is designed for students seeking an advanced degree, practitioners in the field and industry managers and executives interested in advanced study in concepts, theories, research, management and administration of the park, recreation, and tourism industry. The addition of the Master's degree builds upon the foundation of the nationally-accredited Bachelor of Science degree in Park, Recreation and Tourism already offered to undergraduate students.

"I want to recognize the hard work of Dr. Ed Gomez, graduate program director for Human Movement Sciences and Dr. Eddie Hill, assistant professor in the Park, Recreation and Tourism Studies program," said Lynn Ridinger, chair of the Department of Human Movement Sciences. "This degree will prepare students for executive and upper-level management positions in the park, recreation and tourism field, with a particular focus on managing public recreation and tourism resources such as municipal parks, state parks, national parks and open spaces for festivals and events."

Recreation, parks and tourism are significant Hampton Roads economic drivers:

  • Currently, southeastern Virginia has the largest concentration of festivals in the state, with 14 of the top 20 found in Hampton Roads;
  • The region is home to more than 10 municipal park agencies;
  • Hampton Roads has seven major convention and visitors' bureaus;
  • Virginia Beach is home to First Landing State Park, the most visited state park in Virginia; and
  • an internationally-known resort destination in Virginia Beach.

"This master's degree program will provide an excellent resource that can enrich efforts to address the needs of the surrounding municipal park districts and convention centers that serve Hampton Roads communities and beyond," said Jane S. Bray, dean of the college. "The University is uniquely positioned to take advantage of a myriad of opportunities to connect students with the recreation and tourism industry."

Human Movement Sciences, one of six academic departments within the Darden College of Education, offers undergraduate and graduate degrees to prepare professionals for fields dedicated to the promotion of health and human movement, including exercise science; health and physical education; park, recreation and tourism studies; and sport management.

The college prepares students to be education, industry and clinical/service professionals through its six departments: Communication Disorders and Special Education, Counseling and Human Services, Educational Foundations and Leadership, Human Movement Sciences, STEM Education and Professional Studies and Teaching and Learning.