MS in Recreation Administration

Total units required for MS: 30

Program Description

The graduate program leading to the Master of Science degree in Recreation Administration offers diversified opportunities for study. Through individual counseling, graduate students are able to develop a course of study for advanced work in areas which complement previous experience and training. There is sufficient flexibility in the program to allow students to pursue their individual areas of interest.

Core program objectives are designed to encourage a climate of inquiry and research. Specifically, all students should gain the ability to:

  • critically analyze and identify problems;
  • develop and utilize appropriate research or inquiry methods of problem solving;
  • report clearly and succinctly the results of problem-focused research or inquiry;
  • understand the philosophical, historical, and scientific foundations and developments in leisure service systems; and
  • identify and demonstrate the values of leisure and recreation to the individual, the community, and society at large.

Career competencies are dependent upon the professional goal of each student. Hence, these vary. After career objectives have been clarified, individual students usually will be educated to:

  • develop valid and reliable measures of program evaluation based on theoretical constructs and practical field requirements;
  • develop efficient, effective, and meaningful procedures for assessing recreation needs and for allocating resources;
  • identify and demonstrate effective decision making processes in leisure service systems; and
  • demonstrate an effective interpretation of leisure and recreation data, findings, and procedures, and communicate these in personal and professional environments.

Admission Requirements

Admission as a classified graduate student in Recreation, Parks & Tourism Administration requires:

  • a baccalaureate degree in Recreation Administration;
  • a minimum 2.75 GPA overall and a minimum 3.0 GPA in the major;
  • a detailed resume;
  • three letters of recommendation; and
  • a writing sample/personal statement.

A student with a baccalaureate degree from another discipline may be admitted to conditionally classified standing and complete certain designated courses in Recreation Parks & Tourism Administration, totaling 15 additional units (as determined by a faculty advisor), in order to acquire the academic background necessary to qualify for classified standing. A student from another discipline who wishes to qualify for state and/or national registration as a therapeutic recreation specialist may need to take additional coursework.

Admission Procedures

Applications are accepted as long as room for new students exists and the Office of Graduate Studies is still accepting applications. Prospective students should be aware that there is no spring admission. All prospective graduate students, including Sacramento State graduates, must file the following with the Office of Graduate Studies, River Front Center 215, (916) 278-6470,

  • an online application for admission; and
  • one set of official transcripts from each college and/or university attended, other than Sacramento State.

For more admissions information and application deadlines please visit

At the same time each applicant must send to the Graduate Coordinator in Recreation, Parks & Tourism Administration:

  • a detailed resume, including education and employment histories;
  • unofficial transcripts of all previous academic work; and
  • 3 recent letters of reference that address academic ability and professionalism.

Approximately six weeks after receipt of all items listed above, a decision regarding admission will be mailed to the applicant.

Minimum Units and Grade Requirement for the Degree:

Units required for the MS:  30

Minimum Cumulative GPA:  3.0; as an exception to university policy a maximum of two "B-" grades may be counted towards the degree.

Advancement to Candidacy

Each student must file an application for Advancement to Candidacy, indicating a proposed program of graduate study. This procedure should begin as soon as the classified graduate student has:

  • removed any deficiencies in admission requirements;
  • completed at least 12 units in the graduate program with a minimum 3.0 GPA;
  • obtained advisor's preliminary approval of thesis or project proposal (thesis and project students only); and
  • taken the Writing Placement for Graduate Students (WPG) or taken a Graduate Writing Intensive (GWI) course in their discipline within the first two semesters of coursework at California State University, Sacramento or secured approval for a WPG waiver.

Advancement to Candidacy forms are available on the Office of Graduate Studies website. The student fills out the form after planning a degree program in consultation with a Recreation Parks & Tourism Administration advisor. The completed form is then returned to the Office of Graduate Studies for approval.

Program Requirements

Required Courses (12 Units)
RPTA 200Foundations of Leisure Concepts and Application3
RPTA 202Policies, Issues, and Problems in Recreation, Parks and Tourism3
RPTA 203Advanced Administration in Recreation, Parks and Tourism3
RPTA 204Advanced Research Methods in Recreation, Parks and Tourism3
Electives (15 Units)
Select 15 units with the prior consent of academic advisor 115
Culminating Requirement (3 Units)
Select one of the following:3
Culminating Experience: Thesis
Culminating Experience: Project
Culminating Experience: Comprehensive Exam
Total Units30