The Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies (RPLS) program is a dynamic undergraduate program designed to prepare students to enter a professional career in a field that provides individuals, families, and communities the opportunity to develop happy, healthy, and satisfying lifestyles. This holistic approach allows us to examine many disciplines as we explore the motivation of individuals within the four domains of physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development across the lifespan–and how people use recreation and leisure in their lives.
This program is designed to provide a strong academic foundation, while using an experiential approach to provide students with the skillsets they will need outside of the classroom in order to move into their career. Field trips, service learning, volunteering, and internships all provide a practical learning environment as students work with professionals in the field. Currently, there are two faculty-led study abroad options to Kenya and Costa Rice, with the goal of adding additional experiences to the program.
Two focus areas, Recreation Administration and Outdoor Recreation, are offered to allow students to individually design their coursework based on their interests and career goals under the guidance of faculty advisers. This approach affords flexibility and specialization within the program.
The Outdoor Recreation focus area is delivered as an immersion semester. This unique program allows students to become fully involved in the Outdoor Recreation experience. Students will study, explore, engage, and learn along with a small cohort of fellow students, allowing for an in-depth immersive experience with a carefully planned curriculum that progressively builds throughout the semester. Hands-on, skill-building opportunities are incorporated into every course. The immersion semester begins with an international experience and ends with a week of leadership development at the beautiful Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Students work side by side with outdoor professionals in a directed study project to gain valuable experience and insight into the field and network with other professionals.
The RPLS program is also proud to present the popular Gopher Adventure Race. This exciting event, open to students, staff, faculty and alumni, and is planned and operated by seven recreation classes as a unique academic learning tool. As students progress through their coursework, they work on different components of the event in order to have an overall comprehensive learning experience by the completion of the program. What are you waiting for? Get involved! Get Outside!