Illinois State University
Illinois State University
Jump over the site's masthead's navigation bar.
Jump over the site's left-side navigation bar.
columnTextImage goes here, make sure levelTwoImage.css is attached in header

Recreation Administration

The mission is to provide advanced knowledge in recreation management to prepare students for mid to upper-level management positions in recreation, parks, and tourism. The role of scholarship and focused disciplinary study is emphasized. This advanced knowledge prepares these graduates to think conceptually and analytically, and to positively impact professional practices and policies in their field.

Students enrolled focus their academic course work on developing the ability to understand and apply theories and practices in the areas of management, marketing, and finance in the public and private sectors. As a culminating experience, students in the recreation administration sequence will complete a thesis, professinoal practice, or an independent study.

Depending on individual career aspirations, completion of the recreation administration sequence prepares a student for employment in mid to upper-level administration positions in recreation, parks, or tourism agencies, and businesses. Students may also choose to pursue future graduate study at the doctoral level. 

Recreation Administration Faculty and Research Interests

Brent Beggs, Ph.D., Indiana University
Recreational sports, field experiences, and leisure behavior

Dan Elkins, Ph.D., Indiana University
Social psychological aspects of leisure behavior, factors contributing to non-participation in leisure activities

Amy Hurd, Ph.D., Indiana University
Management and competencies in professional development in leisure service agencies

Tracy Mainieri, Ph.D., Clemson University
Exploring summer camp as an avenue to youth civic development

Barbara Schlatter, Ph.D., University of Illinois
Recreation program planning


Recreation Administration Curriculum

Students admitted to the graduate recreation administration program must complete a minimum of 33 total credit hours, including 6 credit hours in the research core, 15 credit hours in the recreation administration sequence,  3-6 credit hours of an advisor-approved culminating experience, and 3-9 hours of cognate courses selected by the student and his/her appointed advisor in order to best position the student to succeed in an administrative career in the leisure services industry.  This curriculum is outlined below:

Research Core - 6 hours

  • KNR 497, Introduction to Research Methods
  • KNR 445, Statistics in Applied Science and Technology

Recreation Administration Sequence Core - 15 hours

  • KNR 474, Concepts and Theories of Leisure and Recreation (Odd, fall)
  • KNR 473, Trends in Issues in Leisure and Recreation (Even, fall)
  • KNR 475, Management of Sport and Recreation (Even, spring)
  • KNR 466, Marketing of Sport and Recreation
  • KNR 453, Facility/Event Management

Cognate Area  3 - 9 hours approved by the recreation administration faculty advisor

Culminating Experience - 3-6 hours approved by the recreation administration faculty advisor

  • KNR 499, Thesis, 6 hours
  • KNR 400, Independent Study, 3 hours
  • KNR 498, Professional Practice, 3 hours

Admission to the Recreation Administration Sequence

Applications for admission are first sent to the university graduate school and are then reviewed by the recreation administration faculty and the school graduate program coordinator. Admission to the program is competitive and admissions decisions are based on a variety of factors, including undergraduate grade point average, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, past work experiences, and future career goals.

The ideal candidate will have experience (internship or work experience) in a recreation and leisure setting, possess a bachelor's degree in recreation or a related field, have strong GRE test scores and undergraduate grades, have strong recommendations, and have a desire to pursue a career in the recreation and leisure service industry. To assure fullest consideration, completed applications must be filed by March 1 for fall admission. Applications will not be considered until all materials have been received.

Recommended Pattern of Coursework

If you begin the program in the fall of an ODD year, your course work will look like this:

Fall (ODD) Spring Summer Fall Spring
453 475 Cognate Cognate
497 445 473 Culminating Exp.;
474 466 Cognate or Ind. Study

If you begin the program in the fall of an EVEN year, your course work will look like this:

Fall (EVEN) Spring Summer Fall Spring
453 Cognate Cognate 475
497 445 474 Culminating Exp.;
473 466 Cognate or Ind. Study


Questions about Recreation Administration? Contact Dr. Tracy Mainieri, Sequence Coordinator.

Recreation Administration Graduate Students

Career Opportunities

Mid to upper-level administration positions in:

  • Park districts and recreation and park departments
  • County, state, and national parks
  • Tourism and/or convention & visitors bureaus
  • Commercial and resort businesses

Stay Connected

Facebook Twitter

Kinesiology and Recreation
Campus Box 5120
250 McCormick Hall
Normal, Il 61790-5120
Phone: (309) 438-8661
Fax: (309) 438-5559

© 2015 Illinois State UniversityPrivacy StatementIdentity StandardsAppropriate Use Policy