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Recreation, Sport & Tourism

Promote environmental stewardship. Lead social and economic development. Study management and marketing.

Recreation, Sport & Tourism PhD

Prepare for a career in higher education, public agencies, private organizations and other research-focused positions with our Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Examine the history and theory of leisure, investigate current issues in the field and specialize in an area, culminating in a dissertation on a relevant topic. Work with our highly regarded faculty as you discover the topics in recreation, sport, and/or tourism that spark your passion. Craft a dissertation that examines relevant research and offers a creative new viewpoint.

The Doctor of Philosophy is a research-oriented degree that prepares successful candidates for positions in higher education, private organizations, public agencies, and other research-based positions. During their doctoral program, students complete course work, written and oral preliminary examinations, and a dissertation in an area of specialization.

  • One of the top doctoral programs in the nation

  • Competitive assistantships, fellowships, and full tuition and fee waivers available

  • Nationally and internationally recognized faculty

  • Cutting-edge interdisciplinary curriculum integrating recreation, sport, and tourism

  • Large, land-grant university offers opportunity to take courses from a variety of disciplines and study with top scholars and leaders in the field

  • Financial support available to help fund research and outreach projects via internal grants and awards

  • Conference travel support available

Emphasis Areas

Leisure Behavior

Recreation & Park Management

Sport Management

Tourism Management


PHD Coursework

For more information contact the Ph.D. advisor or reference the university catalog.

Code Course
RST 550
RST 550 - Theory and Methods of Leisure

Hours: 4

RST 551
RST 551 - Contemporary Issues in Leisure

Hours: 4

RST 553
RST 553 - Advanced Leisure Research Methods

Hours: 4

RST 590
RST 590 - Doctoral Research Seminar and Colloquium

Hours: 4

RST 599
RST 599 - Thesis Research

Hours: 20

Total Hours: 80

Specialization Requirements

  • Coursework to support specialization - 28 hours (12 of the 28 hours must be RST courses)
  • Advanced research methods to support specialization - 16 hours

Thesis Requirements

RST 599 – Thesis Research - 20 hours

Total units (minimum): 80 credit hours

Graduate Student Teaching Preparation Program

In addition to the above coursework, students are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to enhance their teaching skills by attending teaching workshops and taking RST 560 or an equivalent teaching preparation course (all potential substitutes must be approved by the Graduate Committee). RST 560 may be counted toward the 12 hours of “Departmental Coursework to Support Specialization” requirement.

Progress Reports

Every doctoral student will be required to submit a progress report once a year. The reports will have to be submitted to the department, not the individual advisors, by May 31 of each year (or as soon as grades are available).

Course Description


Surveys concepts, methods, and problems of leisure research that are common to recreation, sport and tourism; histories of theoretical and methodological developments are discussed, appreciated and critiqued; examines the development of ideas through literature, with discussion centered on explaining the evolution of literature.


Critically surveys research from neighboring disciplines to determine how this research may inform and influence future research in recreation, sport and tourism; provides a comparative perspective, including the discovery of alternative theories to guide our research; examines links between distinct phenomena that can potentially lead to creative research (Prerequisite is 550).

RST Graduate Handbook

Click here to access the RST Graduate Handbook.

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Admission Requirements

Please follow the link below for information regarding graduate student admissions requirements.