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Recreation, Sport & Tourism

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

Graduate Student Admissions

We appreciate your interest in the Department of Recreation, Sport, and Tourism and welcome your application for admission. Applications for graduate admissions are processed through our graduate college Admissions site located at:
https://choose.illinois.edu/apply
.

This site allows applicants to track their admission progress and conduct most of the admission process, including credit card payments, electronically. Please read below for comprehensive information on our Admissions process.

Note: If you are interested in applying for the online M.S. in Recreation, Sport and Tourism, please visit this Admissions page for information specific to applying for the online program.

Department Graduate Student Admissions

An underlying principle throughout these guidelines is to continually improve the quality of our graduate students and enhance the fit between graduate students and the collection of faculty teaching and research interests. These guidelines recognize the importance of high quality graduate students to our departmental culture, and are directed at a constructive development of culture through graduate student admission decisions.

Admissions guidelines to the campus-based MS and Ph.D. program include the following requirements:

  • Transcript – must be original, directly from the institution. International students must provide transcripts in both English and the original language. Applicants to the PhD program must have a MS degree and provide that transcript as well.  Official transcripts are only required after an applicant accepts an offer of admission.  In ApplyYourself, our application system, uploading an unofficial transcript (including grade interpretation guidelines, if applicable to your institution) is acceptable.  Both official and unofficial transcripts in languages other than English must always be accompanied by an English translation from the institution.
  • GPA – 3.0 out of 4.0 (Graduate College minimum is the same.) The last two years, approximately 60 hours, of undergraduate coursework is calculated to determine the GPA.
  • GRE/GMAT scores are not required for application to the MS or Ph.D. program. Applicants who have taken the GRE/GMAT and feel their scores would benefit their application are welcomed to submit the scores. However, the choice of submitting GRE/GMAT scores will not put applicants in a disadvantage when it comes to the admission process or the chances of securing assistantship funding.

  • Recommendations – Three letters of recommendation are required, preferably from academic sources (e.g., professors, academic advisors). At least 1 recommendation letter should be from an academic source.
  • TOEFL/IELTS – For international students' language ability, a TOEFL or IELTS test score is required.  Some applicants may be exempt from this requirement.  Click here for more information about language test exemptions for admission.  Minimum scores are as follows:
    English Proficiency Test Minimum for Full Status Admission
    TOEFL iBT 103
    IELTS (academic exam) 7.5
    Duolingo (Accepting tests taken between Feb. 1, 2020 and Aug. 1, 2021 only) 135
  • Professional MS students with TOEFL scores between 100-103, IELTS scores between 7.0-7.5, and Duolingo scores between 130-135 may be considered for limited status admission pending the outcome of the Zoom interview and quality of their other application materials (e.g., personal statement, recommendation letters, and GPA).

  • English Proficiency for Teaching Assistants - Please note that all English proficiency requirements and exemptions listed above are for admission purposes only. Admissions minimums are not equivalent to minimums required for holding a teaching assistantship; and not all exemptions apply for those holding a teaching assistantship. The Duolingo cannot be used to satisfy the international TA requirements for English proficiency.
  • For more information, please see the English Proficiency Requirement for Graduate Teaching Assistants.
  • Video Interview – A video interview (e.g. Skype, Zoom) is required for Ph.D. and thesis-based MS applicants who do not speak English as their first language.  Those applicants who qualify for a language test exemption for admission are exempt from the video interview requirement.
  • Academic Statement 

    Research Programs—a thesis-based MS program or a Ph.D. program:

    Please write a statement that answers the following questions (recommended length: 750 words max):

  • How has your academic background, including any training, research, or other academic experiences, prepared you for graduate study?
  • What are your intellectual interests and what scholarly questions are you interested in exploring in graduate study?
  • Are there any specific faculty members whose research interests align with your own that you would like to work with?

Professional Programs:

Please write a statement that answers the following questions (recommended length: 750 words max):

  • How has your academic and professional background, including any professional training, prepared you for graduate study?
  • How will our program help you achieve your intellectual and professional goals?
  • What are your academic interests and why do you wish to pursue graduate studies in the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism?
  • How will the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism help you achieve your intellectual and professional goal

    Personal Statement

  • We invite applicants to describe their potential contribution to the institution and alignment with our strategic priorities to create “an institution committed to excellence in discovery, teaching, and research, and a climate where all can achieve their highest aspirations in a safe and welcoming environment.” Please use the Personal Statement to describe (within 500 words) how your personal background, experiences, achievements, strengths, or circumstances not discussed in your academic statement influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree and will help you succeed in our program.

  • All Ph.D. applicants are required to submit a writing sample. Examples of writing samples include a Masters thesis, published articles, professional papers, or any other written work that would help the committee to evaluate an applicant's aptitude for pursuing a research-oriented doctoral degree.

  • Ph.D. applicants are encouraged to reach out to their desired dissertation advisor(s) several months before submitting their application to ascertain if there is a match between the applicants’ and faculty’s research interests and to verify if the prospective faculty advisor(s) is/are planning to admit new doctoral students in the upcoming year.

Decision process

Faculty members review the applicant information as it is updated.  Faculty who represent one or more of the three concentration areas meet to discuss the applicant files within a month after the deadline and the majority of the admission decisions are made at that time. Both MS and PHD applicants need at least one faculty to volunteer to be their advisor before an applicant is accepted.

Internal applications for PhD program

Departmental MS students who would like to apply to the department's PhD program are required to go through the same application procedure as other applicants, the difference being, a petition is required, not another application. Acceptance into the PhD program is contingent on all requirements of the MS program being fulfilled prior to the start of PhD work.

Admittance on "limited" status

In the discussion of an applicant, there may be convincing reasons to admit the applicant yet concern about their ability to successfully transition into the graduate program. In such cases, applicants will be admitted on "limited" status. Students are generally removed from "limited" status if they achieve a 3.0 GPA.

Deadline for submission For MS-campus and Ph.D. applications

For fall semester admissions - January 15.

For spring semester admissions - October 1.

Applications submitted between January 15 - July 15 (for fall semester) and October 1 - December 15 (for spring semester) will also be considered for admission but the review process may take longer. Assistantship allocations for Ph.D. students are made between January 15-February 15.

To apply for a graduate degree program in Recreation, Sport and Tourism, please visit this page.


MS in RST-Online Deadlines

Summer 2023

  • Application deadline: April 15, 2023

Fall 2023

  • Application deadline: August 15, 2023

Spring 2023

  • Application deadline: December 12, 2022

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