Recreation Administration

Tourism and recreation are among the largest and fastest growing sectors of the US economy. Increasingly diverse opportunities are available in the recreation and tourism profession. The purpose of the Recreation and Tourism Management program is to nurture professionals who can demonstrate appropriate leadership skills and competencies in the management of recreation and tourism programs and services in the 21st century.

A commitment to working with people to enhance the quality of their lives is important to a study of recreation and tourism. You will have many opportunities to learn and grow as a Recreation Administration major.

Our program provides excellent professional opportunities to contribute to the community from a business or governance standpoint.  You may also choose to seek international exchange or study abroad experiences as part of your degree.  You can gain experiential learning through a tremendous base of professional service settings, both local and national, to include municipal and private agencies.

Students who pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in applied arts and sciences with a major in Recreation Administration at SDSU select one of three areas of emphasis in this major:

  • The Outdoor Resource Management emphasis focuses on work in the natural sciences such as geology, biology and geography with the recreation portion stressing specific knowledge and skills important to preserving natural resources, minimizing human consumption.
  • The Recreation Systems Management emphasis is steeped in the social sciences and students learn the knowledge required for the effective organization, administration, and supervision of recreation agencies, both public and private.
  • The Sustainable Tourism Management emphasis stresses the cultural and ecological tourism leadership needs of new tourism professionals by emphasizing the linkages between the economic, environmental, and social (including cultural and political) spheres and involves an interdisciplinary approach involving assessment, programming, and evaluation for planning and management of sustainable tourism businesses.

Program Overview

Both the lower division core courses and the upper division requirements for the major vary with the emphasis selected. Several courses are required of students in all areas of emphasis such as:

  • Introduction to Recreation and Tourism Management
  • Recreation Programming and Leadership
  • Leisure and Tourism
  • Wilderness and the Leisure Experience
  • Supervised Field Work
  • Recreation for Special Populations
  • Global Travel and Tourism Management
  • Cross-Cultural Perspectives of Tourism
  • Environmental and Cultural Interpretation
  • Internship in Recreation and Tourism Management
  • Administration and Operation of Recreation and Tourism Agencies

Students take various other courses in recreation and in related fields, which are directed toward developing competence in the specific emphasis.

Special Features

  • The Recreation and Tourism Students' Association, a student organization, is involved in professional growth both on campus and in the local community. Typical activities include monthly meetings where professionals are brought in to discuss career opportunities and trends, coordination of faculty lectures on special topics, and periodic social functions. Students are encouraged to join this association to better prepare themselves for future professional endeavors.
  • The Recreation and Tourism Management (RTM) Program continues to be a leading undergraduate program based on faculty scholarship, outstanding student graduates, progressive educational techniques and innovative courses, and successful collaborations with community agencies.
  • The department, in collaboration with the California Park and Recreation Society, offers a structured mentoring program whereby students in the major are mentored by qualified professionals in the field.
  • The Sustainable Tourism Management emphasis requires international experience which may be fulfilled through engagement in any one or combination of the following depending on student interests:  international student exchanges, study abroad, internships, and/or professional opportunities during the Degree Program.
  • The department provides a comprehensive fieldwork and internship program. All recreation administration majors will gain actual experience in their areas of interest through participation in this program.
  • Every semester, the department organizes an Agency Night to match professionals who have available positions with students seeking fieldwork, internship and job placements. Anywhere from 50 to 75 agency representatives participate in this event.

Career Opportunities

Outdoor Resource Management graduates are prepared for jobs in the natural environment as park rangers, naturalists, outdoor guides, interpretative rangers, natural resource managers, and outdoor programmers.

Recreation Systems Management graduates are prepared for jobs in delivering leisure services in the public, non-profit and for profit recreation profession.  Typical jobs include sport directors, municipal recreation directors, boys’ and girls’ club supervisors and directors, special event coordinators, and aquatic or camp directors.

Sustainable Tourism Management prepares students to work in tourism, recreation, cultural, natural resource, and sports settings.  Graduates in this emphasis are prepared for careers as managers and directors with destination management organizations, transportation agencies, travel and tour companies, tourism attractions, leisure, recreation, and sports organizations, cultural industries, adventure and ecotourism services, and lodging enterprises.

To further explore career options in this field, visit the Career Services Web site for more information.

General Catalog

You can view more complete information regarding the Recreation and Tourism Management program in the General Catalog. All students are responsible for reading and knowing the information pertinent to their areas of study available in the General Catalog. It contains requirements for all academic majors, course descriptions, policies, and regulations governing progress at the university. Catalogs are distributed at all New Student Orientation programs. To order a General Catalog, call (619) 594-7535.