Recreation Management and Policy (RMP)

Degree Offered: M.S.

This program is offered in Durham.

The Department of Recreation Management and Policy (RMP) offers the master’s of science degree in Recreation Management and Policy with options in Recreation Administration (30 credits), Therapeutic Recreation Administration (30 credits), and Adaptive Sports (32-33 credits).

The Department is accredited by the National Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions (COAPRT), and the Commission on the Accreditation of Recreational Therapy Education (CARTE).

The primary purpose of the RMP Graduate Program is to prepare professionally educated recreation, therapeutic recreation, and adaptive sports administrators to serve their communities and provide leadership that addresses the quality of life issues of an increasingly diverse and complex society. The MS program in RMP provides a foundation in leisure theory, research, and data analysis to conduct applied research within the field, and administration skills for management level positions in practice.

An atmosphere of collegiality and collaboration fosters interactions between faculty and students. Faculty and students are actively engaged in applied research.

RMP graduate courses are generally offered once a week in three-hour blocks in the afternoon and/or evenings. Some courses are offered in an online format.

Admission Requirements

Individuals seeking a career change to recreation administration, therapeutic recreation administration, or adaptive sports with an undergraduate degree in a related field (e.g., education, psychology, business, special education) may be admitted to the Graduate School as a provisional student, with the expectation that they complete any required prerequisites prior to, or concurrently with, graduate courses. Prerequisite courses will be determined based on professional experience and educational background. A specially designed curriculum is available to provisionally admitted students.

Admission is based on a personal history that demonstrates academic achievement and/or exemplary work experience, as well as the applicant's ability to articulate in the personal statement his or her potential and desire for graduate study in recreation administration, therapeutic recreation administration, or adaptive sports.

Generally, students must have earned a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00 to be considered for admission. Applicants are required to submit copies of prior academic records (official academic transcripts), three professional references, a current resume or curriculum vita, written personal statement, and a complete Graduate School application.

A baccalaureate degree must be conferred prior to beginning the program. Face-to-face, phone, or video call interviews are encouraged but not required for all applicants. Students who wish to apply for a graduate assistantship should contact the department's Graduate Coordinator for an application or obtain it from the department’s website ( Admission to the program and funding opportunities are selective and limited. It is in the applicant's best interest to apply early.

Recreation Management & Policy  (RMP)

RMP 800 - Concepts of Recreation and Leisure

Credits: 3

An overview of historical and philosophical perspectives of the play, recreation, therapeutic recreation, and park and natural resource conservation movements. Students examine recreation leisure and recreation resources in contemporary society, particularly in the context of the development of social capital. Includes leisure values and ideals, the emergence and evolution of "free time" diversity, and public policy implications. Prereq: permission.

RMP 805 - Management and Policy in Therapeutic Recreation

Credits: 3

Students acquire knowledge of current principles and procedures for assuming an administrative role in the therapeutic recreation profession. Includes issues and practices related to supervision, reimbursement, quality improvement programs, consultation, marketing, and more. Prereq: permission.

RMP 806 - Recreation Administration and Organizational Behavior

Credits: 3

The organization and administration of public, private, and not-for-profit recreation agencies. The primary unit of analysis in this class is the recreation organization and the environment in which it operates. Emphasis is placed on organization, management, marketing, and financing applications, theories, and research. Prereq: RMP 800, permission.

RMP 811 - Recreation Resource Management

Credits: 3

An examination of the supply and demand of natural resources for outdoor recreation uses, with emphasis on relationships between public and private roles and responsibilities. Historical, social, and environmental impacts of outdoor recreation use are discussed. Current principles and techniques of recreation resource planning and management are outlined. Prereq: permission.

RMP 820 - Adaptive Sports and Recreation Facilitation

Credits: 3

This course takes a strenghs-based apporach to examining adaptive sports and recreation, with a focus on best practices and risk management in community-based settings. This is an experiential learning course, whereby students will learn how to design, plan, and facilitate a variety of adaptive sports for people with disabilities. Students will learn and apply processes for selecting, fitting, and adjusting adaptive sports and recreation equipment for individuals with disabilities. A special course fee will apply.

RMP 830 - Camp Administration and Leadership

Credits: 3

Provides students with an understanding of administrative and organizational practices in structured camp settings. The theory, practice, and challenges of program planning for youth and adult development within the recreation context of camping. Explores current sociological, environmental, economical and legislative trends influencing contemporary camp management. Prereq: permission.

RMP 840 - Therapeutic Recreation Service Delivery in Community Settings

Credits: 3

This course provides specialized knowledge and skills related to the practice of Recreational Therapy in a community setting. The course will encourage students to expand their understanding of philosophical constructs, public policy, and professional standards to reflect practice in community settings including schools, municipal recreation organizations, and community health program. Specific facilitation techniques and treatment modalities will be introduced as well as information specific to the therapeutic process as it is observed in these settings.

RMP 850 - Aging, Advocacy, and Active Learning

Credits: 3

This course explores the impact of advocacy and social action programs for the aging adult. Course content is explored through the lens of active living emphasiziing how leisure and recreation contribute to optimal experiences in later adulthood. Course content includes facilitating the learners' understanding of later life issues within the broader context of health and well-being at the local, state, and national levels. There is an applied action component to this course using a service learning framework.

RMP #868 - Theories of Youth Development

Credits: 3

This course provides students with a foundation in the theories and philosophies associated with the field of youth development. In this course, students critically analyze the strengths, limitations, and potential applications of various theories, philosophies, and ideas. Examples include: Developmental Systems Theory, Ecological Systems Theory, protective factors, and developmental assests. Students work or volunteer with a youth program for the duration of the semester in order to facilitate application of course concepts.

RMP 870 - Management and Design of Recreation and Park Facilities

Credits: 3

Provides students with an orientation to the theories, design, operation, and functions of recreational facilities. Topics include facility development, operational considerations, and auxiliary functions that impact the manager's role. Students gain insight into key areas of facility management through visitations to actual facilities. Prereq: RMP major; permission. Special fee.

RMP 872 - Law and Public Policy in Leisure Services

Credits: 3

Topics including an overview of the nature of law and U.S. legal systems; the law of torts, contracts, civil liberties and rights; risk management and legal research are addressed in the context of recreation services and resources. Public policy and professional advocacy implications are examined as related to legislative and decisional systems. Prereq: RMP 800 and permission.

RMP 875 - Entrepreneurial and Commercial Recreation

Credits: 3

Principles of business planning and development as applied to the private sector leisure services industry. Emphasizes knowledge of key commercial leisure services profiles and their intersection with allied professions such as hospitality and tourism. This course is designed to examine commerical recreation from both a macro and micro perspective. This multi-level approach helps prepare students to write a viable business plan for their own commerical recreation enterprise.

RMP 897 - Master's Project

Credits: 3

Prereq: RMP 800, RMP 805 or RMP 806. Permission required.

RMP 899 - Master's Thesis

Credits: 3

Prereq: RMP 800, RMP 805 or RMP 806, A graduate level statistics and graduate level methods course. Permission required. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits. Cr/F.

RMP 912 - Non-Profit Administration and Leadership

Credits: 3

An overview of the creation, management, and administration of non-profit organizations and businesses. Examines legal requirements for charter and incorporation by state law and Federal guidelines from the Internal Revenue Service. Current trends and issues in non-profit sector business are explored and a survey of the wide diversity of non-profit sector organizations is included. Since a high percentage of recreation agencies are incorporated as non-profit organizations, specific applications are made to the field of leisure and recreation. Prereq: RMP 800, RMP 805 or RMP 806 or permission.

RMP 924 - Fund Development and Grantwriting

Credits: 3

Students develop an understanding of the meaning of philanthropy, its importance in society, and its integral relationship to the fund development process. The social context for philanthropy, development, and fund raising and the changing practices for non-profit leadership are addressed. Presents and evaluates strategies and communication tools used to support fund development goals. Students develop abilities in grantwriting, requesting major donor support, structuring annual giving campaigns, and establishing special events. Prereq: RMP 800 or permission. Also listed as SW 957.

RMP 963 - Graduate Field Practicum

Credits: 2

This course is designed to provide RMP graduate students with a supervised, professional field experience in an approved recreation, park, tourism, or health and human service agency. Students will conduct a 100-hour field practicum experience and complete academic assignments.

RMP 964 - Graduate Internship

Credits: 3

Supervised, professional administrative work experience in an approved recreation, park, tourism, or health care agency. Students participate in a 14-week 560-hour internship experience after receiving approval from their academic adviser and the internship coordinator. Prereq: RMP 800, 805 or 806, permission. Cr/F.

RMP 970 - Teaching Practicum

Credits: 3

Students work with a faculty mentor to investigate, observe, and practice teaching methods and learning theory. Includes the various instructional technologies as tools to enhance the teaching/learning process. The Teaching Practicum is designed for students who wish to assume part-time or adjunct University teaching positions upon completion of the Master's degree or who see themselves pursuing a future doctoral degree with higher education as a career goal. Prereq: RMP 800 and permission. Cr/F.

RMP 980 - Independent Study

Credits: 1-3

Prereq: RMP 800 and RMP 805 or RMP 806, permission. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits.

RMP 995 - Colloquium Seminar

Credits: 3

As a capstone course for the M.S. Degree in Recreation Management and Policy, this course is designed to invite students to bring content and ideas formed in previous coursework and experience to the consideration of opportunities and challenges in future professional practice. Central themes include ethical problem solving and issues and trends within the profession. Approaches to ethical inquiry, analysis of evidence and advocacy methodologies are addressed in the context of forming and articulating professional positions. The course is conducted as a colloquium with all participants contributing to the learning process. Prereq: RMP 800, RMP 805 or RMP 806, and permission.

RMP 998 - Special Topics

Credits: 2-4