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Earn your Recreation Professions undergraduate degree in the heart of Colorado, where countless opportunities are available to grow and share your passion for healthy, livable and sustainable communities. Students in MSU Denver’s Recreation Professions Bachelor of Arts degree program prepare for active and energetic careers as skilled professionals and leaders in diverse outdoor, recreation and health care settings.

The Bachelor of Arts in Recreation Professions at MSU Denver is an extended major requiring 41 to 45 core course credits and at least 120 semester hours to earn your degree.

In addition to university-wide scholarships, Recreation Professions majors can apply for the following departmental scholarships:

  • Department of Health Professions “Rising Star” Scholarship, open to all Recreation Professions majors
  • Furman C. Griffis Memorial Scholarship, awarded to Recreation Professions majors with a concentration in Recreation Management and Recreation Generalist
  • Mary Ann Loeffler Endowed Scholarship, awarded to Recreation Professions majors with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation

Learn more about Recreation Professions scholarships.

Program Options

Gain specialized knowledge, skills and training in one of three Recreation Professions concentrations while preparing for professional certification in your field of recreation. As a Recreation Profession major at MSU Denver, you can earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in one of the following concentration areas:

  • Recreation Management - After you earn your bachelor’s degree in Recreation Management, you will be eligible to sit for the certification exam to become a Certified Park and Recreation Professional.
  • Therapeutic Recreation - Undergraduate students who successfully earn their Recreation Professions bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation are eligible to sit for the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification exam to become Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists.
  • Recreation Generalist       

If you’re majoring in another area of study at MSU Denver, such as Human Services, Sports Management, Nursing, Social Work and Event and Meeting Management, you may decide that a minor in Recreation Professions is best for you.

Benefits of Earning Your Degree at MSU Denver

Apply classroom knowledge in real-world environments surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. With close relationships in the region’s recreation community, MSU Denver’s Recreation Professions bachelor’s degree program connects undergraduate students with volunteer, internship and practicum experiences in a variety of recreation fields.

Learn more about Recreation Professions internships and careers. 

MSU Denver’s Recreation Professions undergraduate degree program hosts an annual internship and job fair, where you can learn about local agencies, network with recreation professionals and practice interview skills for career development.

With a variety of student clubs and activities, Recreation Professions majors are active on campus and in the community. Join the Society of Recreation Students and get involved.

Career Opportunities for Our Graduates

four images: forest service, theme park, national/state and local parks

MSU Denver graduates who earn a bachelor’s degree in Recreation Professions work in a variety of settings, including the following:

  • local, state and national parks
  • community recreation departments and programs
  • outdoor, youth, summer and special-needs camps
  • state and federal agencies, such as the Forest Service
  • nonprofit organizations and programs such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America
  • commercial and private recreation centers, such as ski resorts, aquatic facilities, resorts and hotels, sports and health clubs, theme parks, and outdoor adventure companies
  • military organizations and armed forces
  • clinical facilities, such as long-term care, treatment programs and rehabilitation centers
  • pediatric and general medical hospitals and offices
  • transitional health-care facilities
  • nursing and residential care facilities and senior centers
  • college and university campuses
  • elementary and secondary schools


To meet the growing need for exercise and health care professionals, career opportunities for Recreation Professions majors are numerous and varied. They include a wide variety of roles such as these:

  • Adult sports coordinator
  • Armed forces recreation administrator
  • Adventure travel coordinator
  • Camp counselor or director
  • Convention coordinator
  • Cruise ship activity director
  • Facility or resort manager
  • Festival director
  • Fish and game warden
  • Natural resource manager
  • Outdoor educator or guide
  • Park planner
  • Park police
  • Park ranger or superintendent
  • Prison recreation specialist
  • Recreation and fitness specialist
  • Recreation and youth sports coordinator
  • Recreation facility director
  • Recreation or camp director
  • Recreation therapist
  • SCUBA instructor
  • Senior citizens activity director
  • Stadium or theme park manager
  • Therapeutic recreation specialist
  • Travel planner
  • Youth sports coach

Learn more about Recreation Professions careers.

Hear from our students:

“The Recreation Professions programs provides hands-on experience within the field. As a transfer student, the environment felt welcoming and much like a family. The professors are passionate about student success.”

– Courtney Lamb, MSU Denver ’18


MSU Denver boasts a 90 percent pass rate for Recreation Professions majors who take the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification exam, which exceeds the national pass rate of 76 percent.

The Recreation Professions Student Club on campus recently received the Road Runner Spirit Award in recognition of its efforts to create community at MSU Denver.


All Recreation Professions classes are led by professors and affiliate faculty who have earned a master’s degree or doctoral degree and have first-hand experience working in their field. Recreation Professions professors and affiliate faculty make themselves available to answer your questions and share valuable knowledge and skills to help you achieve your personal and career goals.

Karen Wenzel_Recreation ProfessionsKaren Wenzel

Lecturer Karen Wenzel specializes in Therapeutic Recreation and has been teaching undergraduate and graduate courses at the university level for more than 30 years. With deep experience in nonprofit and health care management, Wenzel is particularly interested in the effects of leisure experiences on the human body’s ability to function and on its nervous and immune systems.



Read more about Recreation Professions faculty.

Sample Classes

students following a class lecture

With classroom instruction and practical experiences offered in a vibrant and diverse learning environment, the Recreation Professions undergraduate program curriculum is diverse and multidisciplinary. For example, you may plan, implement and carry out a special event or lead an Adventures in Recreation class for individuals with disabilities. The Senior Capstone experience for Recreation Professions majors prepares students for a smooth transition to a professional role with opportunities to take on active leadership responsibilities before you graduate.

These are some of the classes you may take as a Recreation Professions major:

  • Contemporary Issues in Recreation and Parks
  • Design and Maintenance of Recreation and Park Resources
  • Issues and Trends in Therapeutic Recreation
  • Management of Aquatic Resources
  • Managing Outdoor Recreation Programs
  • Play Across Cultures
  • Program Development in Recreation Services
  • Recreation Leadership Skills and Techniques
  • Rock Climbing
  • Sport in Society

Facilities and Resources

Situated on the Auraria Campus, MSU Denver offers you access to Campus Recreation at Auraria, a full-service fitness and recreation center.

Located in Denver, Colorado, MSU Denver’s campus is located just a short drive from the recreation mecca of the Rocky Mountains, offering internships, jobs and recreation opportunities in the outdoor and recreation industries.

Program Accreditation

The bachelor degree program in recreation professions at MSU Denver is accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions (COAPRT) and by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

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