Therapeutic Recreation (B.S.)

We're proud to be one of a handful of institutions in the country to offer a major in therapeutic recreation. Our program prepares you for the national certification exam, which 100 percent of our graduates have passed.

A recreational therapist uses both client-focused intervention techniques and evidence based on practice to enhance people's physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being through leisure activities.

In our program you'll develop professional, interpersonal, and leadership skills and apply them in a variety of settings. At a long-term-care facility you may involve a person in recreational activities to reduce depression and increase socialization. At a mental health or substance abuse treatment facility you may help a person in recovery discover healthy leisure alternatives that promote wellness and self-esteem. At a community recreation center you may help involve a person with a disability in programs that build leisure skills, develop friendships, and enhance quality of life. At a hospital or rehabilitation center you may help a person with a traumatic injury develop functional skills necessary for successful community reintegration.

A variety of experiential activities accompany your in-class learning. Your early coursework combines disability studies with hands-on activities: For an entire semester you'll be paired with a child with a developmental disability, participating in a swim program. Next you'll build on this real-life experience by engaging in a 120-hour, service-learning experience that emphasize programming and administration. You'll conclude your studies with a semester-long internship at places such as the National Institutes of Health or Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital, where you'll learn to develop treatment plans and intervention strategies.

Interdisciplinary collaboration is a special feature of our program, offering opportunities to partner with other allied health departments such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology.