Recreation Program

Program Links

By choosing one of the emphasis areas in the Recreation Program, you’re choosing a rewarding profession that provides life-changing experiences. You will learn the skills you need to become a young professional who can:

  •       provide enriching experiences for adults;
  •       bring families and communities together;
  •       care for the natural and cultural environment; and
  •       provide the basis for the economic growth of communities.

Our students learn how to thrive in this competitive and compelling field. The Recreation Program at Georgia Southern University is the only accredited four-year bachelor’s degree for this field in the state of Georgia. Since 1983, our students have been gaining rewarding, exciting, and fun professions that provide life-changing experiences.

Georgia Southern offers three distinct emphases for students:

Outdoor Recreation

This emphasis area is designed to prepare students for careers in outdoor recreation and related professions.  Students learn about the inherent challenge of providing outdoor recreation opportunities while protecting the natural resources that are essential for quality outdoor experiences. The curriculum is designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of conservation history, the diverse public values that lead to disputes over the use of natural resources, and the principles effective outdoor recreation management. Students gain practical experience in a number of field-based settings, complete 200 experience hours (paid or unpaid) and a 600 hour internship (see below). Our graduates are employed by a wide range of public, private, and non-profit organizations throughout the United States.

Potential careers in outdoor recreation:
  • adventure travel guide
  • adaptive adventure sports instructor
  • camp director
  • environmental educator
  • interpretive ranger
  • law enforcement ranger
  • museum curator
  • outdoor recreation planner
  • outdoor program manager
  • park manager
  • scuba instructor
  • wilderness treatment counselor
  • wildland firefighter

Experiential and Service Learning Opportunities in Outdoor Recreation:

  • Adventure Education – Students in RECR 3230 plan, organize, lead, and evaluate multi-day backpacking, canoeing, and sea kayaking trips.
  • Alaska Field Studies Course – Six students participated in a two week academic course that visited Denali and Wrangell St. Elias National Parks in the summer of 2007. The course was offered in partnership with Alaska Outdoor, LLC.
  • Center for Wildlife Education – Many of our students have gained valuable experience caring for reptiles, amphibians, and birds of prey at this unique on-campus facility. Students in RECR 4230 have designed interpretive signs and conducted educational programs at the Center.
  • Georgia Southern Botanical Gardens – This on-campus facility provides students with an outstanding opportunity to gain experience in horticulture, interpretive design, and program delivery.
  • Georgia Southern Museum – This facility is a great place for students to gain practical experience in exhibit design and program delivery. Students in RECR 4230 visit the museum to learn about the interpretation of natural and cultural resources.
  • International Wilderness Leadership School – Three students participated in a 24 day backpacking and whitewater rafting course in the Yukon Territories during the summer of 2009.
  • National Outdoor Leadership School – One of our students participated in a 30 day Wilderness Educator course in the spring of 2007.
  • National Public Lands Day – The RECR 3235 course participates in an annual service learning project at Strom Thurmond Reservoir.
  • Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge – Students in RECR 4230 helped repair backcountry camping platforms that were damaged by wildfires that occurred during the summer of 2007.
  • Southern Adventures – Many of our students have gained valuable leadership experience and skills training through the campus outdoor recreation program.
  • Warnell Forest Education Center – Students in RECR 4230 are trained to deliver the national recognized Project Wild and Project Learning Tree curriculums in a variety of field-based settings. Students have also conducted Leave No Trace programs for local Scout groups.
Recent employment and internship locations:
  • Adams State Adventure Programs
  • Camp Timberline
  • National Park Service
  • Sugar Bowl Ski Resort
  • American Bald Eagle Foundation
  • Georgia 4-H
  • Outdoor Adventures – University of Nebraska
  • Talisman Camps & Programs
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Northern Cheyenne Nation
  • Georgia Southern Botanical Gardens
  • ROW Adventures
  • United States Army Corp of Engineers
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • Georgia Southern Center for Wildlife Education
  • Second Nature Wilderness Programs
  • United States Forest Service
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites
  • Statesboro Bulloch Parks & Recreation Department
  • Warnell Forest Education Center
  • Bachelor of Science: Major in Recreation/Outdoor Recreation emphasis course curriculum

    Bachelor of Science: Major in Recreation/Outdoor Recreation emphasis guided electives

    Recreational Therapy

    Students who complete the recreational therapy emphasis area at Georgia Southern University are qualified to become nationally certified as recreational therapists and serve the rehabilitation and recreation needs of individuals in a variety of settings. Recreational therapy students participate in many experiential opportunities where they observe practitioners in clinical, medical and community settings as well as participate in disability simulations to gain a greater understanding of the clients they will work with. As a part of their coursework in the RT program, students will complete 200 hours of first-hand experience in RT settings and their academic work will culminate with a 480-hour internship in the RT setting of their choice.

    What is Recreational Therapy

    Recreational Therapists provide recreation and activity interventions to clients who desire to improve their health and quality of life. Recreational Therapy (RT) is the purposeful use of recreation and activity interventions to improve clients’ functioning in six domains:

    • cognitive;
    • emotional;
    • physical;
    • social;
    • spiritual; and
    • leisure.
    What do recreational therapists do?
    • Conduct formal client assessments
    • Plan purposeful interventions based on assessment results
    • Adventure therapy
    • Anger management techniques
    • Aquatic therapy
    • Expressive arts
    • Leisure education
    • Stress management techniques
    • Therapeutic horseback riding
    • Therapeutic Reminiscence
    • Animal assisted therapy
    • Therapeutic use of exercise and play
    • Values clarification
    • Implement selected interventions for groups and/or individuals
    • Evaluate intervention effectiveness
    • Document client responses to treatment
    Where do recreational therapists work?
    • hospitals
    • institutions
    • nursing homes
    • rehabilitation centers
    • residential centers
    • schools
    • correctional facilities
    • camps
    • mental health centers
    • parks and recreation departments

    Bachelor of Science: Major in Recreation/Recreational Therapy emphasis course curriculum

    Bachelor of Science: Major in Recreation/Recreational Therapy emphasis guided electives

    Tourism & Community Leisure Services

    The three recreation emphases share a common core of lower and upper division recreation courses. You get to access a wealth of professional experience in the classroom through our faculty members. Their unique experiences make them excellent mentors for students like you. Georgia Southern’s faculty members have held jobs as outdoor adventure educators, commercial wilderness adventure guides, certified recreational therapists, camp directors, state park and historic site directors, environmental and cultural heritage educators or interpreters, and recreation program planners.


    Looking for more information about the career outcomes for this degree program? Check out our Recreation and Tourism Management Careers page. For more information, contact the program coordinator: Dr. John Peden at



    Last updated: 8/2/2017

    School of Human Ecology • P.O. Box 8034 Statesboro, GA 30460 • (912) 478-5345 •