Recreation, Parks, and Tourism

Printer-friendly version

College of Health and Social Sciences

Dean: Alvin Alvarez


Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Department

HSS 307
Phone: 415-338-2030
Web Site:

Chair: Erik Rosegard
Undergraduate Coordinator: Erik Rosegard
Graduate Coordinator: Jackson Wilson



Professors: Roberts, Rosegard, Tierney
Associate Professor: Látková
Assistant Professors: Wilson, Yoshino
Lecturers: Alavarez, Brandell, Der, Fabela-Kranitz, Kumli, Lowe, McAdams, McGinnis, Metcalf-Tobin, Pon, Thapar



B.S. in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration

Minor in Recreation

Certificate in Youth and Human Services Nonprofit Administration

M.S. in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism



Program Scope

The Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Department at SF State, in existence since 1946, has established a reputation for excellence. The faculty members are well-qualified instructors that represent a broad range of skills, interests, and expertise within the profession and discipline. The department offers a Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration, which is accredited by the national Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism (COAPRT). Accreditation provides many benefits including credibility and broader recognition within the academic and professional community. Employers can be assured that graduates from our department are fully qualified to enter the profession. Graduates have the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to become managers, community leaders, advocates, and social change agents.


In developing the above competencies, the program delivers academic content that centers on the latest management, programming, and event planning techniques; leadership, marketing, and administration strategies; assessment and evaluation methodologies; and sustainable/green practices. Students continue through the curriculum until fully qualified for placement as full-time interns in directed field placements during their last spring semester.


In addition to offering courses that satisfy general education requirements, the department also offers three supplementary programs: (1) an undergraduate minor designed to complement majors in such diverse fields as child and adolescent development, business, education, psychology, theatre arts, environmental studies, urban studies, geography, and biology; (2) a master’s degree designed for students with experience who wish to pursue advanced training in the areas of community building, collaborative leadership, tourism, and management; and (3) a certificate in Youth and Human Services Nonprofit Administration with competencies in one of three areas (i.e., community recreation, youth development, human services).


One of the program’s most important resources is the diversity and vitality of the San Francisco Bay Area. The number of agencies, institutions, and leisure enterprises makes the region a focal point and living laboratory for local, state, and national parks, domestic and international tourism, and commercial, municipal, and nonprofit recreation.



The Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Department envisions a California where all residents are adequately prepared and situated to realize quality in all that comprises their life’s pursuits. The department’s mission and goals are to:

  • Foster an innovative learning community among students, faculty, university, and the recreation, parks, and tourism profession through a foundation of quality education, service, and research.
  • Provide students, faculty, and professionals with competencies and theoretically-based instruction by way of experiential and community service learning opportunities.
  • Advocate the importance, values, and benefits of recreation, parks, and tourism in society through stewardship, civic engagement, social responsibility, public policy and awareness, and professional participation.
  • Develop and strengthen relationships/partnerships with the recreation, parks, and tourism profession through the communication, dissemination, and application of research and best practices.


Students wanting to receive a Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration, a Minor in Recreation, or a Master of Science in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism should review the department website:, then contact the department where they will be directed to a faculty advisor related to their area of specific interest. Students interested in the nonprofit sector can also obtain a certificate in Youth and Human Services Nonprofit Administration.


  • All courses used in the major, minor, or certificate programs must be completed with letter grades (CR/NC option is not allowed) with the exception of RPT 690.
  • Courses that are required for the major, minor, or certificate programs must be completed with a minimum grade point average of 2.0 and a letter grade of C- or better [a grade of C or better is required in RPT 600 GW Professionalism in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism – the department’s Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) course].

Students are required to adhere to all department and university requirements stated in this Bulletin and on the department website.


Career Outlook

Every year, millions of people spend an increasing amount of time in pursuit of beneficial recreation, leisure, and touristic experiences. As the world’s leading industry, recreation and leisure/tourism spending accounts for approximately one trillion dollars per year; this equates to one-third of all consumer spending. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Department of Labor, the overall employment in the leisure/tourism and hospitality industry will grow 19 to 44% from 2010 to 2020.


There is a continued demand for full-time, trained recreation, park, and tourism professionals to assess, plan, implement, and evaluate programs and services in community recreation centers, after school programs, youth organizations (e.g., YMCA), private camps, marinas, theme parks, visitor bureaus, event planning agencies, state and national parks, and other areas within the leisure service delivery system. Thus, the recreation profession offers diverse employment opportunities for individuals who are enthusiastic, enjoy working with people, and have acquired the necessary professional skills.


Careers in the recreation, parks, and tourism profession include the following examples:

Activities Director (spa/resort) Interpretive Specialist Playground Safety Inspector
ADA Specialist Leisure Consultant Professional Storyteller
Adventure Therapist Leisure/Wellness Counselor Program Director
Aquatic Facilities Operator Leisure Education Specialist Recreation Professor
Arts and Crafts Specialist Leisure Industry Entrepreneur Recreation Program Supervisor
Attractions Manager Lifestyle Coach Recreation Specialty Retailer
Backcountry Ski Guide Military Recreation Director Recreation Therapist
Camp Director Municipal Recreation Leader Researcher in Recreation
Challenge Course Facilitator Museum Curator Retail Dealer
Childcare Provider Naturalist River Guide
City Manager Outdoor Adventure Guide Senior Center Activities Director
Community Center Director Outdoor Recreation Specialist Social Director (cruise ships)
Conference Coordinator Park Administrator Special Events Coordinator
Employee Recreation Manger Park Concessionaire Tennis or Golf Club Manager
Environmental Educator Park Maintenance Supervisor Tour Director/Guide
Event Planner Park Operations Manager Tourism Promotions Specialist
Executive Director (nonprofit) Park Planner Travel Consultant/td>
Expressive Arts Therapist Park Ranger University Activity Director
Fitness Instructor Park Superintendent Volunteer Coordinator
Hospitality Industry Professional Play Therapist Youth Sports Coordinator


The department offers courses that satisfy General Education (GE) requirements, and also a variety of activity classes, such as sailing and rock climbing, which are open to all students. GE requirements that are satisfied by a specific course appear in that course’s description; or see the General Education section of this Bulletin for a list of all approved GE courses.


Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration

Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration majors who successfully complete RPT 600 GW [formerly RPT 660 GW] in fall 2010, or thereafter, will have satisfied the University Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR).


Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration Major (B.S.) — 51 units

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated.

Foundation — 30 units

Emphasis Area — 3 units

Students select a minimum of one course (3 units) from the following list of courses based on interest and advisor approval.
Suggested Emphasis Areas and related courses:

Commercial Recreation/Tourism and Events (RPT 340, 460, 540, 670)
Community Recreation/Wellness (RPT 210, 340, 445)
Outdoor Recreation/Natural Resources (RPT 340, 430, 640)
Nonprofit Recreation/Human Services (RPT 210, 340, 470, 570)

Internship — 15 units

In the final spring semester, students complete a 3-unit planning and evaluation (RPT 680) seminar and a 12-unit internship (RPT 690) within an appropriate recreation, parks, or tourism setting. A minimum of 800 hours of paid or volunteer work experience (600 hours in recreation settings), completion of all major courses, and fulfillment of all General Education/University requirements are required prior to enrolling in the internship and seminar courses.

Additional course work is required for students seeking internships in settings that require special skills; such course work is prescribed in consultation with an advisor.


Minor in Recreation

Recreation Minor — 15 units

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated.

Foundation — 6 units

Emphasis Area — 9 units

In consultation with an advisor, students select a minimum of nine units from the following electives according to their emphasis area:

Commercial Recreation/Tourism and Events
Community Recreation/Wellness
Nonprofit Recreation/Human Services
Outdoor Recreation/Natural Resources


Certificate in Youth and Human Services Nonprofit Administration

Campus Director: Aiko Yoshino

General Information

The Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism is proud to offer a Certificate in Youth and Human Services Nonprofit Administration. Nonprofit agencies play an important role in the development and well-being of individuals and communities. To help meet the growing need for qualified leadership in today’s nonprofit organizations, the certificate program inspires and prepares undergraduates for entry-level professional positions in the nonprofit sector. Interested students take courses within a broad-based curriculum designed to develop leadership and management skills in nonprofit organizations. Students are required to consult with the certificate campus advisor to determine course work and field experience requirement.

Youth and Human Services Nonprofit Administration certificate — 21 units

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated.

Foundation — 12 units

Professional Competency Areas — 9 units

Units selected from the following list one course chosen from each area.
Note: One course within the professional competency areas can be substituted with the advisement and approval of the Campus Executive Director.

Community Organization and Group Work – choose one course minimum
Management and Administration – choose one course minimum
Program Planning – choose one course minimum

Field Experience — 3 units


Master of Science in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism

Graduate Advisors: Latkova, Roberts, Rosegard, Tierney, Wilson, Yoshino


General Information

The mission of the Master of Science in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism (RPT) program is to serve as a catalyst for the development of emerging entrepreneurial leaders who will be change agents and advance the recreation, parks, and tourism profession and society.


The M.S. in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism program prepares students to be employed in supervisory and managerial positions in areas of community recreation and nonprofit leisure services, commercial and private enterprises, and in parks and natural resources management agencies. The degree also offers the underpinning for students who wish to pursue a doctorate degree at other institutions for advanced research, consulting, and teaching positions. The department offers a foundation of quality education, service, and research that bridges the gaps between theory and practice, knowledge and experience, and critical and creative thinking.


The program is offered in a hybrid format providing the advantages of both online and in-person experiences. The online experiences allow students to eliminate commutes, which may be appealing to persons working full time or with families. The intensive classroom experiences and individual faculty advising build strong relationships within the cohort of students and between the students and RPT faculty. We only accept students in the fall in order to build a cohort of students that often develop strong professional and social ties.


SF State’s RPT M.S. program is part of a collaboration with California State University, Chico, and California State University, Sacramento. This collaboration provides opportunities to network with other students with similar professional interests. It also gives students access to three times as many faculty for teaching, research, and professional networking.


SF State students are provided a strong base of resources and experience at their home campus. Each student will be assigned a home campus faculty member to serve as a mentor and academic advisor. The advisor will guide students through their culminating graduate experience; an applied research project or thesis.


Visit the recreation, parks, and tourism student graduate program web site at for more information.


Applying For Admission to the Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Graduate Program

A limited number of highly qualified applicants are accepted for the fall semester of each year. All applicants are required to either have an undergraduate degree in recreation, parks, tourism, or a closely related degree; or at least one year of full-time professional work experience in the profession. Applicants who otherwise qualify but lack a related degree and/or need supplemental background information will be given additional readings and assignments due by the end of their first fall semester.


To be considered for admission, applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA in a baccalaureate degree or for the last 60 units (90 quarter units) of undergraduate work. Students must submit a Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score of 4.0 or above on just the Analytical Writing portion. Applicants must be first admitted to the university and then to the department. The University requires the following:


The Department requires the following information in addition to the University requirements:

  • A Departmental application (
  • A statement of purpose
  • GRE score of 4.0 or above on Analytical Writing portion
  • Three letters of recommendation (at least one from an academic and one from a professional)

In order to maintain enrollment in the program, a student must:

  • Develop an approved graduation plan signed by the student’s RPT adviser and make substantial progress toward meeting plan requirements, including completion of at least two core classes in the first fall semester.
  • Maintain a B- or better in all classes and an overall grade point average of 3.0
  • Continuous enrollment in at least one program course per semester

Program Curriculum

Courses in the core are taught using an online hybrid format by the RPT Department and partnering recreation departments at CSU Chico (RECR) and Sacramento State (RPTA). All of the students in the core courses participate in a mandatory in-person seminar on one of the participating campuses at least once near the beginning of that semester. There may be other in-person meetings with faculty or small groups of students as necessary; however, most hybrid classes are online. Students choose 9 units (3 classes) of electives with advisor consent. Six units may be upper division undergraduate classes and at least 6 units must be from SF State. Students will complete one of two culminating experience options; a thesis or applied research project.


Recreation, Parks, and Tourism (M.S.) — 30 units

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated.

Foundation Core — 9 units

Professional Core — 9 units

Area of Specialization — 9 units

Selected courses with advisor approval
(maximum of 6 units of upper division courses; maximum of 3 non‑SF State units).

Culminating Experience Options (choose one) — 3 units