Master of Science in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism

Graduate Advisors: Latkova, Roberts, Rosegard, Tierney, Viren, 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 MS in RPT 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 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 master's program is offered in a hybrid format providing the advantages of both online and in-person experiences. The interactive online webinars 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 almost exclusively accept students in the fall to build a cohort of students that often develop strong professional and social ties.

SF State’s MS in RPT 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 website 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 the equivalent of one year of paid or volunteer, full-time professional work experience in recreation, parks, and/or tourism. 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.

The graduate admission application to San Francisco State University is a two-part process. You must submit Part One and Part Two of your graduate admission application simultaneously by the deadline to be considered for admission.

Part One

Apply online through Cal State Apply ( Your application will require you to upload the following:

  • Unofficial transcript(s)
  • A statement of purpose
  • GRE Analytical Writing score of 4.0 or higher
  • Three letters of recommendation (at least one from an academic and one from a professional)

To maintain enrollment in the program, a student must:

  • Develop an approved graduation plan signed by the student’s RPT advisor 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
  • Maintain 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 SF State RPT Department and partnering recreation departments at CSU Chico (RHPM) and CSU Sacramento (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 and once at the end. In between these two in-person seminars, students meet for weekly interactive webinars that are scheduled in the evening so that full-time professionals can participate. Students choose nine units (three classes) of electives with advisor consent. Six units may be upper-division undergraduate courses, and at least six units must be from SF State. Students will complete one of two culminating experience options; a thesis or applied research project.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Leadership - Examine and develop collaborative and entrepreneurial leadership behaviors that advance the recreation, parks and tourism profession and society.
  2. Management/Administration - Acquire the ability to apply fiscal, budgetary, marketing and human resource knowledge and skills to meet present and future organizational needs and challenges.
  3. Theories - Acquire knowledge of theories, models and paradigms for explaining the past, present and future of leisure, and the ability to translate and apply these to recreation, parks and tourism programs and services.
  4. Research - Demonstrate the ability to: A) Design and conduct research, B) analyze and interpret data, and C) apply findings to advancing knowledge through linking theory and practice to improve the recreation, parks and tourism profession.
  5. Quality of Life - Appraise and promote the importance and benefits of leisure, recreation, parks and tourism to enhance the well-being of individuals, community and the environment.

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

Foundation Core (9 units)

RPTA 200 - Sacramento3
RECR 264 - Chico3
RPT 720Developing Collaborative Leaders in Leisure Services3

Professional Core (9 units)

RECR 611 - Chico3
RPT 810Research Methods in Recreation and Leisure Studies3
RPTA 202 - Sacramento3

Area of Specialization (9 units)

Select courses with advisor approval.
(maximum of six units of upper division courses; maximum of three non-SF State units).

Culminating Experience Options (3 units)

Select one of the following:
RPT 895Applied Research Project (and Oral Defense of Professional Paper)3
RPT 898Master's Thesis (and Oral Defense of Thesis)3