Recreational Therapy, M.S.

COLLEGE OF PUBLIC HEALTH

Learn more about the Master of Science in Recreational Therapy.

About the Program

The 36-credit online M.S. in Recreational Therapy is designed for individuals who want to advance their knowledge and skills related to evidence-based practice within healthcare and human services. The curriculum teaches from a conceptual model of health promotion and rehabilitation and maintains a lifespan perspective in three core areas: health, disability, and leisure. The primary focus of academic and clinical preparation is on training recreational therapists to use play, recreation, and leisure to achieve and maintain goals related to health promotion, rehabilitation, and full participation in an active, meaningful life. Specialization coursework can be used to meet advanced certification.

The faculty utilize contemporary educational and learning technologies to impart the most current cutting-edge practitioner and leadership skills central to today’s healthcare and human service provision. This is done while maintaining the timeless concepts of health, recreation, and leisure as that is what drives the human spirit. The online M.S. in Recreational Therapy program is designed for those who strive to be leaders in recreational therapy and share a drive to improve the lives of others while harnessing the value inherent in, and benefits derived from, recreational activities.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 4 years

Campus Location: Online, with a combination of asynchronous components (discussion boards and other assignments completed by students on their own time) and synchronous components (web conference–based live class discussions, chat rooms, and video meetings)

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: The degree program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis.

Interdisciplinary Study: Interdisciplinary study is encouraged and may be geared toward the student's personal interests (e.g., counseling, exercise science, or special education). The diversity of departments and programs in the College of Public Health presents abundant opportunities for cross-disciplinary learning. Additionally, part of the academic experience in the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences involves interprofessional education.

Affiliation(s): Numerous healthcare and human service agencies in Philadelphia and the surrounding Delaware Valley region cooperate with the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and offer opportunities for student training and research. These include nationally recognized rehabilitation facilities such as Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, MossRehab, the Princeton Medical Center, Shriner's Hospital, the Temple University Hospital and Health System, and the Variety Club Camp and Developmental Center.

Additionally, graduate students are encouraged and supported to complete internships/clinical practicums in an extensive network of agencies cultivated by the program over the years. These include placements across the country, including California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Montana, and Virginia.

Ranking: The faculty and the program are nationally recognized for excellence and have received numerous national and state awards for their contributions. Graduates of the program consistently perform well on the national credentialing examination for certified recreational therapists.

Accreditation: The academic program meets or exceeds all current curriculum standards issued by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) and other professional organizations.

Areas of Specialization: Faculty members specialize and offer learning opportunities in adapted sport and inclusive recreation, behavioral health, geriatrics, health promotion and rehabilitation, pediatrics, and physical rehabilitation.

Job Prospects: Graduates of the program are highly sought for advanced clinical/management positions in adult day programs, assisted living facilities, community settings providing specialized services to individuals with disabilities, hospitals, nursing homes, and pediatric facilities. Graduates who use the degree to enter this field are also highly sought after to begin practicing as recreational therapists.

Licensure/Certification: A license is required to practice recreational therapy in the following states: New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Utah. The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) administers an examination that students must pass in order to become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS). Graduates from Temple’s Master of Science in Recreational Therapy program meet the educational eligibility requirements to sit for the NCTRC exam. For more information, visit https://www.atra-online.com/page/CertandLicense.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Students are allowed to take up to 9 credits of graduate coursework before matriculation. Selection of courses must be made in conjunction with the Graduate Program Director in the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

Financing Opportunities: Limited funding opportunities are sometimes available in the form of teaching or research assistantships or externships:

  • Assistants are expected to devote up to 20 hours per week to teaching or research obligations. Availability depends on courses offered or whether faculty have externally funded research grants. Assignments vary depending on the nature of the grant. Assistantships carry a stipend and partial or full tuition remission.

  • Graduate Externs are hired by other divisions of the university, which make offers directly. For example, Campus Recreation hires externs to conduct student recreation events, and the Institute on Disabilities hires externs to assist with various projects. Externs do not receive tuition remission.

Applying for a position as a Teaching or Research Assistant or Graduate Extern is done online and involves outlining relevant qualifications and experience. Students are notified as opportunities become available.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: March 1
Spring: November 1

All applicants to the M.S. in Recreational Therapy program must apply via the Centralized Application Service for Public Health (SOPHAS). The system can be accessed at https://sophas.liaisoncas.com/.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 3

From Whom: One letter of recommendation should be written by a faculty member who can comment on your academic ability. The others can be from professional references who can speak to your work-related competencies.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: If admitted, students lacking NCTRC national credentialing are required to take leveling and supportive undergraduate courses, in addition to the M.S. degree requirements, prior to completion of 15 credits in the program.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution is required. All undergraduate majors are considered. A GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale is required, but applicants with a GPA below 3.0 may be considered for admission based on scores at or above the 65th percentile on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Miller Analogy Test (MAT) or a GPA of 3.25 in 9 credits of graduate-level coursework.

Statement of Goals: Write an essay of approximately 1,000 words that responds to these questions:

  • How have your recreation and leisure experiences contributed to your health and personal growth? Consider different areas of wellness and how these components have interacted and influenced each other in your life.
  • What, if any, experience do you have in working with individuals with disabilities?
  • What are your interests in and career goals related to recreational therapy?

Your essay is evaluated on the quality of your writing and synthesis of ideas, which are expected to be of a certain standard at the master’s level. It benefits your application if you highlight relevant active volunteerism, work experience(s) that developed relevant skills, and/or past leadership experience. The essay allows the department to determine your fit with the program.

Standardized Test Scores:
GRE/MAT: Optional, although applicants who believe GRE scores would complement their application are encouraged to submit scores to SOPHAS using code 0151.

Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 79 (send officially to SOPHAS using the SOPHAS-specific TOEFL code 5688)
  • IELTS Academic: 6.5
  • PTE Academic: 53
  • Duolingo: 110

Clearances: The Recreational Therapy M.S. program requires students to complete clinical/field education experiences at various facilities. These placements require criminal background checks, Act 33/34 clearances, and perhaps a drug screen. Placements may also require the student to maintain personal health insurance and/or to submit proof of a physical and immunization records. The results of these requirements may limit and potentially eliminate placement options for the student, thus resulting in her/his inability to meet graduation requirements. Additionally, conviction of a misdemeanor, felony, or felonious or illegal act may prevent the individual from becoming credentialed and/or licensed to practice in the field of therapeutic recreation.

Resume: Current professional resume required.

Transfer Credit: Graduate credits from an accredited institution are considered for transfer into the M.S. in Recreational Therapy degree program. Such courses are reviewed by the M.S. Program Coordinator to determine whether they are equivalent to coursework offered at Temple and fulfill any degree requirements. The grade must be a "B" or better in order to transfer and have been earned within five years of applying to the program. The maximum number of credits that may be transferred into the M.S. program is 6.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate:

  • 36 for those who hold NCTRC national certification (see Course Sequence A).
  • 36 plus 6 credits of Recreational Therapy-specific leveling coursework for those without NCTRC national certification (see Course Sequence B). Note that other supportive coursework may be required to sit for the national credentialing examination for therapeutic recreation specialist certification. Specialization electives can be used to meet advanced certification from NCTRC after one year of full-time employment as a recreational therapist.

Required Courses:

Course Sequence A (for those with NCTRC national certification)

HRPR 5001Current and Emerging Issues in Public Health and Health Professions 10
A1: Required Core Graduate Courses
RCTH 5001Graduate Research I in Recreational Therapy3
RCTH 5102Recreational Therapy: Now and Then3
RCTH 5301Evidence Based Practice in Recreational Therapy I3
RCTH 5302Evidence Based Practice in Recreational Therapy II3
RCTH 5311Conceptual and Contemporary Issues in Recreational Therapy3
RCTH 5312Leisure, Health, and Recreational Therapy Interventions3
RCTH 5402Recreational Therapy Administration and Management3
RCTH 5442Program Planning and Practice in Recreational Therapy3
A2: Electives
Select four of the following based on interests/needs:12
Teaching in Higher Education: Health Professions
Entrepreneurship in the Health Professions
RCTH 5101
Managing Dementia Care
Recreational Therapy and Assistive Technology
Play and Pediatric Development
Therapeutic Play, Recreation and Children's Health
Child Life Interventions
Special Topics in Recreational Therapy
Leisure-time Physical Activity and Community Engagement in Recreational Therapy
Social Engagement and Community Participation in Recreational Therapy
Measuring Health and Disability: The ICF Model
Independent Study
Total Credit Hours36

Course Sequence B (for those without NCTRC national certification)

HRPR 5001Current and Emerging Issues in Public Health and Health Professions 10
B1: Required Leveling/Supportive Undergraduate Courses 2
KINS 1223Human Anatomy and Physiology I4
PSY 2201Foundations of Psychopathology3
PSY 2301Foundations of Developmental Psychology3
RCTH 3096Assessment and Documentation in Recreational Therapy3
Additional credits in a variety of Health and Human Service content areas (e.g., medical terminology, public health, social work, sociology, etc.)9
B2: Required Core Graduate Courses
RCTH 5001Graduate Research I in Recreational Therapy3
RCTH 5102Recreational Therapy: Now and Then3
RCTH 5301Evidence Based Practice in Recreational Therapy I3
RCTH 5302Evidence Based Practice in Recreational Therapy II3
RCTH 5311Conceptual and Contemporary Issues in Recreational Therapy3
RCTH 5312Leisure, Health, and Recreational Therapy Interventions3
RCTH 5402Recreational Therapy Administration and Management3
RCTH 5442Program Planning and Practice in Recreational Therapy3
RCTH 5787Recreational Therapy Practicum 33
B3: Electives
Select three of the following based on interests/needs:9
Entrepreneurship in the Health Professions
RCTH 5101
Managing Dementia Care
Recreational Therapy and Assistive Technology
Play and Pediatric Development
Therapeutic Play, Recreation and Children's Health
Child Life Interventions
Special Topics in Recreational Therapy
Recreational Therapy and Disabilities Seminar I
Recreational Therapy and Disabilities Seminar II
Leisure-time Physical Activity and Community Engagement in Recreational Therapy
Social Engagement and Community Participation in Recreational Therapy
Measuring Health and Disability: The ICF Model
Independent Study
Total Credit Hours36

Minimum Grade to be Earned for All Required Courses: B-

Culminating Event: Successful completion of coursework constitutes the culminating event.

Contacts

Program Web Address:

https://www.temple.edu/academics/degree-programs/recreational-therapy-ms-hp-rlth-ms

Department Information:

Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Recreational Therapy Program

1700 N. Broad Street, Suite 304

Philadelphia, PA 19121-3429

gena.vargas@temple.edu

215-204-7010

Submission Address for Application Materials:

https://sophas.liaisoncas.com/

Department Contacts:

Admissions:

CPH Office of Admissions

cph@temple.edu

215-204-5200

Graduate Program Coordinator:

Gena Bell Vargas, Ph.D., CTRS

gena.vargas@temple.edu

215-204-7010