The Degrees

Those who are interested in working with people in a wide range of recreational settings, improving quality of life, and developing personal leadership skills will find the B.S. and M.S. degrees offered through the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies to be a perfect fit.

We offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation and Park Management (RPM) and another in Recreational Therapy (RT). The RPM degree program has been nationally accredited since 1981 and the RT program is a national leader in providing recreation therapy services to those with health and disability issues.

At the graduate level, we offer a Master of Science degree in Recreation and Park Administration and another in Recreational Therapy Administration. Our graduate students are involved in teaching, research, and projects that directly impact local communities, as well as health-related services across the state.

The Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Recreational Therapy are unique to the state, region, and nation. The percentage of ECU graduates passing the national and state credentialing exams is significantly higher than the state and nation. Graduates become successful recreational therapists and administrators in physical and psychiatric rehabilitation programs, hospitals, residential service programs, long-term care facilities, and community recreation programs serving persons with disabilities.

What Do Graduates Do?

Graduates of the Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Recreation and Parks become programmers and directors in community recreation and parks departments, youth and adult sports services, campus recreation departments, state and national park agencies, and sustainable commercial recreation and tourism industries.

Unique Programs

A unique element of the RCLS Department is the Biofeedback Laboratory, which is actively involved in combining the use of video games and biofeedback in the treatment of PTSD and traumatic brain injuries in returning armed service members. Through this program, RT faculty members and students provide biofeedback services to members of the Wounded Warriors program from Camp Lejeune. Graduate students may take coursework and engage in studies that will result in a Certificate in Biofeedback.

Another unique program that results in a Certificate is the Aquatic Therapy program.  Graduate students are eligible to take a series of courses that involve the provision of aquatic therapy services to those with disabilities and those who have a variety of health conditions.  This is one of only two such programs in existence across the country.

The RCLS faculty believe in the importance of practical experience for students and encourage active involvement in service and volunteer projects. Numerous learning and service projects include parks and recreation master planning for local communities across eastern NC, special event programming, risk management planning, needs assessments and evaluation projects for tourism centers,  and diverse practicum and internship experiences.


RCLS educates tomorrow's leaders in recreation, parks, tourism, and recreational therapy as well as provides scholarship and leadership to the region, state, and nation.


To be the model professional education and training program of the nation through scholarship, innovation, technical assistance, and outreach thereby helping learners to develop the necessary competencies, interpersonal skills, and critical thinking to lead the professions in the coming decades.


RCLS holds the following core values, which serve as the foundation for where we place our priorities in terms of teaching, scholarship, and service.