Graduate Bulletin

Therapeutic Recreation, Ed.M.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Application Deadline:

Fall: June 1                                   [December 15 for international applicants]

Spring: October 15                               [August 1 for international applicants]

Applications are processed as they are received throughout the year.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 3

From Whom: One letter of recommendation should be obtained from a university faculty member familiar with the applicant's academic competence.  Currently enrolled undergraduates or those who have recently received their B.S. degree should submit two reference letters from faculty members. One reference letter may be from a practitioner who can address work-related competence.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

While there are no prerequisite course requirements for admission, students lacking an academic background in Therapeutic Recreation may be required to complete one or more undergraduate courses in the discipline during the first semester of their graduate program. Additionally, applicants are advised to complete a course in anatomy and physiology, lifespan human development, and abnormal psychology prior to or at the very beginning of their graduate program. Please note that students whose undergraduate coursework does not meet the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) standards for "supportive coursework" (see will be required to complete this coursework prior to sitting for the certification examination.  In consultation with an advisor, students may be required to take:

Ed 121:  Life Span Human Development

PE 100:  Anatomy and Physiology

Psy 150: Psychopathology

TR 331:  TR Assessment and Documentation

TR 335:  TR Clinical Procedures

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

A baccalaureate degree is required, but it need not be in Therapeutic Recreation.

Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals should be approximately 500-1,000 words and should, at a minimum, include the following elements:  why your background and interests make you suitable for a career in Therapeutic Recreation, your future career goals, and your academic and research interests and accomplishments.

Standardized Test Scores:

The GRE/MAT is required.  While there is no absolute minimum score, the department seeks scores in the 50th percentile or higher on the GRE verbal and quantitative sections or on the MAT.  A combination of UGPA and test scores are used to determine admissibility.

Minimum TOEFL score or range of scores needed to be accepted: 575 paper-based, 230 computer-based, or 88 internet-based.  Any student admitted with a TOEFL score below 600 on the paper-based, 250 on the computer-based, or 100 on the internet-based examination must pass an English skills course during the first semester of enrollment at Temple University.  Those having taken the paper-based or computer-based test have the additional option of testing out of the English course by taking and passing the SPEAK test at Temple.


A resume is required.

Transfer Credit:

Graduate credits from an accredited institution may be transferred into the Department of Therapeutic Recreation. The content and credits must be equivalent to coursework offered at Temple and must be approved by the department's Graduate Director. The grade must be a "B" or better in order to transfer. The maximum number of credits a student may transfer is 6.

Program Requirements
General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 33

Required Courses:

Core Courses (12 s.h.):

TR 511:  TR Administration

TR 563:  Conceptual Issues in TR

TR 566:  Fieldwork (optional for CTRS)

TR 574:  TR Seminar in Disabilities I

Required External (9 s.h.):

Ed 500: Research Design (or equivalent)

Ed 525: Statistics (or equivalent)

PH 534:  Theories of Health and Leisure Behavior

Cognate Courses (12.h.)*:

TR 512:  Seminar on TR Professional Practice

TR 521:  Leisure, Health and Wellness

HS 570:  Clinical Programming and Practice (prerequisites are TR 330 and TR 331 or the equivalent)

TR 575:  TR Seminar in Disabilities II

*Other courses may be substituted in consultation with an advisor.

Internship:  Any student who is not a certified recreation therapist (CTRS) is required to perform an internship that is a 600-hour field placement under the supervision of a full-time CTRS at an approved agency site.  If the student is a CTRS, an advanced internship or substitute course is mandatory. The student works with her/his faculty advisor in the selection of the field site.

Language Examination: No language examination is required.

Culminating Events:

Comprehensive Examination:

The comprehensive examination consists of two parts: the first is a multiple choice exam designed to ensure that the student has the entry-level knowledge to practice in the discipline; the second is a written essay exam to ensure that the student can think critically and analytically and can adequately express her/his views.

The multiple choice exam covers the same areas as the NCTRC national certifying exam: foundation material, professionalism, assessment, program planning and evaluation, program implementation and intervention, administration, and characteristics of individuals with disabilities. The written essay portion of the exam requires responses to questions or scenarios about current issues affecting the discipline as well as theory/philosophy, program implementation, research, and administration.

This exam is usually taken after all coursework is completed. It is available several times throughout the year. Students arrange with their academic advisors to schedule and complete the examination.

The Graduate Faculty who write the questions also grade the responses. Each examination is evaluated by two faculty members, each voting to pass or fail the student. If the members are not in agreement, a third faculty member reads and evaluates the examination and determines the outcome. Students may be requested to provide verbal explanations to questions in a follow-up meeting. Students are allowed two opportunities to successfully complete the exam.

The student is given a choice of questions on which to respond on the written examination. The evaluators look for (a) an understanding of core concepts, (b) the application of principles to specific scenarios, and (c) an ability to write technically in a manner consistent with the expectations of the discipline. Students must successfully pass at least 70 percent of the written portion of the exam in order to satisfactorily complete the requirement.

Master's Project:

Graduate students with an academic background and previous experience practicing as a recreation therapist are permitted to complete a master's project in lieu of the comprehensive exam. This option is always used for students who intend to pursue a doctoral degree.

The master's project is designed by the student in consultation with faculty, and can involve research, program evaluation, or other elements that demonstrate advanced application of Therapeutic Recreation principles and practices. The master's project is presented to the faculty and evaluated based on standards appropriate to the project.

Program Contact Information:

Department Information:

Dept. of Therapeutic Recreation

Box 062-55

1700 N. Broad Street, Suite 313

Philadelphia, PA 19122


Department Contacts:


Sylvia Kaikai


Graduate  Chairperson:

Dr. John Shank

Department Chairperson:

Dr. John Shank

About the Program

The 33-s.h. master's program in Therapeutic Recreation (TR) is designed for individuals who want to advance their knowledge and skills in providing play, recreation, and leisure as a form of health promotion and rehabilitation to individuals with disabilities across the lifespan. The program provides an opportunity for currently certified recreation therapists to individualize their area of study, including but not limited to health promotion, clinical intervention, and administration. Students who do not have an academic background or work experience in TR service delivery may use the Ed.M. program to meet the academic requirements to sit for the national credentialing examination of the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC). Their program is typically 36-39 semester hours.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 4 years

Campus Location:

Main Campus

Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Students are required to complete the degree program through classes offered before and after 4:30 p.m. Students are also able to complete the degree program on a full-time or part-time (6-8 credit hours or less per semester) basis.

Department Information:

Dept. of Therapeutic Recreation

Box 062-55

1700 N. Broad Street, Suite 313

Philadelphia, PA 19122


Interdisciplinary Study:

Interdisciplinary study is encouraged through certificate programs in Gerontology (through the Institute on Aging), Horticulture Therapy (through the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture), and Assistive Technology and Disability Studies (through the Institute on Disabilities). Other interdisciplinary study may be geared to the student's personal interests, e.g., exercise science, special education, or counseling. The College of Health Professions also provides opportunities for interdisciplinary learning, which can culminate in a certificate of Interdisciplinary Education.


Numerous health care and human service agencies in Philadelphia and the surrounding Delaware Valley region cooperate with the TR department and offer opportunities for student training and research. These include nationally recognized rehabilitation facilities such as Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Easter Seals Society, Moss Rehab and Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, the Pennsylvania Center for Adapted Sports, the Princeton Medical Center; Shriner's Hospital, the Temple University Hospital and Health System, United Cerebral Palsy of Philadelphia, and the Variety Club Camp and Developmental Center.

Study Abroad:



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 certification examination for certified recreation therapists.


Not applicable.

Areas of Specialization:

Faculty members specialize and offer learning opportunities in health promotion and rehabilitation, gerontology, physical and mental health, and disability studies.

Job Placement:

Graduates of the program are highly sought for advanced clinical/management positions in hospitals, pediatric facilities, nursing homes, adult day programs and assisted living facilities, and community settings providing specialized services to individuals with disabilities.


Not applicable.

Non-Degree Student Policy:

Students are allowed to take up to 9 semester hours of coursework before matriculation. Selection of courses must be made in conjunction with the department's Graduate Director.

Financing Opportunities

Funding is available in various forms.  The principal duties of a Teaching Assistant (TA) include assisting faculty members in the classroom (field, observatory); conducting tutorials and discussion sections; and grading quizzes. A TA may also be used as an instructor in an undergraduate course in Therapeutic Recreation, depending on the TA's expertise and experience. Research Assistants are expected to devote up to 20 hours per week to research obligations. Availability depends on whether faculty have externally funded research grants. Assignments vary depending on the nature of the grant. Both Teaching and Research Assistantships carry a stipend and partial or full tuition remission. Academic Internships are also sometimes available and involve graduate students in faculty- supervised projects other than assisting with teaching and research.  An example would be coordinating an after-school recreation program for children in a neighborhood community center. Academic Internships carry a stipend and partial or full tuition remission. Graduate Externships are available through other divisions of the university. For example, Temple University's Recreation Services 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. Externship postions are handled by each unit offering them. Applying for a position as TA, RA, Academic Intern, or Graduate Extern is done in the form of a letter outlining relevant qualifications and experience submitted by March 15 to the Department Chair.

Updated 3.2.06