2009 - 2010 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

Recreation Therapy, M.S.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Application Deadline:

Fall: April 1; December 15 international

Spring: October 15; August 1 international

Applications are processed as they are received throughout the year.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.  Check the status of your application by using your ApplyYourself PIN and password.

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 professional who can address work-related competence.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

No prerequisite courses are required for admission, although students lacking an academic background in Therapeutic Recreation are required to complete one or more undergraduate courses in the discipline by the end of their first semester in the graduate program. These include:

TR 2103:  Foundations of Therapeutic Recreation Practice*

TR 3101:  Therapeutic Recreation Assessment and Documentation*

TR 5101:  Health, Activity and Aging

Other courses may also need to be completed prior to or at the very beginning of the 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 www.nctrc.org) will be required to complete this coursework prior to sitting for the certification examination.  These courses include:

ED 1322:  The Developing Individual Across the Life Span (or equivalent, such as Developmental Psychology)**

KIN 1223:  Human Anatomy and Physiology I**

PSY 2201:  Foundations of Psychopathology (or equivalent, such as Abnormal Psychology)**

* Required of M.S. students without TR background.

** Required for NCTRC credentialing examination.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

A baccalaureate degree, earned with a minimum GPA of 3.0, is required.  All undergraduate majors are considered for admission.

Statement of Goals:

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

Standardized Test Scores:

The GRE or MAT is required.  Scores are expected in the 50th percentile or higher on the GRE verbal and quantitative sections or on the MAT, but a combination of undergraduate GPA and test scores is used to determine admission.  Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 may be considered for admission based on scores at or above the 65th percentile on the GRE/MAT and B+ or higher in 9 credits of graduate-level coursework.

Minimum TOEFL score needed to be accepted: 550 paper-based, 213 computer-based, or 79 internet-based.


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 Program 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: 30

Required Courses:

Core Courses (18-24 s.h.):

TR 5101: Health, Activity and Aging***

TR 8101:  Evidence-Based Practice I

TR 8102:  Evidence-Based Practice II

TR 8141:  Conceptual and Contemporary Issues in TR

TR 8142:  Clinical Programming and Practice in TR

TR 8171:  TR Administration

TR 9143:  Leisure, Health and Quality of Life

TR 9187:  TR Practicum

TR 9995:  Master's Project in TR

Required External (3 s.h.):

HRP 5xxx:  Research Design (or equivalent)

Specialization Electives (9 s.h.):

3 courses selected, with guidance, to fit area of specialization (e.g., geriatrics, pediatrics, rehabilitation)

*** Another course 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:

Master's Project on Evidence-Based Practice:

All M.S. degree students are required to complete a field-based project on evidence-based recreation therapy practice.  The project is proposed and approved by graduate faculty before it is implemented.  The final project is prepared for presentation at a professional meeting/conference, and may result in a manuscript for publication as well.

Program Contact Information:


Department Information:

Department of Therapeutic Recreation

Box 062-55

1700 N. Broad Street, Suite 304

Philadelphia, PA 19122



Department Contacts:

Graduate  Program Director:

Dr. John Shank

About the Program

The M.S. in Recreation 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 recreation therapists to use play, recreation, and leisure to achieve and maintain goals related to health promotion, rehabilitation, and full participation in active, meaningful life.

The program provides an opportunity for currently certified recreation therapists (CTRS) to advance their knowledge and understanding of evidence-based practice within an area of specialization (e.g., geriatrics, pediatrics, rehabilitation), and gain skills to meet specialty certification through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC). The program for currently certified recreation therapists is completed in 30 semester hours.

Students who do not have an academic background in Therapeutic Recreation may use the program to meet eligibility requirements for the NCTRC national credentialing examination for recreation therapists.  These students may also select an area of specialization.  Excluding "leveling" coursework, these students complete their program in 36-39 hours.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 3-4 years

Campus Location:


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:

Department of Therapeutic Recreation

Box 062-55

1700 N. Broad Street, Suite 304

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 diversity of departments and programs in the College of Health Professions and Social Work presents abundant opportunities for cross-disciplinary learning.


Numerous healthcare and human service agencies in Philadelphia and the surrounding Delaware Valley region cooperate with the Therapeutic Recreation department and offer opportunities for student training and research. These include nationally recognized rehabilitation facilities such as Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the 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. 

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

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 credentialing examination for certified recreation therapists.


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

Areas of Specialization:

Faculty members specialize and offer learning opportunities in adapted sport and inclusive recreation, behavioral health, disability studies, geriatrics, health promotion and rehabilitation, pediatrics, and physical rehabilitation.

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. Graduates who use the degree to enter this field are also highly sought after to begin practicing as a recreation therapist. 


Not applicable.

Non-Degree Student Policy:

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

Financing Opportunities

Funding is available in various forms:

    • The principal duties of a Teaching Assistant include assisting faculty members in the classroom (field, observatory); conducting tutorials and discussion sections; and grading quizzes. A Teaching Assistant may also be used as an instructor in an undergraduate course in Therapeutic Recreation, depending on the the individual's expertise and experience. A Teaching Assistantship carries a stipend and partial or full tuition remission.
    • 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. A Research Assistantship carries a stipend and partial or full tuition remission.
    • Academic Internships are sometimes available and involve graduate students in faculty-supervised projects other than assisting with teaching and research.  An example is 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 positions are handled directly by the units offering them.

Applying for a position as a TA, RA, or Academic Intern is done in the form of a letter outlining relevant qualifications and experience.  It must be submitted by March 1 to the Graduate Program Director.

Updated 4.20.10