Master of Science in Recreation Therapy

The Master of Science in Recreation Therapy in the College of Public Health explores dimensions of wellness as they relate to recreation and leisure, as well as improving quality of life for people with disabilities and health limitations. Students discover innovative strategies to support community engagement, leisure and recreation to promote function, health and participation. They’re also prepared to develop and implement evidence-based practice in diverse settings.

Recreation Therapy faculty capitalize on both Temple University’s distinctly urban, multicultural environment and new learning technologies to hone the skills students need for today’s healthcare and human service. They also view the concepts of health, leisure and recreation as integral to the human spirit.

What do Recreational Therapists do?

Recreational therapists use a variety of evidence-based techniques, such as adapted sports, expressive arts and life skills, to treat and maintain the emotional, mental and physical well-being of participants. Students are trained to assess participants’ needs, plan and implement specific interventions to meet those needs, and document and evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions. Learn more about the profession of recreation therapy profession.

As an MS student in Recreation Therapy, you will have the opportunity to develop a specialization with the guidance of a faculty member, to serve specific populations or study specific functions of recreation for health promotion. Examples of faculty members’ specializations include

  • advanced sport and inclusive recreation,
  • behavioral health,
  • disability studies,
  • geriatrics,
  • health promotion and rehabilitation,
  • pediatrics, and
  • physical rehabilitation.

The program encourages cross-disciplinary learning in the College of Public Health and beyond: To round out the program, students may pursue courses in counseling, exercise science or special education, for example.

Recreational Therapy students come from a wide range of academic and employment backgrounds, including accounting, child and family studies, communications, psychology, and special education.

Read frequently asked questions about the Recreation Therapy MS program.


Choose to focus your studies on specializations like geriatrics, pediatrics or rehabilitation. Your coursework will depend on whether you hold NCTRC certification when you apply to the program. See a full breakdown of the two course sequences here.

Track A (for those with NCTRC certification)

  • This is a 30-credit track for those with NCTRC national certification. It includes core public health and therapeutic recreation courses, as well as graduate electives you may choose based on your interests in the field.  

Track B (for those without NCTRC certification)

  • This is a 36-credit track includes core and elective courses, plus six credits of therapeutic recreation-specific leveling coursework for those without NCTRC national certification. Additional leveling coursework includes Human Anatomy and Physiology and Foundations of Developmental Psychology, among other courses. One of the leveling courses may be an online readings course taken during the summer prior to enrolling in the fall semester. Review a full list of required courses.

    *NOTE: Other supportive coursework may be required in order to take the NCTRC examination for recreation therapist certification. Specialization electives can be used to meet advanced certification from NCTRC after one year of full-time employment as a recreation therapist.

Degree Completion

If you take a full-time course load each semester including summers, you can finish the program in two years. You may also choose to study part time, and some students maintain part- or full-time employment while they are enrolled. Most classes meet one evening per week on Main Campus.

Toward the end of the program, you will complete a 600-hour field placement at an approved agency site to bolster your practical knowledge. You will choose a field setting based on the interests you have developed throughout the program. The program prepares you to apply to sit for the national certification exam, and/or maintain your status as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification.

Tuition & Fees

In keeping with Temple’s commitment to access and affordability, the Master of Science program offers a competitive level of tuition with multiple opportunities for financial support.

Tuition rates are set annually by the university and are affected by multiple factors, including program degree level (undergraduate or graduate), course load (full- or part-time), in-state or out-of-state residency and more. Learn more about our tuition and fees.

These tuition costs apply to the 2017–2018 academic year.

Pennsylvania resident: $928.00 per credit
Out-of-state: $1,276.00 per credit


Additional Program Information