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Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management

Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management, M.S. (Online)

Photo of a hiker on a mountain.

Clemson University is among the nation’s top universities in graduate education in the fields of parks, recreation, tourism and related disciplines.

The M.S. (online, non-thesis) is offered as an entirely online graduate degree program with an emphasis on the student who is already a practitioner in the field. The degree is focused on giving the student a solid foundation of the theoretical underpinnings of the field, while also developing the student’s practical administrative, management and leadership skills.

A leader in online parks, recreation and tourism education.

Our well-established online Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management master's (M.S.) degree program helps working professionals pursue their passion, reset their careers and advance professionally. You learn from world-class faculty and leading practitioners who are at the top of their fields, and complete your credential in two years while taking one course at a time in an 8-week format.

  • Overview

    Students learn from a mix of leading university faculty and world-class practitioners and take 10 classes over two years (one or two classes at a time, depending on your concentration), meeting online in the evening once a week with faculty and fellow graduate students – making sure you can continue to work full-time while earning your master’s degree.

    The online format ensures your classroom travels with you. All you need is a laptop and internet connection.

  • Application Deadline

    Applications are taken on a rolling basis, allowing you to start your program in either the spring or fall semester.

    We encourage (but do not require) students to begin the program during the fall semester, as our course work sequences in a specific manner. A spring start often puts you off-sequence and behind.

  • Admission Requirements

    Enrollment requires that the student hold a bachelor’s degree for admission into the master’s (online, non-thesis) program.

    Prospective students must complete an application form and submit:

    • Undergraduate transcripts demonstrating a successful bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, and including:
    • GPA, last two years of undergraduate studies with a minimum of 3.0* out of 4.0
    • TOEFL / IELTS - For international students’ language ability, a TOEFL score or IELTS test is required. Minimum scores are as follows:
      • pbT TOEFL - greater than 610
      • IBT TOEFL - greater than 102
      • CBT TOEFL - greater than 253
      • IELTS - greater than 6.5
    • Two letters of reference that specifically address your ability to be successful in a graduate program in parks, recreation and tourism
    • A résumé
    • A personal statement indicating your interests, background, intent for pursuing a master’s degree and how it will advance your career 
    • Recreational Therapy students must have proof of current CTRS certification or be eligible to sit for the national exam

    A Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for admission to the online, non-thesis program.

    Visit Clemson University Graduate School Admissions to learn more about admission requirements, how to apply and important dates.

  • Program Requirements

    The M.S. non-thesis in PRTM consists of 30 credit hours of online coursework. Course work is offered through a combination of weekly evening synchronous meetings through Zoom and asynchronous delivery methods using Canvas.

    The M.S. non-thesis contains seven core classes, two concentration classes, and a three credit hour course that applies learning outcomes from the program to current PRTM issues and organizations. Students can choose to focus on one of four concentration areas:

    1. Community recreation management
    2. Parks and conservation area management
    3. Recreational therapy
    4. Travel and tourism

    Courses are offered in eight-week time intervals.

  • Core Classes

    Earn 24 credits, or 15 credits for Recreational Therapy (RT) students, in: 

    • PRTM 8010 – Philosophical Foundations of Recreation and Park Administration
    • PRTM 8030 – Seminar in Recreation and Park Administration (not required for recreational therapy students)
    • PRTM 8080 – Behavioral Aspects of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management
    • PRTM 8110 – Research Methods in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management
    • PRTM 8210 – Innovative and Creative Funding Strategies in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management
    • PRTM 8220 – Strategic Planning in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management Organizations
    • PRTM 8230 - Operating in Political Environments in the Public and Non-Profit Sectors

    Other classes you will take to complete your degree are based on the concentration you choose.

  • Community Recreation and Sport Management Concentration

    If you choose the community recreation and sport management concentration option, you will take classes in:

    • PRTM 8240 – Enterprise Development in the Public and Non-Profit Sectors
    • PRTM 8250 – Understanding Populations in PRTM

    Learn more about the community recreation and sport management concentration. 

  • Park and Conservation Area Management Concentration

    If you choose the park and conservation area management concentration option, you will take classes in:

    • PRTM 8070 – Human Dimension of Outdoor Recreation and Public Land Visitation
    • PRTM 8440 – Outdoor Recreation Resource Management and Planning

     Learn more about the park and conservation area management concentration. 

  • Recreational Therapy Concentration

    If you choose the recreational therapy concentration option, you will take classes in:

    • PRTM 8710 – Applied Research in Recreational Therapy Practice
    • PRTM 8720 – Advanced Facilitation Techniques in Recreational Therapy
    • PRTM 8730 – Advanced Theory and Application in Recreational Therapy
    • PRTM 8740 – Management of the Clinical Process in Recreational Therapy
    • PRTM 8750 – Program Planning and Consulting in Recreational Therapy

    Some courses above will substitute for core classes.

  • Tourism and Event Management Concentration

    If you choose the tourism and event management concentration option, you will take classes in:

    Learn more about the tourism and event management concentration. 

  • Financial Information

    Tuition and Fees

    Explore information on tuition and fees using the Student Financial Services’ tuition and fee calculator. (Be sure to choose the ‘online’ tab at the top of the page.)

    Financial Aid
    For information regarding Financial Aid, please contact the office of Student Financial Aid.

    Employee Tuition Assistance Program

    Clemson University's Employee Tuition Assistance Program (ETAP) permits employees who are accepted to Clemson online programs (employees must go through the same rigor and process as any other student), the ability to utilize the full ETAP benefit.

    This allows these accepted employees/students to be afforded the same benefits as employees/students who were pursuing non-online degrees. The benefit allows eligible employees the ability to have up to 6 credit hours waived per semester. Visit the ETAP program page for details.

  • Find Out More

    Please contact the coordinator of graduate studies at prtmonline@clemson.edu or call (864) 656-2708 or (864) 656-3237 for more information.

Meet Some of our Faculty

Clemson PRTM Faculty Member Tom O'Rourke

Tom O'Rourke

Between directing two large park systems and his service as a Board Member of the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, Tom O'Rourke has seen and managed it all. Meet Tom.

Clemson PRTM faculty member Mariela Fernandez

Mariela Fernandez

Although Mariela Fernandez, Ph.D. primarily researches the lack of access to green spaces in Latino(a) communities, she's also part of several different initiatives across campus and in the field. Meet Dr. Fernandez.

Clemson PRTM faculty member Phil Gaines.

Phil Gaines

Phil Gaines is legendary in the park field for his 38-year career at SC State Parks, where he worked up from an entry-level ranger to its Director – now he shares his insights along the way with our students. Meet Phil.

Jasmine Townsend

Jasmine Townsend

Jasmine Townsend leads the Adaptive Sport and Recreation Lab on the Clemson University campus with other adaptive sport researchers and is the coordinator of the department's Recreational Therapy program. Meet Dr. Townsend.

Alumni Spotlight

Photo of Clemson PRTM alumnus Luis Santiago.

Luis Santiago, Maryland Recreation Specialist

Meet Luis Santiago, a Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management alumnus who graduated with his master’s degree in 2017. He’s always had a passion for helping people and as a therapeutic recreation specialist with the Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission, he’s getting to do just that. Find out how Clemson helped prepare him for his career, his favorite Clemson memory and what he gained from the experience of earning his master's degree online.

Read his story
Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management
Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management | 263 Lehotsky Hall