Parks, Recreation & Tourism Mgt - PhD (Online)


Degrees Offered


Clemson University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. The Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management is one of the largest programs of its type in the country, consisting of over 500 undergraduate and 61 PhD students. In total, the Department has 34 faculty and lecturers. The PhD is an advanced research degree focused on preparing students for faculty and research positions with an emphasis in recreational therapy (RT).



More information can be found in this graduate handbook.


Program of Study

If you are accepted into our PhD degree programs, your course of study will be uniquely developed in consultation with your graduate advisory committee. Factors determining your course of study will include your interests and goals, undergraduate course of study, employment history and the degree program.

Since the program is designed to maintain flexibility, course requirements will be based on your individual needs. The final basis for course selection will be your grasp of the subject matter deemed appropriate by your advisory committee, competency to plan and conduct research and the ability to use both oral and written communication effectively. One strong component is course work in research methodology and statistics. It is anticipated that your program of study will include at least the following:

  • PRTM graduate courses: 15 hours
  • Research & Statistics courses: 15 hours
  • Collateral Area: 12 hours
  • Dissertation Research credits: 18 hours
  • Total: 60 hours

The time limit for this degree is determined by the dates by which essential elements of the degree are completed. The following must be passed in the five-year period prior to graduation:

  • Comprehensive examination
  • PRTM 9100 Research Seminar (2 hours)
  • Defense of dissertation
  • Approval of dissertation by the Graduate School


Application Information

The Doctoral program is based on the student’s grasp of recreation subject matter, competency to plan and conduct research, and the ability to effectively and professionally use written and oral communication. Enrollment requires that the student hold a Bachelor’s degree and a Masters degree for admission into the Ph.D. program. 

We require the following items: 1. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores on the three parts of the exam; 2. A University application including applicant’s personal statement; 3. Two letters of recommendation; and 4. Transcripts of all academic work. The application can be found online through the Clemson University Graduate School webpage at .

Applicants need to have at least 1 degree (or emphasis) in Recreational Therapy, and need to either be certified as a CTRS or eligible to sit for the NCTRC exam.

Normally, applications are considered in mid-January of each year.

Required Documents

  • Online Application
  • Official GRE scores
  • Official TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores for International Students
  • Unofficial Transcripts 
    Official Transcripts required upon acceptance. Do not send official transcripts until you have received your letter of acceptance.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • A personal statement outlining the purpose for pursuing Clemson’s online PhD and your career goals. Please also identify your research interests related to any RT modality, setting, or population. Finally, please describe your strengths and weaknesses as an online learner.
  • Department Supplemental Information Form
  • Documentation of certification as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist.
  • A copy of your most recent resume/curriculum vitae. Please give a clear indication of your recreational therapy experience, including your job title, name of supervisor(s), your duties or responsibilities, and approximated number of hours worked at each setting (note: 2000 hours of work experience beyond internship are required in recreational therapy prior to admission to the program). Other information related to professional and academic qualifications should be included at the discretion of the applicant.


The School or Program offers a number of graduate assistantships to students each year based on merit. These are offered in the form of stipends and the additional benefit of tuition remission. Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester to qualify for a graduate assistantship and must work a minimum of 10 hours a week as a teaching or research assistant or perform other tasks assigned by the School or Program.


Program Contact(s)

Program Coordinator(s)