Bachelor of Science in
Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management – Commercial Recreation and Tourism Management Option

Program summary

Learn to support and develop opportunities for recreation management and tourism management that benefit the economy and environment as well as the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of people and communities with this online degree program.

Application deadline

Apply by June 30 to start August 21

Credits and costs

120 Credits $620/$664 per credit

Online Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management – Commercial Recreation and Tourism Management option

With a growing focus on the global issues associated with human development, health, and wellness — as well as the impact of recreation and tourism on ecological, economic, and cultural systems — professionals with the skills needed to manage the recreation and tourism industry are in high demand.

Penn State’s Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management (RPTM) – Commercial Recreation and Tourism Management option can help prepare you for a career in one of the world’s largest service-sector industries.

Why a Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management Degree from Penn State?

Aiming to help transform human and environmental health and well-being, the RPTM program at Penn State works to understand all the factors that impact how people spend their leisure time. By studying these factors, you can learn how to better support and develop opportunities for recreation and tourism that benefit the economy and environment as well as the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of people and communities.

Your Online Penn State RPTM Courses

Taught by faculty with diverse backgrounds from across the globe, your courses can help you gain the theoretical, managerial, and technical skills you need to become a leader in the field. Online course delivery provides you with the flexibility and convenience to study around your own schedule without sacrificing quality.

As a student in the commercial recreation and tourism management option, you will have the opportunity to study business management and entrepreneurial principles through the lens of recreation and tourism, with course topics including:

  • diversity in recreation services
  • introduction to leisure theory
  • sustainability, society, and well-being
  • leadership and group dynamics
  • legal issues in recreation
  • service marketing
  • program evaluation
  • event planning and programming
  • facilities management
  • foundations of tourism
  • career exploration

Military Grant-in-Aid Benefits for RPTM Students

The Military Grant-in-Aid is an undergraduate program that brings our tuition rate closer to the Department of Defense cap, making a Penn State World Campus quality education more affordable to our military students and spouses. More details, including Grant-in-Aid forms, can be found on the Military Grants and Scholarships page.


The Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management – Commercial Recreation and Tourism Management option is a 120-credit program that offers a solid foundation in the management of private/commercial, nonprofit, and public sectors of recreation/leisure services.

Prescribed Courses (24 credits)

  • 3

    Leisure from historical and contemporary perspectives, including forces shaping leisure behavior, and relationships among leisure, the environment, and social institutions.

  • 3

    Provides students with strong foundational knowledge about sustainability and how it relates to their career in recreation, park, and tourism management.

  • 3

    Supervision in recreation services, including theories, strategies, group dynamics, applied leadership, and decision-making skills.

  • 3

    Provides a review of leisure services and programs designed to be inclusive of individuals from underrepresented groups and an overview of professional, legal, and ethical issues.

  • 3

    Examines the governmental systems that influence the delivery of recreational services. The formal structure of government is considered along with the day-to-day political processes that determine public policy.

    • Prerequisite

      RPTM 120

  • 3

    Theoretical/practical application of marketing/advertising strategies in the development/delivery of recreation services.

  • 3

    Systematic, structured problem-solving process for decision-making in recreation and parks. Research techniques/evaluation procedures; quantitative, qualitative methodologies; deductive, inductive reasoning.

    • Prerequisite

      RPTM 356, 3 credits in statistics

  • 3

    Provides information and practical experience required to successfully design, promote, implement, and evaluate programs and special events.

    • Prerequisite

      RPTM 120, RPTM 236

Commercial Recreation and Tourism Management Option — Prescribed Courses (25 credits)

  • 3

    Introduction to discipline and exploration of professional career models/paths, historical development of profession, expectations and opportunities in recreation services.

  • 3

    Highlights the various roles that commercial recreation and tourism play locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. The course then shifts to focus on managerial considerations for practitioners in the field.

  • 3

    Examines the impact of recreational sociocultural, governmental, economic, and physical environment on the leisure traveler within the tourism industry.

  • 1

    Plan and prepare for an internship in recreation services. Analyze career opportunities, internship process, and associated requirements.

  • 3

    Planning, developing, and managing profit-oriented recreation opportunities.

    • Prerequisite

      RPTM 210 and RPTM 410

  • 12

    Meet educational objectives through participation in an organized practical experience.

    • Prerequisite

      RPTM 394

Additional Courses (6 credits)

  • 3

    This is an introductory course in the theory and application of technology for communication and self-presentation using the Internet.

    • 3

      Introduction to arena and facilities management, including operations, budgeting, marketing, and staffing.

    • or:

      Planning and management of selected facilities with emphasis upon maintenance, activity, and support provisions.

Supporting Courses and Related Areas (15–18 credits)

Consult with an adviser to review course recommendations, minors, and certificate programs. A minimum of 6 credits must be completed at the 400 level.

Elective credits (select 2–11)

Consult with an adviser to review course recommendations.

General Education Requirements

Some General Education requirements may be satisfied by courses required for the major. Students should work with an adviser to select courses.

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits
    A student must receive a grade of C or better in GWS courses.
  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
    A student must receive a grade of C or better in GQ courses.
  • Integrative Studies: 6 credits
    This requirement only applies to students starting in summer 2018 or later. Learn more about the Integrative Studies options and consult your academic adviser when choosing courses to fulfill these requirements. Integrative Studies credits may be completed within the thirty Knowledge Domain credits and must be completed with either Inter-domain or Linked courses, not a combination of both.

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.

Costs and Financial Aid

Undergraduate Tuition

Undergraduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register and the number of total credits you have accrued at or transferred to Penn State. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.

2022–23 Academic Year Rates

How many credits do you plan to take per semester? If you have 59 or fewer credits If you have 60 or more credits
11 or fewer $620 per credit $664 per credit
12 or more $7,527 per semester $8,125 per semester

Financial Aid and Military Benefits

Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.

How to Apply

Deadlines and Important Dates

Your degree application, including receipt of all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete.

  • Fall DeadlineApply by June 30 to start August 21
  • Spring DeadlineApply by October 31 to start January 8
  • Summer DeadlineApply by March 15, 2024, to start May 13, 2024

New students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by March 1. Please visit the Office of Student Aid website for more information about applying for financial aid and recommended deadlines.

Admissions Help

Thank you for your interest in applying to this program. Contact an admissions counselor to discuss your educational goals, financial aid options, and application deadlines.

Admission Requirements

To apply for this program, you must be a high school graduate or have completed your GED. 

What You Need

Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need the following items to complete your application:

High school transcripts or GED transcript — First-year applicants are required to submit Self-Reported Academic Records (SRAR). Official high school transcripts will only be required at the time a student accepts an offer of admission to Penn State.

Official college or university transcripts, if you attended another institution, and/or official military transcripts (if applicable) — All college or university transcripts are required regardless of the length of time that has passed, the grades earned, or the accreditation of the institutions attended. Acceptance of transfer credit toward your degree is subject to final approval by the academic department. For detailed information, see the Transfer Students page.

Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Please send your transcripts by mail or electronically through Parchment, eScrip-Safe, or the National Student Clearinghouse directly to Penn State from the college/university where course work was attempted.

Submit official documents by mail to:

Undergraduate Admissions Office
The Pennsylvania State University
201 Shields Building
University Park, PA 16802

English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Language Proficiency section on the Undergraduate Admissions International Requirements page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.

Start Your Application

Former Penn State students may not need to complete the admissions application. Please visit our Returning Students page for instructions. 

If this is your first time applying to Penn State, you'll need to complete the following steps:

  1. Review the application instructions before beginning.
  2. Complete the online application and submit all official documents.
  3. Pay the application fee.

Checking Your Status

You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form and choosing "MyPennState — Check Application Status." Your decision letter (confirming your acceptance or denial) will be mailed four to six weeks after receipt of all application materials. An admissions counselor will contact you if additional information is required.

Technical Requirements

Review the technical requirements for this degree program.

Ready to Learn More?

Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.

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Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State bachelor's degree?

Apply by June 30 to start August 21. How to Apply

Advance Your Career and Pursue Your Passion

Two business professionals reviewing work on a tablet in an office setting

If you were engaged with recreation, sports, and activity as a child or you have found yourself drawn to traveling and adventure-seeking, the RPTM degree program from Penn State could provide the perfect educational path for you. Our curriculum and career resources will help you connect your passion with a career.

Job Titles Related to This Degree

This degree can prepare you to help people make the most of their leisure time. The following roles are often held by people with this type of degree:

  • Convention Services Manager
  • Hotel Recreational Facilities Manager
  • Parks Recreation Director
  • Recreation Coordinator
  • Travel Consultant

Employment Outlook for Occupational Fields Related to This Degree

Estimates of employment growth and total employment are provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and are subject to change. While these occupations are often pursued by graduates with this degree, individual outcomes may vary depending on a variety of factors. Penn State World Campus cannot guarantee employment in a given occupation.

Recreation Workers

employment growth (10 years)
total employment

Possible Career Paths

Tourism and Event Management — You could find yourself working for a convention and visitors bureau, or as a hotel manager, travel agent/tour guide, or event planner.

Entertainment, Sport, and Fitness Venue Management — Careers in this area could include theme park manager, athletic director/supervisor, campus recreation director, or professional sports team marketing manager.

Youth and Senior Recreation Services — You could become a recreation worker designing and leading activities in places like youth summer camps, fitness centers, senior centers, or nature parks.

Many More — Through the challenging course work and the internship, this degree can help open the door to positions with employers you may not have considered before.

Career Services to Set You Up for Success

Student having a virtual meeting on a laptop with a career counselor

From the day you're accepted as a student, you can access resources and tools provided by Penn State World Campus Career Services to further your career. These resources are beneficial whether you're searching for a job or advancing in an established career.

  • Opportunities to connect with employers
  • Career counselor/coach support
  • Occupation and salary information
  • Internships
  • Graduate school resources 


The required internship allows you to implement the skills you’ve learned in the degree program while getting real-life experience in your chosen field.

As a student in the recreation, park, and tourism management (RPTM) program, you will be required to participate in an internship experience.

The primary purpose of the RPTM internship is to enable you to meet your educational objectives through participation in a well-planned and organized practical experience. 

More importantly, the internship is intended as the opportunity for you to pull all of the pieces of your undergraduate curriculum together — courses, projects, group work, experience in the field — and apply them to your intended career path. An internship allows you to “try it out” while you continue to build your résumé and skills and competencies.  

You will be encouraged to seek and select an internship agency that provides diverse leadership and administrative opportunities in areas that correspond to your own professional goals. Assistance will be provided to all students by RPTM department faculty and staff. It is a personalized process that will take into account your circumstances, interests, and goals.

Examples of past RPTM internships include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Vacation resort recreation department
  • Music festival event coordinator
  • Wellness coordinator
  • Municipal recreation director
  • Guest experience for professional football team
  • Ticket sales department for professional arena football team
  • College campus recreation coordinator
  • Theme park administrative staff
  • Youth sports tournament operations
  • Hotel vacation club representative
  • Minor league baseball stadium operations
  • Bike tour specialist
  • Environmental center assistant

Students planning to complete their internship must enroll in RPTM 495A and pay full tuition for 12 credits in the semester that the internship is to be completed.

Contact Us

To learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management – Commercial Recreation and Tourism Management option, offered in partnership with the Penn State College of the Health and Human Development, please contact:

World Campus Admissions Counselors
Phone: 814-863-5386
Email: [email protected]


  • John Dattilo

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Leisure Studies, University of Illinois
    • Degree
      M.S., Recreation, University of Arizona
    • Degree
      B.S., Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.S., Education of Exceptional Children, Penn State

    Dr. John Dattilo, professor of recreation, park, and tourism management, teaches about inclusive leisure services and leisure education from an applied, philosophical, and ethical perspective. He has collaborated with international and domestic teams to conduct research on perceptions of diverse individuals and effects of programs designed to assist them in addressing barriers to their leisure. His work to empower people to experience enjoyment and meaning in their lives has resulted in 15 books, 26 book chapters, more than 150 articles, 25 funded projects, and more than 200 presentations.

  • Patricia Kleban

    • Degree
      M.S., Leisure Studies, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.S., Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, Penn State

    Patricia Kleban is an assistant teaching professor and director of the RPTM Student Success Center at Penn State University Park. She oversees the professional internship in RPTM and has taught courses in leadership and group dynamics, inclusive recreation, and management, as well as the introduction to recreation service delivery class.

  • Chris Ortiz

    B.S., Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, Penn State

    Chris Ortiz teaches team development, leadership, and group dynamics in Penn State’s Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management (RPTM). He is the program director of the Team Development Center at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center. For more than 25 years, he has worked with schools, university groups, corporations, and professional sports teams to strengthen relationships, motivate growth, and develop leaders. Ortiz has co-authored two resources for experiential educators, and he regularly presents internationally on innovative programming and team development ideas.

  • Brian Soulé

    • Degree
      M.S., Sport and Leisure Service Management, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    • Degree
      B.S., Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management, Clemson University

    Brian Soulé is an assistant teaching professor in RPTM, director of the RPTM Penn State World Campus program, and administrator in the Professional Golf Management option offered at Penn State University Park. He has many years of experience as a golf professional and has taught in the Commercial Recreation and Tourism Management curriculum for more than 10 years. Soulé is a PGA of America golf professional, and his doctoral research investigates motivation in the game of golf.

Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State bachelor's degree?

Apply by June 30 to start August 21. How to Apply