Temple University

Rehabilitation Sciences

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Recreation Therapy (M.S.)

The 30-36 semester-hour Master's program in Recreation Therapy is designed for individuals who want to advance their knowledge and skills related to evidence based practice within health care 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. Based on academic and professional goals, students may develop an area of specialization with guidance from a faculty member (e.g., geriatrics, pediatrics, rehabilitation). Specialized coursework may be used to meet specialization credentialing through National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification. View Curriculum

Students who do not have an academic background in Therapeutic Recreation (TR) may use the program to meet eligibility requirements for the national credentialing examination for recreation therapists. While this graduate program does not require prerequisite courses to qualify for admission, students may be required to take additional courses necessary for national certification. These courses are listed in the coursework section as leveling courses. As an exit requirement, all M.S. students must successfully complete an evidence-based recreation therapy project.



Frequently Asked Questions

I don't have a background in Therapeutic Recreation (TR). Will that be a problem in applying?

No. In fact many students in the master's program are admitted with wide ranging academic and employment backgrounds, including degrees in psychology, special education, communications, accounting, and child and family studies.

Are there prerequisite courses to be taken before I can enroll in the program?

You can begin immediately. However, students who do not have a background in TR will have to take a couple of undergraduate leveling courses in the first few semesters of their graduate program. One of these courses may be an on-line readings course during the summer prior to enrolling in the fall semester.

How large is the graduate program?

Typically, there are 10-15 graduate students in the program at any time. Of course, these students have not all started at the same time and some are part-time. To the extent possible, we'll try to keep you in classes with the same small group of grad students you started with so you can build your own support network of other graduate students. It will be up to you to maintain this network, which can help you feel connected to your program.

How long will it take to complete this degree?

Typically, it takes about 2-2.5 years to complete the program. Some students take a full load of courses each semester (including summers) and can finish within 2 years. Others maintain full or part-time employment, which means the program takes longer to complete, but they are enhancing their learning and building a resume of relevant work experience.

When are classes offered?

Graduate classes typically meet one evening per week for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Undergraduate leveling classes meet during the day twice per week. Fall and Spring semesters are 15 weeks long, while summer sessions are 6 weeks long.

Do I have to attend full-time?

You can attend full-time or part-time. Often graduate students are already employed and must go part-time, while other grad students who relocate to Philadelphia find relevant employment and choose to attend the program as part-time students.

Is the campus safe, especially during evening classes?

Temple University takes campus safety very seriously and has a very well-lighted campus with safety officers on foot and bike patrol. While everyone needs to use street smarts the campus is safe and the presence of students walking the campus at night is pretty commonplace.

How can I finance my graduate program?

You can contact the Office of Student Financial Services at Temple to explore grants and loans. Many of our graduate students find employment that is relevant to practicing recreation therapy, which compliments their overall learning experience. Additionally, there are various paid internships and assistantships that you can apply for, which typically pay stipends for 10-20 hours of work per week and provide tuition remission.

Can I meet with other graduate students to get their impressions of the program and of living in Philadelphia?

Great idea! We would be happy to arrange for you to talk with other grad students (past and current). We strongly encourage you to visit campus and even sit in on a course. Contact with other graduate students is also helpful in learning about places to live in and around Philadelphia.

Will I be certified as a recreation therapist once I graduate?

National certification occurs after you pass an examination, which is managed by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (www.nctrc.org). You will work closely with your faculty advisor to make sure you complete all academic requirements needed to sit for this exam.

How well will I be prepared for national certification and employment once I complete the program?

Since 2002, 90% of those completing the graduate program were employed in TR within 2 months of graduation. Of those who have taken the certification exam, 100% have passed.

Bottom line, why should I attend Temple's TR graduate program?

Many reasons, but here are some of the top considerations.

#1. Faculty. You'll study with dedicated faculty who are well known and respected nationally and internationally. The department has an unusual mix of faculty expertise, including a developmental psychologist specializing in aging, a leisure scientist specializing in multicultural perspectives on health and healing, and an array of credentialed recreation therapists (CTRS) with years of practice experience. These faculty often have projects going on and you can get involved with them.

#2. Location. Whatever your interest, the metropolitan Philadelphia area offers abundant opportunities to enhance your learning with hands-on experience in varied settings with wide ranging client populations. Temple's extensive alumni network also provides ready-made contacts for internships and employment. And when you're not working on your grad program, you can take advantage of all that a first-class city offers in terms of exciting night-life and cultural entertainment, all within 2 hours of the shore the Poconos mountains, New York City and Washington, DC.

#3. The program. Temple's graduate program has been around for more than 25 years and has graduated some outstanding recreation therapists many of whom have been leaders in this profession. You'll be prepared for the national credentialing exam, and you'll be marketable.


Required Courses (18-24 s.h.)
TR 5102 Orientation to TR*
TR 8101 Evidence-based Practice I
TR 8102 Evidence-based Practice II
TR 8141 Conceptual & Contemporary Issues
TR 8142 Clinical Programming
TR 8171 Therapeutic Recreation Administration
TR 9143 Leisure, Health and Quality of Life
TR 9187 Recreation Therapy Practicum
TR 9995 Master's Project

Specialization Electives (9)
3 courses selected, with guidance, to fit student's career goals in recreation therapy

Required External Courses (3 s.h.)
CHP 5001 Graduate Research (or equivalent)

Leveling Courses
These courses do not count toward MS degree. They may be completed at Temple or at another institution of higher education prior to matriculating in the MS program or can be worked into your course sequence as needed.

Background Leveling Knowledge
PSY 2301 Foundations of Developmental Psychology
KIN 1223 Human Anatomy & Physiology I
PSY 2201 Psychopathology
TR 3096 Assessment & Documentation
TR 2104 TR Modalities


Program Goals

The overall program outcomes for the Master of Science degree program in Recreation therapy aim for students to:

1. Identify the conditions and impairments that impact human functioning and health which are typically seen in health and human service agencies that employ recreation therapists including conditions and impairments that impact cognitive, physical, sensory, social and psychological functioning.

2. Explain environmental and societal factors as well as legislative and regulatory issues that hamper or promote the inclusion and functioning of clients with disabilities or chronic illness and their capacities to participate fully in life.

3. Explain the (1) profession's historical development and contemporary status within the health and human service system, (2) various service delivery models associated with therapeutic recreation practice, (3) variety of services provided by recreation therapists, including special recreation, inclusive recreation, leisure education/counseling and recreation therapy services, and (4) professional organizations and practice regulation/credentialing.

4. Explain the standards of practice and codes of ethical conduct associated with quality recreation therapy services and explain the interpretive guidelines that are used to guide practice.

5. Justify the various assessment processes and instruments used within the discipline and in health and human service settings as well as the procedures for selecting assessments and the strategies and techniques associated with conducting (e.g., behavioral observation, interviewing, functional skill testing), interpreting and documenting client assessment (e.g., writing goals, objectives, assessment reports, treatment plans).

6. Explain the impact of the impairment and/or treatment provided on the person served and be able to adapt activities, instructional strategies and/or interventions to accommodate changes in functioning using activity analysis and/or task analysis.

7. Communicate effectively with clients and colleagues about the services provided and progress made by clients orally (e.g., client rounds, care plan meetings) and in writing (e.g., progress notes, discharge summaries) using a variety of communication methods and documenting formats.

8. Justify the diversity of recreation and leisure activities and be able to design, select, adapt and facilitate individual or group programs, activities and/or interventions to meet the assessed needs of clients in diverse settings, cultures and contexts.

9. Contrast the role and function of various professions found in health and human service settings and articulate how recreation therapists function ethically and professionally in a team environment.

10. Apply principles and procedures of management/administration, infrastructure management, financial, human resource management, and marketing/public relations to a specific setting in which TR services are provided.

11. Produce written reports that demonstrate an understanding of documentation as it relates to clients, staff, programs, management, external regulatory agencies, and the continuous quality improvement in therapeutic recreation.

12. Demonstrate the ability to evaluate services/interventions and to use evaluation data to improve quality and appropriate services.

13. Appraise ones role in advancing the profession, including the requirements for gaining and maintaining credentialing as a recreation therapist, knowledge of the professional organizations and mechanisms for pursuing continuing education.

14. Apply specialty knowledge in a specific area of expertise to create programs and services and the utilization of clinical practice guidelines associated with an advanced understanding of complex issues associated with delivering recreation therapy services to this population.

15. Appraise scientific literature and utilize it to design intervention programs across a spectrum of service delivery setting and populations.

16. Analyze an organization's compliance with standards of practice and make recommendations for corrective action.

17. Construct a clinical case review to capture the health behavior change process in recreation therapy practice.

18. Demonstrate abilities to pass a comprehensive content examination at the completion of the degree program.


Contact Us

For additional information about the graduate degree program in Recreation Therapy, please contact us at RecreationTherapy@temple.edu or contact:

Rhonda Nelson, PhD, CTRS

Therapeutic Recreation Program Director
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences
1700 North Broad Street, Suite 304
Philadelphia, PA 19122
(215) 204-1387

Application Information

For admission to the M.S. program, applicants must: (1) have earned an undergraduate degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA (all majors considered); (2) have acceptable scores on either the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE); (3) provide two professional/academic recommendations and (4) write an acceptable career/goal statement related to their desire to pursue this degree. A personal interview is highly recommended.

Application requirements:

1) Graduate School application: https://prd-wlssb.temple.edu/prod8/bwskalog.P_DispLoginNon

2) Official transcripts

3) Resume

4) Statement of professional goals (minimum length: one page)

5) Two letters of recommendation

6) GRE scores, submitted to Temple University using code 2906 or MAT scores sent using code 1666. For international applicants submitting TOEFL scores, the code is 2906.

Requirements for International Applicants: http://www.temple.edu/grad/admissions/international.htm

Admission is based on review of all components of the application. The application deadline is November 1 for spring admissions and March 1 for fall admissions; however, admissions decisions are issued on a rolling basis and so prospective students are encouraged to apply early! Once all materials are received, an admissions decision is typically issued within a few weeks' time.

The M.S. in Recreation Therapy program allows applicants to submit supporting application materials for graduate admissions via the Interfolio service. This service requires an additional fee but expedites the admissions process by submitting documents electronically versus U.S. mail.

Getting Started:

Step 1: Create your Interfolio account at http://www.interfolio.com

NOTE: Please register for your Interfolio account using the email address you used for your online application. If you already have a Interfolio account, you should make sure this e-mail address is affiliated with your Interfolio account. If you already have a Interfolio account, please login using your existing username and password.

Step 2: Request letters of recommendation from your evaluators through your Interfolio account.
Step 3: Upload all other supporting documents to your account. Send all required documents as one delivery to Temple University College of Public Health: Recreation Therapy. Search “Department of Rehabilitation Sciences” in Step 1 of the “Add Delivery” process. Select the appropriate program, then select and order all required documents, check out and complete the electronic delivery.

If you elect NOT to use Interfolio to submit your supplemental materials, required supplemental materials should be sent attention to:

Temple MS RT Admissions
1700 N. Broad Street
Suite 304
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Note: submitting materials via U.S. mail may delay the processing of your application. Please allow additional processing time before your application will be reviewed.