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2022 Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Master's Degree Schools

300 Colleges in the United States
9,155 Master's Degrees
Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies is about average in terms of popularity for master's degrees programs. That is, it ranks #17 out of the 37 majors across the country that we analyze each year. So, you may have to do some digging around to find quality schools that offer the degree program. This list can help with that.

For its 2022 ranking, College Factual looked at 300 schools in the United States to determine which ones were the best for parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students pursuing a master's degree. Combined, these schools handed out 9,155 master's degrees in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies to qualified students.

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Choosing a Great Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies School for Your Master's Degree

Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Master's Degree Schools The parks and rec master's degree program you select can have a big impact on your future. This section explores some of the factors we include in our ranking and how much they vary depending on the school you select. Below we explain some of the most important factors to consider before making your choice:

Overall Quality Is a Must

A school that excels in educating for a particular major and degree level must be a great school overall as well. To make it into this list a school must rank well in our overall Best Colleges for a Master's Degree ranking. This ranking considered factors such as graduation rates, overall graduate earnings and other educational resources to identify great colleges and universities.

Over 80% of the schools in this list are in the top 24% of our overall quality ranking.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 262 to 1 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Average Early-Career Salaries

Average early-career salary of those graduating with their master's degree is one indicator we use in our analysis to find the schools that offer the highest-quality education. After all, your master's degree won't mean much if it doesn't help you find a job that will help you earn a living.

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How many resources a school devotes to parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students as compared to other majors.
  • Major Demand - How many other parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students want to attend this school to pursue a master's degree.
  • Educational Resources - The amount of money and other resources allocated to students while they are pursuing their degree. These resources include such things as number of students per instructor and education expenditures per student.
  • Student Debt - How much debt parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students go into to obtain their master's degree and how well they are able to pay back that debt.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or accredited by a recognized parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies related body.

Our full ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best colleges for parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students working on their master's degree.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Since the program you select can have a significant impact on your future, we've developed a number of rankings, including this Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Master's Degree Schools list, to help you choose the best school for you.

Best Schools for Master’s Students to Study Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in the United States

Below you'll see a list of the best colleges and universities for pursuing a master's degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list.

25 Top Schools for a Master's in Parks & Rec

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In NY
74 Annual Graduates

It is difficult to beat Columbia University in the City of New York if you wish to pursue a master's degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies. Located in the city of New York, Columbia is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Master's Degree Schools rank of #21 out of 1,305 colleges nationwide means Columbia is a great university overall.

There were roughly 74 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Columbia in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from Columbia University in the City of New York

#2

Georgetown University

Washington, DC
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In DC
123 Annual Graduates

Georgetown University is one of the best schools in the United States for getting a master's degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies. Located in the large city of Washington, Georgetown is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Master's Degree Schools rank of #19 out of 1,305 schools nationwide means Georgetown is a great university overall.

There were approximately 123 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies individuals who graduated with this degree at Georgetown in the most recent data year.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from Georgetown University

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In OR
14 Annual Graduates

University of Western States is a wonderful choice for students interested in a master's degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies. Western States Chiropractic College is a small private not-for-profit university located in the city of Portland.

There were roughly 14 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Western States Chiropractic College in the most recent data year.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from University of Western States

#4

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
5th Most Popular In IL
38 Annual Graduates

Northwestern University is a good choice for individuals pursuing a master's degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies. Northwestern is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the small city of Evanston. A Best Master's Degree Schools rank of #9 out of 1,305 schools nationwide means Northwestern is a great university overall.

Northwestern University is one of the most popular universities to study parks and rec in the United States with roughly 38 graduations in the most recent data year.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from Northwestern University

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
6th Most Popular In IL
44 Annual Graduates

Located in the small city of Champaign, UIUC is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Master's Degree Schools rank of #44 out of 1,305 schools nationwide means UIUC is a great university overall.

With 44 students who graduated from this program in the most recent year we have data available, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of the most popular universities to study parks and rec in the United States.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In MI
47 Annual Graduates

U-M is a very large public university located in the midsize city of Ann Arbor. A Best Master's Degree Schools rank of #35 out of 1,305 colleges nationwide means U-M is a great university overall.

There were roughly 47 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at U-M in the most recent data year.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In NC
37 Annual Graduates

NC State is a fairly large public university located in the large city of Raleigh. This university ranks 6th out of 41 colleges for overall master's degree quality in the state of North Carolina.

There were roughly 37 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies individuals who graduated with this degree at NC State in the most recent data year.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from North Carolina State University

#8

University of Dayton

Dayton, OH
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
14th Most Popular In OH
2 Annual Graduates

UDayton is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the medium-sized city of Dayton. This university ranks 6th out of 50 colleges for overall master's degree quality in the state of Ohio.

A favorite choice for parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students, there were approximately 2 learners who completed this degree at UDayton in the most recent data year.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from University of Dayton

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In VA
22 Annual Graduates

University of Virginia is a fairly large public university located in the suburb of Charlottesville. A Best Master's Degree Schools rank of #33 out of 1,305 colleges nationwide means University of Virginia is a great university overall.

There were approximately 22 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies individuals who graduated with this degree at University of Virginia in the most recent data year.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from University of Virginia - Main Campus

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In NC
37 Annual Graduates

UNC Chapel Hill is a fairly large public university located in the city of Chapel Hill. A Best Master's Degree Schools rank of #37 out of 1,305 schools nationwide means UNC Chapel Hill is a great university overall.

With 37 students who completed this degree in the most recent data year, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is one of the most popular universities to study parks and rec in the United States.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

#11

University of Miami

Coral Gables, FL
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In FL
65 Annual Graduates

Located in the small city of Coral Gables, U Miami is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 2nd out of 43 schools for overall master's degree quality in the state of Florida.

There were approximately 65 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at U Miami in the most recent data year.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from University of Miami

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In TX
73 Annual Graduates

Located in the medium-sized city of College Station, Texas A&M College Station is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Master's Degree Schools rank of #78 out of 1,305 colleges nationwide means Texas A&M College Station is a great university overall.

There were roughly 73 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Texas A&M College Station in the most recent data year.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from Texas A&M University - College Station

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In MA
24 Annual Graduates

Located in the large suburb of Amherst, UMass Amherst is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 14th out of 49 colleges for overall master's degree quality in the state of Massachusetts.

With 24 individuals who completed this degree in the most recent data year, University of Massachusetts Amherst is one of the most popular universities to study parks and rec in the United States.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from University of Massachusetts Amherst

#14

Augustana University

Sioux Falls, SD
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In SD
10 Annual Graduates

Located in the city of Sioux Falls, Augustana Sioux Falls is a private not-for-profit university with a small student population. A Best Master's Degree Schools rank of #69 out of 1,305 schools nationwide means Augustana Sioux Falls is a great university overall.

There were roughly 10 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Augustana Sioux Falls in the most recent data year.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from Augustana University

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In MN
33 Annual Graduates

Located in the city of Minneapolis, UMN Twin Cities is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 2nd out of 25 schools for overall master's degree quality in the state of Minnesota.

A favorite major for parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students, there were roughly 33 individuals who graduated from this program at UMN Twin Cities in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

#16

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In FL
67 Annual Graduates

Located in the medium-sized city of Gainesville, UF is a public university with a very large student population. A Best Master's Degree Schools rank of #65 out of 1,305 colleges nationwide means UF is a great university overall.

There were about 67 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UF in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from University of Florida

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In WV
143 Annual Graduates

Located in the town of Charles Town, American Military University is a private for-profit university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 1st out of 14 schools for overall master's degree quality in the state of West Virginia.

There were roughly 143 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at American Military University in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from American Public University System

#18

University of San Francisco

San Francisco, CA
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In CA
95 Annual Graduates

Located in the city of San Francisco, USFCA is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. This university ranks 31st out of 96 colleges for overall master's degree quality in the state of California.

University of San Francisco is a fairly popular university to study parks and rec in the United States with about 95 graduates in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from University of San Francisco

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
6th Most Popular In PA
15 Annual Graduates

SRU is a medium-sized public university located in the town of Slippery Rock. This university ranks 29th out of 75 colleges for overall master's degree quality in the state of Pennsylvania.

With 15 individuals who completed this degree in the most recent data year, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania is one of the most popular universities to study parks and rec in the United States.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In IN
53 Annual Graduates

IU Bloomington is a very large public university located in the city of Bloomington. A Best Master's Degree Schools rank of #84 out of 1,305 colleges nationwide means IU Bloomington is a great university overall.

There were approximately 53 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at IU Bloomington in the most recent data year.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from Indiana University - Bloomington

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In CT
24 Annual Graduates

Located in the large suburb of Storrs, UCONN is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 5th out of 18 colleges for overall master's degree quality in the state of Connecticut.

There were roughly 24 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UCONN in the most recent data year.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from University of Connecticut

#22

University of Mary

Bismarck, ND
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In ND
15 Annual Graduates

Located in the rural area of Bismarck, UMary is a private not-for-profit university with a small student population. This university ranks 2nd out of 9 schools for overall master's degree quality in the state of North Dakota.

There were about 15 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UMary in the most recent data year.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from University of Mary

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
30th Most Popular In TX
12 Annual Graduates

Located in the city of Austin, UT Austin is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Master's Degree Schools rank of #45 out of 1,305 schools nationwide means UT Austin is a great university overall.

With 12 individuals who graduated from this program in the most recent year we have data available, The University of Texas at Austin is one of the most popular universities to study parks and rec in the United States.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from The University of Texas at Austin

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In CA
452 Annual Graduates

Located in the city of Irvine, Concordia University, Irvine is a private not-for-profit university with a small student population. This university ranks 29th out of 96 schools for overall master's degree quality in the state of California.

There were about 452 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Concordia University, Irvine in the most recent data year.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from Concordia University, Irvine

#25

Frostburg State University

Frostburg, MD
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In MD
10 Annual Graduates

Frostburg State is a small public university located in the suburb of Frostburg. This university ranks 15th out of 20 colleges for overall master's degree quality in the state of Maryland.

There were roughly 10 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies individuals who graduated with this degree at Frostburg State in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a master’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from Frostburg State University

Rest of the Top Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Master's Degree Schools

#25

Frostburg State University

Frostburg, MD
#26

Endicott College

Beverly, MA
#27

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, VA
#28

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA
#29

Northeastern University

Boston, MA
#30

Clemson University

Clemson, SC

#34

Canisius College

Buffalo, NY
#36

Gonzaga University

Spokane, WA
#37

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC
#38

University of Georgia

Athens, GA
#40

Mount St Mary's University

Emmitsburg, MD

#41

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA

#43

University of Northern Iowa

Cedar Falls, IA
#45

Plymouth State University

Plymouth, NH

Additional Noteworthy Schools

Here are some additional great schools for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies students that almost earned our Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Master's Degree Schools award.

Rank College Location
46 University of South Carolina - Columbia Columbia, SC
47 University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI
48 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
49 Smith College Northampton, MA
50 University of South Florida - Main Campus Tampa, FL
51 Illinois State University Normal, IL
52 Ohio University - Athens Campus Athens, OH
53 Iowa State University Ames, IA
54 John F. Kennedy University Pleasant Hill, CA
55 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
56 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA
57 University of Missouri - Columbia Columbia, MO
58 SUNY Cortland Cortland, NY
59 Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI
60 South Dakota State University Brookings, SD

Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies by Region

View the Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Master's Degree Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

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Parks & Rec Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Health & Physical Education 8,567
Recreation Administration 384
Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 158
Other Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 25
Outdoor Education 21

Majors Similar to Parks & Rec

Related Major Annual Graduates
Public Administration & Social Service 49,910
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement & Firefighting 10,925
Legal Professions 10,164
Military Technologies & Applied Sciences 972

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to NPS Photo/Zurbuch. More about our data sources and methodologies.

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