Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies

2023 Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Schools

516 Colleges in the United States
73,813 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded
$31,423 Avg Early-Career Salary
A degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies is more popular than many other degrees. In fact, it ranks #15 out of 38 on popularity of all such degrees in the nation. As a result, there are many college that offer the degree, making your choice of school a hard one.

For its 2023 ranking, College Factual looked at 516 schools in the United States to determine which ones were the best for parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students pursuing a degree. Combined, these schools handed out 73,813 degrees in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies to qualified students.

What's on this page: * Degree-Level Rankings

Choosing a Great Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies School

Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Schools Your choice of parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies school matters, so we have put together these rankings to help you make your decision. In order to come up with a best overall ranking for parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies schools, we combine our degree-level rankings, weighting them by the number of degrees awarded at each level.

In order to find the schools that are the best fit for you, you may want to filter to one of the degree levels below.

Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Rankings by Degree Level

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 Schools list, to help you choose the best school for you. If you'd like to restrict your choices to just one part of the country, you can filter this list by location.

In addition to our rankings, you can take two colleges and compare them based on the criteria that matters most to you in our unique tool, College Combat. Test it out when you get a chance! You may also want to bookmark the link and share it with others who are trying to make the college decision.

If you want to learn more about how we derive our rankings, see College Factual's Methodology.

Best Schools for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in the United States

Although we recommend filtering by degree level first, you can view the list below to see which schools give the educational experience for the parks and rec degree levels they offer. 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 in Parks & Rec

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
326 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor is one of the finest schools in the United States for getting a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies. Located in the midsize city of Ann Arbor, U-M is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #25 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means U-M is a great university overall.

There were about 326 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at U-M in the most recent data year. Those parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who get their degree from University of Michigan - Ann Arbor make $7,668 more than the standard parks and rec grad.

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

#2

Rice University

Houston, TX
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
104 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Every student pursuing a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies needs to take a look at Rice University. Located in the city of Houston, Rice is a private not-for-profit university with a moderately-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of #23 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means Rice is a great university overall.

There were about 104 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Rice in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies major at Rice University make $6,809 above the typical graduate with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

More information about a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from Rice University

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
71 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Columbia University in the City of New York is a great decision for students pursuing a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies. Columbia is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the city of New York. A Best Colleges rank of #14 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means Columbia is a great university overall.

There were roughly 71 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Columbia in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies degree program at Columbia University in the City of New York earn $29,278 more than the typical college grad in this field shortly after graduation.

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

#4

Emory University

Atlanta, GA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
91 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Emory University is a great choice for students pursuing a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies. Emory is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the large city of Atlanta. A Best Colleges rank of #35 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means Emory is a great university overall.

There were approximately 91 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Emory in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies degree program at Emory University make $3,863 above the typical college graduate with the same degree shortly after graduation.

More information about a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from Emory University

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
313 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

UT Austin is a very large public university located in the city of Austin. A Best Colleges rank of #52 out of 2,241 colleges nationwide means UT Austin is a great university overall.

There were roughly 313 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UT Austin in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies degree program at The University of Texas at Austin get $4,575 above the average college graduate with the same degree shortly after graduation.

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

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
646 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Texas A&M College Station is a fairly large public university located in the medium-sized city of College Station. A Best Colleges rank of #55 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means Texas A&M College Station is a great university overall.

There were roughly 646 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Texas A&M College Station in the most recent data year. Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies degree recipients from Texas A&M University - College Station earn a boost of around $6,415 above the typical earnings of parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies majors.

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

#7

Clemson University

Clemson, SC
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
227 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Clemson is a very large public university located in the large suburb of Clemson. This university ranks 1st out of 44 colleges for overall quality in the state of South Carolina.

There were about 227 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Clemson in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies degree program at Clemson University earn $5,221 above the standard college grad with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

More information about a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from Clemson University

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
683 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

American Military University is a very large private for-profit university located in the town of Charles Town. This university ranks 1st out of 28 schools for overall quality in the state of West Virginia.

There were about 683 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. Degree recipients from the parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies major at American Public University System make $19,445 above the average graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

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

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
62 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Evanston, Northwestern is a private not-for-profit university with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #5 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means Northwestern is a great university overall.

There were approximately 62 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Northwestern in the most recent data year. Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies degree recipients from Northwestern University receive an earnings boost of around $17,474 above the average income of parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies majors.

More information about a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from Northwestern University

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
348 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Located in the town of Oxford, Miami University - Oxford is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 5th out of 96 schools for overall quality in the state of Ohio.

There were approximately 348 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Miami University - Oxford in the most recent year we have data available. Those parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who get their degree from Miami University - Oxford make $3,743 more than the standard parks and rec grad.

More information about a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from Miami University - Oxford

#11

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
675 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Located in the small city of Iowa City, Iowa is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 2nd out of 40 schools for overall quality in the state of Iowa.

There were roughly 675 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Iowa in the most recent data year. Students who receive their degree from the parks and rec program make around $31,398 in the first couple years of working.

More information about a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from University of Iowa

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
643 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Located in the small city of Bloomington, IU Bloomington is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 3rd out of 42 schools for overall quality in the state of Indiana.

There were approximately 643 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at IU Bloomington in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies degree program at Indiana University - Bloomington make $5,539 above the typical college grad with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

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

#13

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
150 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Syracuse, Syracuse is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 9th out of 143 colleges for overall quality in the state of New York.

There were approximately 150 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Syracuse in the most recent year we have data available. Those parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who get their degree from Syracuse University receive $5,879 more than the standard parks and rec grad.

More information about a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from Syracuse University

#14

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
306 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

UF is a very large public university located in the midsize city of Gainesville. This university ranks 1st out of 77 colleges for overall quality in the state of Florida.

There were about 306 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UF in the most recent year we have data available. Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies degree recipients from University of Florida earn a boost of approximately $5,630 over the typical income of parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies majors.

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

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
148 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

UW - Madison is a fairly large public university located in the city of Madison. A Best Colleges rank of #33 out of 2,241 colleges nationwide means UW - Madison is a great university overall.

There were about 148 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UW - Madison in the most recent data year. Students who graduate with their degree from the parks and rec program state that they receive average early career wages of $27,879.

More information about a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from University of Wisconsin - Madison

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
317 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

UIUC is a fairly large public university located in the city of Champaign. A Best Colleges rank of #44 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means UIUC is a great university overall.

There were about 317 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UIUC in the most recent data year. Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies degree recipients from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign receive an earnings boost of approximately $4,261 over the average income of parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies graduates.

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

#17

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, VA
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
326 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Harrisonburg, JMU is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 6th out of 65 schools for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

There were about 326 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at JMU in the most recent year we have data available. Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies degree recipients from James Madison University get an earnings boost of around $6,168 over the typical income of parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies graduates.

More information about a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from James Madison University

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
239 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Located in the large suburb of College Park, UMCP is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #36 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means UMCP is a great university overall.

There were about 239 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UMCP in the most recent year we have data available. Students who receive their degree from the parks and rec program earn around $30,536 in the first couple years of working.

More information about a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from University of Maryland - College Park

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
248 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Columbus, Ohio State is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 2nd out of 96 schools for overall quality in the state of Ohio.

There were roughly 248 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Ohio State in the most recent data year. Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies degree recipients from Ohio State University - Main Campus get an earnings boost of around $6,055 above the average earnings of parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies graduates.

More information about a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from Ohio State University - Main Campus

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
401 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Located in the small city of Chapel Hill, UNC Chapel Hill is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #43 out of 2,241 colleges nationwide means UNC Chapel Hill is a great university overall.

There were about 401 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UNC Chapel Hill in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies program at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill make $5,242 more than the typical college grad in this field when they enter the workforce.

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

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
188 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Located in the suburb of Newark, UD is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 1st out of 5 colleges for overall quality in the state of Delaware.

There were about 188 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UD in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies major at University of Delaware get $4,123 more than the standard college graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

More information about a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from University of Delaware

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
303 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

UGA is a very large public university located in the midsize city of Athens. This university ranks 3rd out of 69 schools for overall quality in the state of Georgia.

There were about 303 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UGA in the most recent data year. Students who graduate with their degree from the parks and rec program state that they receive average early career earnings of $29,679.

More information about a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from University of Georgia

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
124 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

UMN Twin Cities is a very large public university located in the city of Minneapolis. This university ranks 1st out of 55 colleges for overall quality in the state of Minnesota.

There were approximately 124 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UMN Twin Cities in the most recent year we have data available. Students who graduate with their degree from the parks and rec program state that they receive average early career earnings of $31,234.

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

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
414 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

UT Knoxville is a fairly large public university located in the city of Knoxville. This university ranks 3rd out of 45 colleges for overall quality in the state of Tennessee.

There were approximately 414 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UT Knoxville in the most recent year we have data available. Students who graduate with their degree from the parks and rec program report average early career income of $30,686.

More information about a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from The University of Tennessee - Knoxville

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
117 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Located in the suburb of Charlottesville, University of Virginia is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #32 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means University of Virginia is a great university overall.

There were roughly 117 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at University of Virginia in the most recent year we have data available. Those parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who get their degree from University of Virginia - Main Campus earn $18,530 more than the typical parks and rec graduate.

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

Rest of the Top 50 Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Schools

#28

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT
#30

Temple University

Philadelphia, PA

#32

Georgetown University

Washington, DC

#39

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI

#41

Baylor University

Waco, TX

#43

Concordia University, Chicago

River Forest, IL
#46

University of Louisville

Louisville, KY
#47

Towson University

Towson, MD
#48

William & Mary

Williamsburg, VA
#49

University of Houston

Houston, TX

Additional Award Winners

This section represents the rest of the colleges awarded a Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Schools badge. Showing in this list means the college was ranked in the top 15% of the 516 different United States parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
50 University of New Hampshire - Main Campus Durham, NH
51 West Chester University of Pennsylvania West Chester, PA
52 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
53 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI
54 Seattle University Seattle, WA
55 SUNY Cortland Cortland, NY
56 Purdue University - Main Campus West Lafayette, IN
57 University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR
58 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR
59 University of Dayton Dayton, OH
60 Florida International University Miami, FL
61 University of Wisconsin - La Crosse La Crosse, WI
62 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
63 Mississippi State University Mississippi State, MS
64 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
65 California University of Pennsylvania California, PA
66 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
67 Springfield College Springfield, MA
68 Shenandoah University Winchester, VA
69 Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC
70 San Jose State University San Jose, CA
71 University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
72 Ball State University Muncie, IN
73 Saint Ambrose University Davenport, IA
74 Grand Canyon University Phoenix, AZ
75 Cornell College Mount Vernon, IA
76 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
77 Minnesota State University - Mankato Mankato, MN

Honorable Mentions

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Schools award.

Rank College Location
78 Valparaiso University Valparaiso, IN
79 University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA
80 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO
81 St Olaf College Northfield, MN
82 University of Nevada - Las Vegas Las Vegas, NV
83 Xavier University Cincinnati, OH
84 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
85 Gonzaga University Spokane, WA
86 Canisius College Buffalo, NY
87 Seton Hall University South Orange, NJ
87 University of Mississippi University, MS
89 Texas State University San Marcos, TX
90 California State University - Chico Chico, CA
91 Grand Valley State University Allendale, MI
92 Winona State University Winona, MN
93 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
94 University of North Carolina at Wilmington Wilmington, NC
95 North Dakota State University - Main Campus Fargo, ND
96 John Carroll University University Heights, OH
97 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA
98 Loras College Dubuque, IA
99 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock, PA
100 California State University - Sacramento Sacramento, CA
101 Lindenwood University Saint Charles, MO
102 West Virginia University Morgantown, WV
103 Central Washington University Ellensburg, WA

Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies by Region

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

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

View All Rankings >

Parks & Rec Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Health & Physical Education 67,146
Recreation Administration 3,122
Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 3,106
Outdoor Education 265
Other Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 174

View All Parks & Rec Related Majors >

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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