Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies

2022 Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Schools

686 Colleges in the United States
69,797 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded
$29,823 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.

College Factual looked at 686 colleges and universities when compiling its 2022 Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Schools ranking. Combined, these schools handed out 69,797 degrees in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies to qualified students.

What's on this page:

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
34 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

University of Western States is one of the best schools in the United States for getting a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies. Located in the large city of Portland, Western States Chiropractic College is a private not-for-profit university with a small student population.

There were approximately 34 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Western States Chiropractic College in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies degree program at University of Western States earn $22,277 above the average college graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

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

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

Columbia University in the City of New York is a good choice 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 Schools rank of #22 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Columbia is a great university overall.

There were about 75 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Columbia in the most recent year we have data available. Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies degree recipients from Columbia University in the City of New York earn a boost of around $27,177 above the typical earnings of parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies graduates.

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

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

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor is one of the best 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 Schools rank of #40 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means U-M is a great university overall.

There were roughly 324 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at U-M in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies major at University of Michigan - Ann Arbor earn $9,177 above the average college graduate with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

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

#4

Georgetown University

Washington, DC
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
123 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Georgetown University is a great option for students interested in a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies. Georgetown is a large private not-for-profit university located in the large city of Washington. A Best Schools rank of #18 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means Georgetown is a great university overall.

There were roughly 123 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Georgetown in the most recent data year. Those parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who get their degree from Georgetown University make $19,077 more than the typical parks and rec grad.

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

#5

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
38 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Evanston, Northwestern is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Schools rank of #14 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Northwestern is a great university overall.

There were roughly 38 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Northwestern in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies degree program at Northwestern University earn $18,877 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 Northwestern University

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
10th Most Popular In TX
263 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

UT Austin is a fairly large public university located in the city of Austin. A Best Schools rank of #52 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means UT Austin is a great university overall.

There were about 263 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UT Austin in the most recent data year.

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

#7

Elon University

Elon, NC
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
70 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Elon is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit university located in the midsize suburb of Elon. A Best Schools rank of #71 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means Elon is a great university overall.

There were approximately 70 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Elon 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 $31,100.

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

#8

Rice University

Houston, TX
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
19th Most Popular In TX
102 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Located in the large city of Houston, Rice is a private not-for-profit university with a medium-sized student population. A Best Schools rank of #25 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Rice is a great university overall.

There were about 102 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Rice in the most recent year we have data available.

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

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
20th Most Popular In TX
99 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

SMU is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the large suburb of Dallas. This university ranks 5th out of 136 schools for overall quality in the state of Texas.

There were about 99 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at SMU in the most recent data year.

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

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In WV
576 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

American Military University is a very large private for-profit university located in the fringe town of Charles Town. This university ranks 1st out of 31 colleges for overall quality in the state of West Virginia.

There were roughly 576 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at American Military University in the most recent data year.

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

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

UMass Amherst is a very large public university located in the suburb of Amherst. This university ranks 17th out of 72 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There were roughly 156 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UMass Amherst in the most recent year we have data available. Those parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who get their degree from University of Massachusetts Amherst make $9,177 more than the standard parks and rec student.

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

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

Located in the city of Chapel Hill, UNC Chapel Hill is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Schools rank of #63 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means UNC Chapel Hill is a great university overall.

There were approximately 383 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UNC Chapel Hill in the most recent year we have data available. Students who receive their degree from the parks and rec program make an average of $26,300 in the first couple years of working.

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

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In TX
534 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Texas A&M College Station is a very large public university located in the city of College Station. A Best Schools rank of #81 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means Texas A&M College Station is a great university overall.

There were approximately 534 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Texas A&M College Station in the most recent year we have data available.

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

#14

Syracuse University

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

Located in the city of Syracuse, Syracuse is a private not-for-profit university with a very large student population. This university ranks 15th out of 160 colleges for overall quality in the state of New York.

There were approximately 180 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Syracuse 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 $26,500.

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

#15

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, VA
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In VA
300 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Located in the small city of Harrisonburg, JMU is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 5th out of 73 schools for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

There were roughly 300 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at JMU in the most recent year we have data available.

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

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In SC
282 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Columbia, UofSC is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 3rd out of 50 colleges for overall quality in the state of South Carolina.

There were roughly 282 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UofSC in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from University of South Carolina - Columbia

#17

Chadron State College

Chadron, NE
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
$21,832 Median Student Debt

Located in the remote town of Chadron, Chadron State College is a public college with a small student population. This college ranks 15th out of 22 colleges for overall quality in the state of Nebraska.

There were approximately 17 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Chadron State College in the most recent data year. Students who receive their degree from the parks and rec program make around $29,500 in their early career salary.

More information about a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from Chadron State College

#18

University of Dayton

Dayton, OH
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
$25,250 Median Student Debt

Located in the city of Dayton, UDayton is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 7th out of 108 colleges for overall quality in the state of Ohio.

There were about 30 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UDayton in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies major at University of Dayton get $4,477 above the standard graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

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

#19

University of Georgia

Athens, GA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
316 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

UGA is a fairly large public university located in the midsize city of Athens. This university ranks 3rd out of 80 schools for overall quality in the state of Georgia.

There were approximately 316 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UGA in the most recent year we have data available. Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies degree recipients from University of Georgia earn a boost of approximately $3,577 over the average income of parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies majors.

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

#20

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
5th Most Popular In VA
95 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Located in the small suburb of Charlottesville, University of Virginia is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Schools rank of #38 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means University of Virginia is a great university overall.

There were approximately 95 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at University of Virginia in the most recent data year.

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

#21

Endicott College

Beverly, MA
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
91 Parks & Rec Degrees Awarded

Located in the suburb of Beverly, Endicott is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. This college ranks 23rd out of 72 colleges for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There were approximately 91 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Endicott in the most recent year we have data available. Those parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who get their degree from Endicott College earn $6,577 more than the average parks and rec student.

More information about a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from Endicott College

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

Located in the large city of Raleigh, NC State is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 6th out of 113 colleges for overall quality in the state of North Carolina.

There were roughly 178 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at NC State in the most recent data year. Those parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who get their degree from North Carolina State University earn $2,477 more than the typical parks and rec grad.

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

#23

University of Florida

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

UF is a very large public university located in the medium-sized city of Gainesville. This university ranks 1st out of 87 colleges for overall quality in the state of Florida.

There were roughly 218 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UF in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies program at University of Florida make $5,844 above the average graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

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

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

UIUC is a fairly large public university located in the city of Champaign. A Best Schools rank of #68 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means UIUC is a great university overall.

There were approximately 334 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UIUC in the most recent year we have data available. Those parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who get their degree from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign make $5,744 more than the standard parks and rec student.

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

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

Located in the suburb of College Park, UMCP is a public university with a very large student population. A Best Schools rank of #74 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means UMCP is a great university overall.

There were roughly 243.99999999999997 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UMCP in the most recent data year. Those parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who get their degree from University of Maryland - College Park make $3,777 more than the typical parks and rec grad.

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

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

#26

William & Mary

Williamsburg, VA
#27

Augustana University

Sioux Falls, SD
#28

Emory University

Atlanta, GA
#31

Clemson University

Clemson, SC

#32

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA

#33

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC
#34

Truman State University

Kirksville, MO
#37

University of Miami

Coral Gables, FL
#38

University of Delaware

Newark, DE

#42

St. John Fisher College

Rochester, NY
#43

Towson University

Towson, MD
#45

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX
#46

Seton Hall University

South Orange, NJ
#48

San Jose State University

San Jose, CA

Additional Award Winners

This section represents the remainder 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 686 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 University of Mary Bismarck, ND
52 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
53 Northwestern College Orange City, IA
54 SUNY Cortland Cortland, NY
55 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
56 Pepperdine University Malibu, CA
57 Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Cincinnati, OH
58 Illinois State University Normal, IL
59 Northeastern University Boston, MA
60 Johnson & Wales University - Charlotte Charlotte, NC
61 Winona State University Winona, MN
62 Citadel Military College of South Carolina Charleston, SC
63 Hope College Holland, MI
64 University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire Eau Claire, WI
65 Concordia University, Irvine Irvine, CA
66 Simpson College Indianola, IA
67 University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
68 University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA
69 The University of Tennessee - Knoxville Knoxville, TN
70 Northwestern Oklahoma State University Alva, OK
71 Florida International University Miami, FL
72 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
73 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
74 DePauw University Greencastle, IN
75 South Dakota State University Brookings, SD
76 Temple University Philadelphia, PA
77 Miami University - Oxford Oxford, OH
78 Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI
79 Carroll University Waukesha, WI
80 Texas State University San Marcos, TX
81 Gonzaga University Spokane, WA
82 Pacific Lutheran University Tacoma, WA
83 University of Houston - Clear Lake Houston, TX
84 St Olaf College Northfield, MN
85 Washington State University Pullman, WA
86 University of Wisconsin - River Falls River Falls, WI
87 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock, PA
88 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
89 Linfield University - McMinnville Campus McMinnville, OR
90 The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL
91 Mount St Mary’s University Emmitsburg, MD
92 Minnesota State University - Mankato Mankato, MN
93 University of Houston Houston, TX
94 Smith College Northampton, MA
95 Johnson & Wales University - North Miami North Miami, FL
96 Xavier University Cincinnati, OH
97 Colorado State University - Fort Collins Fort Collins, CO
98 Norwich University Northfield, VT
99 University of Nebraska at Kearney Kearney, NE
100 University of South Florida - Main Campus Tampa, FL
101 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
102 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL

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
103 Loras College Dubuque, IA
104 Longwood University Farmville, VA
105 Ohio Northern University Ada, OH
106 Coe College Cedar Rapids, IA
107 University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, IL
108 Otterbein University Westerville, OH
109 San Diego State University San Diego, CA
110 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College Baton Rouge, LA
111 John F. Kennedy University Pleasant Hill, CA
112 Salisbury University Salisbury, MD
113 University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR
114 Canisius College Buffalo, NY
115 University of Vermont Burlington, VT
116 University of Scranton Scranton, PA
117 Baldwin Wallace University Berea, OH
118 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO
119 University of Minnesota - Duluth Duluth, MN
120 Kean University Union, NJ
121 St. Joseph’s College - New York Brooklyn, NY
122 The College at Brockport Brockport, NY
123 Cornell College Mount Vernon, IA
124 Georgia Southern University Statesboro, GA
125 Berea College Berea, KY
126 Tarleton State University Stephenville, TX
127 Brigham Young University - Provo Provo, UT
128 Shenandoah University Winchester, VA
129 California State University - Fullerton Fullerton, CA
130 Ohio University - Athens Campus Athens, OH
131 Grand Valley State University Allendale, MI
132 Seattle University Seattle, WA
133 Saint Mary’s College of California Moraga, CA
134 University of North Texas Denton, TX
135 Howard University Washington, DC
136 San Francisco State University San Francisco, CA
137 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA

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

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Parks & Rec Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Health & Physical Education 62,930
Recreation Administration 3,440
Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 3,045
Outdoor Education 233
Other Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 149

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).
  • Removed schools reflect instances of new data identified post-publication that warrant removal of a school from this year’s ranking.
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to NPS Photo/Zurbuch.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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