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

644 Colleges in the United States
54,605 Bachelor's Degrees
If you plan on getting your bachelor's degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies, you won't be alone since the degree program is ranked #13 in the country in terms of popularity. As a result, there are many college that offer the degree, making your choice of school a hard one.

In 2022, College Factual analyzed 644 schools in order to identify the top ones for its Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Bachelor's Degree Schools ranking. When you put them all together, these colleges and universities awarded 54,605 bachelor's degrees in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies during the 2019-2020 academic year.

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

Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Bachelor's Degree Schools Your choice of parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies for getting your bachelor's degree school matters. This section explores some of the factors we include in our ranking and how much they vary depending on the school you select. To make it into this list, a school must excel in the following areas.

A Great Overall School

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 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 17% of our overall quality ranking.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 267 to 1 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Early-Career Earnings

One measure we use to determine the quality of a school is to look at the average salary of bachelor's graduates during the early years of their career. That is, everyone wants their bachelor's degree to be worth something, and salaries are one measure of determining that.

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 - The number of parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who choose to seek a bachelor's degree at the school.
  • 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 easy is it for parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies to pay back their student loans after receiving their bachelor's degree.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or accredited by a recognized parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies related body.

Our complete 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 bachelor's degree.

One Size Does Not Fit All

The parks and rec school you choose to invest your time and money in matters. To help you make the decision that is right for you, we've developed a number of major-specific rankings, including this list of the Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Bachelor's Degree Schools.

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.

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

Learn about the top ranked colleges and universities for parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students seeking a a bachelor's degree. 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 Bachelor's in Parks & Rec

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
4th Most Popular In MI
270 Annual Graduates

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor is a wonderful choice for individuals interested in a bachelor's degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies. U-M is a very large public university located in the medium-sized city of Ann Arbor. A Best Bachelor's Degree Schools rank of #36 out of 1,683 schools nationwide means U-M is a great university overall.

With 270 individuals who completed this degree in the most recent year we have data available, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor is one of the most popular universities to study parks and rec in the United States.

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

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
9th Most Popular In TX
247 Annual Graduates

The University of Texas at Austin is one of the best schools in the country for getting a bachelor's degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies. Located in the large city of Austin, UT Austin is a public university with a very large student population. A Best Bachelor's Degree Schools rank of #46 out of 1,683 schools nationwide means UT Austin is a great university overall.

A preferred major for parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students, there were roughly 247 learners who completed this degree at UT Austin in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a bachelor’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 WV
433 Annual Graduates

American Public University System is one of the finest schools in the United States for getting a bachelor's degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies. 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 20 schools for overall bachelor's degree quality in the state of West Virginia.

There were roughly 433 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 bachelor’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from American Public University System

#4

Elon University

Elon, NC
12th Most Popular In NC
70 Annual Graduates

Elon University is one of the finest schools in the country for getting a bachelor's degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies. Located in the suburb of Elon, Elon is a private not-for-profit university with a moderately-sized student population. A Best Bachelor's Degree Schools rank of #60 out of 1,683 schools nationwide means Elon is a great university overall.

With 70 students who completed this degree in the most recent data year, Elon University is one of the most popular universities to study parks and rec in the United States.

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

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
22nd Most Popular In TX
86 Annual Graduates

Located in the large suburb of Dallas, SMU is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. This university ranks 4th out of 84 colleges for overall bachelor's degree quality in the state of Texas.

Southern Methodist University is one of the most popular universities to study parks and rec in the United States with roughly 86 graduates in the most recent data year.

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

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In MA
132 Annual Graduates

Located in the large suburb of Amherst, UMass Amherst is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 17th out of 56 schools for overall bachelor's degree quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There were about 132 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies individuals who graduated with this degree at UMass Amherst in the most recent year we have data available.

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

#7

Rice University

Houston, TX
16th Most Popular In TX
102 Annual Graduates

Rice is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit university located in the large city of Houston. A Best Bachelor's Degree Schools rank of #37 out of 1,683 colleges nationwide means Rice is a great university overall.

Rice University is one of the most popular universities to study parks and rec in the United States with approximately 102 graduates in the most recent data year.

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

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In SC
241 Annual Graduates

UofSC is a very large public university located in the medium-sized city of Columbia. This university ranks 3rd out of 32 colleges for overall bachelor's degree quality in the state of South Carolina.

There were about 241 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies individuals who graduated with this degree at UofSC in the most recent data year.

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

#9

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, VA
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In VA
252 Annual Graduates

JMU is a very large public university located in the small city of Harrisonburg. This university ranks 6th out of 48 colleges for overall bachelor's degree quality in the state of Virginia.

There were approximately 252 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at JMU in the most recent data year.

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

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In TX
453 Annual Graduates

Located in the midsize city of College Station, Texas A&M College Station is a public university with a very large student population. A Best Bachelor's Degree Schools rank of #72 out of 1,683 schools nationwide means Texas A&M College Station is a great university overall.

There were roughly 453 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 bachelor’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from Texas A&M University - College Station

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In NC
346 Annual Graduates

UNC Chapel Hill is a very large public university located in the small city of Chapel Hill. A Best Bachelor's Degree Schools rank of #61 out of 1,683 schools nationwide means UNC Chapel Hill is a great university overall.

There were about 346 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UNC Chapel Hill in the most recent data year.

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

#12

University of Georgia

Athens, GA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In GA
270 Annual Graduates

Located in the city of Athens, UGA is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Bachelor's Degree Schools rank of #108 out of 1,683 schools nationwide means UGA is a great university overall.

There were about 270 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies individuals who graduated with this degree at UGA in the most recent year we have data available.

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

#13

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In FL
151 Annual Graduates

Located in the city of Gainesville, UF is a public university with a very large student population. A Best Bachelor's Degree Schools rank of #88 out of 1,683 schools nationwide means UF is a great university overall.

There were about 151 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 bachelor’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from University of Florida

#14

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY
3rd Most Popular In NY
180 Annual Graduates

Syracuse is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Syracuse. This university ranks 14th out of 124 schools for overall bachelor's degree quality in the state of New York.

There were approximately 180 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies individuals who graduated with this degree at Syracuse in the most recent data year.

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

#15

University of Dayton

Dayton, OH
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
11th Most Popular In OH
28 Annual Graduates

UDayton is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the medium-sized city of Dayton. This university ranks 7th out of 73 schools for overall bachelor's degree quality in the state of Ohio.

With 28 individuals who graduated from this program in the most recent data year, University of Dayton is one of the most popular universities to study parks and rec in the United States.

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

#16

Chadron State College

Chadron, NE
8th Most Popular In NE
17 Annual Graduates

Chadron State College is a small public college located in the remote town of Chadron. This college ranks 12th out of 16 colleges for overall bachelor's degree quality in the state of Nebraska.

Chadron State College is one of the most popular colleges to study parks and rec in the United States with about 17 graduates in the most recent year we have data available.

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

#17

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
5th Most Popular In VA
73 Annual Graduates

University of Virginia is a fairly large public university located in the suburb of Charlottesville. A Best Bachelor's Degree Schools rank of #35 out of 1,683 schools nationwide means University of Virginia is a great university overall.

With 73 individuals who graduated from this program in the most recent year we have data available, University of Virginia - Main Campus is one of the most popular universities to study parks and rec in the United States.

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

#18

Endicott College

Beverly, MA
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In MA
87 Annual Graduates

Endicott is a small private not-for-profit college located in the suburb of Beverly. This college ranks 22nd out of 56 colleges for overall bachelor's degree quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There were approximately 87 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Endicott in the most recent data year.

More information about a bachelor’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from Endicott College

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
4th Most Popular In NC
137 Annual Graduates

NC State is a fairly large public university located in the large city of Raleigh. This university ranks 6th out of 53 schools for overall bachelor's degree quality in the state of North Carolina.

North Carolina State University is one of the most popular universities to study parks and rec in the United States with roughly 137 graduates in the most recent data year.

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

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In IL
278 Annual Graduates

Located in the small city of Champaign, UIUC is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Bachelor's Degree Schools rank of #69 out of 1,683 colleges nationwide means UIUC is a great university overall.

There were roughly 278 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UIUC in the most recent year we have data available.

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

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In MD
238 Annual Graduates

UMCP is a very large public university located in the large suburb of College Park. A Best Bachelor's Degree Schools rank of #66 out of 1,683 colleges nationwide means UMCP is a great university overall.

There were approximately 238 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at UMCP in the most recent year we have data available.

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

#22

Clemson University

Clemson, SC
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In SC
123 Annual Graduates

Located in the large suburb of Clemson, Clemson is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 2nd out of 32 colleges for overall bachelor's degree quality in the state of South Carolina.

There were roughly 123 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Clemson in the most recent data year.

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

#23

Augustana University

Sioux Falls, SD
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
5th Most Popular In SD
38 Annual Graduates

Located in the midsize city of Sioux Falls, Augustana Sioux Falls is a private not-for-profit university with a small student population. This university ranks 1st out of 11 schools for overall bachelor's degree quality in the state of South Dakota.

Augustana University is one of the most popular universities to study parks and rec in the United States with approximately 38 graduates in the most recent year we have data available.

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

#24

William & Mary

Williamsburg, VA
3rd Most Popular In VA
129 Annual Graduates

Located in the small suburb of Williamsburg, William & Mary is a public school with a medium-sized student population. A Best Bachelor's Degree Schools rank of #73 out of 1,683 colleges nationwide means William & Mary is a great school overall.

There were roughly 129 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies individuals who graduated with this degree at William & Mary in the most recent data year.

More information about a bachelor’s in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies from William & Mary

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In IA
238 Annual Graduates

Located in the city of Ames, Iowa State is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 2nd out of 28 colleges for overall bachelor's degree quality in the state of Iowa.

There were about 238 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who graduated with this degree at Iowa State in the most recent year we have data available.

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

Rest of the Top 50 Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Bachelor's Degree Schools

#26

Emory University

Atlanta, GA
#28

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA
#29

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC
#31

Truman State University

Kirksville, MO

#34

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX
#36

University of Delaware

Newark, DE
#40

St. John Fisher College

Rochester, NY

#41

San Jose State University

San Jose, CA

#42

Towson University

Towson, MD
#44

SUNY Cortland

Cortland, NY
#45

Seton Hall University

South Orange, NJ

Remaining Award Winners

This section represents the rest of the schools awarded a Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Bachelor's Degree Schools badge. Showing in this list means the college was ranked in the top 15% of the 644 different United States parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
50 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
51 Northwestern College Orange City, IA
52 University of Mary Bismarck, ND
53 Pepperdine University Malibu, CA
54 Johnson & Wales University - Charlotte Charlotte, NC
55 Winona State University Winona, MN
56 The University of Tennessee - Knoxville Knoxville, TN
57 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
58 Miami University - Oxford Oxford, OH
59 Hope College Holland, MI
60 University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire Eau Claire, WI
61 Temple University Philadelphia, PA
62 Florida International University Miami, FL
63 Simpson College Indianola, IA
64 Xavier University Cincinnati, OH
65 South Dakota State University Brookings, SD
66 Texas State University San Marcos, TX
67 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
68 Minnesota State University - Mankato Mankato, MN
69 Northwestern Oklahoma State University Alva, OK
70 Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI
71 University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA
72 Washington State University Pullman, WA
73 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
74 DePauw University Greencastle, IN
75 Carroll University Waukesha, WI
76 Pacific Lutheran University Tacoma, WA
77 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
78 University of Houston - Clear Lake Houston, TX
79 St Olaf College Northfield, MN
80 Linfield University - McMinnville Campus McMinnville, OR
81 University of Houston Houston, TX
82 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock, PA
83 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
84 Colorado State University - Fort Collins Fort Collins, CO
85 Johnson & Wales University - North Miami North Miami, FL
86 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
87 Norwich University Northfield, VT
88 University of Nebraska at Kearney Kearney, NE
89 University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, IL
90 Mount St Mary’s University Emmitsburg, MD
91 San Diego State University San Diego, CA
92 Loras College Dubuque, IA
93 Longwood University Farmville, VA
94 Ohio Northern University Ada, OH
95 Coe College Cedar Rapids, IA
96 Otterbein University Westerville, OH

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 Bachelor's Degree Schools award.

Rank College Location
97 University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR
98 Kean University Union, NJ
99 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College Baton Rouge, LA
100 University of Vermont Burlington, VT
101 Salisbury University Salisbury, MD
102 University of North Texas Denton, TX
103 Gonzaga University Spokane, WA
104 University of Scranton Scranton, PA
105 Baldwin Wallace University Berea, OH
106 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO
107 University of Minnesota - Duluth Duluth, MN
108 St. Joseph’s College - New York Brooklyn, NY
109 Georgia Southern University Statesboro, GA
110 The College at Brockport Brockport, NY
111 Brigham Young University - Provo Provo, UT
112 Cornell College Mount Vernon, IA
113 California State University - Fullerton Fullerton, CA
114 Berea College Berea, KY
115 Tarleton State University Stephenville, TX
116 Shenandoah University Winchester, VA
117 The University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, TX
118 San Francisco State University San Francisco, CA
119 Grand Valley State University Allendale, MI
120 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI
121 Howard University Washington, DC
122 Springfield College Springfield, MA
123 Kutztown University of Pennsylvania Kutztown, PA
124 University of Maine Orono, ME
125 University of Oklahoma Norman Campus Norman, OK
126 Bridgewater College Bridgewater, VA
127 Seattle University Seattle, WA
128 Westmont College Santa Barbara, CA

Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies by Region

View the Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Bachelor'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 48,748
Recreation Administration 2,839
Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 2,732
Outdoor Education 183
Other Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 103

Related Major Annual Graduates
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement & Firefighting 59,773
Public Administration & Social Service 35,792
Legal Professions 4,637
Military Technologies & Applied Sciences 1,180

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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