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2020 Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in California

Approximately 72,116 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies degrees were awarded to students last year in the United States. 10,750 of these diplomas were given by schools in California alone, making it the 1st most popular state for parks and rec students. With so many options it can be a daunting task finding the right fit. This year's Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in California ranking analyzed 29 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 4 colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies students in California.

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

Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in California Your choice of parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies 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. When choosing a school we recommend considering some of the following factors:

A Great Overall School

A school that excels in educating for a particular major 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.

The lowest ranked school in our list is in the top 29% of our overall quality ranking while the vast majority are in at least the top 30%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 529 to 153 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Above Average Earnings After Graduation

A parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies degree from schools on this list usually translates into above average income after graduation. A parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies bachelors degree from a school in California helped students who graduated in 2015-2017 earn $28,405 a couple years later.

Other Factors We Consider

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

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies related accrediting body.

Our complete ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best schools for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies students in California.

Best Schools to Study Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in California

Below you'll see a list of the best colleges and universities to study parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies.

Top 10 Best Parks & Rec Colleges in California

California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo is a great decision for students interested in a Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies major. Located in the suburb San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is a public college with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 152 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is a great college overall.

With 239 undergrads, California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo is one of most popular schools to study parks and rec in California.

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#2

University of San Francisco

San Francisco, CA

It's difficult to beat University of San Francisco if you want to study parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies. USFCA is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of San Francisco. A Best Colleges rank of 191 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means USFCA is a great school overall.

A preferred major for parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies undergrads, there are approximately 137 learners studying this program at USFCA.

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Any student pursuing a degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies has to look into San Jose State University. San Jose State is a very large public school located in the city of San Jose. This school ranks 47th out of 112 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

There are approximately 276 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies undergraduates enrolled in this program at San Jose State.

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It's difficult to beat California State University - Chico if you want to pursue parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies as a major. Chico State is a fairly large public school located in the city of Chico. This school ranks 49th out of 112 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

There are approximately 348 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies undergrads enrolled in this degree at Chico State.

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Located in the city Long Beach, Cal State Long Beach is a public school with a very large student population. This school ranks 45th out of 112 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

There are about 502 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies undergraduates enrolled in this program at Cal State Long Beach.

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#6

San Diego State University

San Diego, CA

Located in the large city San Diego, SDSU is a public school with a very large student population. This school ranks 38th out of 112 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

There are approximately 455 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies undergrads enrolled in this degree at SDSU.

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SMC is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Moraga. A Best Colleges rank of 246 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means SMC is a great college overall.

Saint Mary's College of California is one of the most popular college to study parks and rec in California with more than 65 graduations last year.

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#8

Pepperdine University

Malibu, CA

Located in the suburb Malibu, Pepperdine is a private not-for-profit school with a moderately-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of 122 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Pepperdine is a great school overall.

A preferred choice for parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies undergraduates, there are roughly 62 individuals studying this degree at Pepperdine.

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Located in the city Sacramento, California State University - Sacramento is a public school with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 65th out of 112 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

There are about 410 parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies undergrads enrolled in this program at California State University - Sacramento.

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#10

University of the Pacific

Stockton, CA

Pacific is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Stockton. A Best Colleges rank of 148 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Pacific is a great college overall.

A preferred major for parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies undergrads, there are approximately 81 students enrolled in this program at Pacific.

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Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Colleges in the Far Western US Region

Explore all the Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Colleges in the Far Western US Area or other specific states within that region.

State Colleges Degrees Awarded
Hawaii 37 266
Washington 37 708
Oregon 37 781
Nevada 35 272
Alaska 34 40

Parks & Rec Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Health & Physical Education 63,893
Recreation Administration 4,172
Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 3,541
Other Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 275
Outdoor Education 235

View All Parks & Rec Related Majors >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement & Firefighting 150,819
Public Administration & Social Service 97,063
Legal Professions 61,800
Military Technologies & Applied Sciences 3,229

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.

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