B.S. Recreation & Leisure Studies

Southern's bachelor's degree in Recreation & Leisure Studies allows students to gain classroom instruction from experienced faculty from a wide variety of leisure service industries, and develop practical experience in their fields of study as part of the curriculum. Students have gained valuable internship experiences leading to careers in a variety of settings, including community, federal, state, & municipal agencies, state & federal parks, private commercial enterprises, interscholastic sport organizations, youth development organizations, not-for-profit organizations, hospitals & rehabilitation settings, and travel, hospitality, & entertainment venues.

RLS students can focus in one of the concentrations below:

Children today confront a wide variety of stressful and potentially traumatic events that may overwhelm their natural ability to cope and heal. Child Life Specialists are trained professionals with expertise in helping children and their families overcome life's most challenging moments. Armed with a strong background in child development and family systems, Child Life Specialists promote effective coping through play, preparation, education, and self- expression activities. They provide emotional support for families, and encourage optimum development of children facing a broad range of challenging experiences, particularly those related to healthcare and hospitalization. The Child Life Specialist concentration introduces the history, philosophy, theories, and concepts relating to child life services. The role of child life specialist as a member of the healthcare team is examined.


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In the Recreation & Youth Development program, students acquire leadership, programming, and management skills for careers in community and youth- based recreation service agencies and facilities that are focused on enhancing the livability of communities, improving the quality of life for all people, and promoting positive youth development.


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In the Recreation Therapy concentration, students acquire the skills necessary to help improve the quality of life for people with disabilities by using recreation services and leisure experiences. Upon completion of this program, students are prepared to take the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) exam to become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS). For more information regarding certification requirements, see the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification. In addition students can take courses that meet the State of Connecticut Public Health Code to be a Therapeutic Recreation Director.


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When you choose to focus your Recreation & Leisure Studies degree in Tourism, Hospitality, & Event Management (THEM), you are preparing yourself to work in one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world. These industries operate worldwide in exciting work environments and provide unique employment opportunities in Connecticut and across the globe. The travel and tourism industry employs over 64,000 people in the state of Connecticut. In the program, students acquire the event planning, leadership, promotion and management skills necessary for an exciting career in the tourism, hospitality and event management industries.


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The concentration in Recreation Management will prepare students for careers in parks, recreation, non-profit agencies, and commercial recreation businesses. Leadership, programming, and managing leisure experiences for participants of all abilities is a major emphasis in this area. Students graduating with a concentration in Recreation Management might find careers in such settings as: municipal park and recreation departments, state and federal parks, community centers, non-profit youth-serving agencies, campus/university recreation, and military settings.


Program Requirements | Academic Map