Welcome to the Recreation Program
Welcome to the website of Western Washington University’s Recreation Program. Nationally accredited, the Recreation Program offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Recreation. The major offers concentrations in tourism, community recreation, outdoor recreation, and therapeutic recreation. While we hope you find the information you need on our website, you are encouraged to visit us personally in order to learn more about the major and to explore the diverse career opportunities in recreation and leisure services. We look forward to meeting you.
*The Recreation Program has been accredited since 1986 by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism; National Recreation and Park Association.
In addition to its philosophy of professional study based in principles of liberal education, the Recreation Program features an innovative phased curriculum. "The Phase" is a four-part sequence of courses which students typically enter in the spring of their sophomore year and finish the fall of their senior year. Approximately 60 students enter and complete the four blocks of phases together as a community of learners. This arrangement has many advantages, especially:
- A supportive community of fellow students, faculty, and alumni.
- A variety of learning environments such as overnight retreats, field experiences, and professional conferences.
- Greater access to faculty and comprehensive advising.
- A growing alumni network throughout the state, region, and nation.
Students usually opt to focus on one of the following concentrations. However, some students prefer to remain generalists by taking courses in two or more concentrations. It is not necessary to choose a concentration immediately. Many students prefer to explore the different concentrations through introductory courses in order to get a better idea of how they may fit their career interests. The best way to learn more about the concentrations is by meeting with the faculty.
Tourism offers a wide range of professional opportunities. Recreation professionals are employed by tour companies, visitor bureaus, resorts, cruise lines, National and State Parks, and small activity-based businesses. As tour directors, resort activity managers, adventure trip leaders, and community tourism development specialists, they work to maximize the individual, social, and economic value of travel.
The outdoor recreation emphasis in the Recreation major includes students who are interested in a wide range of career paths: camp programming and administration, guiding (climbing and mountaineering, kayaking, rafting, etc.), wilderness therapy or therapeutic adventure, environmental/experiential/outdoor education, state parks management, and adventure travel.
The community recreation emphasis prepares future professionals who may be interested in municipal leisure service delivery (City Parks and Recreation Departments), not-for-profit recreation agencies (such as YMCA or Boys and Girls Club), and community development. These careers, among many others, typify the community recreation area of study. The goals of the community recreation concentration assist the learner to understand the interrelationships and importance of social, political, and economic dimensions of community, and to explore the relationship between community development and recreation service agencies.
Therapeutic recreation professionals help people with physical, cognitive, or psychological disabilities to enhance their health and well-being through recreation and leisure. Therapeutic recreation professionals are employed in a variety of clinical and community settings, such as psychiatric and rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, addiction programs, and community recreation.