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17.5: Sacramento State University

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    Sac State logo    Rec Parks and Tourism Logo

    Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism Administration


    About Our Programs

    At Sacramento State, we are proud to be the oldest nationally accredited program of Recreation Administration in the CSU System.

    The RPTA Department offers three Bachelor of Science degrees (Recreation and Park Management Recreation Therapy, and Hospitality and Tourism Administration), a Master of Science in Recreation Administration, two minors, and five academic certificate programs. Students are provided with broad-based curricula that include both theoretical in-class coursework and practical out-of-class field experience. 

    Program Website:

    About The Department

    The origins of the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration are almost as old as those of California State University, Sacramento.


    • 1947 – Sacramento State College (now California State University, Sacramento) is founded.

    • 1953 – Sacramento State College is relocated to its current 300-acre site on the American River.

    • 1953 – Bachelor of Arts in Therapeutic Recreation begins in the Division of Physical Education (now the Department of Kinesiology).

    • 1955 – The Recreation Department begins as part of the Division of Physical Education and Recreation.

    • 1955 – Minor in Recreation is added to the degree options.

    • 1956 – Bachelor of Arts in Recreation Leadership is created with the following specializations: Camping and Outdoor Education, Public Recreation, Recreation and Youth Agencies, and Therapy and Hospital Recreation.

    • 1960 – The California State University System is created and will go on to incorporate several pre-existing institutions such as Sacramento State College.

    • 1964 – Degree changes to Bachelor of Arts in Recreation Management.

    • 1964 – Master of Arts in Recreation and Physical Education begins.

    • 1964 – The Park Management Department begins with a Bachelor of Science of the same name in the School of Arts and Sciences.

    • 1972 – Sacramento State College becomes California State University, Sacramento.

    • 1973 – The Department of Environmental Resources merges with the Department of Recreation Administration in the Division of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

    • 1978 – The department is relocated to the School of Business and Public Administration.

    • 1978 – The degree program is accredited by the National Recreation and Parks Association, making it the oldest nationally accredited program of recreation in the state of California.

    • 1982 – The department is moved to the College of Health and Human Services, and shortly after the name is changed to the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies.

    • 1988 – The Bachelor of Science in Recreation Administration consists of four separate concentrations: Concentration in Park and Recreation Resource Management, Concentration in Community Recreation Management, Concentration in Commercial Recreation Management, and Concentration in Therapeutic Recreation.

    • 1992 – Undergraduate degree concentrations are reduced to two: Concentration in Recreation and Park Management Park (with focus areas in Recreation Resource Management, Recreation Program Management, Commercial Recreation Management) and Concentration in Therapeutic Recreation.

    • 2000 – The Commercial Recreation Management focus area is renamed, Commercial Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality Management.

    • 2007 – The department changes its name to the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration.

    • 2010 – Therapeutic Recreation changes to Recreation Therapy.

    • 2014 – The Master of Science in Recreation Administration begins a three-campus collaborative with San Francisco State University and California State University, Chico.

    • 2016 – The department creates five certificate programs to help differentiate Recreation and Park Management: Event Planning, Hospitality and Tourism Administration, Natural Resource Administration, Non-Profit Administration, and Outdoor Adventure Administration.

    • 2018 – Another certificate program is added: Community and Agency Recreation Leadership (pending).

    • 2019 – Recreation Therapy is approved as a separate major program within RPTA, the first Bachelor of Science in Recreation Therapy degree in the CSU.

    • 2019 – Approval is received to begin a new master’s program (Master of Science in Recreation, Hospitality, Parks and Nonprofit Management), to replace the previous three-campus collaborative program, with admissions to begin in Fall 2020.

    • 2020 – The Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management receives final approvals to begin fall 2020, giving the department three BS degrees.

    Our Mission

    The mission of the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration is to enrich the lives of students through teaching, scholarship, research, and creative activity, and to make a positive contribution to the various communities of which we are a part.

    Our vision is to cultivate an appreciation of collaboration, cultural awareness, and social and environmental responsibility. We strive to provide our students with the knowledge and skills necessary for successful careers in their particular areas of specialization. The Department fosters an environment of intellectual curiosity and challenge that promotes the development of our future recreation leisure professionals.

    Our values reflect this mission and vision and as a department we value:

    • Educational excellence

    • Leadership skills

    • Creativity and innovation

    • Scholarship and research

    • Life-long learning

    • Continued professional development

    • Critical thinking and problem solving

    • Professional ethics

    • Social justice

    • Cultural and social diversity

    • Service to the profession and the community

    • Experiential education

    • The integration of theory and practice

    • Competency in new technologies

    • Individual wellness and a healthy society

    • Recreation and leisure

    17.5: Sacramento State University is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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