Therapeutic Recreation - Program Description
Major in Therapeutic Recreation

Therapeutic Recreation

Therapeutic recreation (TR) is the use of recreation, leisure, and play to improve or maintain physical, cognitive, social, and emotional functioning to assist individuals in experiencing independent lifestyles and satisfying leisure experiences. Comprehensive TR involves a continuum of service that includes treatment, leisure education, and independent recreation participation.

  • I Am A Recreational TherapistFunctional intervention uses recreational activities to habilitate or rehabilitate physical, intellectual, and emotional skills.
  • Leisure education uses appropriate recreational and educational activities to acquire leisure participation skills, knowledge, and attitudes that facilitate independent, satisfying leisure experiences.
  • Recreation participation uses activities to promote health, growth, development, and independence through self-rewarding leisure pursuits.

Special Opportunities

Developed in 1981, the therapeutic recreation major at Utica College is one of a very few programs in the nation that is strictly designed to educate and graduate recreation therapists with a bachelor of science degree in therapeutic recreation. The program also is unique in that it is housed in the School of Health Professions and Education, which reflects the clinical-medical aspects of the major as well as the philosophical recreation foundation.

In addition to having extensive course work in theory, students are provided a number of hands-on experiences while they are at UC. As part of their course requirements, students participate in fieldwork in area agencies, conduct projects, and are involved in organizing numerous interventions for various populations.

Therapeutic recreation students are required to complete one 525-600 hour internship. Students are encouraged to seek internship experiences throughout the United States. In past years, students have been placed in facilities in Colorado, Minnesota, Florida, and throughout the Northeast. Internship placements must meet certain standards regarding staff, competencies, and qualifications.

Minor in Recreation Leadership
Gain the skills, adaptability, and creativity to work effectively in a variety of settings. With a carefully designed curriculum that includes both theory and practical application, this minor is especially suitable for major in criminal justice, health studies, psychology, psychology child-life, and similar programs.

Courses required for the minor include:
  • History and philosophy of recreation
  • Recreation and adventure activities
  • Recreational service and leadership
  • Outdoor recreational pursuits
  • Leisure counseling



Harry F. Slife, Jr., Ph.D.
Dean, School of Health Professions and Education
230 White Hall

(315) 792-3075
(315) 792-3006
1600 Burrstone Road | Utica, NY 13502