Program Details
Major in Therapeutic Recreation

Bachelor of Science Degree • School of Health Professions
and Education

Therapeutic Recreation Major

Program Details 

Therapeutic recreation at Utica College is one of a very few nation-wide programs designed specifically to educate students to be therapeutic recreation specialists. The curriculum combines liberal arts components with professional preparation courses and “hands-on” experiences. The courses have been uniquely designed to provide every student with in-depth knowledge of technical and theoretical skills essential for entry level professional competence.

Photo - I Am A Recreation Therapist

The Profession

Therapeutic recreation is a human service profession that focuses on providing care to individuals who have cognitive, physical, psychological, or social needs. The specialist possesses recreational activity and facilitation skills that he or she utilizes to bring about a change in the individual. The therapist will employ skills based upon consumer needs and the service provided will be functional intervention, leisure education, and/or recreation participation. Therapeutic recreation graduates work in rehabilitation centers, psychiatric hospitals, long-term care facilities, penal institutions, senior centers, drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, community recreation, children and youth centers, and day treatment centers. 
  • 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.

For placement opportunities, please contact the program director.

Total credit hours required for degree: 124


The student in therapeutic recreation is required to achieve a minimum of C in each major course, a C average in major-related courses except BIO 101 and BIO 102, and at least a B in the internship experience. Students must comply with the internship site rules and regulations regarding physical examinations and immunizations. Malpractice insurance is required for an internship course.


(See also General Education Core)

Course Credit Hours Year Taken
Core 34-55  
Major Course Requirements
Therapeutic Recreation 101 Introduction to Therapeutic Recreation 3 1
Therapeutic Recreation 106 History and Philosophy of Recreation 3 1
Therapeutic Recreation 201 Outdoor Recreational Pursuits 3 2
Therapeutic Recreation 256 Leadership, Analysis, and Modification of TR Interventions 4 2
Therapeutic Recreation 302 Leisure Counseling: Theory and Practice 3 3,4
Therapeutic Recreation 315 Leisure, Health, and Wellness 3 3,4
Therapeutic Recreation 323 Therapeutic Recreation & Medical Conditions 3 3,4
Therapeutic Recreation 352 Assessment and Documentation 3 3,4
Therapeutic Recreation 403 Program Design and Evaluation 3 4
Therapeutic Recreation 406 Advancement of the TR Profession 3 4
Therapeutic Recreation 413 Advanced TR Processes and Techniques 3 4
Therapeutic Recreation 469 Internship and Exam Preparation 1 4
Therapeutic Recreation 470 Internship in Therapeutic Recreation 12 4
Major-Related Requirements
(*Some of the following may be used to satisfy core)
Biology 101,102* Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II 8 1,2
Psychology 101* Introduction to Psychology 3 1

Psychology/Sociology 211*   
Mathematics 112*

Statistics in the Behavioral Sciences

Basic Statistics


Health Studies 245
Psychology 223
Human Development Across the
Life Span
3 1,2,3
Health Studies 445 Clinical Research 3 4
Psychology 237 Group Dynamics 3 2,3,4
Psychology 361 Abnormal Psychology 3 3
Suggested Minors
Psychology 21  
Gerontology 15  
Communications Arts 18  
The student must complete sufficient elective courses to earn at least the minimum credit hours required for this degree, and at least 60 credit hours of the 124 required must be in the liberal arts and sciences.

* Students wishing information about the therapeutic recreation retention policy should consult with their academic adviser.


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