California State University, Sacramento

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MS - Recreation Administration

We offer a traditional 30-Unit Masters Graduate Program for students seeking an in-person class experience where they may interact directly with instructors and class peers. Graduate students in our program earn a general degree in Recreation Administration, providing opportunities to work across the many areas of our service profession. Our graduate program is Cohort based for the first year of the program where students complete core courses together.

Sacramento State is one of the most diverse campuses in the CSU system, and is located only a few miles from the California State Capital. Other interesting and historic locations within a 90-minute drive of Sacramento include the Tahoe Sierra; the Gold Rush towns in the Sierra Foothills; the wine regions of Lodi, Amador, and Napa; and the famous City-By-The-Bay San Francisco.

Graduate Program Requirements

Program requirements for the existing MS in Recreation Administration can be found here!

We are currently accepting applications for Fall 2021. Applications are accepted up to March 1, 2021.

Application to the university and the RPTA Master’s Program is done through the Sac State Office of Graduate Students (OGS) website. See this website for all application requirements

For further information about the RPTA Master of Science Graduate Program, contact Dr. Lisa Easterla:


We adopt a holistic model for admission to our graduate program in RPTA : The purpose of a holistic review is to approach admissions from an inclusive perspective rather than an exclusive process. We value the “whole life” experience and the non-traditional qualitative side of the student. This includes a student’s strengths, achievements, indices of leadership, extracurricular activities, community involvement or service, special talents or skills, personal and professional ethics, learning differences, educational, cultural and geographic background. This full file review is used to assess the application materials for indicators of qualities known to contribute to successful completion of our Master’s program.


We accept applications from prospective students who hold a baccalaureate degree in RPTA (or related program) and from other disciplines.

  • Classification: student must be “classified” with the university to advance to candidacy and complete the RPTA Master’s Program.
  • Classified: Student accepted with a baccalaureate degree in RPTA or related program
    • No matriculating conditional coursework is required
  • Unclassified: Students accepted with a baccalaureate degree from another discipline. A student with a baccalaureate degree from another discipline may be admitted to conditionally classified standing and,
    • complete certain designated courses in Recreation Parks & Tourism Administration, totaling 15 additional units (as determined by a faculty advisor), in order to acquire the academic background necessary to qualify for classified standing.

All applicants are required to:

  • Have a minimum 2.75 GPA overall in their undergraduate degree
    • Students holding a bachelors in RPTA or related program are required to have a earned minimum 3.0 GPA in the major
  • Provide a detailed resume
    • Typically a resume provides information pertaining to the applicant’s education, certifications, and experience in paid employment, service learning, and volunteer work. As well, prospective students may want to add information regarding honors/awards, professional affiliations, and any other relevant background information.
  • Provide three letters of recommendation
    • When possible, student may want to include at least one letter from an academic source and one from a professional source.
  • A writing sample and personal statement
    • Typically a writing sample provides the reviewers an opportunity to consider the level of student’s writing. So students may want to include a sample in the writing format used in our major, APA style, and include a discussion as it pertains to our work in the field of recreation, parks, and tourism administration. This discussion might also relate specifically to one of the following professional areas: 1) Recreational Therapy, 2) Hospitality and Tourism Management, 3) Community Recreation and Parks (municipal or nonprofit) or 3) Outdoor Recreation (state and federal parks and other public lands).
    • A personal statement generally includes a brief (500 - 1000 words) statement of purpose, including 1) your interest in our graduate program, 2) why you will be a good fit for our program, 3) professional plan for the future, and 4) research interest.

Areas students work in with a MS in RPTA

Recreation Therapy

  • Hospital, clinics
  • Municipal recreation agencies
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Campus recreation facilities
  • Penal System operations (corrections)

Public Recreation and Community Services

  • Intramural and Community Sports
  • Non-Profit Agencies
  • Municipal Park Districts
  • MWR
  • Campus Recreation Facilities
  • Aquatics Facilities
  • Summer Camps

Public Recreation Outdoor and Natural Resources Management

  • Federal Public Agencies (National Parks, USFS, BLM, Army Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife)
  • State Public Agencies (State Parks, Fish and Wildlife)
  • County Agencies (Open space management)
  • Outdoor experiential experiences and environmental education

Hospitality, Resorts, Tourism, Food and Beverage

  • Resorts, Hotels, Casinos
  • Travel Agencies
  • Wineries & Breweries
  • Meetings and Conventions
  • Event and Conference Management
  • Cruise Lines
  • Theme Parks
  • Wedding Planning Companies

Current RPTA Graduate Student Forms

RPTA Independent Study and Practicum Forms

Use the appropriate form for an independent study or practicum. Students must have approval from the Grad Coordinator to take an independent study or practicum course, and these forms must be submitted to the department. Students cannot enroll themselves into independent study or practicum courses. Note also that no more than 6 units of 295/299 credit (combined) may be applied toward the degree requirements.

RPTA Graduate Culminating Experience Forms

After the Advancement to Candidacy has been approved by the Office of Graduate Studies, and the student is preparing for their final semester in consultation with the Graduate Program Coordinator, the student must fill out the appropriate form below and submit it to the RPTA office. Students cannot register themselves for RPTA 500.

Office of Graduate Studies (University) Forms

Advancement to Candidacy: Must be completed and submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies. See the Graduate Studies website for deadlines.

Application for Graduation: Must be completed and taken to the Bursar's Office to pay the graduation fee. Upon paying the fee, this form must then be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies.

Additional forms and petitions related to graduate study, and not specific to the RPTA department, may be found at the Office of Graduate Studies Forms and Manuals webpage.