California State University, Sacramento

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Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism Administration College of Health & Human Services

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The Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration is a nationally-accredited program in Recreation Administration that prepares students to work professionally in several areas of the recreation an leisure industry spectrum.

Students completing necessary coursework in the Recreation Therapy and Recreation and Park Management Concentrations are eligible for both state and national certifications (e.g. CTRS, MPI, CHA, and CPRP).

In addition to California State University, Sacramento's full accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism are also individually accredited by Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT). The RPTA program at Sacramento State is the oldest COAPRT accredited program in Recreation Administration in California. You can view RPTA history doc for more information about the history of RPTA @ Sac State.

COAPRT Accreditation

RPTA is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT). COAPRT accredits baccalaureate programs in parks, recreation, tourism, sport management, event management, therapeutic recreation, and leisure studies offered at regionally accredited institutions within the United States and its territories, and at nationally accredited institutions in Canada, and Mexico.

You can learn more about COAPRT Accreditation for universities and colleges on the website for the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

Please watch this important video ( regarding degree and accreditation mills. According to CHEA, "Degree mills and accreditation mills mislead and harm. In the United States, degrees and certificates from mills may not be acknowledged by other institutions when students seek to transfer or go to graduate school. Employers may not acknowledge degrees and certificates from degree mills when providing tuition assistance for continuing education. “Accreditation” from an accreditation mill can mislead students and the public about the quality of an institution. In the presence of degree mills and accreditation mills, students may spend a good deal of money and receive neither an education nor a useable credential." Read more on CHEA's website: (

RPTA’s Accredited Programs & Program Quality Information

The department's Bachelor of Science in Recreation Administration has been accredited since 1978, making it the oldest accredited program of Recreation Administration in the state of California.

Since then, the department has undergone numerous changes and in 2014 expanded its accreditation of the Recreation and Park Management Concentration to include the Recreation Therapy Concentration. The department has grown and now offers three separate degree programs, two of which are accredited by the Council on Accreditation, Parks, Recreation, Tourism (RPT). The two-degree programs included in the 2021 Self Study are:

  • B.S., Recreation Administration
  • B.S., Recreational Therapy

RPTA 2021 Self-Study Documents & Assessments

The university's Office of Institutional Research (OIR) keeps annual statistics related to graduation rates, faculty workloads, student body diversity, student GPAs, courseloads, retention rates, FTE, faculty/student ratios, etc. Please review the department Fact Book for this information.

Department Mission, Vision & History


  • We inspire, mentor and prepare the next generation of leaders to respond to 21st century opportunities and challenges in their respective communities of practice.


  • We cultivate wellness and a healthy society through stewardship of the environment and advocacy of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.

Equity Statement:

Year Milestone
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.