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California State University, Sacramento

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Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism Administration

College of Health & Human Services

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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.
  • 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 – Curriculum development begins for Recreation Therapy to become a separate major degree program within RPTA (as opposed to a concentration). Approval is given for the first separate Recreation Therapy degree program within the CSU to begin in Fall 2019.
  • 2018 – Another certificate program is added: Community and Agency Recreation Leadership.
  • 2018 – Curriculum development begins for a degree concentration in Hospitality and Tourism Management, anticipated for Fall 2020.
  • 2019 – Recreation Therapy is now a separate major program within RPTA, the first separate RT program within the CSU.
  • 2019 – Approval is received to begin a new Master's program, to replace the previous three-campus collaborative program, with admissions to begin in Fall 2020.

Archival Information

Partnership for Quality Living/CPRS District II Hall of Honor Archive

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