Academic Catalog

Therapeutic Recreation Major — B.S.

No additional students are being admitted to this program as of Fall 2021

Therapeutic recreation offers career opportunities for those who are interested in working with individuals with disabilities and other health conditions by using recreation as an intervention to promote functional independence and quality of life. Therapeutic recreation specialists assess physical, social, emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and spiritual aspects of the individual to determine their interests, abilities, strengths, and aspirations. With this information, they develop individualized treatment plans and intervention strategies to address functional limitations and support the individual’s goals toward health and wellness.

Therapeutic recreation specialists utilize a wide variety of recreational activities to rehabilitate, maintain, or enhance functional abilities and fulfill an individual’s goals. These activities — arts, crafts, music, dance, drama, horticulture, adventure programs, interaction with pets, sports, games, and community-based outings, to name a few — help individuals build self-esteem, interact effectively with others, develop physical and cognitive abilities, and learn new skills.

Career placements in therapeutic recreation are on the rise, and opportunities are best for individuals with a bachelor’s degree. Therapeutic recreation specialists work in a variety of settings. In clinical settings, such as hospitals, mental health facilities, and rehabilitation centers, they treat or rehabilitate individuals with specific medical problems in cooperation with an interdisciplinary team of physicians, social workers, occupational therapists, and physical therapists, among others. In nursing homes and residential facilities, therapeutic recreation specialists utilize activities to enhance general health and quality of life. In the community, therapeutic recreation specialists work with recreation department agencies, special education programs, correctional facilities, youth-at-risk agencies, and programs for older adults. In these settings, therapeutic recreation specialists develop interventions that promote self-efficacy, community inclusion, fitness, healthy leisure behaviors, and overall quality of life.

Graduates of the therapeutic recreation program are eligible to apply for certification through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification.

Special Academic Status Policy for Therapeutic Recreation Majors

  1. A student in the therapeutic recreation major must receive a semester grade of at least C- in all required RLS-prefix courses.
  2. A student who fails to complete a required RLS-prefix course with at least a C- grade must repeat the course. The Ithaca College policies on repeating courses must be followed. See "Repeating a Course" under Credit and Grade Information.
  3. A student who receives less than a C- after repeating a required RLS-prefix course will be subject to dismissal from the program. A student dismissed from the program may be eligible to enter other Ithaca College degree programs.
  4. A student dismissed from a professional practicum is subject to receiving a failing grade and, in that case, must complete a prescribed program of remediation prior to a second placement. The student must register again for the practicum. A student dismissed from a professional practicum a second time is subject to dismissal from the program.
  5. In an exceptional case, a student may be readmitted to this program upon satisfying conditions determined by the faculty.

At least 60 credits of liberal arts courses are required to graduate with a B.S. degree. All candidates for the B.S. degree in therapeutic recreation must complete a minimum of 120 credits in the various components described below.


Foundations in recreation and leisure18
Therapeutic recreation core27
Human services courses26
Therapeutic recreation practicum12
Integrative Core Curriculum 116-19
LA Electives3-6
Free electives15
Total Credits120

Degree Requirements 

RLS 10100Leisure and Society 13
RLS 10500Fundamentals of Leadership 13
RLS 12500Understanding Disability: Characteristics, Causes, Services 13
RLS 33200Research Methods3
RLS 34000Inclusive Recreation and Diversity 13
RLS 45300Seminar: Professional Development3
RLS 13300Introduction to Therapeutic Recreation3
RLS 23200Program Planning3
RLS 24300Interventions and Protocols in Therapeutic Recreation3
RLS 33400Leisure Education: A Therapeutic Recreation Intervention3
RLS 35000Therapeutic Recreation Process I: Introduction3
RLS 35300Clinical Application in Therapeutic Recreation6
RLS 36000Therapeutic Recreation Process II: Advanced Applications3
RLS 43300Advancement and Administration of Therapeutic Recreation3
EXSS 12000Anatomy and Physiology I4
EXSS 12100Anatomy and Physiology II4
HLTH 10200Medical Terminology3
HLTH 20500Critical Health Issues3
PHIL 23000Bioethics3
PSYC 10400Introduction to Developmental Psychology3
PSYC 32100Abnormal Psychology3
CMST 14000Small Group Communication3
or CMST 14900 Fundamentals of Interpersonal Communication
Select 12 credits of the following: 212
Service Learning in Recreation
Advanced Fieldwork
Internship in Recreation and Leisure Studies
Total Credits83