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EIU Recreation Administration Program

Program Overview:

Be a part of a rapidly growing field with exciting opportunities, excellent compensation and benefits, and really make a difference in society!  Park and recreation agencies employ +60,000 professionals in the State of Illinois alone with thousands of additional jobs available throughout the United States!  According to the BLS, recreation professionals held 339,100 jobs in 2010 with the projected number of jobs to reach 403,529 by 2020!  This growth is expected to outpace the number of new (bachelor degree) graduates during this same timeframe!  Support for this demand was also found in a 2013 study by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce where parks and recreation was found to be one of the TOP THREE MAJORS that report having the lowest unemployment rates after graduation from a four-year degree program!  The time to embark on this fun and exciting career is now and the future is very bright for EIU’s Recreation Administration graduates as 94% of our graduates are employed in the field within a year of graduation.

The online/hybrid program in the Department of Recreation Administration will help you develop the competencies necessary for successful careers in the recreation profession.  As a professional in recreation administration, the driving force of a successful career centers on making a difference in the lives of the people, customers and clients you will serve as a recreation provider. Within this discipline, you will be part of a profession promoting life satisfaction, fitness, health and wellness, psychological well-being, quality of life, creativity and cultural heritage. If you like working with people of all ages, promoting healthy lifestyles and possess a burning desire to serve others — a career in recreation administration is for you.  Students in this program are exposed to a variety of courses including:  budgeting, trend forecasting, HR management, programming, risk management, leadership, facility management, planning, and marketing.  

The Department of Recreation Administration’s hybrid program offers a variety of online and face-to-face courses to help you reach your goals.  Three core values guide the Department of Recreation Administration in helping your achieve your goals.  First, the Department of Recreation Administration values experiential learning.  Whether you are taking an online, off-campus, or face-to-face course the Recreation Administration Department offers many opportunities for students to learn through hands-on experience and critical analysis.  These targeted experiences will guide the student in developing skills, knowledge, and competencies required for entry-level recreation professionals.  

The second value embraced by the Recreation Administration Department at Eastern Illinois University is our focus on individualized career design. Students in the major will gain the knowledge of a recreation professional that is then tailored to the student’s individual career interests and aspirations. This individualized career design is accomplished largely through the selection of course electives, related workshop and conference attendance, and through fieldwork and internship placement that caters to the students unique interests within the broad field of recreation administration and leisure service provision.

The third core value of the Department of Recreation Administration’s program is faculty-student mentorship.  Simply put, we care about our students and their development.  From the first moment students enter the Department of Recreation Administration to their time as a professional in the field, faculty members are dedicated to providing the resources and assistance to help students succeed. Through these faculty-mentored experiences, students are equipped with the latest concepts, theory, and practices from the recreation profession; a better understanding of the technological tools to increase efficiency and effectiveness; and an ability to think critically in an ever-changing society.

Getting Started

The Department of Recreation Administration’s program is premised on flexibility.  Students can work with faculty to begin the program during the fall, spring, or summer semesters.  To get started, simply contact William Higelmire at or (217) 581-3018.  We will immediately set you up with an academic advisor who can work with you to establish your personalized plan.


Students can complete over 30 hours of the Recreation Administration major courses online at a time and place that is convenient for you!

Online Courses

  • REC 1780:  Introduction to Recreation Agencies
  • REC 3400:  World Leisure—A Cultural Perspective
  • REC 3550/3551:  Fieldwork in Recreation
  • REC 3900:  Operations of Recreation Facilities
  • REC 3910:  Computer-Related Technologies in Recreation
  • REC 4274:  Pre-Internship & Career Development in Recreation
  • REC 4275:  Internship in Recreation
  • REC 4700:  Employee & Volunteer Management in Recreation
  • EIU 4___:  Senior Seminar
  • BUS Electives (6 hours)

Remaining Courses to be completed at EIU campus or satellite site:

  • REC 1320:  Leadership in Recreation
  • REC 2250:  Recreation for Individuals w/Disabilities
  • REC 2290:  Programming in Recreation
  • REC 4600:  Planning & Design of Recreation Facilities
  • REC 4740:  Research & Evaluation in Recreation
  • REC 4830:  Administration of Recreation
  • REC 4850:  Financial Practices for Recreation Agencies
  • REC Electives:  12 hours

Course Schedule/Timeline

Although each student may take a different route to completing the degree, a typical schedule and timeline is outlined below:

Years 1-2 

Completion of General Education coursework

Year 3

First Smester (Fall)Second Semester (Spring)
REC 3910 Computers in Leisure Serv. (Online) REC 1780 Intro to Recreation Agencies (Online)
ECN 2801 Macroeconomics (Online)* ECN 2802 Microeconomics (Online)*
REC 2250 Recreation for Individuals w/Disabilities REC 1320 Leadership in Recreation
REC Elective REC 2290 Programming in Recreation
Elective or Foreign Language** Elective or Foreign Language**
Total Hours: 15-16 Total Hours: 15-16

Summer Semester
REC 3551 Fieldwork (Online/Off Campus)
REC Elective (Online)
Total Hours: 6

Year 4:

First Smester (Fall)Second Semester (Spring)
EIU 4_____ Senior Seminar (Online) REC 3900 Operations of Recreation Facilities (Online)
REC 4700 Employee & Vol.. Mgmt. (Online) REC 4274 Pre-Internship (Online)
REC 4600 Planning & Design of Leisure Facilities REC 4830 Administration of Recreation
REC Elective REC 4850 Financial Practices for Leisure Agencies
REC Elective REC 4740 Research & Evaluation in Recreation
  REC Elective
Total Hours: 16 Total Hours: 16

Summer Semester
REC 4275 Internship (Online/Off Campus)
Total Hours: 6

* Business Electives – Students are required to complete at least 6 hours of approved business elective courses.

** Completion of the second semester of a single foreign language is a graduation requirement.  Students are exempt if two full years of a high school foreign language is complete with a “C” average or better.

To Learn More

Visit the Department of Recreation Administration’s website at to learn more about the overall program, faculty and staff, specific course descriptions, program history, etc.  You can also visit us on Facebook at!/eiurecadmin

Program Contact

If you have any questions about the program, courses, etc., please contact:

William Higelmire
Department of Recreation Administration
Eastern Illinois University
1110 McAfee
Charleston, IL 61920
Phone: 217-581-3018
Fax: 217-581-7804

Related Pages

Contact Information

James Barkley

1106 McAfee

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