About Recreation Management and Leadership

Interested in Becoming a Recreation Management and Leadership Major?

How to Apply:

Declare the Recreation Management & Leadership major now. Contact advisor Jen Leita to declare.

Read this quick overview from the WWU online catalog and check out our advising video for an overview of the major and concentrations, application process, Phase system, and other frequently asked questions about the RML program.

For a more detailed look at the phase curriculum, please see the Recreation Management and Leadership Phase System.

To learn more about the major:  Advising and Applying to the Major

The Phase

In addition to its philosophy of professional study based in principles of liberal education, Recreation Management and Leadership features an innovative phased curriculum. "The Phase" is a four-part sequence of courses which students typically enter in the spring of their sophomore year and finish the fall of their senior year. Approximately 60 students enter and complete the four blocks of phases together as a community of learners. This arrangement has many advantages, especially:

  • A supportive community of fellow students, faculty, and alumni.
  • A variety of learning environments such as overnight retreats, field experiences, and professional conferences.
  • Greater access to faculty and comprehensive advising.
  • A growing alumni network throughout the state, region, and nation.


Students usually opt to focus on one of the following concentrations. However, some students prefer to remain generalists by taking courses in two or more concentrations. It is not necessary to choose a concentration immediately. Many students prefer to explore the different concentrations through introductory courses in order to get a better idea of how they may fit their career interests. The best way to learn more about the concentrations is by meeting with the faculty.

Sustainable Tourism

Sustainable tourism offers a wide range of professional opportunities. Recreation management and leadership professionals are employed by tour companies, visitor bureaus, resorts, cruise lines, national and state parks, and small activity-based businesses. As international travel designers, resort activity managers, adventure trip leaders, and community-based tourism specialists, they work to maximize the individual, social, and economic value of travel.

Outdoor Recreation

The outdoor recreation emphasis in the Recreation Management and Leadership major includes students who are interested in a wide range of career paths: camp programming and administration, guiding (climbing and mountaineering, kayaking, rafting, etc.), adventure therapy or therapeutic adventure, environmental/experiential/outdoor education, state parks management, and adventure travel.

Community Recreation

The community recreation emphasis prepares future professionals who may be interested in municipal leisure service delivery (city parks and recreation departments), not-for-profit recreation agencies (such as YMCA or Boys and Girls Club), and community development. These careers, among many others, typify the community recreation area of study. The goals of the community recreation concentration assist the learner to understand the interrelationships and importance of social, political, and economic dimensions of community, and to explore the relationship between community development and recreation service agencies.

Therapeutic Recreation

Therapeutic recreation professionals help people with physical, cognitive, or psychological disabilities to enhance their health and well-being through recreation and leisure. Therapeutic recreation professionals are employed in a variety of clinical and community settings, such as psychiatric and rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, addiction programs, and community recreation.