Advising & Applying to the Major

Application deadline:

The deadline to apply for the 2021 cohort has passed.  The deadline to apply for the cohort that begins in spring 2022 is November 4, 2021.

Learn More About Recreation Management and Leadership

Welcome to Recreation Management and Leadership in the Department of Health and Human Development at Western Washington University. Included here is information to assist you in deciding whether recreation is the field you wish to study, as well as information to get you started in our department. Please explore all the links provided throughout this site. If you have any questions, please contact HHD Advising Coordinator Jen Leita, 360-650-4377, Jen.Leita@wwu.edu or to schedule an appointment visit calendly.com/jenleita

For general Recreation Management and Leadership information, please see the Recreation Management and Leadership Plan of Study from the online catalog.

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

For a look at which recreation courses are required each quarter, please see the Recreation Management and Leadership Class Schedule.

Click HERE for instructions on how to apply to the major.

Advising guides for specific interest areas within Recreation Management and Leadership:

What is the study of Recreation Management and Leadership?

The purpose of recreation and leisure is to contribute to the health and wellbeing of individuals and to enhance the quality of community life. As such, the study of recreation is multidisciplinary, requiring understanding of the social, behavioral, physical, and environmental sciences as they pertain to helping people grow and develop in their leisure while conserving our vital natural resources. Knowledge of the arts and humanities is important as well, because leisure is one of the most fertile opportunities available to human beings for self-expression and the development of community.

What can you do with a degree in Recreation Management and Leadership?

Recreation Management and Leadership offers a curriculum for persons interested in careers in recreation and leisure services. It provides a solid professional foundation complemented by concentrations that allow majors to work in a variety of fields, such as outdoor, community, therapeutic, military, and commercial recreation. 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, chief among them:

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


The Phase, in a word, is special. We encourage you to ask faculty, students, and graduates about it.

Examples of jobs in the recreation field include:

  • Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (in various settings including hospitals, long-term care facilities, mental health centers, schools, and prisons)
  • Wilderness Ranger for the National Park Service
  • Program Director for non-profit agencies (Boys & Girls Club, YMCA, etc.)
  • Adventure Tour Guide
  • Camp Director
  • Community Events Coordinator
  • Wilderness Instructor

How do I apply to Recreation Management and Leadership?

Students normally apply for admission to Recreation Management and Leadership fall quarter of their sophomore year (students must have reached sophomore status by the spring quarter they plan to begin the major). The number of students admitted to the major each year is limited to about sixty. 

The priority deadline to apply is Thursday, November 4, 2021. Applications are accepted after the priority deadline date if space is available in the major; you may still turn in an application and have your interview after that date. If space opens up in the program, we will contact you.

The application is separate from the application to Western Washington University, and admission to Recreation Management and Leadership is contingent on admission to the university.  However, you may turn in your Recreation Management and Leadership application before you are admitted to Western.

Remember that RECR 201 is required as a pre-requisite for the major (offered fall quarter 2020, MTWR 12-12:50, CRN 40024 and winter quarter 2021, MTWR 12-12:50, CRN 10257).

Below you will find the steps to apply.  More detailed information about the application process, interview and courses is in the Recreation Management and Leadership Application Process document.

Save all documents as PDFs and send them in ONE email to Jen.Leita@wwu.edu.

1. General information about yourself (see document for details on what to include).

2. Include a double-spaced, 2-3 page essay that addresses the following questions:

  • Why are you interested in a career in recreation and leisure services?

  • What experiences have fostered your interest in a career in recreation and leisure services?

  • What contributions do you think you can make to the field of recreation and leisure services?

  • What can you contribute to Recreation Management and Leadership and what do you expect to receive from it?

  • Discuss any other relevant factors that may help us better understand you.

3.  Include with your application an official or unofficial transcript/academic history of all college courses work, both at WWU and at any other colleges you have attended.

4.  We will contact you to set up an interview with a faculty member after all materials have been submitted.  When you sign up for your appointment, make sure to note that you are scheduling an interview so that faculty can review your application materials prior to your meeting.

Graduation Application Process

Two quarters before graduating, every Recreation Management and Leadership major must meet with the HHD Advising Coordinator, Jen Leita (CV 201A, Jen.Leita@wwu.edu, 360-650-4377), to receive a signed Major Evaluation. Students submit their Major Evaluation to the Registrar’s Office (OM 230), along with a completed Degree Application Form. If you have a minor, please see your minor advisor for a Minor Evaluation to submit along with the documents above. 

Waitlist Policy

Students majoring in the Recreation Management and Leadership major will receive priority on the waitlist.

Transfer Students

If you are thinking about transferring to Western, consult the Office of Admissions Transfer Student Information.

Applying to Western

For information about applying to Western, contact the Admissions Office, Old Main 200, (360) 650-3440. An Undergraduate Application for Admission is required of all freshmen, transfer and post baccalaureate applicants.

Need help?

If you need help deciding on classes, or if you need any other information, feel free to contact Jen Leita, HHD Advising Coordinator, CV 201A, 360-650-4377, Jen.Leita@wwu.edu or visit calendly.com/jenleita to schedule an appointment.

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