Slideshow Images

  • 2 recreation students on forearm crutches learn the basics of amputee soccer from Tom Feller, a below the knee amputee, also on forearm crutches.
  • 5 recreation students and Professor Jill Heckathorn pose in a line with garden implements in front of a white house in Neah Bay
  • Group Photo of Phase 1 class from 1993.
  • 2010 Camp TEAM campers and staff enjoy playing in the sun on Camano Island.
  • Groups of students lay on the ground creating posters at the 2013 Phase 1 retreat.
  • Recreation student poses with many Peruvian children on a foreign study trip to Peru.
  • A group of recreation students backpacking up the trail at Pine and Cedar Lakes.
  • 4 Camp TEAM participants and staff launch a red canoe on the waterfront at camp on Camano Island.
  • Group photo of particpants at the NRPA conference in 2006.
  • 7 students pose both sitting and standing atop a peak at Artist Point on Mt. Baker.
  • Multiple students and community members in wheelchairs try to push a large blue exercise ball into the goal.
  • 8 students in a circle at Pine and Cedar lakes discuss leave no trace principles around a fire pit.
  • Multiple students sit in a conference room in the campus recreation center looking at an artificial sports leg and adaptive mountain bike tires.

Interested in Becoming a Recreation Major?

Read this quick overview from the WWU online catalog.

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

How to apply: Recreation Program Application Process

The Phase

In addition to its philosophy of professional study based in principles of liberal education, the Recreation Program 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.


Tourism offers a wide range of professional opportunities. Recreation professionals are employed by tour companies, visitor bureaus, resorts, cruise lines, National and State Parks, and small activity-based businesses. As tour directors, resort activity managers, adventure trip leaders, and community tourism development specialists, they work to maximize the individual, social, and economic value of travel.

Outdoor Recreation

The outdoor recreation emphasis in the Recreation major includes students who are interested in a wide range of career paths: camp programming and administration, guiding (climbing and mountaineering, kayaking, rafting, etc.), wilderness 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.