Recreation, Sport, & Tourism

What Is It?:

Recreation, Sport, and Tourism prepares students to design, manage, and deliver leisure services to a variety of populations in diverse settings and provides a firm foundation from which students may pursue graduate studies. A broad general education is emphasized and complemented with a core of professional courses. Beyond a strong core integrating leisure theory, management, and research, the program allows students to focus on a major market segment within the leisure and recreation field by choosing an area of concentration.

For more information, please visit the Department of Recreation, Sport, and Tourism.


  • Recreation Management: Recreation Management is a broad term that encompasses many different types of leisure. Among these are youth and adult events or programming, sporting events, festivals, fairs, outdoor recreation and more. As such, it is the most comprehensive view of leisure available to students at the University of Illinois. In Recreation Management, students are taught, among other administrative skills, various planning, programming, and evaluative techniques. This knowledge serves the students well in whatever type of organization they decide to pursue careers.
  • Sport Management: Provides an understanding of the breadth of sport within the leisure industry. Whether people enjoy watching sports (professional, amateur, intercollegiate athletics), participating in sports (community leagues for youth and adults, high school or intercollegiate athletics, amateur or professional sports) or both, an interest in sport is one way in which people utilize their leisure time. Coursework at the University of Illinois begins with a fundamental understanding of sport as a leisure pursuit, as a form of entertainment, and allows students to move into areas of specific interest.
  • Tourism Management: Tourism comprises the activities of persons traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business, and other purposes (World Tourism Organization, 1993). The tourism industry is one of the world’s largest. It is made up of many segments, the principle ones being transportation, accommodations, food service, shopping, travel arrangement, and activities for tourists, such as history, culture, adventure, sports, recreation, entertainment, and other similar activities.

Courses That Introduce the Major:

  • RST 100—RST in Modern Society
  • RST 101—Orientation to RST
  • RST 120—Foundations of Recreation
  • RST 130—Foundations of Sports Management
  • RST 150—Foundations of Tourism
  • RST 200—Leadership in RST

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period.

Possible Career Opportunities:

The undergraduate program in Recreation, Sport and Tourism prepares students to design, manage and deliver services to a variety of people in diverse settings. The majority of our students are exploring potential careers related to one of the three leisure industries; recreation, sport and tourism. Along these lines, students have found positions in Community Recreation (Park Districts, YMCA's), Commercial Recreation (Disney, Theme Parks), Professional, Collegiate, and Amateur Sport, and in Travel, Tourism, Hospitality and Event Planning. Our industry is one of the most diverse and profitable in the United States (Over 1 Trillion in expenditures) and careers are expected to grow faster or much faster than average over the next 8 years.

Common Career Titles Related to this Major:

(Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree)

  • Adventure Travel Coordinator
  • Amusement Park Operations Worker
  • Camp Director
  • Campus Recreation Director
  • Club House Manager
  • Conference Coordinator
  • Corporate Event Manager
  • Cruise Ship Activity Director
  • Facility Manager
  • Forest Ranger
  • Government Tourism Manager
  • Hotel & Resort Manager
  • Marketing Director
  • Nonprofit Agency Director
  • Park District Director
  • Recreation Manager
  • Sports Promotion Director
  • Stadium Manager

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:

  • Participating in undergraduate research
  • Applying for a study abroad experience
  • Utilizing resources of The Career Center
  • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) related to this major, such as:
    • Applied Health Sciences Student Council: Educates students of the various academic, social, and professional opportunities available. Promotes enhanced interaction between students, alumni, staff, in addition to organizations within the college of Applied Health Sciences.
    • Sport, Tourism, and Recreation Association (STAR): Provides the opportunity to expand professional and social networks, to act as a liaison between the student body and the RST Department, and to offer professional development opportunities for U of I students, particularly those in the Department of RST.

Related Skills:

  • Administrative
  • Critical Thinking
  • Communication
  • Program Planning
  • Leadership and supervisory
  • Outdoor ability
  • Physical fitness
  • Oral and written communication
  • Public speaking
  • People skills
  • Ability to work independently & in groups
  • Organize activities
  • Follow-through skills
  • Remaining objective
  • Endurance

Further Information:

For more information on what you can do with a major in Recreation, Sport and Tourism, visit The Career Center’s webpage: What Can I Do With This Major.

There are several professional organizations dedicated to a career in Recreation, Sport and Tourism.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of RST.  These organizations include World Tourism Organization and North American Society for Sports Management.

For more information on the classes needed for a degree in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism, visit Undergraduate Programs.