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2021 Best Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Schools

61 Colleges
$29,957 Avg Salary
$22,487 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies School for You

Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies is the #170 most popular major in the country with 3,561 degrees and certificates awarded in 2018-2019.

There are so many programs in today's world that it can tough to figure out which one is the right one for you. As online education oppotunities continue to grow, you're not restricted to just schools in your local area anymore. Even some of the 'big name' schools are offering online courses. Also, there are a number of trade schools with offerings that you might find attractive.

The Best Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Schools ranking is one of many tools that Course Advisor has developed to help you make your educational decision. Our analysis looked at 61 schools in the United States to see which programs offered the best educational experiences for students.

View our full ranking methodology.

2021 Best Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Schools in the United States

The following schools top our list of the Best Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Colleges.

Top 10 Best Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Schools

Our 2021 rankings named University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign the best school in the United States for parks, recreation and leisure studies students. UIUC is a fairly large public school located in the small city of Champaign.

While working on their degree, parks and rec majors at UIUC accumulate an average of around $23,370 in student debt. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $258.

Full Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies at University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign Report

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A rank of #2 on this year’s list means Texas A&M University - College Station is a great place for parks, recreation and leisure studies students. Located in the city of College Station, Texas A&M is a public college with a fairly large student population.

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#3

Ithaca College

Ithaca, NY

The excellent programs at Ithaca College helped the school earn the #3 place on this year’s ranking of the best parks, recreation and leisure studies schools in the United States. Located in the suburb of Ithaca, Ithaca is a private not-for-profit school with a medium-sized student population.

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A rank of #4 on this year’s list means San Jose State University is a great place for parks, recreation and leisure studies students. San Jose State is a very large public school located in the large city of San Jose.

The average amount in student loans that parks and rec majors at San Jose State take out is $17,199. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $178.

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#5

University of Northern Iowa

Cedar Falls, IA

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend University of Northern Iowa. The school came in at #5 on this year’s Best Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Schools list. UNI is a large public school located in the city of Cedar Falls.

While working on their degree, parks and rec majors at UNI accumulate an average of around $19,500 in student debt. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $202, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Winona State University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for parks, recreation and leisure studies students. It came in at #6 on the list. Winona State is a medium-sized public school located in the distant town of Winona.

The average amount in student loans that parks and rec majors at Winona State take out is $25,500. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $265.

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Indiana University - Bloomington did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for parks, recreation and leisure studies students. It came in at #7 on the list. Located in the city of Bloomington, IU Bloomington is a public college with a very large student population.

The average amount in student loans that parks and rec majors at IU Bloomington take out is $21,500. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $223, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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University of Nebraska at Kearney landed the #8 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best parks, recreation and leisure studies programs. Located in the town of Kearney, UNK is a public school with a medium-sized student population.

After completing their degree, parks and rec graduates from UNK carry an average student debtload of $19,391. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $201.

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#9

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA

University of Iowa ranked #9 on this year’s Best Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Schools list. Located in the city of Iowa City, Iowa is a public school with a fairly large student population.

After completing their degree, parks and rec graduates from Iowa carry an average student debtload of $26,500. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $275.

Full Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies at University of Iowa Report

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With a ranking of #10, University of Minnesota - Duluth did quite well on this year’s best schools for parks, recreation and leisure studies students. Located in the city of Duluth, UMN Duluth is a public college with a fairly large student population.

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Honorable Mentions

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Schools award.

Rank College Location
11 SUNY Cortland Cortland, NY
12 University of Missouri - Columbia Columbia, MO

Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies by Region

View the Best Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

One of 4 majors within the area of study, parks, recreation and leisure studies has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Health & Physical Education 64,271
Recreation Administration 3,676
Other Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 227
Outdoor Education 216

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • Read more about our ranking methodology.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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