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2022 Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Bachelor's Degree Schools

644 Colleges
$28,240 Avg Salary
$23,806 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Bachelor's Degree School for You

Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies is the #18 most popular major in the country with 72,122 degrees and certificates awarded in 2019-2020.

With all the programs available today, it can be tough to choose which one is the best for you. You're no longer limited to schools in your local area, either, since online programs are becoming more prevalent. Or you may find the programs at a trade school to be a better alternative for you.

To help you arm yourself with the information you need to make your decision, Course Advisor has developed this Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Bachelor's Degree Schools ranking. This report analyzed 644 schools in the United States to see which ones offered the best bachelor's degree programs for students. Factors related to overall quality of the school, post-graduation earnings, average student debt, and more accumulated were considered when coming up with this list.

View our full ranking methodology.

2022 Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Bachelor’s Degree Schools in the United States

The colleges and universities below are the best for parks and rec majors pursuing a bachelor's degree.

Top 25 Top Schools for a Bachelor's in Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness

Our analysis found American Public University System to be the best school for parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the United States. American Military University is a fairly large private for-profit school located in the town of Charles Town.

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You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. It ranked #2 on our 2022 Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Bachelor’s Degree Schools list. Located in the midsize city of Ann Arbor, U-M is a public school with a very large student population.

Read full report on Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies at University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

#3

Elon University

Elon, NC

The excellent bachelor’s degree programs at Elon University helped the school earn the #3 place on this year’s ranking of the best parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies schools in the United States. Elon is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the midsize suburb of Elon.

Read full report on Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies at Elon University

#4

University of Dayton

Dayton, OH

Out of the 644 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, University of Dayton landed the # 4 spot on the list. Located in the city of Dayton, UDayton is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population.

Full Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies at University of Dayton Report

Out of the 644 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Southern Methodist University landed the # 5 spot on the list. Located in the large suburb of Dallas, SMU is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population.

Read full report on Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies at Southern Methodist University

University of Massachusetts Amherst came in at #6 in this year’s edition of the Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Bachelor’s Degree Schools ranking. Located in the large suburb of Amherst, UMass Amherst is a public college with a very large student population.

Read full report on Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies at University of Massachusetts Amherst

#7

Endicott College

Beverly, MA

With a ranking of #7, Endicott College did quite well on this year’s best schools for parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students working on their bachelor’s degree. Located in the suburb of Beverly, Endicott is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

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#8

Augustana University

Sioux Falls, SD

Augustana University came in at #8 in this year’s edition of the Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Bachelor’s Degree Schools ranking. Augustana Sioux Falls is a small private not-for-profit school located in the medium-sized city of Sioux Falls.

Read full report on Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies at Augustana University

University of South Carolina - Columbia landed the #9 spot in the 2022 rankings for the best bachelor’s degree parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies programs. UofSC is a fairly large public school located in the city of Columbia.

Read full report on Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies at University of South Carolina - Columbia

#10

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, VA

James Madison University came in at #10 in this year’s edition of the Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Bachelor’s Degree Schools ranking. Located in the city of Harrisonburg, JMU is a public school with a fairly large student population.

Full Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies at James Madison University Report

The University of Texas at Austin came in at #11 in this year’s edition of the Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Bachelor’s Degree Schools ranking. Located in the large city of Austin, UT Austin is a public school with a very large student population.

Full Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies at The University of Texas at Austin Report

#12

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

University of Florida landed the #12 spot in the 2022 rankings for the best bachelor’s degree parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies programs. Located in the medium-sized city of Gainesville, UF is a public college with a very large student population.

Full Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies at University of Florida Report

Maryville University of Saint Louis landed the #13 spot in the 2022 rankings for the best bachelor’s degree parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies programs. Located in the suburb of Saint Louis, Maryville U is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population.

Full Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies at Maryville University of Saint Louis Report

#14

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY

With a ranking of #14, Syracuse University did quite well on this year’s best schools for parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students working on their bachelor’s degree. Located in the midsize city of Syracuse, Syracuse is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population.

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Citadel Military College of South Carolina did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students to get a bachelor’s degree. It came in at #15 on the list. The Citadel is a small public school located in the midsize city of Charleston.

Read full report on Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies at Citadel Military College of South Carolina

#16

Chadron State College

Chadron, NE

Chadron State College came in at #16 in this year’s edition of the Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Bachelor’s Degree Schools ranking. Chadron State College is a small public school located in the town of Chadron.

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#17

St. John Fisher College

Rochester, NY

St. John Fisher College came in at #17 in this year’s edition of the Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Bachelor’s Degree Schools ranking. Fisher is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Rochester.

Read full report on Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies at St. John Fisher College

#18

University of Mary

Bismarck, ND

University of Mary ranked #18 on this year’s Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Bachelor’s Degree Schools list. UMary is a small private not-for-profit school located in the rural area of Bismarck.

Read full report on Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies at University of Mary

#19

Seton Hall University

South Orange, NJ

Seton Hall University ranked #19 on this year’s Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Bachelor’s Degree Schools list. Seton Hall is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of South Orange.

Read full report on Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies at Seton Hall University

North Carolina State University ranked #20 on this year’s Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Bachelor’s Degree Schools list. Located in the large city of Raleigh, NC State is a public school with a fairly large student population.

Full Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies at North Carolina State University Report

#21

Simpson College

Indianola, IA

Simpson College came in at #21 in this year’s edition of the Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Bachelor’s Degree Schools ranking. Simpson College is a small private not-for-profit school located in the fringe town of Indianola.

Read full report on Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies at Simpson College

#22

Northwestern College

Orange City, IA

Northwestern College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students to get a bachelor’s degree. It came in at #22 on the list. NWC is a small private not-for-profit school located in the distant town of Orange City.

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University of North Carolina at Wilmington came in at #23 in this year’s edition of the Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Bachelor’s Degree Schools ranking. UNCW is a fairly large public school located in the medium-sized city of Wilmington.

Read full report on Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies at University of North Carolina at Wilmington

North Dakota State University - Main Campus landed the #24 spot in the 2022 rankings for the best bachelor’s degree parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies programs. North Dakota State University is a large public school located in the midsize city of Fargo.

Full Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies at North Dakota State University - Main Campus Report

Texas A&M University - College Station ranked #25 on this year’s Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Bachelor’s Degree Schools list. Texas A&M College Station is a fairly large public school located in the medium-sized city of College Station.

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Rest of the Top 50 Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Bachelor's Degree Schools

#26

University of Kansas

Lawrence, KS
#27

Mount St Mary's University

Emmitsburg, MD
#28

University of Georgia

Athens, GA
#29

Xavier University

Cincinnati, OH
#30

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA
#32

Winona State University

Winona, MN
#34

Coe College

Cedar Rapids, IA
#36

Rice University

Houston, TX
#38

Hope College

Holland, MI
#39

Truman State University

Kirksville, MO
#40

Clemson University

Clemson, SC
#40

Norwich University

Northfield, VT
#43

Longwood University

Farmville, VA
#45

Otterbein University

Westerville, OH
#46

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA
#47

University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND
#49

DePauw University

Greencastle, IN
#50

Loras College

Dubuque, IA

Remaining Award Winners

This section shows the rest of the schools awarded a Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Bachelor's Degree Schools badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 644 different United States parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
52 Buena Vista University Storm Lake, IA
53 University of Nebraska at Kearney Kearney, NE
54 Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI
55 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College Baton Rouge, LA
56 Dickinson State University Dickinson, ND
57 Johnson & Wales University - Online Providence, RI
58 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
59 University of Missouri - Columbia Columbia, MO
60 Carroll University Waukesha, WI
61 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
62 University of Florida-Online Gainesville, FL
63 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
64 Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC
65 University of Maine Orono, ME
66 Ohio Northern University Ada, OH
67 Linfield University - McMinnville Campus McMinnville, OR
68 William & Mary Williamsburg, VA
69 University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA
70 University of North Florida Jacksonville, FL
71 University of Houston - Clear Lake Houston, TX
72 Monmouth College Monmouth, IL
73 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
74 University of Delaware Newark, DE
75 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
76 University of St Francis Joliet, IL
76 Shenandoah University Winchester, VA
78 Pacific Lutheran University Tacoma, WA
79 Robert Morris University Moon Township, PA
80 SUNY Cortland Cortland, NY
81 Kean University Union, NJ
82 Baldwin Wallace University Berea, OH
83 University of Maryland - College Park College Park, MD
84 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
85 Cornell College Mount Vernon, IA
86 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock, PA
87 Marian University Fond Du Lac, WI
88 Bridgewater College Bridgewater, VA
89 San Jose State University San Jose, CA
90 University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire Eau Claire, WI
91 University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI
92 St. Joseph’s College - New York Brooklyn, NY
93 Pepperdine University Malibu, CA
94 Emory University Atlanta, GA
95 Benedictine College Atchison, KS
96 University of Minnesota - Duluth Duluth, MN

Additional Noteworthy Schools

Here are some additional great schools for Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness students that almost earned our Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Bachelor's Degree Schools award.

Rank College Location
97 Washington State University Pullman, WA
98 Franklin College Franklin, IN
99 York College of Pennsylvania York, PA
100 University of Louisville Louisville, KY
101 Colorado State University - Fort Collins Fort Collins, CO
102 Wilmington University New Castle, DE
103 Carthage College Kenosha, WI
104 Gonzaga University Spokane, WA
105 California University of Pennsylvania California, PA
106 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
107 Towson University Towson, MD
108 Northwestern Oklahoma State University Alva, OK
109 Castleton University Castleton, VT
110 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
111 University of Scranton Scranton, PA
112 Anderson University South Carolina Anderson, SC
113 Emory and Henry College Emory, VA
114 William Woods University Fulton, MO
115 Kentucky Wesleyan College Owensboro, KY
116 Viterbo University La Crosse, WI
117 Johnson & Wales University - Charlotte Charlotte, NC
118 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
119 Central Washington University Ellensburg, WA
120 Bethel University Minnesota Saint Paul, MN
121 Northern State University Aberdeen, SD
122 Grand View University Des Moines, IA
123 University of Vermont Burlington, VT
124 Kutztown University of Pennsylvania Kutztown, PA
125 Erskine College Due West, SC
126 Taylor University Upland, IN
127 Southwest Minnesota State University Marshall, MN
128 Franklin Pierce University Rindge, NH

Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies by Region

View the Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Bachelor's Degree Schools for a specific region near you.

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

Parks & Rec Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Health & Physical Education 64,869
Recreation Administration 3,605
Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 3,224
Outdoor Education 255
Other Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 169

Majors Similar to Parks & Rec

Related Major Annual Graduates
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement & Firefighting 141,046
Public Administration & Social Service 97,666
Legal Professions 61,993
Military Technologies & Applied Sciences 4,411

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).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to NPS Photo/Zurbuch.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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