2 bicyclists riding on a country road

Recreation, Sport & Tourism

Promote environmental stewardship. Lead social and economic development. Study management and marketing.


Foster healthy lifestyles with a career in the world’s largest industries. As a student in the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, you will learn from award winning faculty, work alongside world-class researchers, and gain hands-on, practical skills in your courses, study tours, site visits, and internships with related professional organizations. We offer undergraduate and graduate programs on campus, as well as two exciting online programs: our Online Master of Science in Recreation, Sport and Tourism and our Professional Certificate.

The core courses provide a strong foundation in theory and managerial principles. Select an area of concentration to complement your interests.




Greetings from RST | Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism at Illinois

The Experience

As part of the College of Applied Health Sciences, the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism offers programs of study at the undergraduate and graduate levels leading to Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Our graduates are found in our nation's park districts, forest preserves, amateur and professional sports industries, resorts, bureaus of tourism, educational institutions, and universities.

Our faculty scholars study the changing leisure needs of our society. The Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism is dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities through research that has an impact, educational programs that address both theory and practice, and outreach activities that make a difference in the lives of individuals and communities.

Significance of the Industry

Faculty and staff of the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism (RST) at the University of Illinois work to advance knowledge about the choices that people make for their discretionary time throughout the lifespan, including outcomes of those choices at personal, family, community, and institutional levels. RST faculty and staff apply their expertise to enhance the delivery of leisure services, recognizing that recreation, sport and tourism are synergistic elements of a unique and multifaceted industry. RST appreciates the significance of play, the contribution of arts, and the value of diversity. The research and engagement of RST foster healthy lifestyles, environmental stewardship, effective management and marketing of organizations, and social and economic development of communities.

What Will I do?

A degree in Recreation, Sport and Tourism will transform you into a leader in the unique and multifaceted leisure services industry. Our graduates are regularly placed in highly selective and desirable internships and careers across the field and throughout the globe, and enjoy one of the industry’s most extensive and impressive alumni networks for the remainder of their professional lives.

Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism Graduate Program

5-Year BS/MS Option

The Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism (RST) offers an integrated and accelerated program for outstanding students that combines a bachelor’s and master’s degree, referred to as the 5-year BS/MS option. This option can be completed in less time than is required for the two degrees separately. The 5-year BS/MS option is designed to provide students with the academic and professional skills needed to succeed in the recreation, sport and tourism industry.

RST majors with a GPA of 3.5 are eligible to apply at the beginning of their junior year. Accepted students will then work on both degrees simultaneously and will receive both degrees at the same time, once all requirements for each have been completed. Although their degrees will not officially be awarded, students may participate in the bachelor’s graduation ceremonies once they have completed the 120 credit-hour requirement for that degree.

For more information, contact Dr. Toni Liechty.

Take a look at where our alumni are working:

  • American Airlines

  • Arista Records

  • Boise Park System

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America

  • Charlotte Hornets

  • Chicago Blackhawks

  • Darden Restaurants

  • Denver Sports Commission

  • Environmental Protection Agency

  • Hilton Hotels Corporation

  • Illinois Department of Human Services

  • John Elway Corporation

  • Lake County Forest Preserve District

  • Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority

  • Los Angeles Zoo

  • McCormick Place

  • Meadows Country Club

  • Motorola

  • National Park Service

  • New England Patriots

  • Norwegian Cruise Lines

  • National Collegiate Athletic Association

  • NFL Network

  • Pac 12 Sports Network

  • PGA

  • Proctor & Gamble

  • SmithBucklin

  • St. Louis Cardinals

  • Ticketmaster

  • United Way

  • United States Olympic Committee

  • Vail Recreation District

  • Youth for Understanding


In 2024, the Sapora Symposium will highlight the important role of recreation, sport, and tourism agencies contributed to the revival of the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of Chicagoland in the post-pandemic era. Urban renewal via leisure related industries has emerged as a critical aspect of the contemporary metropolitan landscape with sports events, conventions, hospitality, public recreation, and facility development serving as a focus of wide-ranging regeneration programs and initiatives.


On Jan. 25, 2024, Gov. J. B. Pritzker delivered opening remarks at the RST Alumni Social and Sapora Symposium kickoff event at Hubbard Inn in Chicago.

Follow this link to see the schedule of events for this year's Sapora Symposium.