Welcome from the Department Head

Gary EllisWelcome to the Department of Recreation Parks and Tourism Sciences website!    We are committed to helping you with whatever motivated you to visit us.

The park, recreation, and tourism industry provides a wealth of exciting career options, and our faculty and staff stand ready to help you get started or help you advance.  Our former students are managers, marketing professionals, direct service providers and entrepreneurs in an enormous range of exciting recreation and tourism careers.  You can find them working at resorts and hotels, on cruise ships, in the airline industry, in national and state parks and forests, at performing arts facilities and museums, in camps and youth-serving organizations, and in a myriad of recreation businesses and park and recreation agencies that are part of local, state, and national governments.  We are proud of our graduates.  These Aggies make a difference in people’s lives.  They are outstanding citizens who have chosen dynamic and challenging careers. They provide guests, visitors, and participants in recreation, sport, and tourism with opportunities for highly valued and memorable recreation and travel experiences that promote health and well-being of individuals, economic and social development of communities, and cohesiveness of families.  Quality experiences, lives, and communities are our business.

We offer degree programs that launch careers in this exciting industry.  You can earn your baccalaureate degree in recreation, park and tourism sciences or in community development.  You can specialize in tourism management, recreation and park administration, youth development, or parks and conservation.  We also offer a minor for students with majors in other departments.  Our Professional Event Manager Certificate program serves students from our department and beyond who seek opportunities in the festivals and events industry.

If you already have a baccalaureate degree, you are eligible to apply for either of our two masters degree programs.  Our Master of Science degree well prepares you for advanced study at the doctoral level, and our Master of Recreation Resources Development and Master of Natural Resources Development degrees are designed to help you prepare for leadership positions in the recreation, sport, and tourism industries.  Finally, if you aspire to a career in research or you want to become a professor or social scientist, you may be interested in our doctoral degree.  Graduates of our doctoral program are world-renowned teachers and scholars who serve at all corners of the globe.

Our research programs address the enormous needs of society and the recreation, sport, and tourism industries for knowledge.  Our inquiry yields knowledge that strengthens communities, informs policy decisions about parks and natural areas,  promotes development of our nation’s youth, and helps recreation and tourism industry professionals be more effective and efficient in managing and marketing their services and resources.

Our Department also provide innovative, cutting-edge outreach programs to communities and recreation and tourism professionals through Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.  A visit to the section of our website that describes these programs affords you opportunity to learn about our Coastal Watershed Program, our Texas Friendly Hospitality Program, our Texas Event Leadership Program, our Youth Development Initiative, our Nature Tourism Program, our Urban Parks Program, and our Water Outreach Program.  These programs serve Texas and the world through outreach education, consultation, and applied research that directly addresses problems and advances opportunities.

Once again, welcome to our website!  We are pleased that you are visiting, and we look forward to the possibility of getting to know you as a student, colleague, fellow professional, or collaborator.  Please let us know what we can do to serve you.

Gary Ellis

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