The PhD in Health, Leisure and Human Performance, option in Leisure Studies, is designed
to develop future faculty and researchers in recreational therapy and recreation management.
We are one of only three programs in the nation that prepares future recreational
therapy faculty members. Our focus is on scholars discovering and disseminating knowledge
to better understand human behavior and enhance quality of life. Expert faculty will
mentor you in scholarly activities, teaching and professional services and facilitate
opportunities for you to engage in all three areas during your graduate work.
This 60-credit hour program includes 15 hours of dissertation as well as coursework
related to creation and leisure behavior, participation and benefits; wellness, health
promotion and health benefits; interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships through
recreation; recreation; and the man-made natural environments.
and higher job placement in higher education
Research and Faculty
Students are mentored by faculty to gain experience in teaching, research and service.
Our program supports community-based, interdisciplinary research through work with
our colleagues across campus. We are currently involved with Parkinson’s disease research
to assist individuals in living as independently as possible within the community.
Recreational therapy provides treatment interventions such as exercise, gate training
and cognitive learning to assist individuals with improving and maintaining balance,
muscular strength and independence.
Investigations into weather and environmental conditions and related effects on challenge
course participation, recreation participation and related life enhancement of post
military personnel. We also facilitate youth mentoring programs and leadership through
social engagement activities.
Dr. Tim Passmore is nationally recognized for his expertise on Medicare and Medicaid regulations related
to inpatient and outpatient healthcare. He regularly provides consultation to recreational
therapists and healthcare organizations related to behavioral health and physical
Dr. Donna Lindenmeier is nationally recognized for her expertise in outdoor and community recreation programming.
She specifically focuses on the use of recreation to enhance the lives of post-service
Dr. Taryn Price is an emerging expert in social engagement through recreation.
Applications to the program are accepted on a rolling basis. Students are strongly
encouraged to apply no later than six weeks prior to the start of the semester. To
apply to the program, complete the following:
Transcripts from all previously attended institutions (3.5 minimum graduate GPA required)
Professional goal statement (two-pages)
Three letters of recommendation
Scholarly writing sample
Cost & Assistance
Full-time students may be eligible for graduate assistantships, either as a Graduate Teaching Associate (GTA) or a Graduate Research Associate (GRA).
These positions are highly competitive and typically awarded in the spring semester.
Those granted assistantships are eligible to receive a tuition waiver, health insurance
Currently enrolled students are also eligible for scholarships offered through the College of Education and Human Sciences.