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Option in Leisure Studies 

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.


Course information

95%job placement

within higher education settings

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.


Faculty highlights:

  • 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 rehabilitation. 
  • 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 military personnel. 
  • Dr. Taryn Price is an emerging expert in social engagement through recreation.

Meet our faculty

Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Assistance Center

College research initiatives



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:

Students in the classroom

  • Graduate College application
  • Transcripts from all previously attended institutions (3.5 minimum graduate GPA required) 
  • Current resume/vita
  • Professional goal statement (two-pages)
  • Three letters of recommendation 
  • Scholarly writing sample 

Graduate student resources


Cost & Assistance

Full-time students may be eligible for graduate assistantships in the School of Kinesiology, Applied Health and Recreation, 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 and stipend. 


Currently enrolled students are also eligible for scholarships offered through the College of Education and Human Sciences. 




Financing graduate school


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