Clemson Graduate School

Clemson Graduate School

Parks, Recreation, & Tourism Management

General Information

Degrees Offered


Clemson University offers three graduate degrees in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management: the Master of Science (non-thesis), the Master of Science (thesis) and the doctoral degree (PhD). The MS (non-thesis) is a professional degree to increase the depth and breadth of your knowledge while developing your practical administrative and management skills. This degree is offered entirely online.  The MS (thesis) places greater emphasis on research design and methodology and requires a thesis representing an original contribution to scholarship acceptable to the faculty and the Graduate School. The PhD program is based on your grasp of recreation subject matter, ability to plan and conduct research and effective professional written and oral communication.

About the Program

For additional information, please contact the program coordinator (Denise Anderson)

Application Requirements

Required Documents

For additional information, please contact the program coordinator (Denise Anderson)

Financial Aid

To see the proposed Graduate Tuition Rates for this academic year, click here.

The School or Program offers a number of graduate assistantships to students each year based on merit. These are offered in the form of stipends and the additional benefit of tuition remission. Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester to qualify for a graduate assistantship and must work a minimum of 10 hours a week as a teaching or research assistant or perform other tasks assigned by the School or Program.

A number of assistantships and University fellowships are available. The Hartzog Fellowship, sponsored by the Hartzog Fund, supports doctoral students doing research in parks associated with the National Park Service. The fund honors George B. Hartzog Jr., a South Carolina native and seventh director of the National Park Service. The Conover Graduate Fellowship is sponsored by Richard and Sandra Conover to further graduate study in recreation resource management. It is awarded to master's degree students.

Course of Study

Program of Study

If you are accepted into one of our three degree programs, your course of study will be uniquely developed in consultation with your graduate advisory committee. Factors determining your course of study will include your interests and goals, undergraduate course of study, employment history and the degree program.

MS (non thesis) The MPRTM program requires 27 core course credit hours and an additional 3 credit hours of project hours.

MS (thesis) The MS program requires 17 core course credit hours, six hours of statistics and measurement methods and an additional 13 hours of courses chosen to reflect your interests and goals. A thesis and a comprehensive written or oral exam is required.

PhD Graduate study at the PhD level must maintain flexibility. Your study program will be directed by your advisory committee. Since the program is designed to maintain flexibility, course requirements will be based on your individual needs. However, it is anticipated that your program of study will include at least the following:

  • PRTM graduate courses: 15 hours
  • Research & Statistics courses: 15 hours
  • Collateral Area: 12 hours
  • Dissertation Research credits: 18 hours
  • Total: 60 hours

The final basis for course selection will be your grasp of the subject matter deemed appropriate by your advisory committee, competency to plan and conduct research and the ability to use both oral and written communication effectively. One strong component is course work in research methodology and statistics.

Because no minimum course work requirements exist for the PhD degree, the time limitation for completion is determined according to the dates by which essential ingredients of the degree are completed. The following must be completed in the five-year period prior to graduation: passing the comprehensive examination, successfully defending your dissertation and obtaining Graduate School approval of your dissertation.

Current Program


The Clemson University Outdoor Laboratory began in 1970 when faculty in the Department of Recreation and Park Administration (now PRTM) first dreamt of building an outdoor recreational facility to do two things: serve Clemson University students as a laboratory for practical experience and to provide meaningful camping experiences for individuals across the state with special needs. The Outdoor Laboratory is located five miles from the University campus on a beautiful peninsula on Lake Hartwell. In the midst of the 17,500 acre Clemson Experimental Forest, the Outdoor Laboratory provides meeting, programming and research possibilities that can be found in few environments. It also serves as a conference center and has a high-ropes challenge course.

The Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs conducts applied research and service in public policy areas at the local, regional, state and national levels. The institute draws upon the expertise of Clemson University faculty, staff and students and has an established record of collaborative partnerships with academic, governmental and private sector scholars throughout the world. The director of the institute serves as a faculty member in our department.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) is a membership organization whose mission is to provide opportunities for adults to further their knowledge in both academic and recreational pursuits and to share their experience and interests with other members. Their vision is to provide residents of the Upstate of South Carolina with an excellent lifelong learning program while embracing the uniqueness of their members and Clemson University.

Clemson University is also home to the Recreation, Travel and Tourism Institute. The institute was created to provide a focal point for coordinating research, extension and teaching programs related to recreation and tourism at Clemson University and within the state of South Carolina. The growth of tourism in South Carolina has resulted in the need for Clemson University to address some of tourism's complicated issues such as market analysis and promotion, land-use planning, geographic distribution, public-private cooperation, coastal resource development and the integration of tourism with other community development strategies. Because of the multidisciplinary nature of tourism and its related issues, the Recreation, Travel and Tourism Institute relies on specialists in leisure behavior, planning, interpretation, economics, marketing, history and research methodology within the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management as well as throughout the University. The principal focus of the institute is working with public and private tourism organizations in identifying and solving problems in tourism planning, marketing, management and evaluation.

Our Students

Of the 61 graduate students currently enrolled, 45 are full-time and 36 are women. Twenty-five percent of the students in the program are international students.

Program Coordinator

Additional Contact

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