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Recreational therapy student working in class.

Recreational Therapy, M.S.

Recreational therapy is the specialized application of recreation, leisure, and experiential activities and interventions to maintain or improve the health, functioning, and quality of life for people with disabilities and chronic conditions.

Visit the program website for more information.

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Program Overview

The master of science in recreational therapy (MSRT) focuses on advanced-practice issues and competencies to enhance the recreational therapist's skills to meet increasingly complex consumers in a variety of settings. There are two degree options:

  • A combined degree program, where you earn a bachelor's and master's degree in recreational therapy - 120 undergraduate credits, 24 graduate credits.
  • A one-year master's degree for those who have a bachelor's degree and are a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), 33 graduate credits.

Why Study Recreational Therapy at Grand Valley?

  • The program is the only recreational therapy master's program in Michigan and the first advanced-practice program in the U.S. within a college of health professions.
  • GVSU's recreational therapy program is designed to meet the increasingly complex needs for more research and evidence-based practice to support the work of clinicians and advance recognition of the field.
  • The nationally recognized curriculum offers diverse opportunities for employment after graduation.
  • Located in the state-of-the-art Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall with a one-of-a-kind recreational therapy classroom/lab space including adventure therapy course and adaptive sports court(s), in close proximity to five hospitals, and many research, clinical, and treatment facilities.
  • Graduates enter a profession that assists people with disabilities to be more independent and achieve a higher quality of life, changing lives through transformative and innovative application of recreation and leisure.

Career Insights

This tool shows an overview of potential career opportunities for this major. Actual salaries, employment opportunities, and job titles may change over time.

Location & Format

Classes for the program are a combination of online and in-seat on the GVSU Health Campus, near the Grand Rapids Medical Mile.



  • Evidence-based practice
  • Grant writing
  • Research
  • Consulting
  • Documentation
  • Advanced practice RT

In addition, you will participate in observations and service learning to increase experience within various health care settings. Problem-based learning and collaborative projects will be included, as well as developing teamwork and interpersonal skills.

The MSRT is a hybrid program, with the majority of coursework online and one to two in-seat classes per semester.

Application Deadline

The application deadline is February 1 with rolling admissions for fall cohort. The $30 nonrefundable application fee is waived if the applicant has previously applied to Grand Valley State University. Visit for more information.

Admission Requirements

For general requirements for graduate admission, visit Grand Valley State University’s admission section of the online catalog.

Admission into the recreational therapy masters program has additional requirements, which are available on this page.

If you have additional questions, please contact our graduate admissions office.

For More Information

College of Health Professions
School of Interdisciplinary Health
Recreational Therapy

106 Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall
500 Lafayette Ave. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 331-5600

Graduate Admissions and Recruitment Office

Program Director

Dawn De Vries, DHA, MPA, CTRS
(616) 331-5553