Information for

Recreation and Leisure Studies at Waterloo

It’s about more than fun and games. Really.

Discover how to enhance quality of life by improving physical and mental health. In Recreation and Leisure Studies, you’ll learn how well-designed recreation programs can foster inclusivity and strengthen the cultural fabric of a community.

You’ll learn how to plan, manage, and deliver programs for all kinds of different people — and thanks to field trips and practicums, that learning goes way beyond the classroom.

When you graduate, you’ll find plenty of job prospects. Around the world, people spend billions of dollars on recreation, travel, and other leisure activities, making this one of the world's largest industries.

Learn from top researchers

We continue to be North America's top-rated leisure department in terms of research. 

15 electives = lots of choice

You can easily combine your interests in Recreation with other areas of study or even do a double major degree. 


Majors within Recreation and Leisure Studies

You have the choice of 4 majors within the program. You'll apply to Recreation and Leisure Studies and select either Recreation and Leisure Studies, Recreation and Sport Business, Therapeutic Recreation, or Tourism Development as your subject of major interest. You'll start your major right in first year.

Waterloo Recreation students learn about tourism on an exchange to Disney

A popular option in the program is the exchange to the University of Florida and Walt Disney World Resort. Learn about tourism, hospitality, and destination and event management in one of the world’s leading tourism destinations.

About the program

Breif CaseAvailable as a co-op and regular program

ClickApply directly to this program on your application

CapEarn a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation and Leisure Studies


#1In North America for recreation and leisure research

AHS brain symbolOffered by the Faculty of
Applied Health Sciences

Mickey MouseTake part in a Disney exchange program


Admission requirements

First-year courses

September to December

REC 100 - Introduction to the Study of Recreation and Leisure
REC 101 - Introduction to Recreation and Leisure Services
REC 120 - Program Management and Evaluation
AHS 107 - Sociology of Activity, Health, and Well-being
PSYCH 101 - Introductory Psychology

January to April

REC 105 - Interdisciplinary Approaches to Leisure
SOC 101 - Introduction to Sociology
3 electives - We suggest you request your three elective courses based on your major 


After first year

About half of the classes you’ll take will be Recreation and Leisure Studies courses. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo.

View all the courses required for your degree.

Customize your degree

You can also add additional areas of interest and expertise by including a minor/minors as part of your degree.


Sample upper-year courses 

REC 215 – Marketing Recreation and Sport Services
REC 253 – Practicum in Therapeutic Recreation

REC 311 – Event Management
REC 405 – Leisure and Well-being


Co-op in Recreation and Leisure Studies

By alternating school terms and paid co-op work terms throughout your degree, you can explore new career areas and types of employers as your career interests evolve.

Sample co-op positions

  • SHARKS Program Coordinator, YMCA Canada
  • Community Support Worker, Hutton House
  • Recreation Therapy Intern, West Park Healthcare Centre
  • Program Coordinator, Power Play Centre
  • Athletics Coordinator, George Brown College
  • Summer Camp Counsellor, Tim Horton's Children's Foundation
  • Marketing Analyst, Evantage


You’ll find plenty of job prospects when you graduate. Around the world, people spend billions of dollars on recreation, travel, and other leisure activities, making this a seriously big industry.

Recreation and Leisure Studies graduates pursue careers in areas such as event management, program coordination, education, not-for-profit administration, facilities management, and community development.

Recent graduates

  • Teacher, Bluewater District School Board
  • Camp Manager, YMCA
  • Competitions Officer, Water Ski & Wakeboard Canada
  • Wellness & Vitality Manager, Amica Mature Lifestyles Inc.
  • Marketing & Activity Director, Waterloo Heights Apartments
  • Owner/Researcher, Advantage Research and Consulting
  • Recreation Therapist, Brantford General Hospital

Further education

While the full range of further education depends on your individual interests, these are common areas where graduates pursued a master's, PhD, or other professional program.

  • Business administration (MBA)
  • Project management
  • Tourism
  • Law
  • Social work

Helpful links