Create caring communities and help people get more out of life.
Discover how recreation can improve quality of life for everyone, including people with physical disabilities, people with developmental disabilities, older adults, patients in long-term care, and at-risk youth.
In Waterloo's Therapeutic Recreation (TR) program — one of only three in Ontario — you’ll learn how to develop recreation activities and leisure opportunities for people with varying abilities. Not to mention you can apply what you've learned to any co-op you land through the co-op stream.
By the time you graduate, you’ll have the knowledge and skills to make a real difference. As a recreation therapist, the programs you design and run can help teenagers stay off drugs, empower seniors to live more independently, improve the long-term health of stroke patients, and more.
Ontario students: six Grade 12 U and/or M courses including
- Any Grade 12 U English (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
Admission average: Low 80s (co-op and regular)
You'll apply to Recreation and Leisure Studies and choose Therapeutic Recreation as your major.
We recommend completing the Admission Information Form once you've applied.
Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.
September to December
January to April
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.
Sample upper-year coursesREC 251 - Therapeutic Recreation: Developmental and Emotional Disabilities
Apply to Recreation and Leisure Studies
Earn a Bachelor of Arts in Therapeutic Recreation
Co-op = relevant paid work experience
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 job titles
- Recreation Therapist
- Child & Youth Worker
- Community Recreation Facilitator
- Therapeutic Recreation & Community Assistant
- Research Assistant
Sample co-op employers
- Stratford Children's Services
- Community Head Injury Resource Services of Toronto
- Chartwell Seniors Housing
- Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario
- Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
Only Therapeutic Recreation program in Ontario to offer paid co-op work terms
Offered by the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences
In North America for recreation and leisure research
Customize your degree
You can add additional areas of interest and expertise by including one or more of the minors available to all Waterloo students. Popular choices include Gerontology, Psychology, and Aging Studies.
What can you do with a degree in Therapeutic Recreation?
As a graduate, you can work with clients in settings ranging from long-term care facilities to local community agencies. You’ll also be eligible to apply for registration with Therapeutic Recreation Ontario and for certification with the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification in the United States.
- Vocational Instructor – Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences
- Child Life Specialist – Hospital for Sick Children
- Therapy Assistant – Mackenzie Innovation Institute
- Recreation Therapist – West Park Healthcare Centre
- Counsellor – Alzheimer Society of Peel
- Outreach Worker – St. Matthew’s House
- Communications Officer – Carey Outreach Ministries
For more information on potential careers, check out our career page on health and helping professions.
While the full range of further education depends on your individual interests, graduates commonly pursue a master's, PhD, or other professional health-care program in occupational therapy, physiotherapy, social work, and public health.
15 electives = lots of choice
With 15 electives from disciplines that can include social work, psychology, and health, you’ll have the flexibility to shape your degree according to your specific interests.
Build an awesome résumé
Get plenty of hands-on experience through practical courses, volunteer placements, and a required full-time internship in fourth year. We're the only such program in Ontario to offer multiple co-op terms.
Ready to learn more?
- Visit the Therapeutic Recreation website
- Email Pamela Hurvid, our Applied Health Sciences recruitment co-ordinator, who can answer any questions about the program
- Subscribe to our newsletter to get tips and advice from current students
- Related programs