About Recreation and Leisure Studies

The University of Waterloo's internationally renowned Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017-2018. There are more than 4,100 alumni, including 67 PhD graduates employed in teaching and research positions at universities around the world.

Leaders in the field

The department is proud to have been identified as the highest ranking leisure studies department amongst the top 200+ North American institutions in terms of research publications.

"Little needs to be said by way of commentary on the data, except to note that the University of Waterloo is the top ranking department of leisure studies in North America," noted University of Alberta scholar, Ed Jackson, author of the study published in Leisure Sciences."

Nearly a decade later, a follow-up study concurred. Walker & Fenton, also of the University of Alberta, wrote in the Journal of Leisure Research that, "The University of Waterloo maintained its number one ranking in North America."

Waterloo has always ranked highly in international subject rankings such as Hospitality and Leisure Management by the renowned QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) World University Subject ranking and Tourism and Hospitality Management by the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities.

All academic rankings, whether published in Macleans, QS, Shanghai, the Journal of Leisure Research, Leisure Sciences, or posted on a tourism studies listserv, are subject to criticism and scrutiny. They provide, at best, a limited snapshot of specific indicators from a specific point in time. Inclusions and exclusions, or differential weighting of those and other indicators may well change the ranker’s conclusions; so none of these studies are perfect. Nevertheless, the collective weight of those just listed sources lead to an inevitable conclusion – that the University of Waterloo is a great place to “do leisure studies!”

Inspiring mentors

Faculty members in the department are active scholars in terms of the high quality and quantity of their published work, success at obtaining research funding, involvement in leadership roles in professional organizations, and review board activities for the major journals in the field and for granting agencies.

This unusually high level of quality research productivity means that students benefit from the latest research in their courses and independent research supervision.

Innovative programming

The University of Waterloo offered one of the first undergraduate degree programs in recreation and leisure studies including the country's first co-operative education program in the field.

We further advanced scholarship in the discipline with the development of the first MA and PhD programs in recreation and leisure studies in Canada. Our program remains one of the largest leisure programs in the country.


Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario
Canada N2L 3G1

Telephone: 519-888-4567, ext. 46344
Fax: 519-746-6776
​Email: Anton Trinh, Department Administrator