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Information for

Current graduate students

Studying with the best

The Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies (RLS) is an internationally renowned leader for over two decades among some 250 North American programs in the discipline. More recently, Waterloo placed first in Canada for Hospitality and Leisure Management by the renowned QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) World University Subject ranking in 2017.  Waterloo also placed first in Canada for Tourism and Hospitality Management by the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities in 2017.

Our graduate programs at the Master of Arts (MA) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) levels are the first of their kind in Canada and remain the largest. Our programs include a multi-disciplinary approach with emphasis on high quality research applied to practical problems.

Theme areas to support your research interests

Recognizing the interdisciplinary nature of the field, graduate students are encouraged to focus their studies on the interrelationship between recreation/leisure and one or more of the following theme areas:

  • Health and well-being
  • Social justice
  • Community
  • Space and place
  • Organizations, services and policy

Innovative approaches to research

Renowned for innovative methodological approaches, our research-intensive programs feature core courses in both foundational and advanced quantitative and qualitative inquiry, integrative seminars for masters and doctoral students, a program evaluation course for coursework option student, and electives encompassing the five broad areas of study above.

Because of the broad spectrum of research interests within the Department, candidates come from a variety of different disciplinary backgrounds including business, geography, kinesiology, health studies, psychology and sociology as well as recreation and leisure studies. You will have an opportunity to interact with faculty members and other students to explore research interests through a variety of lenses and contexts.

You are part of our success

Outstanding graduate students are vital to our success as a research-intensive university. Many of our graduates have obtained international, national or provincial awards and scholarships. In addition, many have presented their research at national and international conferences.

The RLS Graduate Student Handbook outlines your degree requirements and will be a helpful source of information as you progress through your degree.