The Master of Arts program in Recreation and Leisure Studies is offered as a thesis option or coursework option program.

Thesis option requirements

 The thesis option requires five (5) one-term courses plus a master's thesis. Required courses include:

  • REC 600, Integrative Seminar in Recreation and Leisure Studies (fall term)
  • REC 662, Foundations for Quantitative Inquiry (fall term)
  • REC 663, Foundations for Qualitative Inquiry (fall term)
  • one of:
    • REC 672, Quantitative Research Data Analysis and Interpretation (winter term)
    • REC 673, Designing Advanced Qualitative Inquiry (winter term)
  • one elective which students can select from courses offered by the Department (winter term) 
    • REC 611, Issues in Leisure Organizations and Policy
    • REC 621, Issues in Leisure and Social Justice
    • REC 631, Issues in Leisure, Place and Space
    • REC 641, Issues in Leisure and Community
    • REC 651, Issues in Leisure, Health and Well-being

Note that not all elective courses may be offered each winter. Students may also elect to enroll in a Selected Topics (REC 695), or Internship (REC 609) course, or a graduate elective from another social science department at the University of Waterloo, or from another Ontario university as a visiting graduate student.

The master's thesis is the culmination of the master’s program, and normally takes 2 to 3 terms to complete.  For many students the thesis is the first time that they have been involved in independent research and it is typically both a demanding and a rewarding process.  Each student should work closely with his or her supervisor in selecting a research topic, writing a research proposal, conducting the research itself, and writing the final thesis.

The Master of Arts degree can be completed either on a full-time or part-time basis, but must be completed within the following time periods unless an extension has been granted. See Graduate Studies Calendar, Academic Regulations, Time Limits:

  • Full-time - 6 terms
  • Part-time - 15 terms

A program checklist is available on Waterloo Learn or on the Applied Health Sciences (AHS) policies and procedures website (with embedded links).

Coursework option requirements

 The coursework option requires eight (8) one-term courses. Required courses include:

  • REC 600, Integrative Seminar in Recreation and Leisure Studies (fall term)
  • REC 662, Foundations for Quantitative Inquiry (fall term)
  • REC 663, Foundations for Qualitative Inquiry (fall term)
  • REC 620, Program Evaluation in Recreation, Sport and Tourism (spring term)
  • four electives which students can select from courses offered by the Department (winter or spring term) 
    • REC 611, Issues in Leisure Organizations and Policy
    • REC 621, Issues in Leisure and Social Justice
    • REC 631, Issues in Leisure, Place and Space
    • REC 641, Issues in Leisure and Community
    • REC 651, Issues in Leisure, Health and Well-being

Note that not all elective courses may be offered each winter or spring. Students may also elect to enroll in a Selected Topics (REC 695) or Internship (REC 609) course or a graduate elective from another social science department at the University of Waterloo or from another Ontario university as a visiting graduate student.

The Master of Arts degree can be completed either on a full-time or part-time basis, but must be completed within the following time periods unless an extension has been granted. See Graduate Studies Calendar, Academic Regulations, Time Limits:

  • Full-time - 6 terms
  • Part-time - 15 terms

Normally the coursework option is completed in 3 terms (1 year) full-time or 6-9 terms (2-3 years) part-time. 

A program checklist is available on Waterloo Learn or on the Applied Health Sciences (AHS) policies and procedures website (with embedded links).

Faculty advisors/supervisors

Thesis option students

When each thesis option graduate student enters the Department, an initial supervisor will be assigned by the admissions committee. The initial supervisor will assist the student in the selection of courses and other matters relating to the program of study but will not necessarily act as the thesis supervisor. Normally, a student will choose a thesis supervisor from faculty in the Department. Course work should normally be completed by the third or fourth term before registering for the thesis.

Coursework option students

When each coursework option graduate student enters the Department, an advisor will be assigned by the admissions committee. The advisor will assist the student in the selection of courses and other matters relating to the program of study, helping the student tailor the program to their professional career goals. 

Student evaluation

A review of each student's progress takes place during the month of May each year. Students are evaluated on several criteria, i.e., completion of courses and resulting grades, and, where appropriate, reports submitted by the students regarding their research and teaching assistantship activity. A grade average of at least 72% must be maintained.

Changing program options

Students admitted to either the thesis option or coursework option may apply to change program options. Students interested in changing program options should complete the Graduate program/plan change form and submit it to the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies for approval consideration.