Future graduate students

Studying with the best at the graduate level

The Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies is an internationally renowned leader in the discipline among some 250 North American programs.

With a highly diverse range of expertise, our research spans many disciplines and has far-reaching impacts in academia, industry and society.

By combining theory and practice, we are deepening our understanding of the positive and negative impacts of leisure, and developing new ways to enhance quality of life for individuals, families and communities.

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Learn why Lindsay Kalbfleisch, MA Recreation and Leisure Studies alumna, chose the University of Waterloo for her graduate program, what her graduate student experience was like, and a little more about her research.

Graduate programs

Our graduate programs are the first of their kind in Canada and remain the largest.

Student works on laptop at standing desk while others work in the background.

MA Recreation and Leisure Studies (Coursework option)

  • Coursework-based | On campus*
  • 3 terms | 1 year (full-time)
  • 8 terms | 2 and two-thirds years (part-time)
  • No thesis required
Professor and small group of students huddle on velodrome cycling track.

MA Recreation and Leisure Studies (Thesis option)

  • Research-based | On campus*
  • 6 terms | 2 years (full-time)
  • 12 terms | 4 years (part-time)
  • Thesis
Professor Bryan Grimwood talks to two students at shore of a lake.

PhD Recreation and Leisure Studies

  • 12 terms | 4 years (full-time from master's level)
  • 24 terms | 8 years (part-time from master's level)
  • Doctoral thesis
Professor Kim Lopez and student at a table in retirement home speaking to two residents.

Collaborative PhD Aging, Health and Well-being

  • 12 terms | 4 years (full-time from master's level)
  • 24 terms | 8 years (part-time from master's level)
  • Doctoral thesis
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Grad life from a grad perspective: Watch Brandon Pludwinski (MA Recreation and Leisure Studies) as he conducts his research. Brandon investigates our understanding and perception of nature and landscape while canoeing in Algonquin Provincial Park. Watch the series

Your future

While some MA graduates proceed to PhD studies, many assume leadership roles working in a variety of sectors as senior analysts, sport and event managers, recreation directors, accessibility co-ordinators, therapeutic recreationists and more.

Read our alumni career stories

Why Waterloo? 

Canada's most innovative university for over a quarter of century, the University of Waterloo is a global leader for hands-on, experiential learning and comprehensive research. Our one-of-a-kind entrepreneurship ecosystem is fueled by our creator-owned intellectual property policy and our full spectrum of support.

Learn more about Waterloo campus and city →

Campus tour

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Faculty of Health tour

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Waterloo city tour

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