Why study Recreation (Therapeutic) at Dal?

A one-of-a-kind opportunity to improve quality of life

Learn how recreation and leisure experiences can be used to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities, illnesses and other limitations. One of a few four-year degrees of its kind, Dalhousie's Recreation program was the first to be accredited in Canada by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs upon the recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation of Recreational Therapy Education (CARTE). You'll be prepared to write the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) exam to become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS).

Degree overview

Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Science Recreation, BScR-TR
Faculty: Faculty of Health
Department: School of Health and Human Performance
Campus: Studley Campus, Halifax
Program Length: 4 years
Program Start: September

What will I learn?

The Therapeutic Recreation Program’s goal is to prepare competent entry-level recreational therapists in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behaviour) learning domains, to work in a variety of settings as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS). Our class sizes are small and you have the opportunity to work closely with faculty and fellow students.

Graduates for the Therapeutic Recreation program will demonstrate: 

  1. Understanding of recreation and leisure history, concepts and theories within the context of Therapeutic Recreation. 
  2. Comprehensive knowledge of diversity and inclusion, with practical application of this knowledge to working with diverse populations and settings.  
  3. Competence to assess, plan, implement and evaluate therapeutic recreation opportunities for diverse populations and settings, utilizing evidence-informed decision-making and critical thinking skills, based on Therapeutic Recreation standards of practice and code of ethics. 
  4. Ability to establish professional identity, build professional relationships, and develop skills for the advancement of the profession by engaging with professional organizations. 
  5. Readiness to assume a variety of professional roles related to leadership, advocacy, education, and service delivery in ethical, socially and culturally responsive, responsible and innovative ways. 
  6. Readiness to apply clinical reasoning and critical thinking skills. 
  7. Knowledge and skill to engage in collaborative and/or interprofessional practice with health education

In first year, along with the introductory leisure studies course, you’ll take a range of introductory courses in other departments, such as physiology, sociology, psychology and anatomy. In years two to four, your courses will reflect your individual interests in the program—anything from leadership and dynamics to community development.

In the final year of the program a 16-week internship, under the supervision of a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, takes you out of the classroom and provides you with hands-on work experience that enhances your studies. 100% of our students achieves expectations on their final internship performance appraisals and had 91% first-time exam pass rate in the past 2 reporting years (2020-2022), exceeding the national average of 84.8%.  

Visit the Academic Calendar to view degree options and course details.

Careers and future study

Dalhousie students have higher than the national average of pass rates for the NCTRC exam. Our students had 98.5% first-time exam pass rate in the past 3 years (National average is 86.3%). Graduates from Dalhousie's Recreation program are in demand now, as public and private organizations plan for an aging and increasingly diverse population. Therapeutic recreation is a rapidly growing field, and new career opportunities are constantly being created. You'll be well prepared to start a rewarding career as a member of an interdisciplinary team within the healthcare and recreation sectors. You might consider careers in the following areas:

  • rehabilitation
  • pediatrics
  • palliative care

Future studies could include programs at the graduate level in science, health, or business administration.

Admission requirements

Undergraduate admission requirements vary based on your previous education and your intended program of study at Dalhousie. Learn about our admissions requirements, book a campus tour, or connect with an advisor if you have questions about your eligibility for admission.

View admission requirements

Ready to apply?