About this Program

Recreational therapists use activity interventions that are intrinsically rewarding to the patient, with the dual benefit of increasing motivation in treatment and improving the likelihood of healthy behaviors continuing outside the healthcare setting. This concept is the inspiration behind the field of therapeutic recreation.

Therapeutic recreation takes a different approach from most other therapies. Recreational therapists learn about individual patients through assessment to determine meaningful interests that can be used to improve function and ultimately restore independence. Through using a patient's existing skills and interests, recreational therapy addresses the goals of the patient in a unique way. Quite simply, therapeutic recreation makes treatment more enjoyable while increasing the chances of long-term success and wellness. Recreational therapy also focuses on facilitating the development of new skills for daily living and community functioning.

When you major in therapeutic recreation at EMU, you'll learn to provide life-transforming care for patients—from understanding their condition to listening and identifying their passions and using those passions to achieve treatment goals long-term. Wellness is enhanced through the continued practice of these healthy lifestyle behaviors introduced by the recreation therapist.

Upon completion of the bachelor's degree in therapeutic recreation, you'll be qualified to become certified by the National Council of Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC).

  • Our Program

    We have an incredible undergraduate program for health science students who are interested in using people’s passions to help rehabilitate independence.


  • Why Study at Eastern?

    Our therapeutic recreation program is ground-breaking and rewarding, teaching a rehabilitation approach that is remarkably unique.

    • Our class sizes are smaller, giving you a more intimate education.
    • Our faculty, many of whom are practitioners, will invest personal, individualized attention to you in your academic journey.
    • We have a hands-on curriculum supplemented by many health care organizations in the immediate vicinity.
    • We offer opportunities for students to partner with faculty who are actively involved in local and international research.
    • We have affiliations with a vast array of local clinics for practicums and internships to get you trained, connected and working.
  • Student Organization

    The Student Therapeutic Recreation Organization (STRO) is a recognized campus organization consisting of therapeutic recreation students in the curriculum. Goals of the organization include promoting the profession of therapeutic recreation, service, social and fundraising activities. General business meetings are held monthly and minimal membership fees are assessed each semester. Become a member through EagleSync.

If you are passionate about positively transforming lives through therapeutic recreation, then we think you will be right at home at the College of Health and Human Services at EMU.

Contact Us

David Thomas, Director
363 Marshall Building
734.487.6839 | [email protected]

At a Glance

  • Students will be qualified to become certified by the National Council of Therapeutic Recreation Certification. 
  • Become part of the Student Therapeutic Recreation Organization. 


  • On campus
  • Major



  • Call: 734.487.4096
  • Office: 313 Everett L. Marshall Building