Ph.D. in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Ph.D. Students Having a Discussion - Ph.D. in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management - Parks Recreation and Tourism Management NC State

The Ph.D. program in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management is designed for students planning to undertake research-related positions in their chosen field, or an administration position in a park, recreation and/or tourism agency. Upon graduation, students will have the skills and knowledge necessary to conduct independent theory-based research, effectively communicate scientific and technical information, teach at the university or college level, and pursue a wide array of scholarship and career opportunities.

Our faculty expertise and extensive outreach activities make NC State an ideal place to pursue your doctoral degree. While pursuing a Ph.D. in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, students will develop their own research to meet their unique interests. A significant part of the doctoral experience is performing original research and defending a thesis. Students in this program examine a wide range of topics, including the role of intergenerational learning in promoting environmental literacy.

Course Information

Degree Requirements:

  • Minimum of 72 hours of coursework
  • A grade of “B-“ or better for all coursework listed in your work plan
  • Independent instruction of one undergraduate course
  • A declared minor or substantive area.
  • Successful completion of a preliminary written and oral examination, a dissertation, and a successful dissertation defense

Note: Students can transfer up to 12 credit hours of Post-Baccalaureate Studies (PBS) into the Ph.D. program with permission of the student’s committee.

Doctoral Student Expectations

The purpose of this resource is to give you important information on PRTM doctoral degree program policies, guidelines, and procedures. At the same time, it is intended to assure that doctoral students and faculty share expectations as completely as possible. This information supplements and does not replace the information, policies, and schedules provided by the NC State University Graduate School.
Beyond understanding the policies, rules and regulations for graduate education at NC State, students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the willingness of PRTM faculty to discuss scholarly and professional matters. The heart of graduate education—particularly doctoral education—is the mentoring relationship between students and faculty. Taking the time to get acquainted with numerous members of the PRTM faculty will open scholarly and professional doors for you.

The Department has also developed the Ph.D. Student Progress – Minimum Expectations document to provide guidance to doctoral students and their advisors to gauge a student’s progress. Although exceptions may occur due to specific circumstances (e.g., part-time student, specific research project requirements), these standards are intended to provide reasonable benchmarks for measuring students’ progress toward completing the degree and building a strong credential for academic or research employment.

Students and faculty advisors, who want to pursue an Article Dissertation Model (ADM) in lieu of the traditional dissertation format, please refer to the following document for guidance.

Admission Criteria

  • Master’s degree, with a recommended GPA of 3.5 or above
  • Three letters of recommendation from academic sources
  • Personal statement describing your research interests, career goals, work experience, and academic honors and achievements. You can also include experiences and traits that will contribute to the enrichment or diversity of the university or community, beyond your academic credentials.
  • To be competitive, you should review the research interests of the faculty on the departmental web site and determine which faculty have interests similar to their own. Once similar interests have been identified, you should contact the faculty members to discuss the possibility of working with them and obtaining a research assistantship. Please indicate the potential faculty advisor(s) in the personal statement.
  • Whenever possible, it is advisable to arrange a personal visit with the potential faculty sponsor and the Director of the Graduate Program.
  • The GRE is required for this program. Average GRE scores of current students are listed below, along with the percentile for that score.
Average Score
GRE-Verbal 153
GRE-Quantitative 152
Analytical Writing 3.75

*Competitive applicants score at 50th percentile or greater of each section of the GRE.
General requirements are listed below. All referenced Ph.D. forms can be found in downloadable format online:

  1. Identify an advisory committee to be appointed by the Graduate Dean upon the recommendation of the DGP.
  2. Select a dissertation subject and submit an outline of proposed research to the advisory committee for review and approval.
  3. Prepare a Plan of Graduate Work with input from the advisory committee, to be approved by the DGP and submitted to the Graduate School for approval. This must be done as soon as is feasible after completion of 12 hours of coursework.
  4. Pass written examinations in all major and minor fields (if required) no earlier than the end of the second year of graduate study and no later than one semester before the final oral examination. Results are reported to the Graduate School.
  5. Following satisfactory completion of all required written examinations, submit a Request for Approval to Schedule the Doctoral Oral Examination to the DGP at least two weeks prior to the suggested date. The student and examining committee will be notified once the Graduate School approves the request.
  6. Be admitted to candidacy after the DGP sends the report of the exam to the Graduate School and it has been passed without conditions.
  7. Obtain candidacy within six years of the start of the program.
  8. Submit a preliminary draft of your dissertation to the chair of the advisory committee for review.
  9. Give a dissertation to advisory committee members for review at least two weeks prior to the final oral examination.
  10. Submit a Request for Approval to Schedule the Doctoral Oral Examination, designating the final oral examination, to the DGP at least two weeks prior to its suggested date. This request should be submitted four or more months after admission to candidacy, and after the dissertation is complete (except for revisions triggered as a result of the final exam). Approval of this request must be granted by the Graduate School.
  11. Have the DGP send the report of the final oral examination to the Graduate School within five working days of the exam.
  12. Have the dissertation reviewed and approved by the thesis editor of the Graduate School to ensure that the format conforms to the specifications prescribed in the Thesis and Dissertation Guide.
  13. Submit the dissertation in the format and time frame required by the Graduate School.
  14. Achieve a GPA of at least 3.0 to qualify for graduation.

Complete all degree requirements within ten calendar years, beginning with the date the student commenced courses carrying graduate credit applicable to the degree program.