Master of Public Health Degree Program
Parks and Recreation (Online)
The online MPH degree in Parks and Recreation major is one of several degree concentrations offered by the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, but is the school's first fully online MPH degree offering.
This degree is for students interested in public, private, or commercial agencies, college unions, or general park administration and management.
As a student in the Parks and Recreation MPH concentration, you will learn how to manage public lands, parks, and recreation services in a wide variety of settings, from a public health perspective. You will learn about the linkages between recreation and public health while developing administrative and leadership skills for planning and implementing leisure and recreation programs.
In addition to parks and recreation core knowledge, you will master the relevant competencies as part of a comprehensive outline of basic knowledge and skills needed for preparing you for any MPH degree.
Coursework will include 'integrated public health core' courses, 'professional development and practical experiences', 'parks & recreation concentration' coursework, and elective courses. In addition, some coursework can count towards the award of graduate certificates in the SPH.
Available graduate certificates include 'gerontology & health', 'sexual & reproductive health', 'therapeutic outdoor programs', 'addictive intervention', and 'safety management'. All of these will provide students of the MPH degree in Parks & Recreation major with the skills and knowledge critical to addressing public health issues within the parks and recreation sector.
Explore Program Details
During the Master of Public Health program, our students complete coursework in core public health courses as well as courses specific to their concentration area. Students typically take two years to complete the MPH degree (three semesters of course work and a one semester applied learning experience).
Full curriculum details (Tab Sheet).
Phone: (812) 856-7031
Phone: (812) 856-7161
Research and Community Engagement
- Our faculty are actively engaged in cutting-edge research that seeks to improve health promoting lifestyle for individuals and whole populations, through increased park, public lands, and recreation accessibility.
- Students will have the opportunity to become actively engaged in faculty led research projects within one of three research clusters in the department. The 3 research clusters are, 1) social equity and community development, 2) environmental awareness & protection, and 3) community and social well-being. Example research projects within these clusters include:
- Public Parks, Green Spaces, Health promoting lifestyles, and Health-Related Quality of Life – a comparative study of Monroe County Residents (Drs. Oghenekaro Omodior, & Bill Ramos),
- Physical activity, water safety, and drowning prevention – the role of health education (Dr. Bill Ramos),
- Randomized controlled trial of Novel, public park-based interventions for healthy eating and obesity reduction (Dr. Oghenekaro Omodior).
- Community food systems and sustainable agriculture, via community-based participatory research (Dr. James Farmer).
- Students will also be exposed to other faculty led community engagement activities, including but not limited to leisure behavior, social justice, cultural studies, and critical pedagogy.
- Opportunity exists for students to participate in faculty led short- and long- term tour experiences, both locally and internationally.
Applied Practice Experience
The MPH degree prepares students to serve as public health professionals and leaders in government, business, industry, higher education, volunteer agencies, and public and private sector health care settings. A variety of field experience opportunities are available for MPH students. It is highly recommended that students speak with their advisors and personally research possible field experience sites. Please review the course requirements in the MPH Field Experience Handbook.
A variety of university, community, and national partnerships provide additional opportunities for skill building such as the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands, Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, the Indiana Park and Recreation Association, and National Park Service Public Health Program.
In addition to MPH Foundational Competencies for MPH Students in the School of Public Health-Bloomington, after completing the Master of Public Health degree with a major in Parks and Recreation, students will be able to:
- Develop and articulate a personal philosophy of leisure.
- Analyze historical and contemporary attitudes, beliefs, and values pertaining to leisure and recreation.
- Acquire knowledge and understanding of current management theory in the leisure and recreation profession.
- Critique current theory, research and practice in the leisure services management field with applications to public, private, and commercial sectors.
- Use best practices most common to managerial functions in the leisure and recreation profession.
- Explain the diversity of definitions used in describing health, quality of life, and natural environments.
- Use the Experiential Learning Components (ELCs) to develop a personal foundation and connection with human health and natural environments.
- Apply theoretical models to improve human health and quality of life from a natural environment perspective.
- Explain the conceptual framework linking leisure participation/access to public health.
- Identify community health risk and protective factors amenable to change using leisure interventions.
- Apply the BDI logic model to design a leisure-based public health intervention.
- Evaluate different aspects of a survey for precision, accuracy, and credibility.
- Use new and changing technology to collect high quality survey data.
- Collect, analyze, and interpret survey data, leading to publication in peer-reviewed journal articles.
Next Steps in Your Public Health Career
An MPH from the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington opens doors to a variety of exciting opportunities. Tracking of post-graduation outcomes of the most recent cohort of MPH graduates revealed that 88 percent of graduates reported employment or continuing education within six months of earning their degree (with the outcomes of 95% of MPH graduates known). The Office of Career Services in our school offers a valuable array of advice and support for our MPH students in successfully pursuing their career goals.
Graduates from the School of Public Health-Bloomington with an MPH degree in Parks and Recreation will most likely work in administrative positions within municipal and public park sectors, where they are be able to: (1) effectively plan & implement programs with overarching goals to improve the status of their community’s public health, (2) eloquently articulate the significant role parks and recreation have in supporting public health, and (3) interface with other public health professionals to develop and coordinate innovative and collaborative solutions to community public health challenges.
Example positions for graduates of this proposed program include:
- Municipal park superintendent or director;
- Program coordinator/director for park agency;
- Program coordinator/director for the National Park Service’s Healthy Parks-Healthy People program;
- Proprietor of a private recreation facility or service provider;
- State park program director/coordinator; Local (county or city) health department associate;
- Extension agent (health and human services position).