Daytime Degree Programs: Department of Recreation & Leisure Studies at University of Mount Olive

Program Description

The Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies provides a quality education that prepares its majors for graduate study or professional careers in general Recreation/Leisure Studies, Leisure Service Management, Recreational Therapy, Sport Management, Exercise Science, and Physical Education. The department also offers a minor in Recreation & Leisure Studies.

Classes Tailored to You

The Department of Recreation & Leisure Studies is committed to providing an educational environment that stresses a balance of classroom and hands-on learning activities. In each of our emphasis areas, the coursework is designed to prepare you to be successful in your chosen professional field or graduate study.

National Recogntion

The University of Mount Olive's Exercise Science Program has been approved as an Educationally Recognized Program (ERP) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).  This program recognizes colleges and universities for their educational program in Strength and Conditioning to prepare students for the NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA-CSCS) Certification.  The exercise science curriculum underwent extensive review to ensure that it met the educational guidelines recommended by the NSCA.

Options for Recreation and Leisure Studies Majors

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Recreation & Leisure Studies

  • Leisure Service Management
  • Recreational Therapy
  • Sport Management
  • Exercise Science
  • Physical Education
  • Health and Physical Education (licensure)

The Generalist/Transfer customizes programs for students interested in a variety of careers (i.e., tourism, employee recreation, church recreation, outdoor recreation, etc.) by combining Recreation/Leisure Studies courses with appropriate courses across the University of Mount Olive curriculum and community college credits.

The Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in Recreation/Leisure Studies are designed to provide a student with a broad knowledge in the field of Recreation and Leisure Services, as well as specific skills in a professional work area. The curriculum includes courses emphasizing philosophy, history, effective use of leisure, program planning and leadership, skill development, organization and administration, management, field experiences, outdoor education, and related coursework tailored to meet a student's professional goals in the recreation, parks, and leisure service profession.

Bachelor of Applied Science in Recreation & Leisure Studies

The Bachelor of Applied Science is for the student with an Associate of Applied Science who completes a cognate in Recreation & Leisure Studies.


Recreation and Leisure Studies

Associate of Science Degree in Health Science

Through an articulation agreement between University of Mount Olive and Watts School of Nursing, a student can graduate with an associate of science degree from University of Mount Olive and complete the nursing requirements at Watts School of Nursing to apply for the NCLEX exam for licensure as a registered nurse. To qualify for the associate of science degree, a student must make application to and be accepted for admission into the Watts School of Nursing. Admission information is available on the Watts School of Nursing website at

Options Within the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies

A unique feature of our academic programs is the 480 to 600 hour internship during your last semester of attendance. The internship is designed to provide you with a three month, full-time professional experience in the field of your choice. Students are required to seek an internship that meets their immediate career goals. In addition, the internship experience provides you with a real world experience prior to graduation. Students who recently completed their internship often state how the internship helps them to understand the coursework and how it applies to their professional life.

Another unique feature of our department is the vast diversity of our faculty. Our faculty includes individuals who have a wealth of experience and knowledge in their chosen field. Further, several faculty members hold dual appointments at the college as a professor and coach. The professional experience of our faculty and the dual role positions allow the faculty member to clearly communicate the knowledge you will need to be successful in your career.

What career opportunities are there for me with a degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies with an emphasis in Exercise Science?

The exercise physiologist is one who utilizes the principles of exercise science in a variety of clinical and nonclinical settings. A range of opportunities exist including cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, physical and respiratory therapy centers, corporate and hospital fitness, community organizations, competitive sports programs, municipalities, and graduate studies

What is the starting salary one can expect with a degree in Exercise Physiology?

Based upon experience, geographical location and employment setting an individual who has obtained an undergraduate degree in Exercise Physiology can expect a salary between $18,000 and $30,000 per year.

In what areas can I be certified as a result of completing this degree?

Graduates of University of Mount Olive are academically prepared to sit for the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Personal Trainer (CPT); ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist or Exercise Specialist-Certified and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) examination, respectively.

Knowledge, skills, and abilities associated with the Exercise Science major include:

  • The relationship between physical fitness and the prevention and/or treatment of disease.
  • The role of exercise in managing body weight, body composition and fat distribution.
  • The physiological responses to exercise under various environmental conditions and disease processes.
  • The musculoskeletal, cardio-respiratory and biomechanical adaptations associated with peak human performance.
  • The ability to administer safe and scientifically sound health appraisals, exercise tests and prescriptions for those who are healthy and those with disease and/or disabilities.
  • The ability to plan, manage and evaluate various health/exercise and recreational programs within clinical and nonclinical settings.
  • The knowledge of medications, and various diagnostic procedures in the detection, treatment and/or prevention of cardiopulmonary disease.
  • The socioeconomic, medical, culture and gender constraints associated with health promotion, disease prevention, and rehabilitation programs.
  • The role of exercise scientists in epidemiology, public health, and health education.
  • The knowledge, skills and abilities to improve the overall health of the region, state and nation.

Exercise Science Career Options

  • Personal Trainer
  • Athletic Enhancement Programs
  • Strength and Conditioning Specialists
  • Working as an Exercise Test Technologist (aka "non-invasive cardiovascular specialist)
  • Working in the various phases of Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Working within a Corporate Wellness Program
  • Working for a Private Company that "farms out" employees to a number of corporations
  • Private Sports Medicine Clinics
  • Physician Private Practice
  • Commercial Health and Fitness Facilities
  • State and Federal Wellness Programs
  • Community Health and Fitness Programs
  • Work Hardening Programs
  • Physical Therapy
  • Nursing

Leisure Service Management Careers Options

  • Park and Recreation Director
  • Assistant Park and Recreation Director
  • Superintendent of Parks
  • Superintendent of Recreation
  • Recreation Supervisor (General)
  • Recreation Supervisor (Specialized)
  • Community Center Director
  • Athletic Superintendent
  • Special Events Supervisor
  • Senior Citizens Supervisor
  • Athletic Superintendent
  • Aquatics Superintendent
  • Parks Maintenance Supervisor
  • Park Manager
  • Park Foreman
  • Maintenance Worker
  • Lifeguard
  • Pool Manager
  • Assistant Pool Manager
  • Cashier
  • Concession
  • Summer Program Coordinator
  • Summer Day Camp Director
  • Summer Day Camp Staff
  • Playground Program Leader
  • Scorekeeper
  • Maintenance Worker
  • Recreation Leader


Dr. Burt Lewis

Chair/Associate Professor

Dr. Janet Albers

Associate Professor

Dr. Allen (Mac) Cassell


William (Bill) Clingan

Associate Professor

Jamie Kylis-Higginbotham

Assistant Professor

Dr. Jill Mills


Robert Watt