Academic Catalog


Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences Health Sciences with a Major in Recreational Therapy (BSHS)

Betsy Kennedy, Undergraduate Program Director
2132 Health Sciences Building
(757) 683-4703,

This program is designed to prepare students for entry-level careers in recreational therapy. A recreational therapist is a health care professional who uses activity-based interventions to support individuals with illness and disability to achieve their highest level of independence, wellness, and quality of life. The recreational therapy curriculum includes community-engaged learning activities in many courses to expose students to a wide variety of disability groups in various health and human service settings.  Upon graduation students will be eligible to sit for the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) national certification exam. 

A minimum of 120 credit hours, which must include both a minimum of 30 credit hours overall and 12 credit hours in upper-level courses in the major program from Old Dominion University, is required for the Recreational Therapy major.

National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) is the credentialing organization for the profession of Therapeutic Recreation.

American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) is the national professional organization representing the interests and needs of recreational therapists.

The recreational therapy curriculum includes prerequisite coursework required for admission into ODU's Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program. Completing the recreational therapy program does not guarantee admission into the OTD program.

Admission into the Recreational Therapy Major

To officially declare a major in Recreational Therapy, requirements are as follows:

  1. Students must have an overall grade point average of 2.00. 
  2. Students must have completed the following courses: ENGL 110C (C or higher), PSYC 203S, BIOL 240 or BIOL 250, BIOL 241 or BIOL 251, and RT 261 (C- or higher).
  3. Students who have met all Recreational Therapy major admission requirements will be referred by their advisor in the Health Sciences Advising Center to the Recreational Therapy Undergraduate Program Director for major declaration and assignment to a faculty advisor.
  4. Students must pass a background check.
  5. Students must be admitted to the Recreational Therapy major before enrolling in RT 300- or 400- level required courses.
  6. Students must comply with all policies and procedures outlined in the Recreational Therapy Student Handbook.

For additional information on the curriculum or major declaration requirements, please contact: Program Director ( or the College of Health Sciences Advising Center (

Continuance and Readmission Policy

In addition to Old Dominion University's continuance policies, the following policies are specific to all declared Recreational Therapy majors in the BSHS degree. All continuance policies for the Recreational Therapy major can be found in detail in the Recreational Therapy Student Handbook.

1. A cumulative grade point average of 2.00 or better is required to continue in the major.

2. Students placed on academic suspension by the University will not be considered in good academic standing and will be dismissed from the major. At the request of the student, their status may be changed to an intended major.

3. Students may apply for readmission to the major once they have completed the academic suspension period, have been readmitted to the University, and have met all the entrance to major requirements.

4. Students may be readmitted to the BSHS Recreational Therapy major only once.

5. A student who leaves the major and is readmitted may be required to take additional course work prior to or concurrent with readmission.

Senior Internship

The senior internship, RT 468 is a capstone course and requires a 560-hour and 14-week internship experience at an approved health and human service agency practicing recreational therapy. Students will apply academic learning and will demonstrate competencies associated with entry-level practice in recreational therapy. The student’s academic and agency direct supervisors must be Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRS). The senior internship is a planned, supervised, and evaluated culminating experience for students. The senior internship must adhere to all NCTRC internship standards for national certification.  All coursework must be completed prior to a student beginning the senior internship experience.

Requirements for Graduation

Requirements for graduation include the following:

  • Minimum of 120 credit hours.
  • Minimum of 30 credit hours overall and 12 credit hours of upper-level courses in the major program from Old Dominion University.
  • Minimum overall cumulative grade point average of C (2.00) in all courses taken.
  • Minimum overall cumulative grade point average of C (2.00) in all courses taken toward the major.
  • Minimum overall cumulative grade point average of C (2.00) in all courses taken toward a minor.
  • Completion of ENGL 110CENGL 211C or ENGL 231C, and the writing intensive (W) course in the major with a grade of C or better. The W course must be taken at Old Dominion University.
  • Completion of Senior Assessment.