Bachelor of Therapeutic Recreation

Through educational and practical experiences the Therapeutic Recreation program prepares graduates to be competent entry-level Therapeutic Recreation Specialists in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behaviour) learning domains. Graduates of the program will be prepared to successfully meet the requirements to complete the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) exam and become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS).

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The Bachelor of Therapeutic Recreation program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs ( upon the recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation of Recreational Therapy Education (CARTE).

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
25400 US Highway 19 North, Suite 158
Clearwater, FL 33763

  • University of Lethbridge students have higher than the international average of pass rates for the NCTRC exam. Within the testing period of 2017-2019, 100% of University of Lethbridge students taking the NCTRC exam passed (international average is 81.6%).
  • Internship/practicum students are rated on their overall experience by supervisors on a scale of 1-5 (1=Does not meet expectations, 2=Below expectations, 3=Achieves expectations, 4=Above expectations, 5=Exceeds expectations). The average score from the past 12 months is 3.42 on this scale. 

Therapeutic Recreation at the University of Lethbridge

The deadline to apply for admission to the Bachelor of Therapeutic Recreation program is March 15.

All applicants must have one of the following:

  • Diploma in Therapeutic Recreation or Recreation Therapy (see for current diplomas approved for admission)
  • Approved undergraduate degree (a minimum of 90.0 credit hours from a recognized degree-granting institution). 

Recommended degree disciplines include: Psychology, Sociology, Addictions Counselling, Public Health, Nursing, Indigenous Studies, Women & Gender Studies, Anthropology, Disabilities, Education, Kinesiology, Aboriginal Health, Medicine, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, and Recreation Management

Competitive Admission

Admission will be granted on a competitive basis using a grade point average (GPA) calculated using the terms containing the most recent 20 graded university-level term courses (60.0) credit hours. Applicants presenting fewer than 20 graded university-level term courses will be considered using an overall diploma or degree GPA.

Spoken English Language Proficiency Requirement

In addition to the English Language Proficiency requirement for regular University of Lethbridge undergraduate admission, applicants to the Faculty of Health Sciences must also meet a Spoken English Language Proficiency (SELP) requirement. More information on the SELP can be found here.

The Faculty of Health Sciences demonstrates its commitment to Aboriginal peoples and communities by offering admission to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit applicants. This is to ensure that we are:

  • following the University of Lethbridge’s fundamental principles and key strategic priorities to ensure that our programs meet the needs of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities
  • addressing Call to Action #7 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada to eliminate educational and employment gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians

Applicants who have declared their Aboriginal ancestry at the time of application may be considered by criteria designed to help address the traditional underrepresentation of Aboriginal people in health professions. For more information, contact an Academic Advisor.

A list of required courses and a suggested course sequence plan can also be found in the Program Planning Guide.

Lethbridge Campus 2020-2021 Program Requirements
Year 1 - Fall Semester (Sep-Dec)
Health Sciences 1170 - Human Development Across the Lifespan
Therapeutic Recreation 3000 - Foundations of Therapeutic Recreation
Therapeutic Recreation 3100 - Program Planning in Therapeutic Recreation
Therapeutic Recreation 3200 - Intro. to Rec. & Leisure: Across the Life Course
Health Sciences 3150 - Abnormal Psychology

Year 1 - Spring Semester (Jan-Apr)
Health Sciences 1060 - Human Anatomy and Physiology
Therapeutic Recreation 3300 - Processes & Techniques in Therapeutic Rec.
Therapeutic Recreation 3500 - Therapeutic Recreation for Special Populations
Therapeutic Recreation 4100 - Research Design in Therapeutic Recreation
'One of:' List course (see below)

Year 2 - Fall Semester (Sep-Dec)
Therapeutic Recreation 3400 - Facilitation in Therapeutic Recreation
Therapeutic Recreation 4000 - Issues and Trends in Therapeutic Recreation
Therapeutic Recreation 4200 - Administration in Therapeutic Recreation
Two Electives (6.0 credit hours) from the Faculty of Health Sciences (ABHL, ADCS, HLSC, PUBH, TREC)
'One of' List course (see below)*

Year 2 - Spring Semester (Jan-Apr)
Therapeutic Recreation 4550 - Practicum in Therapeutic Rec. (15.0 credit hours)

*'One of' List Courses:
Aboriginal Health 3300 Traditional Aboriginal Health Concepts
Health Sciences 2450/History 2450 - Evolution of Health and Illness Care
Health Sciences 4500/Fine Arts 4500 - Global Health, Fine Arts, and Social Change
Health Sciences 3560/History 3560 - History of Nursing: Women and Care of the Sick
Kinesiology 2130 - Humanities Perspectives
Philosophy 2001 - Introduction to Ethics

NOTE: Some 'One of' list courses may be initially reserved for students in other programs, and may not be offered in all terms.

Online Campus students admitted in Fall 2020 will follow the course sequencing below:

Online students admitted in 2019 or earlier will follow the course sequencing found here.

Therapeutic Recreation uses a systematic process (assess, plan, implement, evaluate, and documentation) towards making changes in a person’s emotional, spiritual, mental, social, and physical well-being in the environment that they reside. Therapeutic Recreation engages persons based upon their abilities in planned recreation and related experiences, promotes and educates persons in health and wellness, and reduces or eliminates activity limitations to achieve optimal health and well-being.

Q: Can I take the program with online delivery? 
A: Yes, we offer admission into an online cohort. The internship/practicum is full-time (30-40 hours a week), 15-week placement with a CTRS supervisor and must be completed during the degree. Students can complete the program part-time or full-time (depending on the number of courses taken per semester). Students must complete the program in 6 years.

Q: Can I take the program at the main campus? 
A: Yes, If you attend the main campus the majority of your classes will be taught in a classroom setting, although students should be prepared to complete a few online courses throughout the program. Students who attend main campus full-time can complete the program in two years.

Q: I possess an undergraduate degree in a related field and wish to be a Certified Recreation Therapist Specialist, can I enter the program?
A: Yes, we have an after degree option for both our on campus and online/blended formats for those who have an approved undergraduate degree (a minimum of 90.0 credit hours from a recognized degree-granting institution).

Q: I am currently working in the field and already possess an undergraduate degree, can I take some courses from the program without applying to the program? 
A: Yes, if you are seeking certification through NCTRC and do not need the practicum component to meet your certification then you can sign up to take courses through Open Studies. Online and on campus registration through Open Studies is always dependent upon seats available in the course, after admitted students have registered.

Q: How long do I have to complete the program? 
A: All degree requirements must be completed within six (6) years of completion of the first Therapeutic Recreation/Health Sciences course used for credit towards the degree.

Q: I already completed some of the support courses in my diploma program, do I have to retake them? 
A: Yes. Because we are granting students a block transfer of two years towards a four-year degree no additional transfer credit will be granted. Students also need to take these classes to ensure that they are meeting NCTRC requirements which are included in our courses.

Q: Can I complete the program completely online? 
A: Students admitted to the Online campus can complete the program fully online; however, the program also has a full-time internship that must take place at an agency in person.

Q: What GPA requirements do I need to graduate from the program?
A: A minimum grade of ‘C’ is required in all Therapeutic Recreation (TREC) courses. Any student who receives a grade of ‘C-’ or lower is required to repeat the course and achieve a grade of ‘C’ or higher. To graduate, students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.50 on all Therapeutic Recreation (TREC) courses taken for credit towards the degree. More information can be found in the Academic Calendar or by contacting your academic advisor.

• Demonstrate ethical and professional conduct as defined by Therapeutic Recreation professional, certification, and human rights legislative acts.
• Assess and systematically collect comprehensive and accurate information to plan one-on-one and group programs/interventions.
• Collaboratively plan and develop care plans that identify measurable and meaningful goals, modalities, techniques, and interventions specific to the needs of the person.
• Implement program plans using current, evidence-based interventions to encourage meaningful participation, make changes in the person’s well-being, and engage in life activities.
• Conduct evaluation to determine changes that occur based on programs implemented.
• Deliver therapeutic recreation programs that respect diversity of the people that they serve.

I heart TRGraduates of the Bachelor of Therapeutic Recreation program may choose to pursue graduate studies in the Health Sciences major in the Master of Science program and the Population Studies in Health major in the Ph.D. program at the University of Lethbridge.

The Bachelor of Therapeutic Recreation program has innovative faculty members who have exciting experiences. Find out more about them here.

The University of Lethbridge Library has extensive resources available for Bachelor of Therapeutic Recreation students. Read full details here.

Graduates pursue careers as certified therapeutic recreation specialists in a variety of settings including long term care, acute care, day programs, rehabilitation, youth-at-risk, community centres, and mental health and addictions.

Therapeutic Recreation Students