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Why study Leisure Studies, Ph.D. online through OSU?

The online PhD program in Health, Leisure and Human Performance with an option in Leisure Studies, is designed to develop future faculty and researchers in recreational therapy and recreation and athletic management concentrations. We are one of only three programs in the nation that prepares future recreational therapy faculty members. Our focus is on scholars discovering and disseminating knowledge to better understand human behavior and enhance quality of life.
The online PhD program is designed to develop students to be future faculty members who have strong teaching and research training. To meet the needs of online program students, individualized educational plans are designed to allow for flexibility and specialization in students’ academic paths, core courses in the online PhD program are taught asynchronously and faculty provide students with mentorship.


This 100-percent online degree program is delivered through Canvas, OSU’s online learning platform. All doctoral coursework is offered in a 16-week format during Fall and Spring semesters, and 3-8 weeks in the Summer semesters. Students enrolled full time can expect to complete the online PhD in 2-4 academic years, depending on credit hour requirements.

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within higher education settings



This 60-credit hour program includes 15 hours of dissertation, 15 hours of research and methodology, 15 hours of teaching and higher education and 15 hours of cognate approved by students’ committees for research specialization.


Cognate hours can include coursework in:

  • Building level leadership
  • College and online teaching
  • Community recreation development
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Hospitality and tourism analytics
  • Infant mental health, special education
  • Learning and motivation
  • Neuroscience
  • Non-profit management
  • Program evaluation
  • Program evaluation
  • Public health
  • Statistical methods and analyses
  • Substance abuse counseling

Curriculum for this online PhD program has been specifically designed to develop future faculty members. Due to the nature of an online program, certain classes are required to be conducted in the realm of teaching in order to best prepare students for stepping into the classroom as faculty members.



Applications to the program are accepted on a rolling basis. Students are strongly encouraged to apply no later than six weeks prior to the start of the semester they are applying for. If interested in Recreational Therapy, the individual will need to hold current credentials in the professional area. To apply to the program, the following must be provided: 


  • Graduate College application
  • Transcripts from all previously attended academic institutions (3.5 minimum graduate GPA required) 
  • Current resume/vita
  • Professional goal statement (two-pages), including research interests
  • Three letters of recommendation 
  • Scholarly writing sample 

Graduate student resources



Oklahoma State University offers an affordable single rate for graduate students in online degree and certificate programs.

Cost details for in-state, online graduate students
Cost details for out-of-state online graduate students


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