Bachelor of Therapeutic Recreation

Information for current students

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.

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.

We offer both an online and on-campus program to fit our students' diverse learning and life styles. Regardless of your pathway, student engagement is a priority in our courses. Every course is developed with specific course learning objectives established to ensure your success in TR.

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). Our 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.

Program Planning Guides Book an Advising Appointment Admission & Application Information

Program information


The on-campus program is delivered in Lethbridge and is tailored towards students who learn better in person. The majority of classes will be taught in a classroom setting, although students should be prepared to complete a few online courses throughout the program. The on-campus program offers:

  • More hands-on learning on campus compared to online:
    • Disability Lab Simulation to enhance learning,
    • In-class activities during lectures,
    • Service-learning
  • We are exploring agencies across Lethbridge through field trips to agencies that serve vulnerable populations.
  • Direct access to the instructors of the course through lectures, office hours, and other meetings.
  • The on-campus program can focus on the different learning styles of students on campus.
  • More elective choices for on-campus students.
  • Scheduled school lectures and course dates and times.
  • Easier access to library services (e.g., physical books).
  • Easier access to computer labs, printing, photocopying, etc.
  • Greater feelings of belonging to the University of Lethbridge community with access to the recreation centre, varsity and recreation sports teams, etc.

The majority of classes in the online program are asynchronous, meaning they are pre-recorded or not scheduled during a specific time and date each week. Some courses require synchronous learning (e.g., TREC 3700, TREC 4300, and TREC 4550 [Internship]).

The online program offers:

  • More flexibility with completing courses on your timeline and from any location. For example, if you are a night owl, online learning could be ideal for you.
  • Ability to continue to live and work in your home city/town for most of the program. Potential cost-saving measures.
  • Access to your established social network/support system.
  • Taking a short time throughout the day to get work done instead of 3-hour block lectures during the week.
  • Less hands-on learning through the online program. This program is tailored towards students who are independent learners.
  • We ensure that our class sizes remain small enough that all students will have direct access to the course instructors.
  • Students in our online courses have access to multiple support services, including Moodle support, YuJa support, and an academic advisor.  
  • The internship (TREC 4550) is expected to be completed in person at the location of the internship site. 

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.

Please note that some online courses require synchronous learning. 

Q: What does asynchronous and synchronous mean?
A: Synchronous classes run in real-time, with students and instructors logging in to class at the same time, from different locations. Asynchronous classes run on a more relaxed schedule, with students accessing class materials during different hours and from different locations. The University of Lethbridge is in the Mountain Time Zone.

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: Possibly. 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 some of our TREC 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. Note that TREC 3700 and TREC 4300 are not open to open studies students.

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.

Resources for students

The Program Planning Guide (PPG) outlines the courses required to complete the program, along with a sequencing plan. You should keep your Program Planning Guide up to date and refer to it for course registration and general program planning.

2023/2024 Program Planning Guides

See for all other calendar year PPGs. Your calendar year will be the year of your most recent admission to uLethbridge.

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

Therapeutic Recreation Orientation - University of Lethbridge

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

Students who complete this program will develop skills to:

• 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.

University of Lethbridge students have higher than the international average of pass rates for the NCTRC exam. Within the testing period of 2020-2022, 96.1% of University of Lethbridge students taking the NCTRC exam passed (international average is 77.4%).

Internship students are rated on their overall performance 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). Since the inception of our program, over 94% of our students have achieved or exceeded expectations during their internships.

Graduates 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.

Student stories

My experience taking the BTR program at the University of Lethbridge exceeded all my expectations. I gained so much knowledge, built lifelong friendships, and created professional networks that have truly helped further my career. The theoretical knowledge and practical applications gained throughout the program and internship have allowed me to excel in the field of Therapeutic Recreation.”

Ashley LaValley