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Over the last 25 years there has been a noticeable and significant shift in the provision of healthcare and human services from a curative, in-patient, clinical mentality to a preventive, out-patient, community manner of service delivery. The Master’s degree in therapeutic recreation (TR) at The University of Iowa is designed to respond to this shift in healthcare and anticipate further developments in community-based human service delivery.

The MA program in TR at Iowa is unique and innovative in its design. Our faculty prepare graduate students in TR to meet the challenge of an ever changing healthcare service delivery scene. This means that potential clients are served on an out-patient basis and as community-dwelling consumers. The profile of services provided under this approach includes programs for persons with disabilities designed to prevent secondary impairments (e.g., arthritis exercise to manage pain, fall prevention for older adults, etc.), education for persons who manifest negative lifestyle habits during their free time (e.g., smoking, substance abuse, etc.), programs designed to restore meaning and purpose to life following a traumatic event (e.g., following a spinal cord injury), and inclusion initiatives designed to assist communities and businesses make service accessible to persons with disabilities.
Therapeutic Recreation - Aquatics Picture

More specifically, the MA in TR at Iowa takes an entrepreneurial approach to provision of TR services. Even non-profit agencies (e.g., community recreation departments, etc.) must generate a cash-flow to defray from the costs of service provision. Classes in “Economics and Financing” and “Entrepreneurship and New Business Formation” prepare graduates to enter the workforce with unique skills designed to make TR Services a self-supporting service, if not profitable business.

Secondly, we stress the acquisition of research skills. But our emphasis departs from others insofar as we teach research skills to make the graduate student a better practitioner—research applied to practice. How does the TR Specialist prove the effectiveness of interventions? How does the practitioner assess the demand for a variety of service among older adults in the community? Our approach to research is to help you acquire the skills needed to answer these kinds of questions.

Our philosophy runs contrary to most MA programs insofar as we want to offer the graduate candidate something different, something new, and something designed to meet the challenges of a free enterprise society that places a premium on efficiency and effectiveness. Hence, our MA program in TR is not just “more of the same” the student has received at the undergraduate level. Our assumption is that the returning student already knows most of the skills and competencies necessary for TR practice. Our intent is to provide you the research and business skills that will separate you from the “rest of the pack” and make you more competitive for the best jobs available in the TR field.

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