Jun 16, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalogue 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalogue Archived Catalogue

Recreation Therapy and Applied Gerontology, Bachelor’s/Master’s Combined Program

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Dr. Brent Hawkins, recreation therapy program coordinator, Dr. Tina Newsha,, gerontology program coordinator


Objective: This combined bachelor’s/master’s degree program is designed to provide qualified students the opportunity to complete both degree programs in as little as five years. The successful student will earn a Bachelor’s of Arts (B.A.) degree in Recreation Therapy and a Master’s of Science (M.S.) degree in Applied Gerontology (MGRN).

Undergraduate students in Recreation Therapy must apply for admission to the 4+1 B.A. in Recreation Therapy / M.S. in Applied Gerontology Combined Program.  Students should apply to the 4+1 combined program in the semester in which they are completing their 75th credit hour so that they can begin graduate coursework the semester thereafter.  While undergraduate students can begin the 4+1 combined program in the fall or spring semester, students in this combined program should begin three semesters prior to their anticipated graduation as it is not recommended that students take additional courses during their Recreation Therapy internship in their final semester.  Up to twelve hours of courses taken at the 500-level will be dual counted towards both degrees.  Students then have the option to apply to the graduate school and continue progress towards the MGRN degree upon completion of the bachelor’s degree.

Requirements: Completion of all degree requirements for both the B.A. in Recreation Therapy and the M.S. in Applied Gerontology with twelve credits of graduate-level courses that will count toward undergraduate requirements.

Program Prerequisites and Admission Requirements

  • Admission to the School of Health and Applied Human Sciences as a B.A. in Recreation Therapy student
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • At least 75 completed undergraduate credit hours prior to starting graduate courses
  • Completion of the application found at https://uncw.edu/chhs/shahs/academic/graduate/gerontology/index.html
  • One letter of recommendation from a faculty member with whom the student has taken a 300 or 400-level course
  • Cover letter describing interest in the program and career goals related to gerontology
  • Unofficial UNCW transcript

Rationale for Program

This program is an opportunity for students interested in working with older adults to develop knowledge, skills, and experience with and about the most rapidly growing segment of the population.  Drawing on the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education’s competencies as a framework, our goal is to educate gerontologists who will improve quality of life and promote well-being of persons as they age within their families, communities and societies through research, education and application of interdisciplinary knowledge of the aging process and aging populations.

The purpose of the combined Bachelor of Arts degree in Recreation Therapy and Master of Science degree in Applied Gerontology is to offer an accelerated path toward a Master of Science degree that prepares graduates with knowledge, skills, and competencies to practice recreation therapy in healthcare and community-based settings serving older adults. This preparation prioritizes the development of skills via applied learning experiences, practica, internship, and community engagement. Furthermore, student outcomes emphasize critical thinking and evidence-based practices as means of assisting older adult clients and aging services provider organizations in reaching their goals and maximizing quality of life for older adults.

The combined program will benefit students by:

  • Providing invaluable knowledge and experience working with older adults
  • Allowing 12 graduate credits to satisfy undergraduate and graduate requirements
  • Reducing costs of graduate education due to the ability to enroll in graduate courses during an undergraduate degree program at the undergraduate tuition rate


Students must meet all requirements for the Recreation Therapy, B.A.   Students may count up to 12 credits of 500-level courses in the MGRN curriculum toward requirements for their undergraduate program of study. Undergraduate students in a combined program taking GRN 503 will receive credit for three University Studies categories: Information Literacy, Writing Intensive and Critical Reasoning. The courses available are:

For students who are admitted to the MGRN program:

Remaining requirements to complete that degree can be found in the UNCW Graduate Catalogue.


  • Once students are enrolled in the Recreation Therapy major and are completing their 75th credit hour, they can apply for admission into the 4+1 combined program.
  • After completing at least 75 undergraduate credit hours, those admitted to the 4+1 program can enroll in the 12 designated graduate courses.
  • Students who successfully complete the 12, 500-level credits and all remaining Recreation Therapy degree requirements are awarded a B.A. in Recreation Therapy.
  • In the final semester of their bachelor’s program, students may apply to the MGRN program for summer or fall admission. Applicants must meet all Graduate School admissions requirements and submit their application by the stated deadline. Admission to the 4+1 combined program does not guarantee admission to the MGRN program upon completion of the bachelor’s degree.
  • If admitted to the MGRN, the graduate credits earned at the 500-level will count toward the degree requirements of the M.S. in Applied Gerontology degree.
  • The following schedule details the progression to completion of the master’s degree in one year (note that only one of the two summer terms is required):
Summer Fall Spring Fall
  • GRN 590 Practicum in Gerontolgy
  • GRN 590 Practicum in Gerontology (repeated for credit)
  • GRN 540 Current Issues in Gerontology
  • GRN 590 Practicum in Gerontology
  • Elective
  • GRN 597 Project Proposal
  • GRN 598 Final Project
  • Elective
  • Elective
  • Elective
  • Students who do not progress to the M.S. in Applied Gerontology program may apply for admission to the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Gerontology and have the graduate credits earned at the 500-level count toward the degree requirements of the certificate.

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