PSU ranked fourth in nation for specialized degree 

  Monday, October 9, 2017 2:00 AM
  Milestones, Academics, News

Pittsburg, KS

PSU ranked fourth in nation for specialized degree 

The ranking by SR Education Group's OnlineU represents online schools across the nation that are making an effort to provide economical options for students. SR Education Group has been publishing rankings of online colleges since 2009. The ranking is determined after manually researching the tuition of every college offering fully online degrees to determine and rank the most affordable choices.  

badgeJohn Oppliger, chair of the Health, Human Performance, and Recreation Department, said that beyond being affordable, part of what makes the program so appealing is its convenience for employed students and professionals. The degree, Sport and Leisure Service Management, includes three emphasis areas designed to fit student needs, depending on the baccalaureate degree held. 

It also has credibility: all 11 faculty who teach in the program hold terminal degrees, with areas of expertise that include recreation and sport, therapeutic recreation, hospitality, health promotion, education, athletic coaching, exercise science, and rehabilitation medicine. It's coordinated by Scott Gorman, an award-winning University Professor. 

And, it's unique: It's the only graduate program in Kansas with an emphasis for recreation and leisure professionals. Career options include community park and recreation management, YMCA/YWCA and wellness center management, and athletic directors in schools and colleges. 

Graduates from the program range from University of Arkansas-Ft. Smith Basketball Coach Elena Lovato, to Mica Rosenow, who owns her own massage business in Joplin and is working on her doctorate, to Steven Lilly, associate director of recreation at PSU's Student Recreation Center. 

Oppliger said the Sport and Leisure Service Management Emphasis within the Master of Science in HPPR degree attracts students desiring advanced study and preparation in the various aspects of administration and management.  

"Students with education, athletic coaching, park and recreation, and leisure backgrounds often select this emphasis area," he said.  

Oppliger said the Human Performance and Wellness Emphasis attracts students desiring advanced study and preparation in exercise testing and prescription.   

"Students with exercise science, physical education, athletic coaching, and fitness/wellness backgrounds often select this emphasis area," he said. 

The General Emphasis attracts students from a variety of backgrounds, most often educators and future collegiate athletic coaches who desire a general graduate degree from the health, human performance and recreation disciplines.     

The program is currently going through a redesign which will add additional specialty or emphasis areas such as Integrative Exercise Physiology and Pedagogy and Coaching.

To learn more about PSU' program, visit

The full list of rankings is available at 



Connect With Us