Southeast Missouri State University

Why Should I Study Community Wellness and Leisure Services at Southeast?

This program is designed for those individuals who seek to work in community recreation or in facilities that provide health/fitness services in community settings. The Master of Public Administration degree with an option in Community Wellness is highly desirable for professionals working within the community setting. The Master of Public Administration is housed in the Department of Political Science, Philosophy and Religion. The option offered by the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation requires a student to complete a core of courses which make up the Master of Public Administration degree.

Application Requirements

Student must hold a baccalaureate degree from any regionally accredited college or university (or international equivalent). Student must have attained an undergraduate G.P.A. of 2.7 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Read more about the application requirements in the Graduate Bulletin.

Courses and Curriculum

The 12-hour option in Community Wellness and Leisure Services focuses on delivery of health, wellness and recreation programming to the public. Students are required to take courses in program delivery and community development and may choose among health promotion programming or fitness programming courses to complete the option. Each student is required to complete either an internship or thesis. For more information please see the Graduate Bulletin.

Capstone Requirements

Each student will obtain an approved internship in a public or not-for-profit agency. The student will write a scholarly internship paper, and present and defend it during an oral examination. Or, in place of the internship, and with the approval of the faculty advisor, a student may choose to do scholarly research on a specified topic. The student will write a master's thesis, and present and defend it during an oral examination. The Thesis Guidelines are available online.

Career Opportunities

The career path of most of the individuals is determined by the undergraduate degree they hold upon entering the program. Below are categories for employment of some of the graduates of the program.

  • Parks and Recreation Administration
  • Student Recreation
  • Fitness Facility Management
  • Youth Services
  • Community Health Education/Health Promotion

Real-World Experience

In lecture courses within the option and through internships, students will gain experience through projects and activities. The internship is a 120-hour experience working with professionals in the field.

Student Organization

Graduate Student Advisory Council

Professional Certifications & Organizations


The Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation is housed in the Parker Athletic and Physical Education Complex. The complex, which is named for Southeast's ninth president, Dr. Walter Parker, opened in 1960. It features a full gymnasium, dance studio, gymnastics practice studio and many meeting and class rooms. Parker also houses the Physical Education, Sports Medicine and Dance programs, as well as the nationally ranked Women's Gymnastics Program. Parker also offers students an opportunity to develop skills in areas such as self-defense and martial arts.

Students and faculty also utilize the beautiful natural areas in the surrounding region for various outdoor pursuits. Giant City State Park in near-by Illinois provides some excellent rock-climbing opportunities; while nearby Perry County, Mo., has the most caves per capita of any county in the country. There are several good paddling spots in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas, and camping, hiking, hunting and fishing opportunities abound. There are also several challenge/ropes courses located within an easy traveling distance from the Southeast campus.

Related Links

Online Application
Graduate Bulletin
Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation
School of Graduate Studies
International Students

Contact Us

Dr. Craig Elder, Coordinator of Graduate Program

Department of Health Human Performance and Recreation
Southeast Missouri State University
One University Plaza, MS 7650
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

Phone: (573) 651-5193
Fax: (573) 651-5150