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Graduate Assistantships

About our Graduate Assistantships

The Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism at the University of Utah welcomes applications for consideration for graduate research and teaching assistantships. Research assistantships in our department focus on the intersections between people and nature, as they affect health and wellness. Currently funded doctoral research assistants are working with the American Camp Association (ACA), the Spencer Foundation, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), the Office of Outdoor Recreation, and the Global Change and Sustainability Center (GCSC). Additional opportunities are anticipated and many positions offer a blend of teaching and research. Teaching assistants generally begin teaching in a mentored integrated block of core courses and progress to independent course instruction. Currently funded Master’s graduate assistants are working with University Campus Recreation Services, the Office of Outdoor Recreation, and community agencies.  

Ph.D. assistantship positions are generally renewable for three or four years, during which time continual registration as a full-time student is necessary and progress toward Ph.D. completion is expected. Applicants must be admitted and enrolled in the doctoral program in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism at the University of Utah.

A few M.S. Assistantships are also offered each year. Funding for M.S. students may come from sources external to the department, such as Campus Recreation Services.  The number and nature of assistantships available to incoming M.S. students changes from year to year.

Research and teaching assistantship appointments involve 20 hours of work a week for 9 months and include a monthly stipend, tuition/fee remission (through the Tuition Benefit Program), and subsidized health insurance. Please visit The Graduate School for details on fellowships and benefitsExceptional candidates may qualify for additional scholarship monies, additional months of appointment, and/or summer teaching or research opportunities. Travel support to present at professional conferences is available through the Department, the Graduate School, and student associations.

Application Deadline

Interested applicants should complete an application with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism and The Graduate SchoolApplication materials for Ph.D. must be submitted before January 15 and M.S. application materials must be submitted before March 1 in order to be considered for admission for study starting in Fall (August) of the same year. 

Additional questions, inquires, and applications for campus visitation support can be directed to Dr. Dorothy (Dart) Schmalz, Director of Graduate Studies, University of Utah, Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, 270 S. 1400 East, Room 201 William A. Stewart Building, Salt Lake City, UT 84112; or emailed to

For additional information on the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism please visit the Department Homepage.


2020 Assistantships

PhD Students Only

Department Research and Teaching Assistantship

This assistantship includes teaching core courses in our undergraduate program, and assisting faculty with research, external funding, and writing. Potential applicants should visit our website to review our faculty expertise and existing courses at the undergraduate level. In their letter of application, candidates should comment on how they see themselves fitting in with existing operations and faculty interests. We are especially interested in graduate assistants who complement our existing faculty and help create dynamic departmental synergies. Interested applicants, please contact Dr. Dorothy (Dart) Schmalz at | 801-581-8080. 

Eco and Sustainable Tourism Assistantship  

Responsibilities associated with this assistantship include field projects and/or survey and interview efforts focused on eco and sustainable tourism as it relates to parks and protected areas including: Impact of tourism on gateway communities; the role of concessionaire practice and policies in facilitating sustainable tourism; ecosystem health and quality of life; tourism as a tool for conservation; and, standards and certification in eco and sustainable tourism. Some applicants may be eligible for a funded Fellowship at the University’s Global Change and Sustainability Center (GCSC). Interested applicants, please contact Dr. Kelly Bricker at | 801-585-6503.

Leisure for Health and Well-being Assistantship

There are many ways that leisure and positive psychology overlap in serving individual and community health and well-being. Self-motivated and curious students interested in further exploring the relationships between these complementary disciplines will be active in the development of grant proposals and conducting research. Students will be expected to contribute with their own research agenda that corresponds with broader research goals. Of particular interest are parks and green spaces individual and community physical, mental, emotional health and well-being. Interested applicants, please contact Dr. Dorothy (Dart) Schmalz at| 801-581-8080.

Youth Development and Organized Camping Assistantship

Two assistantships are available to coordinate and support our on-going partnerships with the American Camp Association and NOLS. Specific work will entail data collection and management, logistical planning, project and team coordination, and presenting, writing, and dissemination of results. Data collection will involve both qualitative and quantitative approaches over the next four years and will involve program participants, parents, and staff. It is expected that students will generate their own research projects synergistic with the larger research plan as a way to support their academic progress. Interested applicants, please contact Dr. Jim Sibthorp at | 801-581-5940.



  • M.S. Students Only

  • University of Utah Campus Recreation Services – Outdoor Adventures


    Outdoor Adventures (OA) is committed to being the collegiate-leader in human-powered outdoor recreation by empowering exploration for the U community with outdoor gear, technical skills, recreation opportunities, and leadership training. OA operates the largest collegiate equipment rental program in the nation in addition to facilitating a variety of outdoor adventure activities for the university community, providing new student outdoor orientation programs, and coordinating the Outdoor Leadership Floor Living and Learning Community (LLC).


    The Outdoor Adventures Graduate Assistantship position involves rolling responsibilities over the two year commitment. In the first year, your focus will be on managerial tasks within the trips program, rental shop, and outdoor orientation programming, which includes a commitment during the summer in between your first and second year. In the second year, your focus will be on student trainings and the Outdoor Leadership Floor LLC.

  • Assist in the planning and execution of student led adventure trips and programming.
  • Work with OA managers to facilitate front-country and back-country new student outdoor orientation programs.
  • Assist in planning, organizing, and facilitating outdoor technical skill trainings for volunteer trip leaders.
  • Coordinate and develop programs for the Outdoor Leadership Floor LLC.
  • Enforce CRS policies and guidelines, and work with managers to resolve conflicts.
  • Assist in the management and operations of the rental shop.
  • Other duties as assigned.

    The OA Graduate Assistantship position is a 9-month contract (August 16th-May 15th) that will be renewed based on satisfactory performance a maximum of 1 time for a total of two academic years. The contract consists of 20 hours a week which will be compensated with a full tuition waiver and a $15,500 stipend. Subsidized graduate student health insurance is available. There is an expectation that successful candidates will work the summer between their first and second years up to 40 hours a week at a rate of $13.00 an hour.


    Send a cover letter, resume, and outdoor experience log to Alli Hughes, OA co-manager at or Rob Jones, OA Manager at

    Outdoor Adventures seeks candidates for this opportunity in administration and program management. Ideal candidates will be well organized, with strong communication proficiencies. The ability to manage and supervise student employees and volunteers is essential. Strong candidates will work well in a team environment, be self-directed, and able to manage multiple projects and assignments at one time.

  • Bachelor’s degree in recreation, outdoor education, or a related field (Minimum GPA 3.0)
  • Current Wilderness First Responder
  • Demonstrate experience leading or teaching at least 3 of the following skills: Rock and/or Ice climbing, whitewater boating, backcountry skiing, canyoneering, mountain biking, backpacking, or mountaineering.
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Pursuing a Master’s degree in Parks, Recreation, & Tourism, Health & Kinesiology, or Educational Leadership & Policy at the University of Utah

Graduate Advising

Dr. Dorothy Schmalz

Director of Graduate Studies

Phone: 801-581-8080


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