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Graduate Assistantships

About our Graduate Assistantships

The Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism at the University of Utah is now accepting applications for consideration for doctoral research and teaching assistantships; January 15th is our priority deadline. Currently funded research assistants are working on projects with the American Camp Association (ACA), the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), Nature and Human Health -Utah (NHH-UT), Outward Bound International, the National Parks Services, 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. 

Research and teaching assistantship appointments involve 20 hours of work a week for 9 months and include a monthly stipend, tuition/fee remission, and subsidized health insurance Graduate Subsidized Health Insurance Program - Graduate School - The University of Utah. Exceptional 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.

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.

Interested applicants should complete an application with the Department and the Graduate School

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.


2023 Assistantships

PhD Students Only


Departmental Research and Teaching

These assistantships 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. Jim Sibthorp at | 801-581-5940.

Social and Environmental Justice

Dr. Jeff Rose is conducting multiple research projects focusing on social and environmental justice in parks and public spaces. In particular, there are active and ongoing projects examining unsheltered homelessness in spaces managed by the National Park Service, as well as local community-engaged research projects that will support students through their graduate program. Please contact for questions or more information.  

Leisure for Health and Well-being

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 Outdoor Education

Up to two assistantships are available to coordinate and support our on-going partnerships with the American Camp Association, NOLS, and Outward Bound International. 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. Lisa Meerts-Brandsma at or Dr. Jim Sibthorp at | 801-581-5940.

M.S. Students Only

Peak Health and Fitness 

PEAK Health and Fitness is a partnership between the College of the Osher Center for Integrative Health at the University of Utah. PEAK's core responsibility is to provide practical training and education for undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Health. These types of opportunities foster the development of knowledge, skills, and abilities for the students and provide professional-level health, fitness and wellness services to the University and Community members.

PEAK graduate teaching assistants work within an interdisciplinary team of graduate students studying nutrition, wellness coaching, health education, exercise physiology, and recreation. Teaching assistants gain skills including collaborating within integrative teams, group leadership, individual consultation, and program planning, implementation, and evaluation. 

We are looking for a PRT graduate teaching assistant who is interested in the following activities: 

  • Leading group outdoor recreation opportunities for U employees (hiking, walking, snowshoeing, etc.)
  • Creation of ParkRX programming for our university employee population
    • Individual consultation 
    • group presentations/workshops

The PEAK TA position is 20-hours per week and includes a stipend and a tuition waiver 
For more information, please contact Dr. Dart Schmalz at

Graduate Advising

Dr. Jim Sibthorp, PhD 

Director of Graduate Studies

Phone: 801-585-5940


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