At the Hart School, you won’t just gather in classrooms to analyze and discuss things you’ve read in a textbook. You’ll learn by doing. By engaging in powerful, impactful educational experiences outside a traditional classroom setting, you will apply what you have learned to gain knowledge, build lifelong friendships, engage with alumni and mentors, cultivate your personal growth and much more.

In-class experiences will allow you to simulate or partner with real sport and recreation agencies to learn through action in the real world. The classroom may be converted into a ticket sales call center when you partner with NASCAR to sell tickets to a race at Richmond Raceway. You may work to rebrand Women’s National Basketball Association teams or learn about the nuances of facility design when developing a local park, campground or sports complex.

Other experiences take place outside of the confines of a physical classroom. You may plan, execute and evaluate a recreation program in the community such as a 5k, sports clinic or field day. Facility site visits allow you to tour and learn about various sport and recreation facilities from parks to sportsplexes and stadiums to arenas. By participating in JMU athletic facility operations, you can learn about hosting NCAA Division I athletic events on campus. Each semester brings new destinations and new chances to learn from experts - and by doing.

Recent hands-on experience opportunities: 

  • NCAA Men’s Final Four
  • NFL Super Bowl
  • NASCAR University
  • PGA Tour’s BMW Championship
  • JMU Athletics Game Day Operations
  • University Recreation Center Operations (UREC)
  • We Hart Racial Equality 5K
  • Le Gourmet Fundraising Dinner and Auction

The required practicum and internship are opportunities to gain valuable work experience that are built right into your SRM degree. You begin with a 90-hour practicum as part of the SRM 282 course, and complete a 400-hour internship in SRM 482.  Combined, these experiences give you a valuable edge in the job market right from the starting gate. As they are often completed during the Fall or Spring semester while taking other classes, many students complete practicums working for University Recreation or Athletics at JMU.  Additionally, students have worked with Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Parks and Rec, Sports Analytics and Special Olympics.

Internships require a much longer commitment and serve as a capstone experience for students, allowing you to showcase all you have learned by working for an agency similar to one where you may want to work as a professional. Previous students have interned for collegiate athletic programs, professional sports teams, Disney/ESPN, Wasserman, Tough Mudder, Horizons Edge Sports Campus, Massanutten Resort, FOX Sports, local high school athletic departments, University recreation programs, local parks and recreation departments and even at far away places like Australia and Paris.

Learn more about internships and practicums.

As a future sports and recreation leader, you’ll need to know how to gather and analyze data to help make the best possible decisions for your organization. Our Research Experience for Undergraduates program will help you learn the process of conducting independent research in the business disciplines. 

As an undergraduate research assistant, you’ll make valuable connections with JMU faculty as you collaborate on research topics of mutual interest, learning a wide range of research skills such as reviewing literature, developing surveys, collecting and cleaning data, and analyzing results. These experiences may also give you a competitive edge in applying for graduate school.

Previous Projects:

  • Co-Authoring a Case Study: A case study that examines racism in youth sport and recreation from a comprehensive perspective: The stories of Amanda Scott, Lexi, and Hugo.
  • Co-Authoring a Peer-Reviewed Journal Article: Challenges of an established amateur sport: Exploring how wheelchair basketball grows and thrives through a sport development lense (Published in the Journal of Amateur Sport).
  • Co-Authoring a Textbook Chapter: Governance of Olympic and Paralympic Games in the edited text Administration & Governance in Global Sport Business (Ruihley, B. J., & Li, B.)

“As I move further into my schooling and career, this experience will serve as a cornerstone of my presentation skills. My time spent in the REU program has been one of the highlights of my time here at JMU." - Hunter VanMeter ('22)

For many students, the time spent studying abroad is one of the most significant periods in their academic studies. Long afterward they continue to discover that the immersive experience of another culture pays dividends throughout their lives as they navigate new social and global career environments.

There are many options for SRM students to study abroad while earning credits toward your JMU degree, both long-term (whole semester/12 weeks) and short-term (3-6 weeks). Sport and Recreation students can choose a study abroad program that offers classes that will fulfill their major requirements (or count as electives in their major), or any program that will allow them to fulfill JMU General Education requirements.

Through the Center for Global Engagement, you’ll be able to take advantage of specific SRM international programs with a focus on the Sport and Recreation industries.

Examples of past SRM study abroad opportunities include:

  • Internship placements in Australia with sports teams or companies involved with Australian Rules Football.
  • The Study of Sport and Recreation in Ireland
  • Sport-for-Development and Baseball in the Dominican Republic
  • The History of Sport, Recreation and Hospitality in Italy
  • Management in Sport and Recreation in Paris
  • Combating Gender Inequality in Youth Through Recreation and Sport Education/Coaching in Rwanda
  • Exchange programs where students take classes in Sport Management (in English) with a partner institution located in either Sweden or South Korea

Oftentimes, internships can also be arranged in these locations.

Required Sport & Recreation Internship & Practicum

The purpose of the SRM 282 practicum course is to introduce Sport and Recreation Management majors to the variety and scope of employment opportunities within the field. Over the course of one semester, students will work/volunteer for 10 hours a week in the sport and recreation organization of their choice (total of 90 hours). Students should choose their practicum site intentionally, because a successful practicum experience will often lead to an internship offer. The best course is to choose a subset of the sport and recreation industry (an aspect of the industry about which you’re interested in learning more and in which you can see yourself working one day) and seek a practicum experience in that area. 

SRM 282 can be taken in the fall, spring, or summer semesters. Feel free to find a practicum site in your hometown (and take the class over the summer) or find a Harrisonburg site and take the class in the fall or spring semesters. Just like in any other class, you will be responsible for submitting bi-weekly logs, writing a paper, evaluating the site, and receiving evaluations from your site supervisor.

An internship in sport and recreation management is a form of experiential learning which integrates knowledge and theory gained in the classroom with practical application and skills development within a sport/recreation setting. Students should begin with the end in mind – if they see themselves working in sports marketing after they graduate, then they should try and find a sports marketing internship. Successful internship experiences often lead to a strong professional network and full-time job opportunities.

  • SRM 482 is usually taken the summer after a student’s junior year or the summer after their senior year (this is helpful for the student athletes we have in our program.
  • Course prerequisites are SRM 282; SRM 333; and 72 credit hours.
  • Minimum of 400 hours (full-time work experience; 40 hours a week for 10 weeks).
  • Internships must be pre-approved by Professor Angela Hayslett, SRM Internship Coordinator; most will be approved as long as the organization fits within the sport and recreation industry.
  • Students are not permitted to take more than 3-4 additional credit hours (1 class) while completing the SRM 482 internship.
  • More details are available here: 

Yes! In fact, we encourage younger students (freshmen and sophomores) to seek out as many industry experiences as possible to start building their professional networks and resumes. Seeking out part-time jobs and volunteering in your industry is encouraged! These non-credit work/internship experiences will make you look even more qualified when it’s time to apply for your for-credit internship (400-hour industry experience, SRM 482) in your junior or senior year at JMU.

No, internship experiences obtained early in your college career will not count for academic credit towards SRM 482, the required internship class. Our industry partners agree that obtaining knowledge through your SRM classes will make you more professional and successful in your for-credit internship, so SRM 482 has prerequisites (SRM 282; SRM 333; and 72 credit hours) that you must take before registering for your internship class.

Students are responsible for researching and obtaining their own individual internship experiences. Though we do not act as an internship placement service, Hart School faculty and staff have strong relationships with sport and recreation industry employers and professionals and we regularly leverage these relationships to create opportunities for students. In addition, our dedicated alumni base recruits our students for jobs and internships on a regular basis.

Our Professional Development & Employer Engagement Coordinator, Jen Nelson, spends much of her time cultivating relationships with industry employers and works to provide the following resources in order to make the internship/job search process as seamless as possible for students:

  • The Hart School Career and Internship Fair (offered each October and February)
  • On-campus information sessions by top industry employers
  • Programming on how to search for jobs and internships; resume and cover letter reviews; interviewing best practices
  • Advising appointments are available so students can discuss questions they have about finding an internship; obtaining more industry experience, etc.
  • Internships, FT/PT jobs, and volunteer opportunities are posted on the Hart School Career Development Canvas page. Students can log-on and search by keyword or can read a weekly summary that’s emailed out.

The sport and recreation industry is competitive, and the differentiator among applicants for a full-time job is often the degree and quality of their work experience. In order to provide this industry experience, particularly the management experience that an internship provides, we require Hart School students to complete an internship.

There are both practical and academic components to the SRM 482 internship. While the majority of what you will be doing during this time is working with your site agency, you will need to complete the following to obtain class credit:

  • Engage in correspondence with your professor.
  • Complete weekly time logs and reflections on sport and recreation topics.
  • Complete evaluations, goals and objectives.
  • Short quizzes, and a summary paper for academic credit. These materials are accessible on Canvas and must be completed in order to receive academic credit.

Yes! Students are welcome to seek out internship opportunities abroad, as long as the position meets the specified requirements (listed above). As with any other SRM student choosing to intern in the U.S., Dr. Shonk must sign off on this international study abroad experience. In addition, students must have reliable internet access in order to communicate virtually with their professor and complete/submit virtual assignments.

What our students say...

"The knowledge and mentorship that I received from the first-class faculty and staff assisted in shaping the professional that I am today. Additionally, the hands-on experiences that I was exposed to helped to prepare me for my career."

Amanda (Cramer) Allshouse ('11)
Specialist, Global Partnerships, National Basketball Association

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