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Future Scholars Program

The purpose of The Academy's Future Scholars Program is to provide graduate students who are interested in pursuing a doctorate in an area related to recreation and leisure studies the opportunity to meet some of the outstanding researchers and scholars in this field by attending the Academy of Leisure Sciences Annual Conference on Research and Teaching.


Individuals who meet the following criteria are eligible to apply.

  • Completed or currently enrolled in a masters degree program but not yet committed to doctoral study at a particular university;
  • Maintained a grade point average of at least 3.0 during undergraduate and graduate studies;
  • Not enrolled in a doctoral program at time of application nor at time of the Congress;
  • Plans to initiate doctoral studies within the next three years;
  • Interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in recreation and parks, leisure studies, tourism, or recreation resource management;
  • Can attend The Academy of Leisure Sciences Annual Conference on Research and Teaching in Indianapolis in February, 2018.

Selection Criteria

Future scholars are selected from among all applicants with consideration of the following criteria.

  • Academic ability (based on GPA and faculty sponsor letter).
  • Indications of scholarly potential in this field (based on publications, presentations,research experience, applicant's cover letter, and/or faculty sponsor letter).
  • Strength of intention to pursue doctoral studies in a leisure-related subject (based on applicant's cover letter and faculty sponsor letter).
  • General level of professionalism (based on format and depth of application materials, presentation of written materials, and professional involvement).

2017 Application Packet

The 2017 Future Scholars Program application packet is now available. Download it here. It is a MSWord document that must be saved to your computer so the application form can be completed and the document submitted as per the instructions. The application deadline is May 1, 2017.

Quotes from Past Award Winners

"Attending the NRPA conference gave me a real sense of the dynamism and energy of the people in our field, which was inspirational. I loved the opportunity to learn about different choices of PhD programs all in one place. Thank you for your confidence in my potential." -- Former Future Scholar

"I didn’t know what to expect but it turned out to be one of the most significant turning points in my professional career. I met so many leaders in our field. The experience was a turning point professionally." -- Dana Kivel, Chair of the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration at California State University, Sacramento and Board

Donate to the Future Scholars Program

Visit our donations page to donate to the Future Scholars Program as well as the Butler Lecture