Chicago Hospitality Universities with Degree Overviews

The Chicago area has more than 15 schools that offer hospitality programs. Learn about the degree and admission requirements for three of these colleges -- all located within a mile of the city center -- to make an informed education decision.

Hospitality Degree Programs in Chicago

There are many school options for hospitality training in the Chicago area, and the focus here is on three institutions that are within a 5-minute drive of the city's center. Get information on coursework and internship requirements and then review a table of school statistics that follows. Details on a couple of other schools with relevant programs are provided as well.

  • Located in the Downtown Loop, DePaul University is one of the country's largest private universities. Students at this school can complete a minor, bachelor's degree or master's degree program in hospitality leadership.
  • Students seeking a school that has a broader array of programs can attend Roosevelt University. The institution, located less than a mile form downtown Chicago, offers credentials as well as bachelor's and master's degrees in hospitality and tourism management.
  • For women who would like to attend a small institution, Lexington College has a population of less than 70 students and is around a mile away from central Chicago. The school is located in the West Loop and offers associate's and bachelor's degrees in hospitality management.

DePaul University

This private school is the largest Catholic higher education institution in the country and was named among the top 20 on The Princeton Review's list of 'Great College Town' schools in 2010. The School of Hospitality Leadership offers undergraduate and graduate programs in hospitality.

Minor in Hospitality Leadership

Non-business majors wishing to learn about the hospitality industry can complete this minor program in two 5-week sessions over a single summer. Core requirements include classes in hospitality leadership, law and ethics, business operations, and hospitality service management. Students can select a concentration in either event management or lodging management. Each concentration consists of eight credit hours of coursework.

Bachelor of Science in Business: Hospitality Leadership

Students in this program prepare for management positions through classroom lectures and internship experiences. Coursework is designed help students develop a sense of personal and social responsibility by focusing on five central themes: ethics, globalization, human resources, leadership, and sustainability. The program also consists of five concentrations in food and beverage management, event management, lodging management, non-profit hospitality leadership, and private club management. Students can select a specialty from one of these areas beginning in their junior year. To earn the degree, students are also required to complete two internships at two different hospitality companies.

Master of Business Administration (concentrations in hospitality leadership or non-profit hospitality leadership)

Students enrolled in the hospitality leadership concentration receive training centered on guest experiences and quality assurance, in addition to their core business coursework. Students learn how to demonstrate advanced leadership skills in various sectors within the industry. The program also focuses on the importance of employee development and how it affects service delivery. The non-profit option emphasizes study in four key areas: disaster relief efforts, internally-run institutional food service operations, social services relief establishments, and volunteer tourism. Students also learn about human behavior, leadership, and managerial roles in non-profit companies.

Master of Science in Hospitality Leadership and Operational Performance

This degree program is designed to equip students with skills in assessing and maximizing human resources in hospitality organizations, delivering interactive guest services experiences, and improving business development. Students can earn this degree by completing 48 credits of coursework. The program includes a prerequisite phase for students who do not have an undergraduate degree or professional experience in hospitality. Some of the courses offered include customer relationship management, guest/employee experience management, hospitality data analysis, and revenue management.

Roosevelt University

Founded in 1945, Roosevelt University has two campuses located in Chicago and Schaumburg, IL. The Evelyn T. Stone College of Professional Studies, which houses the Manfred Steinfeld School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, is located at the downtown Chicago campus. Students enrolled in this school can complete undergraduate, graduate, and credential programs in hospitality.

Meeting and Event Management Credential

Students seeking to advance their careers in event planning or meeting management can complete this 16-semester hour undergraduate credential program. The program includes courses in event sales and service, green meeting management, and exhibition management. Credits earned from this program can also be applied to any 4-year degree program at the school.

Minor in Hospitality and Tourism Management

Students wishing to take hospitality coursework to supplement a degree in another major can enroll in the hospitality and tourism management minor program. The program requires completion of 18 course credits, which includes nine credits of core hospitality classes and nine credits of electives.

Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management

Students enrolled in this program can chose a concentration in hotel/lodging management, meeting and event management, sports hospitality management, restaurant/food service management or tourism administration. Each concentration requires nine credit hours. In total, students complete 54 credits of core hospitality classes. The program also requires 30 credits of electives, which may be used to accommodate transfer credits earned from previous study.

Bachelor of Professional Studies in Hospitality and Tourism Management

This degree is offered as a fast-track program; it's geared towards students who are 24 years of age or older, have a few transfer credits, and who may have additional job or family responsibilities. This program includes the same areas of specialization available in the Bachelor of Science degree program. Courses offered include food and beverage management, financial and managerial accounting for hospitality, front office management, and hospitality law.

Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management

Students in this program complete 30 credit hours on subjects such as meeting, convention, and exhibition management; lodging management; and organizational leadership. The program is designed to accommodate hospitality management professionals who have several years of experience in the field. Those without a background in hospitality may be eligible for admission by enrolling in prerequisite courses. To meet the degree requirements, students must also complete either a research thesis or a master's project.

Hospitality and Tourism Management Executive Credential

Hospitality professionals who seek career advancement can complete this program in just three semesters or in one academic year. The program consists of five courses for a total of 15 credits. Topics covered include hospitality and tourism management theories and applied research methods, operations analysis, multiculturalism, and organization development.

Lexington College

Located in the heart of Chicago, this women's hospitality management college offers associate and bachelor's degree programs in hospitality. Students at this school are able to take advantage of small classes, thereby receiving more individualized attention from faculty. The school has a close collaborative relationship with Marriott International, which offers Lexington students and alumnae expanded internship or career opportunities, and supports the school's library and hospitality curriculum.

Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality Management

First-time students at this college can complete this program by earning 66 credits. Transfer students are required to complete a minimum of 40 credit hours at this college. Students take core hospitality classes on topics such as food service safety and sanitation, financial accounting, marketing, and human resources management. Students gain real-world experience by completing a required summer internship. Eligibility for the internship is dependent on classroom attendance and conduct.

Bachelor of Applied Science in Hospitality Management

Students must complete 129 credit hours, including 27 credit hours of hospitality coursework and 41 credit hours of management coursework, to earn this degree. To meet the requirements for a concentration, students must take at least five classes in one of these areas of study: hotel and restaurant management, event planning, health care and wellness, or culinary arts. Courses covered in this program include strategic hospitality marketing and management, dining room services, hospitality law, finance, and purchasing. Students are also required to complete two summer internships.

Comparison of Schools

After exploring the degree options at the three profiled schools, take a look at this table to learn even more about them. Information on enrollment figures, retention rates and graduation rates, among other details, are included.

DePaul University Roosevelt University Lexington College
School Type 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2011) 25,398* 6,620* 64*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2012-2013) $31,650 (package rate for full-time undergraduate business students; tuition rates vary by program)** $25,950 (department rate)*** $24,700*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Aid (2010-2011) 91%* 95%* 100%*
% of Undergraduates Students Admitted (2012) 62%* 76%* 45%*
Retention Rates for First-Time Students (2011) 86% for full-time students* 65% for full-time students* 60% for full-time students*
Graduation Rates for First-Time Students Beginning in 2005 49% for full-time students, completion in regular time* 32% for full-time students, completion in regular time* 14% for full-time students, completion within 150% of time*

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics, **DePaul University, ***Roosevelt University.

Other Schools

Located about one mile from downtown, City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality degree program. The program requires 63 credits and can prepare students for entry-level positions in the field. The college also offers an advanced certificate program in hospitality front office. Another option is College of DuPage, located approximately 25 miles away, in Glen Ellyn, IL. Students at this school can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in travel and tourism professional, meeting and event planning, restaurant management, or hospitality management.

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