Students interested in conference, meeting, and wedding planning might be interested in earning a certificate or degree in event planning. Event planning programs are frequently offered in conjunction with hospitality management programs. Some programs are non-credit, and others are offered on the weekends. Internships and other experience-earning opportunities may be offered through some programs. Graduate students should expect to do research and complete a senior capstone project.
Eight colleges and universities in Colorado offer certificate and degree programs in event planning. A short overview of each school is below, followed by a comparison table of the schools' programs and tuition.
Arapahoe Community College
Arapahoe Community College (ACC) is roughly 12 miles south of Denver, in Littleton. ACC has three campus locations in the Denver area, including one in Parker, where a certificate program in event management is offered. This non-credit program has ten module courses, including topics in conventions and sporting events, meeting planning, event funding, staff management and community entertainment. An event management specialist option is also available as a 15-week program, while single specialty sessions can be taken on their own. Topics include wedding planning, event management for non-profits, and owning your own event management business.
Emily Griffith Technical College
Located in Denver, this public school offers an event planning program. This is a 42-credit program. Students will take classes on topics such as business editing, strategies for employment, meetings, event finances, and event technology. An internship is also required.
Front Range Community College
Front Range Community College (FRCC) is in Westminster, a suburb approximately 12 miles north of Denver. Offered at the college's Larimer campus in Fort Collins, FRCC has an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in hospitality management and culinary arts with a focus in event planning. Some of the required courses in the A.A.S. program are hospitality, service management and cost control, as well as a hospitality internship. The event planning concentration curriculum might also include accounting, human resources management and menu planning. A 23-credit certificate in hospitality and culinary arts management is also available.
Johnson & Wales University - Denver
The Johnson & Wales University campus in Denver is a few miles from downtown and specializes in hospitality, culinary arts and business programs. The Hospitality College offers a Bachelor of Science in Sports, Entertainment and Event Management. This program prepares graduates to work in event management, entertainment management, facility management and media relations. Some of the major coursework involves negotiations, event management, ticket sales and guest services. Other electives could include weddings and ceremonies, concert and event production, trade show management and special event protocol.
Metropolitan State College of Denver
Based in Denver, this college is located downtown, which is the center of the city's hospitality industry. The school has a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) program in hospitality, tourism and events that includes a concentration in event management. Facilities at the college include a 150-room hotel with meeting and classroom space where students may work to complete the program's required 1,200 hours of on-the-job experience. Some of the B.A. program core requirements include event industry, sustainable tourism, hospitality law, creative innovations and hospitality security. The event management concentration could include courses in event project management, special event production, sports events, wedding planning and non-profit events.
Also offered at the school is a post-baccalaureate certificate program in event management. This 21-credit program includes studies in the event industry, event support systems, hospitality promotions and trade shows.
Pueblo Community College
Pueblo Community College is located about 45 miles south of Colorado Springs in Pueblo, and it offers an A.A.S. degree program in hospitality studies with a track in tourism, conventions and events. Students who graduate from this program are trained to manage and plan a wide variety of events, including weddings and business meetings. Some of the required concentration courses include hospitality marketing, special event planning, tourism, convention management and finance. Participants must also complete an internship during the program.
University of Denver
The University of Denver (DU) is located in a residential area of Denver, with downtown only about five miles away. The DU College of Professional and Continuing Studies offers a Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) program in arts and culture that includes a concentration in arts development and program management. This program is designed for those interested in working as event planners, organizational managers, program developers or fundraisers for the arts and culture industry. This 12-course MLS degree can be earned on campus or online and includes courses like program planning for culture and arts, funding arts development, event planning and marketing the arts. In addition, students must complete a senior capstone and research project.
A 6-course graduate certificate program in arts development and program management is also available. Classes completed in this certificate program can be applied toward completion of the related MLS degree program.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Event Planning Programs Offered||Costs (2015-2016)|
|Arapahoe Community College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Certificate in Event Management,
Event Manager Specialist,
| Certificate in Event Management: $2,599,
Event Manager Specialist: $1,799,
Specialist Sessions: $499/per course*
|Emily Griffith Technical College||Less than 2-year, public; large city||Event Planning Program||Event Planning Program: $5,034 (estimated cost without books)*|
|Front Range Community College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts with an event planning concentration,
Certificate in Hospitality and Culinary Arts Management
| $3,527 in-state
|Johnson & Wales University - Denver||4-year, private not-for-profit; large city||Bachelor of Science in Sports, Entertainment and Event Management||$29,576**|
|Metropolitan State University of Denver||4-year, public; large city|| Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality, Tourism and Events with an event management concentration,
Certificate in Event Management
| $6,420 in-state
|Pueblo Community College||2-year, public; midsize city||Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality Studies with an option in tourism, conventions and events|| $6,761 in-state
|University of Denver||4-year, private not-for-profit; large city|| Master of Liberal Studies in Arts and Culture with a concentration in arts development and program management,
Certificate of Advanced Study in Arts Development and Program Management
| Master's program: $30,144*
Certificate program: $15,072*
Sources: *Schools' websites, **NCES College Navigator.