Hospitality PhD Program Information

Get information on a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program in hospitality management. Learn about educational prerequisites, required coursework and career options for graduates.

Essential Information

A doctoral degree program in hospitality prepares students for high-level careers in hospitality, restaurant and hotel management. Ph.D. graduates often pursue postsecondary hospitality teaching positions, independent research opportunities or management positions with national hospitality corporations. Most programs require a master's degree in hospitality for admission, although a graduate degree in business or management may be acceptable.

A Ph.D. in Hospitality Management is a research-based graduate degree program that teaches students to apply conceptual research methods to hotel management, tourism and other areas of hospitality. This program offers traditional hospitality courses and independent research studies. Most programs require a completed dissertation on a specific aspect of hospitality management. Program length varies by school, but programs can take anywhere from 3-8 years to complete. A doctorate degree in hospitality can be broad or have a special area of focus, such as international hospitality or tourism management.

Educational Prerequisites

To enroll in a doctorate degree program in hospitality, students must have a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from accredited universities. Most doctorate students are required to have a master's degree in hospitality, though business and management degrees are also common. Students must submit official transcripts, GMAT or GRE scores and various additional requirements, including letters of recommendation and a resume.

Program Coursework

In addition to a doctoral dissertation, students take traditional courses that combine business knowledge and high-level hospitality concepts. Most Ph.D. programs allow students to complete internships or work opportunities with restaurants, hotels, casinos or other hospitality organizations. Because many Ph.D. students seek research positions after completing the program, courses on statistics, quantitative and qualitative research are common. Additional courses may include:

  • Hospitality research methods
  • Economic trends in hospitality
  • International hospitality
  • Leadership principles in hospitality management
  • Hospitality marketing and promotion

Popular Career Options

Most Ph.D. candidates seek research or teaching positions after receiving a doctorate degree in hospitality. These positions are research-intensive and require a solid understanding of hospitality trends and concepts. Common career options include:

  • Postsecondary hospitality educator
  • Hospitality administration researcher
  • Hospitality coordinator
  • Chief executive officer for hospitality organization

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Job openings for postsecondary teachers in general are projected to increase by 17% between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, This increase corresponds to growing enrollment in postsecondary schools. Although the BLS does not provide salary data for hospitality teachers directly, it includes them in the salary category for postsecondary teachers with non-specified specializations. These teachers earned a median annual salary of $64,290 as of May 2012, per the BLS.

Continuing Education Information

With a Ph.D. in hospitality, individuals can seek research opportunities with universities, private companies and government agencies. Many professionals seek grants and funding for hospitality research studies and independent projects in conjunction with universities or hospitality organizations such as the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and the Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA).

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