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5 Universities Offering Free Hospitality Management Education Online

Interested in learning more about hospitality management or related service industries? Check out this list for a variety of free or low-cost resources that can help you get a great start in hospitality management.

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Hospitality Management Courses Online for Credit

A number of courses in general, business or hospitality management are available online for students who want to enter the hospitality or service management industry. However, these courses generally don't provide a path to credit. Students looking for options that do prepare them to earn alternative forms of credit or award a certificate might consider some of the low-cost options at Study.com. When students work their way through the courses, they can ultimately work towards earning credit.

There is a course called Hotel Management Training that covers numerous hospitality management topics. Resources such as lesson quizzes, transcripts and videos can help students master the information being discussed. Some of the chapters include:

Another course that students can look into is Study.com's Business 101: Principles of Management, which covers the following topics and much more:

Hospitality Management Courses Online Free

The free courses below might include lectures, readings and exams. Students taking these classes should note that no grading is offered, classes are taken at the student's own pace and academic credit is not awarded for completion of courses.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT's OpenCourseWare offers several free graduate-level courses related to service management that were originally offered in the MIT Sloan School of Management. All of the non-credit courses include lecture notes, homework assignments and recommended readings; some of the readings are included on the site but others are in textbooks that students may voluntarily purchase separately. All the course materials can be viewed on the site or downloaded in a .ZIP file.

  • Management of Services: Concepts, Design and Delivery is a graduate-level management course that focuses on conceptual frameworks found in hospitality, supply chain, transportation, entertainment and other service organizations. Course assignments highlight case studies that include McDonald's, Southwest Airlines and Amazon. Previous knowledge of operations management (or previous course experience) is recommended but not required.
  • Strategic HR Management, originally offered to MBA students in 2003, takes a look at developing and executing human resources strategies through several different case studies across a range of industries. This course includes materials that are relevant to the HR side of service and hospitality, such as lecture notes and written assignments. While there is no required textbook, this course includes several readings and cases to review.
  • Advanced Communication for Leaders teaches graduate-level students how to develop the interpersonal skills of successful managers, including decision-making skills and the ability to work on teams. This course, originally offered in 2004, includes assignments designed to help students develop, deliver and assess their own presentations in supportive and hostile contexts. Links to readings are provided as well as lecture notes and assignment directions.

Stanford University

Stanford University offers free educational videos through its Entrepreneurship Corner (eCorner). Aimed at entrepreneurs and business students, these videos feature valuable stories and insights from industry leaders and range in length from brief clips to full video lecture series. While informative, lectures have no credit value and do not include homework assignments, readings or exams. Videos can be viewed on the website, which also offers regular live events.

  • What Great Leaders Do is a lecture series from Bob Sutton, a professor at Stanford, who uncovers important leadership skills, the hallmarks of great bosses and when to accept defeat. Sutton also highlights the danger of managers who become oblivious to the needs of their employees. This series can also be downloaded as a transcript.
  • The Courage to Take Positive Risks is a 52-minute lecture with Julayne Virgil, CEO of Girls Inc. of Alameda County. In relating her own experiences with giving young girls the tools to become more empowered and confident, Virgil highlights the positive effects of risk-taking and innovation in one's career, particularly for women leaders in non-profit or service industries. This lecture is also available in a downloadable transcript.

Cornell University

Cornell offers a series of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) that are available on edX. These free-to-audit courses are offered on a rotating basis, so students should check the program site to confirm that the desired course is currently available. While completion of a MOOC does not count towards college credit, students may earn a verified certificate for an extra $49.

  • Introduction to Global Hospitality Management is one of Cornell's many rotating MOOCs and teaches students about fundamental concepts related to the management of hospitality services on a global scale. Offered through edX and the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, the topics covered in this course include asset management, strategic planning, real estate and e-commerce.
  • Structuring Business Agreements for Success is another rotating free MOOC that may be of interest to students of any industry, including service or hospitality management. Students are taught by three Cornell law professors, who teach them about constructing effective and legal business agreements or contracts. This course covers introductory-level material and takes about five weeks to complete.

Brentwood Open Learning College

Take a 100% free, online hospitality course with Brentwood Open Learning College (BOLC). Based in the UK, BOLC offers affordable, self-paced distance learning to students all over the world in business, management, accounting and other vocational areas of study. Students may earn an accredited diploma in a range of majors or complete introductory-level short courses free of charge after creating an account.

  • Hotel Management is a shortened version of Brentwood's full diploma (paid) course but still offers a complete rundown of hotel management, front office operations, and housekeeping. It is intended to introduce interested students to the hospitality industry, serving as an entry point to more in-depth subjects. All course materials are included and students may earn a certificate of completion.
  • Travel and Tourism is another free short course offered by BOLC and is geared towards giving students a comprehensive introduction to the tourism industry. Students learn the basics of managing tour operations while gaining knowledge about what it takes to succeed in the world of travel. Both this course and the hotel management course above have no prerequisites and are open for registration any time.

St. Petersburg College

St. Petersburg College serves the St. Petersburg, FL, community, offering affordable bachelor's and associate's degree programs as well as certificate programs in a wide range of majors. These programs include the A.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Management and specialized certificates in areas like food and beverage management, which all offer students a chance to take their first 3-credit course free of charge.

  • Intro to Hospitality/Tourism is one of the first three-credit courses students take in the hospitality and tourism management programs. SPC students in this program may take advantage of an innovative scholarship program. Funded through a partnership with the Pinellas County Hotel/Motel Association, the school's Foundation Scholarship ensures that a student's first 3-credit hospitality and tourism course will have free tuition. This course has online and live classroom options and introduces the many different areas students will encounter in the degree program as well as the history and future of the industry.
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