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Hospitality, Hotels & Restaurants Master's Degrees: Program Differences

While hotel and restaurant management are considered independent or joint specialties within the umbrella field of hospitality, there are often differences between a degree program in hospitality and one in hotel and restaurant management at the graduate level.

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What Master's Degrees Are Offered in Hospitality?

The three most common master's degree programs in hospitality are the Master of Business Administration, Master of Science and Master of Management, each with a concentration in hospitality. Many of them offer classes in both hotel or hospitality management and restaurant management. The differences in these program types isn't really cut and dried, and may depend on the curriculum offered by each school. However, there are some subtle distinctions.

What is an MBA in Hospitality Management?

Courses in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Hospitality Management program differ by school, but the course load will likely include classes in accounting, finance, management, and marketing. The subjects are important for managers in the hospitality field, and some courses provide opportunities for students to interact with experienced hospitality professionals. The main focus of an MBA program is business management.

Curriculum

Core classes may include those that teach students accounting concepts and how to analyze accounting data, as well as classes in leadership and global management. These classes provide an in-depth exploration of aspects of the hospitality industry, such as guest services, meetings and events, and marketing. Students may also learn about management of a range of hospitality businesses, including but not limited to hotels, resorts, casinos, restaurants, and cruise lines.

What Is a Master of Science in Hospitality Management?

A Master of Science program in hospitality management provides instruction in leadership and management, and programs usually offer electives that allow students to focus in the areas of hotels, restaurants, or tourism. Similar to the MBA in Hospitality Management, this degree program includes core classes in finance, accounting, and marketing management. The main difference is the extent of the business education, and is often less intensive than an MBA program.

Curriculum

Students learn from professionals with experience in the industry who visit the schools as guest speakers or participate in seminars and workshops. The students may be evaluated to assess their potential for leadership in the industry or how well they interact with colleagues while working on teams. Degree programs commonly offer elective courses in operations management, marketing management, or real estate.

What Is a Master of Management in Hospitality Management?

The Master of Management tends to focus on management from a broader perspective than the other two types of master's programs. Students can get more education related to employee and customer relations in addition to the business management courses. The program also applies these skills to multiple industries, including hotel and lodging, restaurants and real estate.

Curriculum

Courses and internships/externships help prepare students for real-world situations and best practices in the hospitality field. Students are introduced to accounting, marketing, operations and communications topics and advance into courses in competition, strategy and human resources.

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