Schools with Tourism Management Programs: How to Choose

Tourism and hospitality management programs prepare students to work in the hospitality field, whether at hotels, travel agencies, cultural heritage attractions, large convention centers or event planning and food service companies. This article will discuss the various program concentration options students should consider, the top ten most affordable schools and what can be expected from each program.

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Individuals can study tourism and hospitality management at four levels: the bachelor's, master's and undergraduate and graduate certificate levels. Programs are usually offered through the business and hospitality departments of 4-year colleges and universities.

10 Schools with Tourism and Hospitality Management Degree Programs

The following public and private schools offer degree programs in the field:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)*
University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA 4-year, Public Certificate, Bachelor's, Doctorate $14,171 (In-state) $30,504 (Out-of-state)
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $13,560 (In-state) $36,360 (Out-of-state)
Appalachian State University Boone, NC 4-year, Public Bachelor's $6,852 (In-state) $20,677 (Out-of-state)
Madonna University Livonia, MI 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $18,740
University of Central Missouri Warrensburg, MO 4-year, Public Bachelor's $7,322 (In-state) $13,767 (Out-of-state)
Iowa State University Ames, IA 4-year, Public Bachelor's $7,736 (In-state) $20,856 (Out-of-state)
Kansas State University Manhattan, KS 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $9,350 (In-state) $23,429 (Out-of-state)
Oklahoma State University - Main Campus Stillwater, OK 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $7,778 (In-state) $20,978 (Out-of-state)
University of South Carolina - Columbia Columbia, SC 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $11,482 (In-state) $30,298 (Out-of-state)
Ferris State University Big Rapids, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's $10,970 (In-state) $17,562 (Out-of-state)

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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School Selection Criteria

When deciding on a program, students should take the following into consideration:

  • Career placement - Potential students should request the job placement rates of its graduates to help determine if the school is providing the skill sets employers want in entry-level positions.
  • Internship opportunities - Internships serve two purposes: to give the student hands on experience in the industry and to allow them to create networking relationships with potential employers after graduation.
  • Available concentrations - Some programs specialize in hotel management, food services, cultural heritage or resort management so students should keep their personal interests in mind.
  • Advanced options - Entrepreneurial or management students may wish to look for programs that include coverage of the legal, financial and logistical aspects of running a business in the hospitality industry that are typically offered at the graduate level.

Undergraduate Certificate in Tourism Management

Most undergraduate certificate programs are open to students who hold high school diplomas. Certificate programs can usually be completed within a year of part-time study. Such programs offer practical classes on the major aspects of the tourism management industry, including facility management and marketing.

Bachelor of Science in Tourism Management

Bachelor's degree programs in tourism management are typically offered through a university's business school, and many of the core classes overlap with those of a general business degree program. Students spend four years taking classes in general education, business principles and other topics specific to the hospitality industry. Most programs include at least one work experience or internship requirement.

Graduate Certificate in Tourism Management

A graduate certificate program in tourism management is designed for industry professionals seeking career advancement or for workers from other industries who wish to transfer to the tourism management field. Classes focus on management topics, and the entire sequence can usually be completed within a year.

Master of Science in Tourism Management

Master's degree programs in tourism management prepare graduates to work as administrators in the hospitality industry or in local planning departments. Applicants must hold bachelor's degrees. The program can be completed in 2-3 years, and courses can include hospitality marketing and human resources management in the tourism industry.

Undergraduate and graduate programs in tourism management are available at several public and private schools in the country. While choosing a school to attend students should consider things like available concentrations and internship opportunities.

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