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Graduate Programs in Hospitality & Tourism Management

The hospitality and tourism service sector includes food service, lodging, and destinations such as amusement parks and museums. Graduate programs in hospitality and tourism management prepare individuals to handle the business side of this industry.

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The hospitality and tourism industry continues to grow as a result of increases in business and leisure travel. Courses in master's and doctoral programs in hospitality and tourism management are designed to teach business and leadership skills that hospitality and tourism executives need in order to be successful.

Hospitality and Tourism Management Graduate-Level Programs

A graduate student in a hospitality and tourism management program can expect to take courses that address service delivery, creating positive customer experiences, marketing, food/beverage management, and sales management. Master's and PhD degrees are offered in hospitality and tourism management. Master's programs prepare candidates for executive level work in the industry. For those who are interested in teaching, research, and consulting, the PhD degree is usually recommended.

A master's program in hospitality and tourism management often requires 33-36 hours of coursework and about two years to complete, depending on whether a student chooses to study full-time or part-time. A PhD program generally requires 4-5 years of study, including the dissertation.

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Common Courses for Graduate Programs in Hospitality and Tourism Management

The following courses are typical of those offered for graduate programs in hospitality and tourism management. In addition to the content taught in these courses, PhD programs usually include additional classes related to research.

Hospitality and Tourism Service Management

This course addresses managing services in the hospitality and tourism industry. Topics include service delivery and marketing. Students also learn strategies for evaluating the quality of service.

Hospitality and Tourism Marketing

Topics covered in this course include market research and targeted marketing. Other areas examined include market segmentation and marketing intelligence. Students also learn how to select competitive and diverse marketing strategies.

Food and Beverage Management

In this course, students look at financial and operational issues that impact hospitality and tourism services. They develop skills in menu design and planning food and beverages for events. Alcohol and food safety regulations are also covered.

Strategic Marketing

This course examines marketing strategies, including strategic planning for marketing. Course content addresses the roles of consumer behavior, competition, products, and services in marketing decisions. The value of relationships in marketing is also addressed.

Legal Issues in Hospitality and Tourism

Participants examine the legal issues associated with the industry. The course examines topics such as business contracts, legal relationships, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Risk management and zoning are also part of the course content.

Research Methods in Hospitality and Tourism

This course provides the skills useful for thesis and dissertation research. Participants develop research problems, generate hypotheses, and design research. Additionally, they learn techniques for collecting, sampling, and analyzing data,

Master's Thesis

The thesis is a comprehensive research paper completed near the end of the master's program and focuses on a specific issue in the industry. As part of graduation requirements, the candidate must defend the thesis before a committee. In some programs, a student who does not plan to pursue a doctorate may elect a non-thesis option which may require additional courses or completion of a special project.

Doctoral Dissertation

The dissertation is completed at the end of the doctoral program and requires extensive research into a specific area or problem within the hospitality and tourism industry. A student completing a dissertation works closely with a faculty advisor, and the research typically contributes new knowledge to the field. After completing the dissertation, students must defend their findings before a committee.

Hospitality and Tourism Management Graduate Program Admission Requirements

Typical admission requirements for a master's or doctoral program in hospitality management include a bachelor's degree, completed application, official undergraduate transcripts, GRE or GMAT scores, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and a resume. PhD programs may also require prerequisite courses in statistics, economics, and business. If an applicant to a PhD program does not already have a master's degree, they will often be expected to complete master's level courses before taking doctoral courses.

Individuals who enjoy travel, event planning, and project management might find that a graduate program in hospitality and tourism management is the path toward a rewarding career. A graduate degree, whether at the master's or doctoral level, will provide a strong foundation for working as a leader in the industry.

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