Best Online Bachelor Degree Programs in Hospitality Management

Mar 31, 2021

Online Hospitality Management Degree Overview

Hospitality management degrees are widely available, including hospitality management degrees in California and New York, across the country, and online. Online training programs in hospitality and plentiful, also; most offer instruction online but still provide students with hands-on experiences in the field and help them learn the business skills needed for the field. These online degree and certificate programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Compare some of the different online learning options in the field here.

Online Associate Degrees in Hospitality Management

Online and hybrid associate degree programs in hospitality management are usually offered as Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees. These programs typically require around 60 credits of coursework and provide students with an introduction to basic business- and hospitality-related skills needed for entry-level positions in the field. Some programs may include a final capstone and/or internship experience as a culminating hands-on learning tool.

Online Bachelor's Degrees in Hospitality Management

Online and hybrid bachelor's degree programs in hospitality management are also available, typically as Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees. However, there are also online Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and other business-related bachelor's degrees that may offer hospitality management as a specialization. Students are usually required to complete around 120 credits and may need to take some pre-hospitality courses before their core courses in the subject. Some programs may conclude with an internship and/or senior seminar experience. There are also some schools that may provide various concentrations within the degree and/or the opportunity to earn a combined bachelor's and master's degree in the field.

Online Master's Degrees in Hospitality Management

Usually offered as a Master of Science (MS) degree or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in hospitality management, master's programs in hospitality management may require between 30 and 36 credits. These programs are designed to help students take on more advanced leadership positions in the field and some programs may be completed in as little as 1 year. Depending on the program, students may be able to choose between a non-thesis and thesis track. Some programs may also include various seminars and/or practicum experiences for hands-on learning.

Online Doctoral Degrees in Hospitality Management

Although most Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs in hospitality management are only available on-campus, there is at least one hybrid program available. Usually, these programs are intended for students wishing to teach hospitality management at the postsecondary level and/or work as a practitioner-researcher or consultant in the field. These programs may range between 60 and 72 credits and may take around 4 years to complete. Some programs might allow students to earn their master's along the way and most of these programs require a dissertation.

Online Certificates in Hospitality Management

Online certificate programs in hospitality management are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Some of these programs may range between 12 and 18 credits of coursework and some could include an additional practicum experience for hands-on learning. Depending on the program, students may be able to earn continuing education units (CEUs) for professional development. Students in these programs typically take core courses that further develop skills in hospitality management; some take as little as 3 months to complete.

Top Online Bachelor's in Hospitality Management Schools

After a rigorous analysis of hundreds of U.S. colleges and universities, Study.com has put together the following list of the top online bachelor's degree programs in hospitality management. The data used for these rankings was gathered from reliable and trustworthy sources, like the U.S. Department of Education, covering areas like typical tuition costs, graduation rates, and student retention. Additionally, the rankings were augmented by considering the other, less quantifiable offerings that a school can provide, like study abroad opportunities, relevant student organizations, internship programs, and remote access to learning facilities. Other elements more specific to top-tier hospitality management programs, like programmatic accreditation from respected agencies (like the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs) and ties to businesses both locally and around the world were also taken into account. The end result of this complex analysis is Study.com's definitive list of the top online hospitality management bachelor's degree programs in the country - any one of which would make an excellent beginning to a new hospitality career.

1. Madonna University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$23,100 75% 60% 97% Yes Yes AP Credits

Madonna University of Livonia, Michigan, offers a broad online in hospitality that can prepare students for a wide variety of careers. The program, a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management, is designed to touch on every facet, allowing students to study restaurants, hotels, and even event planning. The hospitality program is transfer friendly, encouraging those with associate's degrees to expand their knowledge. It's also Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) accredited, allowing students to feel confident in their degree.

2. Fort Hays State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$5,280 91% 43% 96% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

Hays, Kansas, hosts Fort Hays State University, a school with a top-notch online hospitality program that might surprise you. The Bachelor of Science in Tourism and Hospitality Management combines basic business education with in-depth looks at hospitality industry essentials, along with cultural studies and internship opportunities. Fort Hays State University also has some interesting and unique elective options, diving into more niche areas of hospitality like the wine industry and casinos.

3. Everglades University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$18,320 75% 52% 85% Yes Yes AP Credits

Everglades University is based out of Boca Raton, Florida, and its online division offers a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management that's worth a serious look. The program is transfer friendly, allowing for prior learning credits from a variety of areas, ranging from construction to accounting. Everglades University places heavy emphasis on the management side of the degree, with courses based around very specific areas of management, like marketing or food and beverages, providing choices for students with specific career plans.

4. Lakeland University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$29,880 78% 48% 100% Yes Yes AP Credits

Lakeland University in Plymouth, Wisconsin, provides students with a chance to bring their existing knowledge to the table. The online Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Management program includes experiential education opportunities that grant students credit for work at jobs they may already be doing. Students also have the option to add other business focuses to the degree, like international business or marketing, allowing them to reinforce their education and get the most out of it.

5. The University of Alabama

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,780 83% 71% 79% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

The University of Alabama's flagship campus is located in Tuscaloosa, it and serves as the home of the system's online programs as well. The Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management program has an impressive 36-year history, and that long-standing quality has transitioned seamlessly to the online program. A 500-hour internship requirement ensures that students have plenty of real-world experience to bring after they finish their degree, and the program tackles all aspects of hospitality to ensure that students are well equipped by that time.

6. Florida International University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6,565 58% 63% 90% Yes Yes AP Credits

The next program on our list is found at Miami's Florida International University. The Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism program has several concentration options, something that few comparable programs can boast. Students can choose from entertainment management, event management, hotel management, restaurant management, beverage management, and tourism management, which makes FIU a particularly excellent choice for those with a solid career plan in mind. The program is well structured for online learning as well, with flexible course schedules, accessible faculty, and technology resources that set students up for success no matter where they are.

7. Northern Arizona University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,142 85% 57% 95% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

Northern Arizona University, located in the capital city Flagstaff, has a hospitality program with many student customization options. The Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management program includes a variety of elective options, many of which can be fitted into optional certificate programs that function similar to concentrations. Students are also expected to complete a lengthy supervised internship for valuable on the job experience. To top it all off, Northern Arizona University's hotel and restaurant management program has achieved the rare Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA) accreditation, giving it an industry endorsement that's hard to beat.

8. East Carolina University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7,238 79% 66% 79% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

East Carolina University is located in the small town of Greenville, NC, and it offers online hospitality degree completion programs aimed at those with some college education already. Their amazing Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management program features three different concentration options, including convention and event management, food and beverage management, and lodging management, hitting all three of the major areas within hospitality. The programs are structured to include both an externship and internship, giving students a taste of what the job is like early on while still allowing in-depth experience later on.

9. California State University - East Bay

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7,000 76% 50% 86% Yes Yes AP Credits

Hayward is the hometown of California State University's East Bay campus, which possesses an online hospitality program. Their Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism has three concentration options as well, including event planning and management, food and beverage, and lodging, resort and club management, and students who forego a concentration can use the extra electives to craft their own. Internships and a research project capstone also help students put what they've learned to work, showing just how far they've come.

10. University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$16,389 64% 82% 90% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

The University of Massachusetts in Amherst is one of the best-connected schools in the nation when it comes to the hospitality industry. The Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management is a degree completion program that's AACSB accredited, and it has strong ties to the industry, with connections to professional organizations like the American Hotel and Lodging Association and the Food and Beverages Manager Association that students can to leverage as they build their careers. Additionally, students can customize their education with electives related to managing conventions, clubs, and special events, to name just a few.

11. Missouri State University - Springfield

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7,588 88% 56% 97% Yes Yes AP Credits

Missouri State University in Springfield has an online HM program that offers some concentrations that are hard to find elsewhere. The Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Leadership program includes options to specialize in general operations or senior living management, in addition to the more common choices like food and beverage or lodging. Missouri State University also sets students up with paid internships as part of the program, helping to secure that valuable experience. There is also a Bachelor of Applied Science degree completion option, for those with an associate's degree already.

12. SUNY College of Technology at Delhi

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,560 72% 48% 91% Yes Yes AP Credits

Delhi, New York, hosts the State University of New York College of Technology at Delhi, whose online program in hospitality has some unique experiences to offer. The school's partnership with the Walt Disney College Program makes it possible for students to take part in a six-month internship in Orlando, should they wish, all of which counts for credit. The Bachelor of Business Administration in Hotel and Restaurant Management at SUNY Delhi aims to provide small class sizes and applied learning opportunities for all its students, online and in-person.

13. Charleston Southern University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$26,040 50% 41% 99% No Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

Charleston Southern University in South Carolina has a program that's a great fit for working adults. The Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management uses accelerated course formats, with seven-week courses that allow students to quickly earn credits. For those students who consider their Christian faith an important part of their work, the faith-influenced components of the program may make this a perfect fit.

14. North Carolina Central University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6,534 68% 49% 93% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

Durham is home to North Carolina Central University, a school that offers online programs fit both for those first starting out and those looking to complete a degree. The Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Administration is an extremely well-vetted program, with both AACSB and ACBSP accreditation in addition to the more specialized Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA) accreditation. This online program has a solid basis in business, as well as elective options that can help set you up for any number of hospitality careers after graduation.

15. Southern Illinois University - Carbondale

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$14,722 66% 48% 95% Yes Yes AP Credits

Carbondale's Southern Illinois University has an online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management that's a great fit for those looking to complete their degree. SIU is allows students to choose classes to focus their program foodservice or hotel management, to align their studies with their career goals and interests. The strong portfolio of courses includes several unique options, include classes in social media tourism and destination management.

16. Florida Atlantic University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$4,879 63% 50% 82% Yes Yes AP Credits

Florida Atlantic University of Boca Raton has a major commitment to education in the field of hospitality. They offer has an online Bachelor of Business Administration in Hospitality and Tourism Management aimed at degree completion students. The program is AACSB accredited, and places major focus on its internship component. The Florida location also provides the school with a variety of industry connections that can help students succeed right out of the gate.

17. New Mexico State University - Main Campus

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7,087 55% 48% 99% Yes Yes AP Credits

New Mexico State University's main campus is located in Las Cruces, where the Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management is offered. While the program is designed for degree completion, all of the HM major courses are offered online. Students can specialize further with special electives in their senior year, and internships and work experience totaling up to 800 hours make sure that these specializations are put to great use. Online HM students can participate in several of the school's unique opportunities, like the Marriott Hospitality Futures Center workshops and student clubs.

18. Utah Valley University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$5,820 No Available Data (2019-2020) 32% 74% Yes Yes AP Credits

Utah Valley University of Orem, Utah, is a public university that brings a flexible and inclusive approach to its online programs. The Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management features five concentration options, including those on the business side like general operations to more creative takes on the career such as event planning or culinary arts. The school is highly supportive of non-traditional students, with most students working while attending classes and over a quarter of attendees being over the age of 25.

To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit Study.com's ranking methodology page.

Tuition information is based on published tuition and required fees, per data by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Hospitality Management Specializations/Concentrations

Hospitality management can be its own concentration for business-related degrees, like a BBA or MBA, but several different degree programs specifically in hospitality management offer students the chance to further focus their studies with additional concentration areas. Many of these programs are at the bachelor's level and require students to take some courses in their chosen concentration. These concentrations can help prepare students to work in a specific area within hospitality management. Some of the available concentration areas for these degrees may include:

  • Gaming management
  • PGA golf management
  • Business and hospitality financial analytics
  • Tourism
  • Meeting and event planning
  • Hotel/lodging management
  • Restaurant/culinary management
  • Beverage management
  • Spirits management

Curriculum/Coursework for a Hospitality Management Degree

While there are some universities that offer free hospitality management education online, these are commonly offered as free online hospitality courses. Students wishing to pursue an entire degree typically take multiple core courses in hospitality management, and depending on the degree level, may take additional general education courses and/or electives. Core coursework for hospitality management programs usually includes business-related classes, as well as courses that further develop students' leadership, service, and people skills. Depending on the program, students may complete a culminating project or experience of some sort, such as an internship, practicum, and/or thesis. Some common course topics for these degree programs include:

  • Hospitality law
  • Hospitality marketing
  • Management in hospitality
  • Quality service management
  • Ethics
  • Financial management
  • Food and beverage operations
  • Lodging management

How Long Does it Take to Get an Online Bachelor's in Hospitality Management?

Many bachelor's degree programs, whether on-campus or online, are designed to be completed in 4 years. However, there are some online bachelor's programs in hospitality management that may allow students some flexibility in the time to degree completion. Several of these online programs enable students to finish their degree faster; some in as little as 2 to 3 years. Some of these shorter programs are available as degree completion programs and/or accept a large amount of transfer credit. For example, there is an online bachelor's program where the average transfer student usually only needs to complete 70 of the required 120 credits.

Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in Hospitality Management Degrees

It's important for students to look for accreditation for their target schools. Accreditation means that the college or university has met set guidelines for all of its academic programs. A degree from an accredited institution may be preferred by employers and can be a prerequisite for getting certifications. Perhaps most importantly, many forms of financial aid are only given to students who are attending an accredited school. Many schools that offer online bachelor's degrees in hospitality management are regionally accredited by organizations like the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC), the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) or the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

Online hospitality management programs might also have program-specific accreditation from organizations like the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA). This accreditation focuses on how well a program prepares students for careers in the field.

Additionally, a bachelor's in business or business administration with a concentration in hospitality management may have accreditation from business organizations like the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs to ensure that programs meet business-related guidelines to better prepare students for their careers.

Hospitality Management Licensure & Certification

Certification in the field of hospitality management is usually optional/voluntary, but may vary by position. For example, those wishing to work as lodging managers may pursue certification in the field to demonstrate their expertise. Some of these certifications can be earned as early as high school, such as the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program (HTMP) from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), which can be completed in 2 years. At the college and professional level, students can pursue AHLEI's Certification in Hotel Industry Analytics (CHIA).

There are also several optional certifications available in the food service industry. Food service managers may want to earn their Food Protection Manager Certification (FPMC) to demonstrate their competency in food safety by passing an exam. Those managers who have completed training in food safety, have some supervisory experience, and pass an exam can also earn the Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) designation offered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

Hospitality Management Career Information

Graduates with a degree in hospitality management can choose from a wide range of careers in the field. Hospitality management salary varies by position, and we will cover some typical salaries below. Professionals may try and specialize in a particular area of hospitality, such as event planning, travel and tourism, or food services. A few examples of possible career outcomes may include:

  • Lodging managers
  • Food service managers
  • Concierge
  • Travel agent
  • Event planner
  • Casino host
  • Bridal consultant
  • Catering manager
  • Human resource officer
  • Theme park manager

How to Become a Lodging Manager

Education requirements for lodging managers varies by position and/or establishment. Some of these managers may need as little as a high school diploma and work experience, while others may need at least a bachelor's degree. Typically, students earn their certificate, associate's, or bachelor's degree in hospitality or hotel management and then advance in the field as they get work experience. Professionals may decide to pursue optional certification to demonstrate their expertise.

Lodging managers are usually responsible for overseeing the daily operations of their establishment and making sure guests are having a pleasant stay. They may have to set work schedules, address guest complaints, manage front-desk operations, oversee the budget, inspect rooms, and more. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that as of 2019, lodging managers made a median salary of $54,430. From 2019 to 2029, the BLS reported a decrease of 12% in job opportunities for these professionals.

How to Become a Food Service Manager

Education requirements for food service managers also vary and may range from a high school diploma with work experience to a 4-year degree. Some students may even attend culinary school. Depending on the program, students in the food service industry may complete a hands-on internship or other types of real-world learning experiences. Working in a restaurant as a cook, host/hostess, or other position is also beneficial for experience. Some food service managers may also decide to pursue optional certification in the field.

Food service managers help oversee the food services at their establishment, including guest satisfaction and food safety. They may be responsible for hiring and training employees, maintaining inventory, ensuring food areas are up to code, overseeing budgets, handling any complaints/issues, and more. As of 2019, the BLS reported that these managers made a median annual salary of $55,320. The job outlook for these managers from 2019 to 2029 was 1%.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Information for Hospitality Management Degrees

The first step in the financial aid process for any student should be filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application process allows students to see if there are any federal loans and/or grants that they may qualify for. In addition to loans, students can look to fund some or all of their schooling through scholarships. Scholarships do not have to be paid back and are available for a wide range of majors, demographics, and other qualifications. For hospitality management students, several schools offer a range of scholarships, such as the Dean Gerald Lattin Scholarship at Florida International University. There are also a number of independent organizations that offer scholarships to hospitality management students, like the IFMA (International Foodservice Manufacturers Association) Educational Foundation Scholarship or the Hyatt Hotels Fund for Minority Lodging Management Students.

How to Choose a Hospitality Management School and Program

Choosing an online school and hospitality management program may require students to consider several factors. Students may first want to consider factors like the tuition rate of a particular school, as well as different program format options, such as hybrid or part-time programs. Hospitality management students should also think about any available option to further specialize in a specific area of the field they are interested in, such as travel and tourism or restaurant management. Students wishing to get a lot of hands-on experience may also look for an online program that still includes an internship or practicum opportunity.

Professional Organizations in Hospitality Management

Professional organizations in hospitality management may help connect professionals with educational resources, events, and even career opportunities. Some professional organizations in hospitality management include:

  • American Hotel and Lodging Association- The AHLA offers membership to those in the lodging industry, as well as a wide range of resources. Professionals can benefit from various events and webinars, career development opportunities, and other industry resources. The organization also offers news updates in the field and advocacy initiatives.
  • Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management- The SHFM also offers membership and aims to further develop the careers of those in corporate foodservice. Professionals can participate in a number of events and benefit from resources like webinars, career information, and the Young Professionals-Rising Star Program.
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