Event Planning Degrees in Santa Ana, CA with Course Overviews

Dec 20, 2018

Students interested in event planning can choose from multiple schools in the Santa Ana, CA, area. To decide which one is right for you, read an overview of program requirements at three schools located within about 25 miles of the city center.

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Santa Ana Event Planning Programs

While no schools in the Santa Ana, CA, area offer degrees in event planning, several have hospitality management programs that include event planning courses, and some offer certificate programs in event planning. Learn about the coursework and internship opportunities available through programs at three colleges. This article also includes a table of facts about each institution as well as some additional info on another area school option.

  • Students can learn about special event management in the hospitality management bachelor's and master's degree programs at California State Polytechnic University - Pomona (Cal Poly), which also offers a minor option. The campus is about 24 miles from downtown Santa Ana.
  • Located around 17 miles from central Santa Ana, California State University - Long Beach has a hospitality management bachelor's degree program that offers courses in event planning, and the school has a minor in event planning and management as well.
  • At Orange Coast College, students can take individual courses in event planning or complete a 15-unit program to earn a certificate. The school's campus is situated about 10 miles from Santa Ana's downtown area.

Comparison of Schools

Check out the table below to get some school facts and figures that may affect your selection on where to study event planning. There's information on acceptance rates, campus environments, tuition costs and more.

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona California State University - Long Beach Orange Coast College
School Type Four-year; public Four-year; public Two-year; public
Total Enrollment (2017) 26,053* 37,622* 22,156*
Campus Setting Large suburb Large city Midsize city
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $7,339 in-state; $19,219 out-of-state* $6,730 in-state; $18,610 out-of-state* $1,186 in-state; $7,690 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Financial Aid (2016) 76%* 80%* 55%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) 55%* 28%* N/A - open admissions
Retention Rate (2016-2017) 86% of full-time students* 88% of full-time students* 74% of full-time students
Graduation Rate 66% (for students who began in 2011)* 69% (for students who began in 2011)* 39% (for students who began in 2014)*

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

Students can study event and meeting planning through degree programs at Cal Poly's Collins College of Hospitality Management.

Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management

Students in this Bachelor of Science (BS) program can learn about all aspects of the hospitality industry. In addition to completing general education requirements and 800 hours of professional work experience, students also take courses in hospitality. Individuals interested in event planning can choose a course in special event management as an elective. This course, which consists of classroom study and a weekly lab, teaches students how to implement and analyze all aspects of a successful event. Topics covered include choosing a theme, vendor relations and budgeting.

Minor in Hospitality Management

The minor in hospitality management is for business administration and food and nutrition students. Required core courses include an introduction to hospitality management, sanitation practices and accounting for the hospitality industry. Students must choose elective courses in the field; one course option covers special event management.

California State University - Long Beach

Students at Cal State - Long Beach can major in hospitality management and take courses that include event and meeting planning. The college also offers a minor in evening planning and management.

Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management

This 120-credit hour program includes courses in financial accounting, ethics, marketing, hotel management, sanitation in the food service industry, cost control and nutrition. Students who are interested in event planning can choose from a variety of electives, such as meeting planning in hotels and restaurants, convention planning and advanced program and event management. This BS program requires students to complete an internship in addition to 800 hours of professional work experience.

Minor in Event Planning and Management

The minor in event planning and management requires the completion of 24 credit hours. Students learn about negotiating contracts, budgeting, marketing and legal matters. Required courses include meeting planning in restaurants and hotels, advanced event and program management and conference and convention planning. Students also get to choose six hours of electives.

Orange Coast College

Orange Coast College offers education in event planning on a flexible schedule to accommodate working students. Classes are offered in the evenings at the campus in Costa Mesa, and core courses can be taken online. Students can complete the entire professional certificate program or take only the courses they desire.

Certificate of Completion in Meeting and Event Planning

This program includes core courses that teach students about marketing, risk management, management skills, how to organize events and the basic principles of event and meeting management. Students also learn about management and supervisory skills. Students also get to choose three specialization courses, which may include wedding planning, catering design, sports event management and corporate meeting planning. The program ends with a 180-hour practicum in event management, usually fulfilled on weekends or evenings at actual events.

Other School Options

Cypress College, a two-year school about 16 miles from Santa Ana, offers a Certificate of Proficiency in Special Event Management.

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