Food and Beverage Management Degree Programs in San Diego, CA

Research food and beverage management degrees in the San Diego area, which currently has four colleges offering related programs. To find out which one is right for you, read an overview of the program and admission requirements at three schools located within 40 miles of downtown.

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San Diego Food and Beverage Management Schools

While they don't offer degrees in food and beverage management specifically, several San Diego area schools have programs that prepare graduates for careers as food service and restaurant managers. This article emphasizes the coursework and learning experiences available at three colleges; it includes a table of statistics on the profiled schools as well as info on a fourth area institution with relevant program options.

  • At MiraCosta College in Oceanside, students can earn an Associate of Arts (AA) degree in restaurant management that will enable them to transfer to a four-year school. Several certificate programs in the field are available as well. The campus is about 40 miles from downtown San Diego.
  • The largest school profiled here, San Diego State University, is located just 11 miles from the city's center and offers a bachelor's-level program in hospitality management and tourism. Students can choose from several courses to specialize in restaurant operations and management.
  • Situated roughly 14 miles from San Diego's downtown area, Southwestern College in Chula Vista offers an associate degree in culinary arts with a food services management focus, along with two certificate programs.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Baking and Pastry Arts
  • Bartending
  • Catering and Restaurant Management
  • Chef Training
  • Food Preparation
  • Food Server and Dining Room Mgmt
  • Institutional Food Worker
  • Meat Cutting

Comparison of Schools

Discover how the profiled colleges differ in their campus settings, enrollment figures, costs, graduation rates and much more in the table below. The facts and figures could help you with your education decision.

MiraCosta College San Diego State University Southwestern College
School Type Two-year; public Four-year; public Two-year; public
Total Enrollment (2014) 14,687* 33,483* 19,000*
Campus Setting Large suburb Large city Large suburb
Tuition & Fees 2015-2016 $1,152, in-state;
$5,952, out-of-state*
$6,976, in-state;
$18,136, out-of-state*
$1,336, in-state;
$5,452, out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2014) 49%* 60%* 78%*
Acceptance Rate (2014) N/A - Open admissions 34%* N/A - Open admissions
Retention Rate (2013-2014) 71% for full-time students* 88% for full-time students* 71% for full-time students*
Graduation Rate (2014) 32%* 66%* 19%*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

MiraCosta College

MiraCosta College offers several certificate programs for students who want to acquire and improve their skills in food service. MiraCosta also has an associate degree that prepares graduates for work or for transfer to a four-year school. MiraCosta College collaborated with hospitality industry professionals to develop a curriculum.

Certificate of Proficiency in Catering Operations

This program trains students for work in banquet and catering jobs. They must complete four courses including restaurant management and conference and special event management. Courses in cost control and purchasing as well as guest services and presentation are required.

Certificate of Proficiency in Dining Room Operations

This program familiarizes students with front-of-house operations in a restaurant. The four required courses cover guest services and hospitality supervision. Students also take a course in restaurant management and one in special event management.

Certificate of Proficiency in Food Service Operations

The technical and managerial skills for an entry-level position in food service are emphasized in this program. Five courses are required, including an introduction to the hospitality industry. Other course topics include restaurant management, guest services, cost control and conference management.

Certificate of Achievement in Restaurant Management

Students who are already working in the industry can augment their skills through this program, while students seeking degrees can gain a sound foundation. The program consists of 24 hours of hospitality courses including an introduction to hospitality management, hospitality law, hospitality marketing and hospitality human resource management. During a course in restaurant management, students may be required to visit various dining establishments.

AA in Restaurant Management

Students can earn an AA in Restaurant Management by completing the college's general education courses as well as the requirements to earn the Certificate of Achievement in Restaurant Management. The degree program totals 60 credit hours. Students learn about purchasing, cost control, human resources management and marketing in the hospitality industry.

San Diego State University

San Diego State University's hospitality management and tourism major is offered by the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts. Students can choose an emphasis in restaurant operations and management.

BS - Hospitality and Tourism Management

Restaurant operations and management is one of the four possible areas of emphasis within this degree track at San Diego State University. Admission to this program requires that students have at least 60 hours of college credit and a minimum grade point average of 3.0, as well as having completed prerequisite courses in hospitality and business. In addition to meeting general education course requirements, restaurant operations and management students must complete 47 hours of major courses that include restaurant management, financial management, leadership, marketing and strategic management. Electives could include restaurant marketing and menu management, property management, multi-unit restaurant operations or hospitality technology. The curriculum emphasizes experiential learning, and the degree requires two 300-hour internships and an additional 400 hours of work experience.

Southwestern College

Hospitality management programs offered through Southwestern College's School of Business, Professional & Technical Education train graduates for employment in entry-level and management positions. The college offers a degree and basic and advanced certificates in culinary arts with a focus on food services management.

Certificate of Achievement in Hospitality: Culinary Arts - Food Services Management - Basic

Students in this program take 19 to 20 credit units of courses that prepare them for entry level positions. The certificate program includes an overview course in hospitality management and courses in accounting basics, business English and business math. Students also take courses in computer use, food purchasing and food safety.

Certificate of Achievement in Hospitality: Culinary Arts - Food Services Management - Advanced

This program calls for 50 to 51 units of study, including all the courses required for the basic certificate. Students also must choose between the culinary arts option and the baking and pastry option. They study event marketing and food service management and get credit for work experience.

AS in Hospitality: Culinary Arts - Food Services Management

This associate degree requires a minimum of 51 credit units. Students take courses in hospitality law, accounting for the hospitality industry, selling techniques and communication for business. They must choose between 12 units in culinary arts, which includes basic cooking skills, or 12 units in baking and pastry. They also have to complete the courses required for the basic hospitality certificate in culinary arts. Students who want to transfer to a four-year college must complete general education courses in addition to the hospitality curriculum.

Other School Options

Grossmont College, about 14 miles from downtown San Diego in El Cajon, is a community college run by the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. This school offers an associate degree in culinary entrepreneurship. Grossmont also offers a Certificate of Achievement in Hospitality Management and an associate degree in hospitality and tourism management.

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