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Hospitality Graduate Programs Overview

The curriculum of graduate degree and certificate programs in hospitality usually include a combination of management courses and practical hands-on hospitality training. Here you will also find information on requirements and career prospects.

Essential Information

Master's and doctoral degrees as well as graduate certificate programs are available. Most programs offer students the chance to focus their studies on an area of interest. Programs require hands-on hospitality training.

A bachelor's degree is required for master's programs; master's degree for doctoral programs. Some doctoral programs in hospitality are designed to accept students entering directly from a bachelor's degree program. Some schools may require an undergraduate degree in a related field, such as management, business or hospitality. Previous related work experience may be required for both programs.


Master's Degree in Hospitality

A master's degree program in hospitality introduces students to advanced topics related to leadership and business management techniques in the food-service, lodging and tourism industries. Most programs take fewer than two years to complete and allow students to concentrate in a specific area, such as travel and tourism, hotel administration or food service management. Many degree programs lead to a Master of Science (M.S.) in Hospitality Management, although other degree types are also available. Depending upon the student's area of concentration, the curriculum's core courses may differ. Topics covered include:

  • Marketing in the hospitality industry
  • Computer information systems in hospitality
  • Supply chain management
  • Hospitality and tourism management
  • Hospitality industry organizational behavior

Graduate Certificate in Hospitality Management

A graduate certificate program in hospitality management gives students or working professionals the opportunity to complete a program of study in the hospitality field without having to commit to a full degree program. Although fewer courses are needed in order to earn a certificate, the coursework of a graduate certificate in hospitality may be similar to that of a hospitality master's degree. Students may choose an area of specialization, such as hospitality investments or hotel operations. Common course topics include:

  • Hospitality industry technologies
  • Financial accounting in the hospitality industry
  • Managing hospitality assets
  • Organizational behavior in hospitality management
  • Regulatory issues in hospitality

Doctoral Degree in Hospitality

Doctoral degree programs in hospitality generally lead to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and take at least two years to complete. Some institutions may offer a doctoral program in business or management with a concentration in hospitality or tourism. Doctoral degree programs in hospitality are often geared toward students who wish to pursue research or academic careers. Because of this, the curricula of these programs are more research based and help prepare students for scholarly work. Below are some topics that may be included in the curriculum of a Ph.D. program in hospitality.

  • Marketing theories
  • Business ethics and the hospitality industry
  • Modern food systems management
  • Consumer behavior in the tourism industry
  • Research in hospitality management
  • Theoretical developments in hospitality

Popular Career Options

Many students enrolled in these graduate programs are already working in the hospitality industry and are seeking to acquire new skills or upgrade their existing skills. Students completing a doctoral program in hospitality are generally interested in academic or research careers at a university, scholarly or government organization. They may also pursue a career in consulting. Careers open to graduates may include:

  • Hotel manager
  • Events manager
  • Casino manager
  • Resort operations manager
  • Food service manager
  • College hospitality education
  • Tourism industry consulting
  • Hotel valuation analysis
  • Hotel or resort development consulting
  • Hotel administration research

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Employment for lodging managers is predicted to have 8% growth from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Lodging managers earned a median wage of $49,720 in 2015, per the BLS (www.bls.gov).

Employment for food service managers is predicted to have 5% growth from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Food service managers had a median salary of $48,690 in 2015, per the BLS (www.bls.gov).

Lodging managers in facilities related to general medical and surgical hospitals reported the highest average salary of $82,200 in 2014. Food service managers found the highest pay in the insurance carrier industry. Average earnings for managers in this sector were $87,400 in 2014, according to the BLS.

Individuals interested in the wide variety of career options within the hospitality field can get high-level education and training through graduate degree and certificate programs.


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