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Hospitality and Tourism Degree Programs

A degree program in hospitality and tourism may lead to a career in planning major events, managing an upscale hotel or owning a fine dining restaurant. Read on to learn more about the undergraduate and graduate degree programs available, including common courses, and for additional information about job options.

What Undergraduate Degrees Can I Earn in Hospitality and Tourism?

You can qualify for some positions by earning a 2-year associate's degree. An associate's degree program in the field usually requires taking introductory classes in hospitality and tourism, geography, event planning and marketing. Upon completion of a degree program, you'll qualify for entry-level jobs in hotels, restaurants, casinos and other recreational establishments. Generally, credits earned are fully transferable to 4-year degree programs.

You could also pursue a bachelor's degree in the industry. Similar majors include management or international focuses in hospitality and tourism. Along with general education and business classes, you'll take a wide range of courses centered around the recreation and leisure industry, such as menu and event organizing, hotel accounting, travel planning and employee management. Many schools offer concentrations or minors in the following areas:

  • Food and beverage
  • Hotel and lodging
  • Convention and event planning
  • Casino management
  • Travel and tourism
  • Recreation and resort managing

Undergraduate Courses Hotel accounting, employee management, travel planning, event organizing
Graduate Degree Specializations Hospitality operations, gaming and casino management, marketing, global tourism
Online Availability Fully online programs are available for associate's, bachelor's and master's programs
Median Salary (2018) $53,390 (for all lodging managers
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 4% growth (for all lodging managers)  

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

What Graduate Options Are Available?

If you wish to continue your studies further or advance your career into administration, a master's degree in hospitality and tourism management may be right for you. While earning a master's degree, you'll complete additional coursework with a strong focus on your chosen specialization, which can include global tourism, hospitality operations, marketing or global tourism. Some schools also require you to gain industry experience and complete an internship. You can also find 5-year joint degree programs that allow you to earn bachelor's and master's degrees simultaneously.

If you're interested in an academic career, you could earn a doctoral degree. Your studies will focus primarily on research in the industry. You'll take advanced-level courses, participate in teaching practicums and work closely with an advisor to complete your doctoral dissertation.

Which Degrees Are Offered Online?

Some schools offer online associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees. Doctoral programs generally require you to attend campus full-time. While earning a degree online, expect the same workload as an on-campus degree. While you'll usually have the flexibility to schedule your study time when it's convenient for you, most programs require that you to complete assignments and tests by specific due dates.