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A master’s degree in hospitality management prepares students for various jobs, including marketing director, event planner, and managerial roles in customer service, operations, marketing, or facilities. Graduates may work in a broad range of organizations like hotels, restaurants, spas, resorts, theme parks, and event venues.

The salaries for these roles vary widely based on industry, experience level, and location. Job candidates with a master’s degree in hospitality management are more likely to get paid a higher salary. The national median pay for a food service manager is $61,310 annually. In New York, the median is $82,150, and in Arkansas, it’s $52,690.

A master’s in hospitality management program typically takes two years of full-time study to complete and requires 30-36 credits for graduation. The average program costs $19,749 per year, which includes tuition and fees. Some of the factors that may impact the cost of a program include your residency status, whether the institution is public or private, and the level of prestige it holds.

How to Choose a Master’s in Hospitality Management Program

Choose your area of study

Consider your career goals, interests, and strengths as you choose your area of study. Your degree options include a Master of Business Administration (MBA), a Master of Arts (MA) degree, or a Master of Science (MS) degree in hospitality management. Specializations in the field include hotel management, food and beverage management, and event, tourism, and talent management.

An MBA prepares students for general business leadership roles in areas like financing, marketing, operations, and customer success. An MA program focuses on the cultural, sociological, theoretical, and other academic aspects of the hospitality industry. Graduates might pursue a career in cultural consultancy, research, or policy development within the sector. An MS program takes a scientific and analytical approach to hospitality management, preparing students to specialize in an area like revenue management, strategic operations, or hospitality analytics.

If you’re unsure which direction to go, talk to an academic advisor, who will help you weigh your options and decide which program is right for you.

Research schools and programs

The most important factor for choosing any degree program is accreditation. Many employers and licensing organizations won’t recognize a degree from an institution that isn’t accredited, and only students attending accredited schools are eligible for state and federal financial aid.

Look for schools that are regionally accredited, and consider hospitality management programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), or another accreditation institution.

Before you begin researching schools and programs, clearly outline the considerations that’ll help you narrow down your choices. Decide whether you want to attend the program online or in person, on a full-time or part-time basis, and as an in-state or out-of-state student. Does the program need to be in a location with reliable public transportation and affordable housing? Do you have a particular state or region in mind?

Research a variety of institutions. Visit each school’s website and social media channels to understand its culture. If you can, tour schools in person and talk to an admissions counselor or program representative — otherwise, sign up for a virtual open house or webinar, which you’ll often find on the program page.

Prepare for tests and applications

Although application requirements vary by school, most hospitality management master’s programs require some combination of undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, a resume or CV, an original essay or personal statement, and an academic writing sample. Some, but not all, programs require GRE or GMAT scores.

Before you submit your application, review it with an academic advisor to ensure you meet all of the requirements and have provided the correct documentation. If you have any questions about the application or requirements, contact the school’s admissions counselor to ensure you have the right information.

Select your program

Once you’ve been accepted into one or more programs, it’s time to make your final decision. If you have a few options to choose from, it may help to make a list of the pros and cons of each. Compare program costs, financial aid options, locations, coursework, and specializations offered. Consider added values, like a certain level of prestige, a strong alumni organization, opportunities for internships, and job placement assistance.

Ultimately, consider your interests and the type of career and level of success you’d like to achieve, and pick the program that best aligns with the future you envision. If you’re struggling with the decision, visit an academic advisor to help you evaluate your options.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

To figure out how you’ll pay for your master’s degree, first create an estimate that includes the cost of tuition, student fees, books and materials, transportation, housing, and living expenses for the duration of the program. Then, decide whether you can afford it without financial assistance.

If you need help paying for your degree, complete the FAFSA for federal financial aid or need-based assistance, and see if your employer offers tuition reimbursement benefits. Some schools, professional organizations, employers, local governments, and independent groups offer scholarships and grants to help students pay for a graduate degree. Private student loans are also available.

Best 50 Accredited Master’s in Hospitality Management Programs

Best Master’s in Hospitality Management Degree Programs

Purdue University

University of Houston

University of Central Florida

Florida International University

Cornell Nolan

NYU School of Professional Studies

University of North Texas

Pennsylvania State University

California State Polytechnic University

Oklahoma State University

Iowa State University

GW School of Business

Texas Tech University

University of Delaware

University of South Carolina

University of New Orleans

Kansas State University

Georgia State University

Boston University

Fairleigh Dickinson University

Texas A&M University

Roosevelt University

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How we rank schools

Our research covers master’s degree programs in hospitality management that prepare students for leadership positions in the service industry. Degrees offered include Master of Science in Hospitality Management, Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management, Master of Tourism Management, and Master of Hospitality Administration. All of these graduate programs are delivered online.

Accreditation is given to hospitality management programs that successfully prepare graduates for the global workforce. The programs on our list are accredited nationally and regionally by accreditors, such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), and Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out our ranking methodology.

What Can You Expect From a Master’s in Hospitality Management Program?

The coursework associated with a master’s in hospitality management helps students understand the inner workings of the industry and apply their knowledge and skills to real-world situations. A master’s degree prepares and qualifies you to improve a hospitality organization’s operations on a number of levels, either behind the scenes or in a consumer-facing role.

During your two-year master’s degree program (or four-year, if you’re attending part-time), you’ll likely participate in various industry conferences, round tables, and hospitality-related activities within your cohort. Most programs have a graduate student organization that offers guest speakers, networking opportunities, and social events.

Some master’s programs culminate in a capstone project or internship. Graduating students typically have access to mentors, industry contacts, and other resources as they begin their job search.

Potential courses you’ll take in a master’s in hospitality management program

  • Financial Management. Courses in financial management teach students about the financial strategies used in food and hospitality operations. Students will analyze financial statements, evaluate real-world problems, and learn how to predict consumer demand.
  • Organizational Behavior. This course provides a detailed look at the development of individual and group behaviors in business. Topics may include team dynamics, leadership, conflict resolution, and organizational culture.
  • Global Marketing. Students learn advanced marketing strategies for North American and global markets. They explore cultural contexts, their impact on strategies, and the best global marketing practices to use.
  • Advanced Human Resource Management. This course looks at the key functions of human resources, including talent selection, employee retention, performance and reward systems, training and professional development, compensation, and diversity.
  • Service Management. This course explores various service strategies used by domestic and global service organizations. Participants learn about the theories and methods used in an organization’s operations and explore ways to measure, analyze, and interpret customer satisfaction data and other data points.

Master’s in Hospitality Management Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to a master’s in hospitality management degree program?

The application process generally starts on the school’s website. The program’s web page provides a link to the application, a list of admissions requirements, and a checklist for supporting documentation. Admission requirements vary by institution, but in general, you’ll be required to submit a copy of your undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, a resume or CV, an essay or personal statement, and an academic writing sample. You must have completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, typically with a grade point average of 3.0-4.0. It’s important to talk with an admissions counselor before applying to ensure you have the most up-to-date information, meet all of the requirements, and submit the proper documentation.

How much does a master’s degree in hospitality management cost?

On average, any master’s degree, including one in hospitality management, costs $19,749 per year and includes the tuition and fees required for the program. The total cost of your program will depend on the type of institution you attend, where it’s located, the number of credits required for your degree, whether you’re an in-state or out-of-state student, and whether you attend in-person or online classes. When budgeting for your degree, consider housing, transportation, food, supplies, and other living expenses.

How long does it take to earn a master’s in hospitality management degree?

A master’s degree in hospitality management typically takes two years of full-time study to complete. The majority of programs require candidates to complete 30-36 credits to graduate, including both required and elective courses. A part-time student can expect to finish the coursework in four years. Many online master’s program options are available, too, offering students more flexibility to work remotely and complete the degree at a pace that suits their needs.

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