Why This Matters

  • EVENT PLANNER JOBS WILL INCREASE 11% BY 2026

    Job growth in this area of hospitality management, which includes meeting, convention and event managers, is faster than average, with 12,700 new jobs expected in the next seven years.

  • EARN $29,475 MORE WITH A MASTER’S DEGREE

    After receiving a bachelor’s, you can go on to earn a master’s, opening the door to higher-paying jobs like general hotel manager, director of events, and marketing communications manager.

  • THE FIELD OFFERS 10 AREAS OF SPECIALIZATION

    Hospitality management includes many types of jobs. Specialization in your degree program can prepare for the career of your choice in event planning, lodging, food service, and eco-tourism.

Our Research

Hospitality management encompasses several service-oriented industries, with opportunities at companies ranging from small businesses to global corporations. Interpersonal, problem-solving and organizational skills are key to success in this field.

An associate’s or bachelor’s degree builds a strong foundation in these skills, while a master’s degree enhances them. Different jobs require different levels of education, so we evaluated associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, as well as graduate certificates.

While there is no program-specific accreditation for hospitality management degrees, all ranked programs are housed at regionally accredited schools. They meet quality standards and coursework is generally transferable to other regionally accredited programs. All programs are offered online, although some can also be completed on-campus or in hybrid format.

We evaluated each program’s reputation in the field, course strength, flexibility, and cost. Using this information, we calculated the Intelligent Score of each degree on a scale from 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best online degrees in hospitality management are innovative, affordable, and highly-recognized. (For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 60+ hours to write this article
  • 128 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 312 education programs we compared

The Top 60 Hospitality Management Degrees

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What You Should Know About This Degree

For individuals entering the field at the bachelor’s level with no prior experience, it’s important to know that hospitality management can be a demanding career. You may work long hours, often on evenings, weekends, and holidays. Depending on the specific industry and job title, you may be juggling multiple responsibilities; many aspects of the job are outward-facing, requiring good interpersonal and communication skills.

For those already working in the industry, and considering a master’s, there is debate about whether experience is more valuable than education in advancing your career. Additionally, many large hospitality companies offer their own professional development programs for employees that may be similar to graduate programs. Knowing what your career goals are and what type of education or experience is necessary to achieve them is key in deciding if this degree is right for you.

Regardless of level, most programs require students to participate in a hands-on field experience. The number of hours and type of experience varies by program, so it’s important to be aware of what will be expected of you, and if the requirements will fit into your schedule and lifestyle. Some programs offer international field experiences; if you are interested in working abroad, it may be beneficial to seek out programs that offer these kinds of experiences.

What’s Next?

As you review these programs, there are some questions you should ask:

  • Does this program offer the specialization that I want? Hospitality management includes hotels/lodging, event planning, tourism/eco-tourism, food/beverage service, and more. If you want to focus on a particular area, make sure the program you’re considering allows that through a major, minor, or electives.
  • Will this degree help me achieve my career goals? While a master’s in Hospitality Management can lead to salary increases and make you stand out from other job candidates, some employers value experience over education. Before committing to an online Master’s program, consider if it’s the best path to achieving your goals.

Once you have identified the programs that interest you, research their admissions deadlines, processes and requirements. This information is typically available on the program’s webpage; you can also contact the program directly if you have questions.

Funding your education is another important consideration. Ask the schools you are applying to about scholarship and financial aid opportunities and deadlines. For individuals already working in the hospitality management industry, some employers offer tuition assistance.