In order to provide prospective students with the best chance at having a great education, we have compiled this list of the top hospitality management degree programs of 2018. Some schools may excel at online programs while others may focus exclusively on the traditional, on-campus aspect of higher education. Regardless of the delivery format, these schools excel at providing a quality education for their students.
Hospitality management is a growing industry with programs available all over the country. Students who pursue hospitality management programs will learn how to become strong leaders in the field. They are also developing the skills to contribute to the hospitality industry. The skills students develop while preparing for this business are diverse and transferable to many career paths. In hospitality management programs, graduates will be ready to have a management career. Those include the hotel and resort lodging, dining, event planning, professional athletics, theme parks, cruise lines, and casinos.
Since the industry is expanding, there are several universities from which students can choose to earn a hospitality management degree. We put together a list of the best hospitality management degree programs in the country, in the hopes that it can help you narrow down your choice of school. Without further ado…
Here are the Best Hospitality Management
Degree Programs of 2018
1. Cornell University
Cornell University prides itself on teaching students about so much more than just hotels. Students learn about finance, marketing, real estate, and operations. Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration is the only Ivy League business-management program to offer a degree in hospitality which prepares students to be successful business leaders around the world.
Cornell’s SHA includes 14 different academic disciplines including Entrepreneurship, Food and Beverage Management, Information Systems, and Services Marketing. Students also have the opportunity to further their educational experience through study abroad programs in more than 40 countries via the Management Internship Program and the Hotel-Leadership Development Program hosted at the Statler Hotel on campus. Within six months after graduation, about 92% of students have accepted jobs.
2. Michigan State University
The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State has been around for nine decades and is known for being the original hospitality program in the nation. A hospitality degree from Michigan State prepares students for a job in several fields including hotel operations, hospitality real estate, hotel sales, and more.
Undergraduate students are required to complete two paid internships before graduation and have the option of completing a minor in Hospitality Business Real Investment Management. Students who want to further their education through graduate work can choose from four degrees including a master’s in Food Service Business Management, a master’s in Hospitality Business Management, a Secondary Concentration in Hospitality Business in the MBA program, or a Graduation Specialization in Hospitality Business.
3. University of Houston
The Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston offers four different degrees in the industry including a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management, Master of Science in Hospitality Management, Master of Science in Global Hospitality Business, and a Ph.D. in Hospitality Administration. The Hotel and Restaurant Management program offers national and international internships and study abroad opportunities.
Students in the master’s program work with two of the school’s partners in Europe and Asia, which help students understand how the industry works globally. Students will also work on a customized capstone project and enjoy business trips to New York, Paris, and Macau. The school also has a relatively new online Executive Masters of Hospitality Management program, currently going into its third year.
4. University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Students at UNLV‘s William F. Harrah College of Hospitality can learn about hospitality management while focusing on an industry of their choice, such as Gaming Management, Meetings and Events, Professional Golf Management, and Restaurant Management. Additionally, students study food sanitation, cost control, financial and managerial accounting, and operations and strategic management. Students can customize 22 credits of their degree to pursue their interests. Throughout their studies, students participate in an internship, capstone classes, and work experience in the industry before graduation. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, the Harrah College of Hospitality offers a master’s degree program (both a traditional and an online option) as well as Ph.D. program.
5. Fairleigh Dickinson University
The International School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Fairleigh Dickinson University is the oldest of its type in the New York Metropolitan area. The school offers different hospitality programs, such as a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management, a Bachelor of Arts for Specialization in Hospitality for adult students, and a Masters of Science degree in Hospitality Management Studies. The school has two different campuses in Northern New Jersey, both located near rich hospitality resources, such as New York City and several Fortune 500 companies. The school offers over 2,000 internship opportunities for their students each year and has an extensive network of alumni to help place students in the career field, such as connections with Wyndham Worldwide which offers student internships, special classes, and even laboratory experience with scholarships.
6. Washington State University
At Washington State University, the Carson College of Business offers a degree in Hospitality Business Management. Upon graduation, students will have worked about 1,000 hours in the hospitality industry. WSU’s instructors strive to help students gain skills in operations, sales, revenues, service, event planning, and consulting. Also, students attend two events in which the school connects its students with employers in the hospitality industry.
WSU’s program typically ranks among the top 5% of about 170 programs specializing in hospitality in the country. In addition to the Pullman campus, students can earn this degree at a few other locations including Everett, Vancouver, the Tri-Cities, and Switzerland. There’s also two graduate degrees available in the field of hospitality for those seeking to further their knowledge.
7. Pennsylvania State University
The School of Hospitality Management at Pennsylvania State University allows students to specialize in particular disciplines within the program, such as Restaurant Management, Hotel Management, and Institutional Management. Students get to learn about different aspects of the industry, such as real estate, human resource management, gaming, and hospitality management information systems.
The school encourages students to work closely with their professors to select which elective classes will help students develop skills that meet their passions. The school also partners with several international programs in Italy, Spain, France, Hong Kong, Australia, and the Netherlands. Additionally, Penn State offers on-campus internships which will prepare students to actively participate in the industry upon graduation.
8. Oklahoma State University
The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Oklahoma State University is unique in that it operates two restaurants and additional learning labs at local hotels. The school hosts an event called Hospitality Days in which students can connect with over 40 hospitality companies and future employers. In addition to having hands-on experience on campus, students get to experience study abroad programs to help increase their knowledge of the field. This summer, OSU’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management is taking its students to Italy to learn more about European cuisine and culture.
9. Virginia Tech University
The Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Virginia Tech in the business school has a placement rate of 94% upon graduation. Virginia Tech’s experienced faculty ensure students will gain skills in accounting, marketing, revenue management, business information technology, and social media.
Every student in the undergraduate program is required to complete an internship which will prepare them to work in the field. The school offers three graduate certificates including International Hospitality and Tourism Strategy, Entrepreneurship in HTM, and HTM Business Analytics & Revenue Management, which can be completed online. Also, the school offers one of the few Ph.D. programs in Hospitality and Tourism Management in the country.
10. Drexel University
The Center for Food and Hospitality Management at Drexel University offers two undergraduate and two graduate programs. The two undergraduate programs are a BS in Culinary Arts and Science and a BS in Hospitality Management. Tourism management is included in the curriculum. Both undergraduate programs have an accelerated option, where students can earn their BS in either Culinary Arts & Science or Hospitality Management, and also earn their MBA in a 5-year curriculum. The two graduate programs are an MS in Food Science and an MS in Culinary Arts & Science.
Drexel also offers a co-op program designed to help students gain exposure to real world experience in their chosen fields and add relevant work experience to their resume. The BS in Hospitality Management can be taken as a four-year program with one co-op experience or as a five-year program with three six-month co-op experiences. To learn more, click here.
11. University of Wisconsin – Stout
Students have the choice of earning a Bachelor’s degree in Golf Enterprise Management, Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism Management, or Real Estate Property Management at the University of Wisconsin – Stout. The school also offers minors and specializations in Lodging Management and Tourism. The Stout School of Hospitality Leadership requires students to complete 320 hours of work experience in the hospitality industry, which gives them a sharp advantage upon graduation.
Students also gain hands-on experience working for two of the University’s restaurants, the Corner III-Cedar Cafe, and the Rendezvous Restaurant. With plenty of hands-on experience offered to students, Wisconsin is proud to place on average 90 percent of their students in the industry after graduation.
12. Northern Arizona University
Northern Arizona offers internship opportunities with renowned companies like Marriott, Hyatt, and the Four Seasons. Students are required to earn 1,200 hours in the hospitality industry to graduate. The University provides another chance for students to study outside the classroom through a five-week study abroad in Europe. More than 75 percent of Northern Arizona’s faculty have earned doctoral degrees in the hospitality industry.
13. University of Alabama
The Hospitality Management Program at the University of Alabama allows students who are working part-time to complete their degree by combining on-campus learning with prior learning and independent study. Students who graduate from this program are better prepared to work as managers and executives of restaurants, hotels, convention centers, commercial & healthcare food services, and also to contract individually with independent corporations.
Students are required to complete 500 hours at an internship in the hospitality industry and must choose a discipline within the program to specialize in: Meetings/Events, Hotel/Lodging, or Restaurant/Food & Beverage.
14. University of Massachusetts
The Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts offers several degrees including an on-campus or an online Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management, certificates in Meeting and Event Management, Casino Management, and even a Ph.D. in HTM.
Students who graduate from this program are prepared to work as a human resource manager, hotel or casino manager, event planner, cruise director, tour manager, or marketing professional. Students engage with over 70 companies during the HTM Career Days event, and through other exchange programs in Europe and Australia.
15. University of Denver
The Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management at the University of Denver is one of the few hospitality programs offered in a college of business. Students earning a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management choose one the following disciplines to study: Lodging Real Estate, Revenue Management and Analytics, Restaurant/Food & Beverage Management, and Conference Services Management.
Students gain hands-on experience working at Beans, an on-campus coffee shop, and planning significant events at the university’s conference centers. All students are required to earn 1,000 hours of work experience in the hospitality industry upon graduation. The Knoebel School requires students to complete a semester studying abroad at an international university or college and to demonstrate proficiency in a second language.
16. Johnson and Wales University
Johnson and Wales University has a School of Hospitality that offers several hospitality degrees, including Baking & Pastry Arts and Food Service Management, Culinary Arts and Food Service Management, Hotel and Lodging Management, Restaurant, Food & Beverage Management, Sports, Entertainment, Events Management, and Tourism & Hospitality Management.
Several of these degrees are available at JWU’s campuses in Providence, Miami, Denver, Charlotte, and even online. The school offers study abroad programs in Europe, Africa, and Australia. Class sizes at JWU are small, and students will have an opportunity to work closely with their professors who are very experienced in the hospitality industry.
Since all university locations immerse their studies in hospitality hubs, students have local internship opportunities and can seek international hospitality internships to prepare them for their careers.
17. California State Polytechnic University
The Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona is one of the country’s premier hospitality and tourism management programs and is a global source of future leaders for the thriving industry. A diverse population of more than 1,400 students are educated by a team of expert faculty who bring added value to the classroom with their industry experience, scholarly research, and involvement in professional associations.
Its renowned undergraduate degree program has an exceptional job placement rate with more than 80% of its students in management positions upon graduation, and it is the largest of its kind in the State of California. In addition, the college is nationally ranked as one of the top 10 hospitality and tourism graduate programs.
The Collins College is dedicated to advancing the field of hospitality management through its collaborative learn-by-doing approach, its profound appreciation of diverse backgrounds, ideas and cultures, and its strategic integration of scholarship, service and applied learning.
18. Kansas State University
The Department of Hospitality at Kansas State offers students a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management, with an option to focus on one of three disciplines, which are the Food and Beverage Management track, the Meeting and Event Management Track, or the Lodging Management Track.
Kansas State also prides itself on requiring students to take Business Administration & Communications, Humanities, and Quantitative Studies classes to prepare them to be professionals in the industry.
The school offers a Master’s degree in Hospitality Administration to prepare students for jobs as managers, educators, and researchers in foodservice and hospitality. Students can join faculty-led study abroad trips and participate in international culinary workshops to prepare for global work.
19. Kendall College
The Hospitality Management program at Kendall College in Chicago offers several disciplines for students to concentrate their educational experience on. These concentrations include Asset Management, Beverage Management, Hotel Management, Event Planning and Management, Restaurant Management, and Sustainability Management.
Kendall’s faculty brings many years of experience in the industry to the classroom. Students have the opportunity to put classroom knowledge to use by hosting five-course meals in the school’s dining room. They are conducting beverage management at a brewery and practicing housekeeping skills at the Hyatt. After completing two required internships and a capstone project, students can prepare to graduate and enter the hospitality industry as professionals.
20. Florida State University
The Dedman School of Hospitality at Florida State University has prepared students for management positions in the hospitality industry for more than 70 years and reports a near 100 percent career placement rate.
School administrators and research faculty members work globally with top industry organizations, executives and prominent alumni to provide students with a rigorous and relevant curriculum, valuable internship experiences, and networking/mentorship opportunities.
The program offers a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management, a Bachelor’s degree in Global Club Management and Leadership, and a minor in Hospitality Management. Required management internships and work experiences – available with world-class operations across the U.S. and globally in countries ranging from Ireland to Australia – prepare students to make informed career decisions and develop multi-cultural skills for the globalized hospitality industry. Students are also encouraged to enrich their education through the school’s Switzerland Summer Study Abroad Program and Krems, Austria Exchange Program.
21. East Carolina University
The School of Hospitality Leadership at East Carolina University has helped students prepare for a career in the field of Hospitality for over 30 years. The SHL offers a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management, with concentrations in Food and Beverage Management, Lodging Management, and Convention & Event Management. If you’re looking to further your studies in the field, there’s a Master of Science in Sustainable Tourism and Hospitality, and an MBA with Hospitality Management Certificate offered in ECU as well.
Students are required to complete an externship during their sophomore year and a management internship before their senior year. The SHL has also offered study abroad opportunities, going to places like Ecuador and Kyrgyzstan. ECU has connections with well-known companies, such as ARAMARK, Darden restaurants, Chick-Fil-A, and the Biltmore Estate. These partnerships help students attain internships in these companies, which often lead to full-time jobs upon graduation.
22. North Carolina Central University
The School of Business at North Carolina Central University can be found in Durham, North Carolina. The School of Business offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality and Tourism Administration to students seeking more knowledge and better preparation in the field. Required courses in the program include Introduction to Travel and Tourism, Procurement in Hotels and Restaurants, and Event Planning & Management. Students are also required to complete 1,000 hours of work experience through internships.
23. Delhi State University of New York (SUNY Delhi)
If you’re looking into studying the hospitality field and want to live in New York, then the BBA in Hotel and Restaurant Management degree program at SUNY Delhi might be your perfect match. Courses in this program include International Business Management, Hospitality Marketing, and Hotel & Resort Operations. At SUNY Delhi, students can gain experience via the Alumni Hall Hospitality Center, which contains an operational restaurant, a banquet hall, a lounge and a full bar, and even guest suites. Besides developing skills in class, students are required to complete an internship prior to graduation.
24. Jacksonville State University
The Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Jacksonville State University can be found in Jacksonville, Alabama. For students who want to study about the hospitality industry, JSU offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Consumer Sciences with a concentration in Hospitality and Culinary Management. Last school year, JSU decided to host a Culinary Invitational, in which three high schools from the area were invited to participate. The purpose of the event, besides eating good food, was to get the word out about JSU’s culinary program, which is part of the Hospitality and Culinary Management track. Courses in the Hospitality and Culinary Management track that students can expect to take include: Food Safety and Sanitation, Visual Merchandising, and Principles of Culinary Management.
25. Norfolk State University
Norfolk State University can be found in Norfolk, Virginia. The school offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management. The program requires students to complete 120 credits hours, which can be done on campus or online. If you’re a student looking to study hospitality in Virginia, some of the courses required for this major include Dining Room and Beverage Management, Hospitality Sales and Marketing, and Hospitality Human Resources Management.
The list draws from the best hospitality management programs around the country. The combination of job placement, faculty experience, the success of graduates in their fields, number of programs, graduation rate, options for financial aid and overall quality of program based on student feedback determines each school’s evaluation and rank.
We invite schools featured on our list or not highlighted to reach out for possible inclusion in an updated version of our best hospitality management programs in the U.S. We’re continually looking to recognize top-tier institutions.