Hospitality management is the profession concerned with overseeing and managing hospitality businesses and tourism organizations. In 2017 the hospitality and tourism industry generated nearly 3% of the domestic gross product in the United States economy. The hospitality industry however, is notoriously dynamic and constantly evolves according to popular trends, world economics, and cultural influences.
There is no denying the impact of the global pandemic on the travel and tourism industry, but not all of it has been negative. Risks associated with travel have driven innovation in trip-insurance policies, safety protocols, and travel incentives–all of which has increased the market’s demand for specialised hospitality managers.
As a career path hospitality management continues to diversify. With sectors like AirBnB driving growth for new types of hospitality management, many professionals are looking to specialize. In response to this trend universities around the country offer degree programs tailored to reflect the burgeoning demands of the hospitality industry, providing professionals with a clear path to success in the job market.
Education in Hospitality Management
Regardless of one’s desired area of specialty in hospitality management there is foundational knowledge of the industry that contributes to one’s professional success–and this foundational knowledge is the primary focus of hospital management degree programs. Students of these programs progress through curriculums that cultivate an understanding on business administration, marketing, and customer service within the context of the hospitality and tourism industries.
In other words, these programs build interdisciplinary skills in students with value across many different professional pursuits. And beyond this foundation, hospitality management programs typically offer electives or degree concentration options that empower students to establish expertise in a targeted sector of the hospitality industry. In this ranking we have compiled the best hospitality management programs available, focusing our report on the online programs to avoid the locational constraints of traditional programs so that our recommendations are relevant to the greatest number of prospective students.
- Florida International University
Florida International University (FIU) is an institution that has earned a reputation for innovation in the online learning space. Its programs have been recognized for affordability, efficiency, and positive career outcomes that reflect the efficacy of program curriculums. Particularly, the FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management is recognized as one of the top hospitality management schools in the southeast.
The Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management has earned acclaim for its active facilitation of internship opportunities that help students to build a professional network early in their careers. The School’s partnership with international resorts and hotels generates invaluable connections for students of the program, and provides an opportunity for students to specialize in international hospitality management–an opportunity rarely offered to this degree.
Specifically, the School offers a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management that can be completed entirely online. Students of the program will progress through coursework in the following areas:
- Beverage Management
- Entertainment Management
- Event Management
- Hotel/Lodging Management
- Restaurant/Culinary Management
- Spirits Management
- Travel & Tourism Management
- University of Utah
The University of Utah is a large state school that demonstrates continued success in preparing students for business careers. Accolades continually recognize the success of the University’s business students, over 80% of which report full-time employment before graduation. In recent years, the University has committed resources to developing extensive online program offerings. These programs are led by instructors who excel in their specialization and adhere to a standard of academic excellence.
Among these online degree offerings is a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism with an emphasis in Sustainable Tourism & Hospitality Management. This specialty track is designed to train students in areas of cultural heritage conservation, natural resource management, and environmental impact–cultivating a sense of cultural and environmental responsibility. Students of the program also have the opportunity to earn a Hospitality Operations Certificate from the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
- Florida Atlantic University
Florida Atlantic University (FAU) is well-known in online education. FAU’s reputation for effective career-focused education is represented in an extensive catalogue of accolades, recognizing the school for excellence in academics, student engagement, faculty involvement, and more. FAU’s College of Business seems is well-represented among FAU’s accolades for producing successful business professionals, particularly at the executive and managerial level.
The FAU College of Business offers a fully online Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Hospitality & Tourism Management. The BBA designation confers a focus on business operations, management, and other administrational concerns. This program is ideal for students who wish to double-down on the business side of hospitality management.
This program prepares students to take on the following positions after graduation:
- Sales & Management
- Director of Hospitality & Activities
- Guest Services Management
- Special Events Management
- Food & Beverage Director
- Director of Recreation & Guest Engagement
- Washington State University
Washington State University (WSU) Global Campus is designed specifically to provide adult learners and working professionals with flexible yet academically rigorous paths to professional development. Its programs are built around curriculums that are designed to reflect current industry trends and the demands of the job market.
WSU’s AACSB-accredited Carson College of Business offers the oldest hospitality management program in the country, having been first established in 1932. Carson College’s hospitality management program consistently ranks among the top ten programs of its kind year after year.
Specifically, students of the program will earn a Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Management. What distinguishes this program is its commitment to professional development. Built-in to this program is a requirement for 1,000 hours of paid work in the hospitality industry, as well as a requirement for work in the international sector. These requirements are meant to cultivate students’ professional network and attractiveness to corporate recruiters.
- Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays State University (FHSU) specializes in providing efficient and affordable degree programs that accommodate the busy lives of working students and adults. FHSU’s faculty is committed to providing students with career-relevant education, so that time spent on coursework is time spent cultivating professional aptitude.
Specifically FHSU offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Tourism and Hospitality Management. FHSU emphasizes a focus on global business as well as interdisciplinary awareness–both of which are conferred through specialized electives and core business courses. Students of the program will progress through key topics in the following areas:
- Foundations of Wine
- Meetings, Conventions, & Events Management
- Hotel & Resort Management
- Food & Beverage Management
- Casino Management
- Health & Wellness Tourism
- Spa Facility & Luxury Services
- Destination Management
- Revenue Management
- Social Media Marketing
- University of Missouri
The University of Missouri also referred to as Mizzou is a premier institution of higher education with an extensive catalogue of degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. Missouri Online represents a collaboration between four universities within the UM school system–Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T), the University of Missouri (Mizzou), the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL), and the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC).
This collaboration means that students benefit from an extensive network of academic resources, top-tier instructors, and various avenues for professional development. Specifically, Missouri Online offers a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management with a focus on food and beverage management. This program is designed to position students to take on positions of leadership and management within the restaurant industry upon graduation.
- Northern Arizona University
Northern Arizona University (NAU) is an established innovator in the online education space with over two decades of experience in fine-tuning their digital degree offerings. NAU’s online degree programs are taught by faculty who function not only as instructors but also as mentors who are committed to facilitating professional success in their students.
NAU offers a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management taught by faculty with real world experience in the industry, who leverage their professional expertise to facilitate the building of students’ professional networks. Further facilitating students’ professional networks is the program’s requirement for 1200 internship hours within the hospitality industry.
Through the internship and the program’s comprehensive curriculum students will be prepared to pursue any of these directions in the hospitality industry:
- Hotel Management
- Restaurant Management
- Club and Spa Management
- Culinary Arts
- Madonna University
Madonna University is a rare example of a school that has worked to infuse its online degree offerings with its fundamental values. Madonna University is a Catholic institution that looks to elevate its online education programs by cultivating Christian ideals of service, truth, and leadership in students.
Madonna University offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management that seeks to position students to take on roles of leadership in guest services, entertainment organizing, as well as hotel, restaurant, event, and tourism management.
The program encourages transfer students–or second-time undergraduates–to leverage credits toward earning a minor in Business Administration. Combining this minor with the foundational curriculum of the BS in Hospitality Management is meant to better position graduates to take on managerial, business-oriented positions.
- California State University – East Bay
California State University – East Bay is a progressive institution of higher education that looks to position its students for lifelong success in their careers. Faculty at the CSU – East Bay College of Business and Economics specifically design program curriculums to respond to industry demands in order to make program graduates more competitive in the job market.
Specifically, the College of Business and Economics offers a fully online Bachelor’s of Hospitality Management. The program is built around coursework that focuses on the following subject matter: hospitality, guest services, recreation, tourism management, and recreation therapy.
- University of Massachusetts – Amherst
The University of Massachusetts – Amherst Isenberg School of Management is designed for the purpose of driving innovation and excellence in the teaching of management. The Isenberg School of Management leverages an extensive professional network of partnerships and research initiatives to constantly update and inform a more complete model of successful management practices.
The Isenberg School of Management offers a fully online Bachelor of Hotel and Tourism Management. What distinguishes this program is its emphasis on preparing students for entrepreneurial pursuits within the hospitality and tourism industries. This emphasis is conferred through coursework that explores the components of business administration, marketing, and consumer interests that are the basis for business models in the industry.
Students of the program will cover coursework centering around the following subjects:
- Event Management
- Sales & Revenue Management
- Food and Beverage Management
- Destination Management
- Service Experience Management
- Lodging Operations
- Human Resource Management & Legality
- East Carolina University
East Carolina University’s (ECU) College of Business is the largest business school in North Carolina and continues to demonstrate growth as more of its graduates go on to demonstrate exemplary careers of business achievement and leadership. Prospective business professionals will find the prestige and reputation conferred by a degree earned at the ESU College of Business to be a valuable asset when navigating the job market and building professional networks.
This is doubly true of students of the School of Hospitality Leadership (SHL), which was designed specifically to position students for a trajectory of lifelong success and achievement within the hospitality and tourism industry. The SHL is the largest of its kind in the Southeastern United States, and leverages its resources to groom its students through a commitment to academic excellence.
The SHL offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management that emphasizes marketing research, internships, and real-world engagement. Throughout the program students will be assisted in establishing professional connections that will aid in the development of a student’s chosen career path.
- University of Wisconsin – Stout
The University of Wisconsin (UW) – Stout is a leader in online education. UW Stout employs a polytechnic approach to its education programs which tools the thoughtful investigations of a liberal arts education with the scientific form of applied education. In other words, at UW Stout students don’t just learn how to think, they learn how to think in a way that generates results.
This philosophy will be of particular relevance to prospective students of the Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. A distinguishing characteristic of this program is its commitment to cultivating a global awareness in students–conveyed by coursework on cultural ethics and international business.
The Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management deserves special consideration for its various routes of study on offer. Students are able to choose from a robust selection of electives and then conclude the program by completing four courses chosen–and in some cases created–by the student that best represents individual career goals and aspirations.
- Utah Valley University
Utah Valley University (UVU) is an integrated university and community college that emphasizes inclusivity and the infusion of personal and professional success. In other words, UVU functions with the philosophy that professional success and personal fulfillment go hand-in-hand, and thus degree programs reflect this tenet.
Despite being one of the smaller programs on this ranking, UVU distinguishes its Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management degree as one of the most accommodating options for students with a desire for further specialization. Specifically the program offers three main degree specializations:
- General Operations
- Revenue Management
- Food and Beverage Management (designed for Culinary Arts AAS graduates)
- Foreign Language Track
- North Carolina Central University
North Carolina Central University (NCCU) has been helping students achieve their professional goals for more than a hundred years. Today NCCU is expanding their reach through the development of online education programs that mirror the same standard of excellence that the flagship programs are known for and that students have come to expect.
Among these programs is Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Administration that can be completed entirely online through the completion of 128 credits. The program curriculum centers around foundational concepts of business administration and business management, so that graduates of the program will be qualified to take on positions of management in any of the following sectors of the hospitality industry:
- Lodging & Hosting Administration
- Convention & Visitors Bureaus
- Event Management
- Food & Beverage Services
- Cruise Lines
- Conference Centers
- The University of Alabama
The University of Alabama (UA) is a large public institution of higher education and is one of the most reputable universities in the southeast. Many of UA’s programs have received national recognition, and with the development of online education programs more students can access these programs than ever before.
Among these online degree programs is a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management. Students of the program will build real world experience through a 500 hour practicum or internship, which is designed to introduce students to the industry and facilitate the building of professional networks. The program curriculum is designed to prepare students to take on management positions in any of the following sectors of the hospitality industry:
- Commercial and Institutional Food-Service
- Hotel, Lodging Operations, and Management
- Convention, Meetings, and Event marketing
- SUNY College of Technology at Delhi
The Suny College of Technology at Delhi offers career-focused programs with flexible formats with affordable tuitions. These programs are designed to have tremendous accessibility, so that students from all walks of life can complete them–even those with the most demanding work schedules. A key aspect of this flexibility is the academic advising services offered to online students to ensure they make the most out of their time in the program.
Students can choose from a variety of degrees that are designed to position students to succeed in the hospitality industry. Programs are offered at the associate and bachelor’s level and confer a specialization in a particular area of the industry. Specifically, students can choose from any of the following degree paths:
- Event Management (AAS)
- Event Management (BBA) – Available Online
- Culinary Arts (AAS)
- Culinary Arts Management (BBA) – Available Online
- Hotel and Restaurant Management (AAS)
- Hotel and Restaurant Management (BBA) – Available Online
- Missouri State University
Missouri State University has earned a reputation for offering programs of academic excellence that all provide students with the freedom to specialize in their chosen area of professional interest. While many degree programs provide a generalized education, Missouri State University looks to narrow the focus of its programs to cover career-relevant subjects more comprehensively.
This approach will be of particular interest to students interested in specializing in a sub-area of hospitality management. Missouri State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management that can be completed entirely online. An advisor is assigned to each student to help them establish the most suitable and beneficial specialization path to take.
Specifically students will be able to choose between specialization in any of the following subject areas:
- General Operations
- Food and Beverage
- Club Management
- Senior Living Management
- Troy University
Troy University boasts a storied history of academic excellence stretching back more than 130 years. Today Troy University is innovating in its approach to higher education by offering extensive online degree program options. These programs are led by faculty of clout who have demonstrated real-world aptitude in their specialty. Troy has specialized in catering to adult learners and military students for more than fifty years, and as such are experts in delivering concise, career-relevant education.
Troy University offers a fully online Bachelor’s of Hospitality Management with an emphasis in Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management. The program’s curriculum is designed to foster creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit in students. This is carried out by projects such as designing a restaurant business from the ground up. Students are also able to enhance their professional competitiveness by earning certifications such as the Cvent Management Certification.
- Southern Illinois University
Southern Illinois University is a well-known name in higher education and its programs consistently rank among the nation’s best. Southern Illinois University offers a unique online Bachelor’s of Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management that is designed specifically to accommodate students with an Associate’s degree.
By narrowing the program’s focus to only that which is most relevant to the hospitality, tourism, and event industries, students are able to dive more deeply into the foundational concepts of the program. This program is ideal for students who hold an Associate’s degree and are looking for an undergraduate program that offers an advanced coverage of core topics.
- Norfolk State University
Norfolk State University is a historically black institution that was the first of its kind to establish a fully accredited business school. Today the business school offers a robust degree catalogue in areas of Accountancy, Management, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Finance, and Management Information Systems. Within these offerings is a Bachelor of Science in Tourism and Hospitality Management.
The program offers a comprehensive four-year curriculum that cultivates a mastery of core concepts of the hospitality industry. The extensive course catalogue offers students a tremendous amount of choice, so that by graduation they will have established a specialization in a chosen area of interest such as international tourism, marketing, or restaurant development.