The Best Hospitality Management Programs

by TBS Staff Writers, Nalea Ko
reviewed by TBS Rankings Team

Discover the 10 best hospitality management degree programs that can help you prepare for a career in tourism or restaurant and hotel management.

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Hospitality Management Degrees

A hospitality management degree prepares graduates for a career in lodging management, restaurant management, and more. Successful hospitality professionals enjoy helping others and bring an upbeat attitude to their job. In addition to strong customer service skills, hospitality management requires organizational and business training. A hospitality degree blends classroom learning with experiential training. Learners take courses on topics like hotel and restaurant management, tourism management, and hospitality budgeting. These courses help build the knowledge and skills required for leadership roles in the hospitality industry.

This guide ranks the best hospitality schools and includes information on different types of hospitality degrees and potential careers and salaries for graduates.

Featured Hospitality Programs

Types of Hospitality Degrees

Bachelor's in Hospitality Management Degree

A bachelor's degree in hospitality management meets the education requirements for many hospitality jobs, including lodging manager and food service manager. Students take courses on topics like hospitality sales, service excellence in the hospitality industry, and hospitality cost control.

Hospitality majors often complete an internship to gain professional experience. Some programs offer concentrations in areas like human resources management and hotel management; these options allow students to further customize their degree to match their career goals.

In addition to hospitality courses, hospitality bachelor's programs include general education courses on topics like communication, English, and math. These courses strengthen critical thinking and communication skills. Most bachelor's programs take four years of full-time study to complete.

Graduate Degrees for Hospitality Professionals

Some employers prefer to hire managers and executives with a graduate degree. Master's in hospitality students may focus on a topic like hospitality and tourism management or hotel and restaurant management.

While pursuing a hospitality master's degree, students complete courses on topics like operations management, leadership in the hospitality industry, and lodging management. Some programs offer specializations in an area like restaurant management or tourism management. Graduate hospitality programs typically combine classroom learning with hands-on experience through internships or practica. Most master's programs take two years of full-time study to complete.

A hospitality doctorate prepares graduates for academic and research positions and generally takes 3-5 years to complete. Applicants to hospitality graduate programs often need a bachelor's degree in hospitality management, business, or a related field.

Master's in Hospitality Management Degree Versus an MBA

Prospective graduate students should consider the value of a specialized master's in hospitality management versus an MBA with a hospitality management concentration. While both degrees prepare graduates for managerial roles in the hospitality industry, they offer different focuses.

A master's in hospitality management focuses exclusively on hospitality and tourism management, while an MBA incorporates general business classes in areas like finance, marketing, and accounting. Candidates considering management roles outside of hospitality and tourism may prefer the versatility of an MBA, while those planning careers in hospitality benefit from the specialized coursework of a master's in hospitality management.

Featured Online MBA Degrees

The Best Hospitality Management Programs

#1 Online College in Missouri

College of the Ozarks

School Information
Location Point Lookout, Missouri
Admission Rate 10%
Graduation Rate 71%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission

Fast Facts

School Type: Private

Concentrations Available: Hospitality management; meeting and special event management

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

The C of O's four-year hospitality management program offers a Christian-centered curriculum and work experience at Keeter Center in sales and catering, hotel and restaurant management, and guest services.

The curriculum requires 32-41 major credits. Coursework includes banquet and catering operations, hospitality leadership and supervision, and principles of professional cooking. Students participate in full-time internships completed over three semesters.

C of O also features specializations in hospitality management or meeting and special event management. Students can further customize their education with a major in culinary arts, leading to careers in fine cooking and kitchen management.

Available Scholarships: C of O offers all students general scholarships based on their FAFSA.

#2 Online College in Florida

Florida State University

School Information
Location Tallahassee, Florida
Admission Rate 36%
Graduation Rate 83%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Accredited By: Commission on Accreditation for Hospitality Management

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

FSU's Dedman College of Hospitality, which has offered hospitality management programs since 1947, provides local internships and opportunities abroad.

The 120-credit program allows students to explore niche areas of hospitality, with electives in coffee, tea and international cultures, international travel and culture, distilled spirits, and international culture.

Degree-seekers work 1,000 hours at Florida-based private clubs, restaurants, and hotels. Internships of 1,000 hours take place at Biltmore Estate, Compass Group, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, or Walt Disney World. Students also receive the opportunity to work at hotels in Dublin, Ireland. 

FSU offers interview prep workshops where students train with human resource managers. Around 40-50 recruiters also attend FSU's career fair held twice a year. 

Available Scholarships: The Dedman School of Hospitality offers 28 scholarships for students.

#3 Online College in Florida

University of Central Florida

School Information
Location Orlando, Florida
Admission Rate 44%
Graduation Rate 72%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

UCF's Rosen College of Hospitality Management features a hospitality management degree with hands-on training in Orlando, Florida. 

Students choose form tracks in theme park and attraction management, lodging management, and hospitality information technology. Hospitality management majors take courses in restaurant management, guest services management, hospitality communications, and legal environment in hospitality and tourism.

Learners complete three internships in the hospitality management program to prepare for careers as cruise managers, general managers of hotels, and event planners. 

Degree-seekers can also take the 120-degree completely online. It takes about four years to earn a hospitality management degree.

Available Scholarships: The Rosen College of Hospitality Management offers more than $225,000 in scholarships with individual awards of $1,000-$3,000.

#4 Online College in Florida

Florida International University

School Information
Location Miami, Florida
Admission Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 63%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Concentrations Available: Hotel and lodging management; restaurant and culinary management; entertainment management; event management; spirits management; travel and tourism management

Accredited By: Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

FIU features a 120-credit degree in hospitality management that offers six concentrations students can complete online or in person. 

Degree-seekers can choose from specialties in hotel and lodging management, restaurant and culinary management, entertainment management, event management, spirits management, or travel and tourism management. 

Topics explored in the program include public speaking, accounting, human resources, hospitality marketing, hospital industry law, and analytics and revenue management. Students must also complete 1,000 hours of work experience and a 200-hour internship with the chance to work at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. 

New students can begin in the fall, spring, or summer.

Available Scholarships: The Carnival Gold Scholars, awarded through the Carnival Foundation, offers full tuition scholarships to five qualifying students.

#5 Online College in Massachusetts

Boston University

School Information
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 19%
Graduation Rate 88%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Private

Majors Available: Hospitality administration; hospitality and communication

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

BU's 128-credit hospitality management program offers two majors and seven concentrations, with an international travel experience. 

The seven concentrations — event management, hospitality marketing, hospitality real estate development, revenue management and analytics, hospitality accounting and financing, hospitality entrepreneurship, and hospitality retailing — require 12 elective courses. The curriculum explores financial accounting, food and beverage management, hospitality marketing, and lodging operations.

Students must also complete two 400-hour work experiences, including one in a leadership position. The mandatory four-week international experience must include research in hospitality with a global focus.

Available Scholarships: The Hyatt Hotels Fund awards $3,000 to minority students studying lodging management. Applicants must be junior standing.

#6 Online College in Virginia

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

School Information
Location Blacksburg, Virginia
Admission Rate 70%
Graduation Rate 86%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Accredited By: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

Virginia Tech's hospitality management program, delivered by the Pamplin College of Business, emphasizes career placement services through field studies and internships.

Students explore coursework in ​​hospitality operations, global tourism, restaurant and food management, meetings and events, and club and resort management. Virginia Tech also offers a dual real estate degree. 

Career placement remains integral to the degree, with industry leaders visiting in the fall and spring to meet with students. The career fair also offers the chance for internships and networking. 

Graduates have found jobs at Marriott, Hilton, Ritz Carlton, and Crestline Hotels and Resorts. They become hotel operations managers, cruise executives, and meeting and convention sales representatives. 

Transfer applicants can apply in the fall, spring, and summer. 

Available Scholarships: The Wells Fargo Endowed Scholarship offers hospitality and tourism management students awards based on their academic achievement and financial need. 

#7 Online College in California

California State University-Long Beach

School Information
Location Long Beach, California
Admission Rate 39%
Graduation Rate 74%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Accredited By: Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

CSULB's Department of Family and Consumer Sciences features a 120-credit hospitality management program that offers work experience throughout Southern California. Graduates work for cruise ships, airlines, catering resorts, and amusement parks.

The required courses provide a broad understanding of international hospitality, food preparation, human resources, leadership and strategic management, sustainable food systems, and cost control. Students apply classroom work to an 800-hour practicum and an internship. The program also offers a minor in event planning and management, which requires 18 additional credits. 

Students can join clubs, such as the Hospitality Management Club, Student Event Planners, and Eta Sigma Delta, to meet industry people, faculty, and other students.

Available Scholarships: The hospitality foodservice and hotel management scholarship provides $500-$1,000 to students who have a minimum 2.75 GPA.

#8 Online College in Hawaii

Brigham Young University-Hawaii

School Information
Location Laie, Hawaii
Admission Rate 97%
Graduation Rate 65%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 21% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Private

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

BYU-Hawaii's hospitality management program takes advantage of its location on Oahu's North Shore to provide students with practicum opportunities at Marriott Courtyard Hotel, Turtle Bay Resort, and Polynesian Cultural Center.

The program features a business emphasis, with lessons in financial accounting, spreadsheets, communication, and quantitative reasoning. Students also gain an understanding of economics of global tourism, property management, tourism marketing, and lodging operations. Hospitality and tourism professionals take part in the lecture series, and students travel to Waikiki and other tourism hotspots. 

Ho'okipa Society, a student club, provides opportunities for networking and field trips. Hawaii's location also provides graduates with opportunities to work in the Pacific, Hawaii, Asia, or the contiguous United States. 

Available Scholarships: BYU-Hawaii awards merit scholarships to all students who complete one semester. Scholarship amounts vary by GPA. Students who have 3.950-4.0 GPA receive full funding.

#9 Online College in California

San Diego State University

School Information
Location San Diego, California
Admission Rate 34%
Graduation Rate 73%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Concentrations Available: Hotel management; restaurant management; meetings and events

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

SDSU's hospitality management degree, offered through the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, provides students with work experiences in San Diego and internationally. 

The degree lets students specialize in hotel management, restaurant management, or meetings and events. All students study cross-cultural perspectives of tourism, service leadership development, strategic management in hospitality, and global travel and tourism management. 

Coursework leads to 400 hours of work experience and two internships in a student's area of specialization. Degree-seekers must also study abroad to complete the program. 

Common career paths for graduates include food and beverage managers, wine and spirits directors, wedding planners, marketing managers, and casino managers.

Available Scholarships: Students earning a degree in hospitality management can apply for the study abroad travel allowance of up to $1,200.

#10 Online College in Florida

Miami Dade College

School Information
Location Miami, Florida
Graduation Rate 33%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 18% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Concentrations Available: Hotels; cruise lines; resorts; conventions; institutional management

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

MDC features a two-year hospitality management program and a four-year hospitality management degree that prepares graduates for entry-level and supervisor positions in hotels and restaurants, cruise lines, hotels, and convention and event planning.

The 60-credit associate degree offers three areas of focus: event logistics, executive housekeeping, and hotel management. Students can study online — with self-paced or live courses — or in person learning the introductory courses to hospitality and tourism. 

The bachelor's in supervision management with a concentration in hospitality management requires 120 credits to be completed in person. Business core courses include finance, organizational management, business ethics, and human resources management. The hospital management concentration explores law, bar and beverage services, hotels, restaurants, revenue, and food service.

Both degrees offer internships. 

Available Scholarships: The College Board Opportunity Scholarship offers all students who meet GPA requirements up to six opportunities to receive $500. 

#11 Online College in Nebraska

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

School Information
Location Lincoln, Nebraska
Admission Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 66%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
#12 Online College in Alabama

Auburn University

School Information
Location Auburn, Alabama
Admission Rate 81%
Graduation Rate 79%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
#13 Online College in South Carolina

University of South Carolina-Columbia

School Information
Location Columbia, South Carolina
Admission Rate 69%
Graduation Rate 77%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
#14 Online College in Virginia

James Madison University

School Information
Location Harrisonburg, Virginia
Admission Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 84%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 8% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
#15 Online College in California

San Jose State University

School Information
Location San Jose, California
Admission Rate 64%
Graduation Rate 64%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 35% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
#16 Online College in Nevada

University of Nevada-Las Vegas

School Information
Location Las Vegas, Nevada
Admission Rate 81%
Graduation Rate 45%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
#17 Online College in Florida

Gulf Coast State College

School Information
Location Panama City, Florida
Graduation Rate 41%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
#18 Online College in Florida

Broward College

School Information
Location Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Graduation Rate 31%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
#19 Online College in Texas

University of North Texas

School Information
Location Denton, Texas
Admission Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 56%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
#20 Online College in Oregon

Oregon State University

School Information
Location Corvallis, Oregon
Admission Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 67%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
#21 Online College in Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin-Stout

School Information
Location Menomonie, Wisconsin
Admission Rate 91%
Graduation Rate 60%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
#22 Online College in Georgia

Augusta University

School Information
Location Augusta, Georgia
Admission Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 40%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
#23 Online College in Missouri

Saint Louis University

School Information
Location Saint Louis, Missouri
Admission Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 79%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 12% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
#24 Online College in West Virginia

West Virginia University

School Information
Location Morgantown, West Virginia
Admission Rate 84%
Graduation Rate 61%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hospitality Management Programs Ranking Guidelines

We evaluated the top hospitality schools and programs based on academic quality, awards, reputation, independent evaluations, facilities, and internship opportunities.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

Choosing a Program

Prospective students should consider several factors when choosing a hospitality program, including school reputation, program length, and the total cost of a degree. Learners should also consider what type of degree their chosen career path requires and whether a program offers courses and concentrations aligned with their career goals. Our ranking of the best hospitality degrees, which includes hospitality programs at various degree levels, helps prospective students find the right program for their needs.

Hospitality Management Jobs

Earning a degree in hospitality management prepares graduates for diverse roles, such as lodging manager, facility manager, and operations manager. Graduates may also assume higher administrative positions and top executive roles. The following list describes a few job opportunities for professionals with a hospitality management degree.

Administrative Services Managers
Median Salary 2020: $98,890 Projected Job Growth 2020-2030: 9%

Administrative services managers oversee supportive services for an organization. They maintain facilities, supervise administrative personnel, and manage records. Also known as business office managers or facility managers, administrative services managers maintain safe and secure facilities for organizations.

Additionally, these professionals may oversee renovation projects, monitor a facility's grounds, and manage operations and maintenance for a facility. The education requirements for administrative services managers vary by organization, but most positions require a bachelor's degree in an area like business, facility management, or hospitality management.

Lodging Managers
Median Salary: $56,670 Projected Job Growth: 9%

Lodging managers oversee operations for hotels, motels, resorts, and other lodging establishments. They ensure an establishment operates at a profit and runs efficiently. Lodging managers also enforce company standards for guest services and housekeeping, interact with guests, monitor a facility's budget, and hire and train staff members.

Lodging management professionals may hold several job titles, including general manager, revenue manager, front office manager, and convention service manager. Many lodging managers hold a bachelor's degree in hospitality management and several years of professional experience.

Top Executives
Median Salary: $107,680 Projected Job Growth: 8%

Top executives oversee operational activities for a business or organization. They manage an organization's budget, consult with executives and board members about general operations, and appoint managers. Top executives may hold titles such as general manager, operations manager, chief executive officer, and chief operating officer.

Education and training requirements for top executives vary by position and industry. Most roles require at least a bachelor's degree, though some companies prefer candidates with a master's degree.

Featured Online Master's in Hospitality Management Degrees

Popular Questions About Hospitality Degrees

What Does a Degree in Hospitality Do?

Earning a degree in hospitality helps you develop the skills needed to successfully run a hotel, tourist destination, cruiseline, or other hospitality business. Students learn about client care, finances, staff development and management, and business planning.

What Type of Degree Is Hospitality?

Most hospitality degrees are bachelor of art degrees. However, you can also earn a certificate in hospitality, and some MBA programs also focus on hospitality.

How Long Is a Hospitality Degree?

Earning a bachelor's in hospitality takes four years for a full-time student. Students who already have transfer credits from an associate degree can usually graduate in two, while students who only study part time will often take longer than four years. Some hospitality certificate programs are shorter, taking only a year, but they are not as comprehensive.

What Sort of Careers Can You Get With a Hospitality Degree?

Hospitality degree-holders can work in a variety of customer and tourist-facing roles, including travel agent, hotel staff, restaurant owner, and cruise ship coordinator.

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