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Factors to Consider When Choosing an Event Planning Graduate School

Majors Overview May 6, 2015

The role of organizing receptions, corporate retreats, weddings, meetings, and other large gatherings falls on event planners. They schedule and contract the services of movers, service providers, photographers, and caterers. Those interested should look into certificate programs in event planning or master’s degree programs in tourism focusing on event planning.

Choosing an Event Planning Graduate School

Prospective event planners may seek a master’s degree or graduate certificate in the field. The continuing education departments of many four-year universities and colleges offer these programs. In this article, we take a look at the important factors to consider when you select an event planning graduate school.

Available Specializations

Students interested in planning specific types of events, such as an industry conference or a wedding, should look for a school that offers such specialized training.

Services Offered for Career Training

Students should consider whether internship programs are available at the school of their choice. Professional experience drives careers in the event-planning field; consequently, prospective students should look for schools with substantial career support services or internship placement programs. Programs with a strong network of vendor relationships as well as alumni must also be considered valuable.

Ethical Stance

Students may also look at the social responsibility aspect when they select an event planning program. Green event planning has become a common theme with the growing importance of environmental sustainability and the subsequent development of guidelines and standards for such events by many governments, universities, and institutions.

Students can use skills imparted in ethically sound event planning as a strong marketing tool, in addition to accepting it as a matter of personal morality. The program description or course list of the school may help a student interested in ethical event planning with relevant information as to whether there is an emphasis on social responsibility and environmental sustainability.

Certificate Programs in Event Planning

The continuing education departments of universities and colleges usually offer graduate certificate programs in event planning, which introduce in a brief, focused manner the considerations relevant to the planning of various types of events. Students need one to two years of part-time study to complete most certificate programs; admission criteria do not insist on prior professional experience or completion of previous related courses. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Business meetings
•Wedding planning
•Event registration and scheduling
•Contract management
•Fundraising events

Master of Tourism Administration (M.T.A.) Programs with an Event Planning Concentration

A tourism master’s degree program with a focus on planning meetings and events will benefit students who wish to pursue a comprehensive, degree-granting graduate program. Few schools, if any, offer these programs, although students can avail some options, such as online programs. Students take two to three years to complete master’s degree programs and are required to hold bachelor’s degrees. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Destination marketing
•Event planning
•Hotel management


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