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Graduate Degree Program in Hospitality Management Overview

Majors Overview May 6, 2015

Get information about graduate degree programs in hospitality management and their educational requirements, coursework, career choices, and job and wage outlook.

Information on Hospitality Management Graduate Degree Program

Students enrolled in graduate programs in hospitality management are trained to seek occupations in upper management roles in the hospitality industry. Holders of a doctorate degree can seek careers in research or academia. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to a graduate program to hold a bachelor’s degree. The area of the degree required may vary by school.

Master’s Programs in Hospitality Management

Students enrolled in a master’s degree in hospitality management are taught an array of skills and topics in various areas, including psychology, computer science, and business. Topic areas covered include marketing, business technology, and human resources management.

Traditional coursework is augmented by spending a significant amount of time in learning from the observation of relevant professionals in real-world settings. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school, in addition to submitting General Management Admission Test scores and having prior industry experience.


The program, which takes one to two years to complete, involves research in hospitality management culminating in a thesis option, although many schools offer a non-thesis alternative. Students enrolled in many programs can pursue specialization in an area of interest, including tourism, recreation, or marketing. Core coursework may include topic areas such as the following:

•Hospitality enterprise technologies
•Service industry accounting
•Global marketing
•Research in hospitality management
•Hospitality administration
•Hospitality and business law
•Conflict management

Job and Wage Outlook

Hospitality professionals armed with a master’s degree can pursue upper-level management positions. Apart from enhanced leadership skills, students’ analytical and managerial skills are also honed. They may pursue popular career options such as customer service supervisor, hospitality consultant, director of hotel operations, restaurant manager, and spa director.

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth of one percent has been predicted for lodging managers. Over the same period, food service managers are expected to witness growth of two percent (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, lodging managers brought in an average annual wage of $46,810, while food service managers banked $47,960 on average per annum (BLS).

Doctoral Programs with Hospitality Management Specializations

No school offers straightforward doctoral degrees in hospitality management; however, doctoral degrees in various fields are often awarded. These include human ecology and business administration, wherein students are allowed to specialize in hospitality management. Topic areas in hospitality management are available in these programs; for instance, human resources issues related to hospitality management are covered within the coursework of a doctorate in human ecology.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria in highly competitive doctoral programs with specializations in hospitality management typically require incoming students to already hold professional or graduate degrees in fields related to business and management, such as business administration, law, and marketing. Most programs either require or encourage hospitality work experience.


Graduate students augment the study of normal coursework by producing a research-based dissertation. The overall curriculum underscores the importance of research methods and statistics. Core coursework may include topic areas such as the following:

•Consumer behavior theories
•Managerial communications
•Cost control
•Financing in hospitality management
•Hospitality information systems
•Hospitality management case studies
•Real estate appraisal

Career Choices

Graduates can expect to become adept at preparing research proposals and demonstrating the application of their findings. They can seek careers in research and academia and choose from popular career options such as:

•Hospitality researcher
•Operations analyst
•Hospitality management professor
•Hotel manager

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