Tourism impacts local economies by creating jobs and income. Hospitality management degrees help you understand that impact at the same time you’re learning the skills to become a leader in the industry. What do students learn after getting degrees in hospitality management? With a bachelor’s degree in travel and tourism, you learn business management skills. While focusing on hospitality, the skills you learn are transferrable valuable to almost any industry. That’s why it’s important to narrow down a list of degrees in hospitality management that move you toward your goals.
The best hospitality management schools combine plenty of opportunities with the best hospitality management programs. For example, internships are offered by the best hospitality management schools so that students can gain practical experience. The best colleges for hospitality management teach more than basic hotel skills such as service, cooking, and room management. The best colleges for hospitality management ensure student master marketing, accounting and finance, and human resource management. Together with real-life experience, the best hospitality management programs stress an understanding of the total customer experience.
Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Hospitality Management Programs
To rank the best hospitality management schools and programs, Bachelor’s Degree Center editors sought out accredited programs that are known for having a real, positive impact on their graduates’ careers. From our initial pool, programs were ranked according to three main factors: Cost, Graduate Salary, and Student Satisfaction, using data from IPEDS, Niche, and College Scorecard.
1. University of San Francisco
One of the best hospitality management programs on the West Coast, University of San Francisco’s Hospitality Management BSBA program allows students to become leaders in the hospitality field. The school works to balance qualitative skills (such as customer service) with quantitative skills (such as finance).
Part of the McLaren School of Management, the esteemed faculty in the Hospitality Management, BSBA program work regularly with accreditation boards to ensure that the school’s rigorous curriculum is up to the standards that will have graduates ready to excel in the workplace. The school’s urban location allows students to engage in a number of unique and exciting hospitality internship opportunities.
What We Like: The McLaren School of Management’s culinary lab gives students the experience of working in a professional kitchen while still in school.
Degree: Hospitality Management, BSBA
2. Cornell University
Cornell University’s Hotel Administration BS degree is one of the best hospitality management programs in New York. This is one of the few programs that educates students in the area of real estate, setting them up to become property owners if they so choose.
At The Hotel School within the SC Johnson College of Business, students get the tools they need to excel. At the School of Hotel Administration with The Hotel School, students enter with a small class size – fewer than 160 students. The school provides the best of both worlds – a small group to connect with among the larger entering class of approximately 3,100 students.
What We Like: As the only (partially) public school in the Ivy League, Cornell offers a fantastic education at an incredible value.
Degree: Hotel Administration, BS
3. The Ohio State University
The Ohio State University’s Hospitality Management BS program marks the school as one of the best colleges for hospitality management. Students at OSU emerge from the program prepared to be leaders in management and supervisory positions. The program takes students through the worlds of hotel, restaurant, club, and casino management.
Hospitality management students have the chance to get involved with several large events that take place on OSU’s campus, including many speaker series events, Big Dish, Hospitality Listens, and more. Listing involvement in these events on a resume makes graduates a standout to any employer in the hospitality industry.
What We Like: OSU’s Columbus, Ohio location provides students with access to other large cities, including Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and more.
Degree: Hospitality Management, BS
4. Florida State University
The Hospitality & Tourism Management BS program at Florida State University is one of the best colleges for hospitality management in the South. Nearly 100% of students graduate from the Hospitality & Tourism Management program. The ability to personalize the program and the school’s commitment to academic mapping to keep students on track contribute to the success of students in the program.
As a part of the Dedman School of Hospitality, the program is focused on utilizing the latest trends in the industry, but remaining student focused. Students get one on one interaction with faculty members and never feel like a number. The individual focus of the program sets it apart from others.
What We Like: Florida State University offers an internship program that allows students to work inSwitzerland, providing a unique experience to learn about international hospitality.
Degree: Hospitality & Tourism Management, BS
5. Michigan State University
Michigan State University’s Hospitality Business BA program marks MSU as one of the best hospitality management schools in the Midwest. Over the course of the program, students have the opportunity to strengthen their communication, leadership, and management skills, preparing them to emerge as industry leaders.
Many graduates of the program go on to work in supervisory positions in casinos, on cruise ships, in hotels, restaurants, and more. MSU’s vast alumni network is worth it’s weight in gold – students can find fellow alums across the country.
What We Like: Not only does MSU offer internship opportunities abroad – students are also able earn scholarships for these opportunities.
Degree: Hospitality Business, BA
6. San Diego State University
At San Diego State University’s Hospitality & Tourism Management BS program, students know they’re a part of one of the best hospitality management schools in the country. The program’s heavy focus on event planning allows students not just to work in a hospitality institution after graduation – they’re also prepared to work as an event planner/ independent contractor.
San Diego’s Hospitality program puts a unique focus on Tribal Gaming and the unique cultural issues facing Native Americans in the area. Students can take classes that focus on tribal gaming, or focus their entire degree on tribal gaming.
What We Like: San Diego State’s urban location provides students with access to many different internship and cultural opportunities.
Degree: Hospitality & Tourism Management, BS
7. George Mason University
George Mason University’s Tourism and Events Management BS program is known as one of the best hospitality management programs. The program works to attract diverse students with different educational and work histories, creating a program that allows students to learn from one another as well as from world class faculty.
All students in the program take Mason Core classes in addition to their hospitality specific program. This means that students graduate will the same well rounded education that employers know they can expect from alumni of George Mason.
What We Like: George Mason’s proximity to Washington, D.C. means that students have the opportunity to network and intern with high end restaurants and hotels.
Degree: Tourism and Events Management, BS
8. Kansas State University
Kansas State University’s Hospitality Management BS program is one of the best hospitality management programs in the Central United States. At KSU, students get plenty of face time with world class faculty to get questions answered and learn in a small group environment. Faculty have a plethora of restaurant and hotel experience, allowing them to provide students with answers to real world hospitality issues.
16 week courses within the program meet just once a week, making this program a perfect fit for students who are working to further their careers while also furthering their education. KSU offers generous scholarship opportunities to students, no matter what state or area they’re originally from.
What We Like: One of the oldest hospitality education programs in the nation, KSU’s program was established in 1952.
Degree: Hospitality Management, BS
9. Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University’s Hospitality & Retail Management BS program is one of the best hospitality management programs in the South. Students at Texas Tech focus on nutritional science, art and science, as well as core classes to ensure a well rounded education.
The retail management degree is a unique option for students who are interested in the retail side of tourism and hospitality. This degree allows students to understand the ins and outs of fashion merchandising and marketing, which can also be applied in a variety of hospitality settings.
What We Like: Skyviews is Texas Tech’s nearly-fully student run fine dining restaurant, situated on the sixth floor of Texas Tech Plaza.
Degree: Hospitality & Retail Management, BS
10. Temple University
The Hospitality and Tourism Management BS program at Temple University is known as one of the best hospitality management programs in the nation. Students are able to customize their degree with concentrations and minors that result in a completely unique program experience.
Students at Temple University have the privilege of being in the middle of Philadelphia, where cultural opportunities and the ability to work in various service industries are numerous. Students are also a quick train ride away from New York City, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., making it easy to get the experience they need to emerge from the program ready to succeed.
What We Like: Temple’s Hospitality and Tourism Management, BS program provides students with the opportunity to intern at several different 5-star hotels and restaurants.
Degree: Hospitality and Tourism Management, BS
11. Boston University
Boston University’s Hospitality Administration BS degree is one of the best hospitality management schools in the Northeast. Students at Boston University can choose to concentrate in event management hospitality real estate development, or hospitality marketing, providing students with a unique Speciality that will make them an asset to any organization within the hospitality industry.
At Boston University, all students take a set of core classes called the BU Hub Curriculum, providing each student with a well rounded education. Employers know that students who graduate from BU are prepared to be leaders in all aspects of the hospitality business.
What We Like: Students are required to complete two internships while earning their Hospitality Administration degree, and they’re presented with a plethora of exciting options in downtown Boston.
Degree: Hospitality Administration, BS
12. Colorado State University
Know as one of the best hospitality management programs in the country, the Hospitality Management BS program at Colorado State University is known for producing graduates who become industry leaders. Students learn practical skills to help them become leaders in the areas of food and beverage, event planning, and hotels/ lodging.
At Colorado State University, students in the hospitality management program are supported by the school’s advisory board, made up of professionals who are up and coming in the hospitality industry. The board ensures that the school’s hospitality education is fully preparing students to take on the hospitality industry after graduation.
What We Like: Students at Colorado State University have the option of working at the Aspen Grille, an upscale dining experience for students, faculty, and the public. This allows students to learn while providing a real-life hospitality setting.
Degree: Hospitality Management, BS
13. Pennsylvania State University
Penn State has long been known as one of the best hospitality management schools in the country. Students who are a part of Penn State’s Hospitality Management BS program graduate ready to take on high level leadership positions in the industry.
The program is tailored to each individual student’s interests and needs, allowing students to emerge from the program ready to tackle their unique career path. In addition to earning their degree, students may choose from several concentrations, including marketing, human resource management, hospitality information management systems, and more.
What We Like: Penn State’s bustling football program transforms the small college town into a hub of excitement regularly throughout the school year, providing Hospitality Management students with the experience of working in incredibly busy hotels and restaurants.
Degree: Hospitality Management, BS
14. University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Known as one of the best colleges for hospitality management, the Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management BS program at University of Tennessee – Knoxville prepares students to work in any area of the hospitality industry, with a focus on international tourism. Students emerge from the program prepared to take on leadership positions within the industry.
Students in the program can choose from two minors: restaurant and foodservice management or tourism and hospitality management. No matter which minor students choose, they’ll emerge from the program well prepared with a solid background in general hospitality studies.
What We Like: Located in Knoxville, U of T has many work opportunities to gain the professional experience they need during their eduction to be successful after they graduate.
Degree: Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management, BS
15. Georgia State University
Georgia State University is known as one of the best colleges for hospitality management. Georgia State’s Hospitality Administration BBA program has rigorous coursework that prepares students to go on to excel in both large and small hospitality settings. Students in this program receive a well rounded, well respected education.
In Atlanta, students have copious opportunities to immerse themselves in unique cultural, tourism, and hospitality opportunities. Students are required to work at least 400 hours over the course of their studies to ensure that they’re prepared for the demands of the industry. Students complete a field experience portfolio before graduation, preparing them to share their work experience with potential employers.
What We Like: Georgia State recognizes that many students coming to the program have previously worked in the hospitality industry, and allows some previous work hours to be counted toward the internship requirement.
Degree: Hospitality Administration, BBA
16. Ball State University
Known as one of the best schools for hospitality management in the country, Ball State University’s Hospitality and Food Management BS/BA program prepares students to excel in the culinary and hotel industries. The program caters to budding restaurant owners, chefs, and hotel managers, and is a great fit both for students who have experience in the hospitality industry and those who are just beginning to explore hospitality and tourism.
The program focuses on hotel management, event planning, and food and beverage management, providing students with a great base of knowledge for their future careers. Ball State University has a generous scholarship program, and is committed to helping working students get their education while also advancing their careers.
What We Like: Maplewood Mansion, Ball State’s on-campus restaurant, offers students the opportunity to work in a fine-dining kitchen, gaining experience while they learn.
Degree: Hospitality and Food Management, BS/BA
17. University of Denver
Professors at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business understand that students who are working toward their Business Administration in Hospitality Management BS degree don’t just need knowledge of what to do in the kitchen or behind the desk of a hotel – they need to know how to think critically and make decisions fast. The program gives students the fast-paced, real world experience they need to succeed in the hospitality and tourism industries.
Within Daniels, The Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management provides students with many opportunities to work on campus, from busy coffee shops to fine dining establishments. This means that students graduate ready to take the industry by storm, knowing how to make tough decisions in record time.
What We Like: The Cherrington Global Scholars program at the University of Denver provides students with incredible opportunities to have immersive study abroad experiences.
Degree: Business Administration in Hospitality Management, BS
18. East Carolina University
East Carolina University is known as one of the best hospitality management schools due to the ECU Hospitality Management BS program. The program immerses students in hands on learning experiences while also providing the practical and general knowledge they need to succeed in the hospitality industry.
ECU has close relationships with several industry leaders, including ARAMARK, Darden Restaurants, the Biltmore Estate, and more. Some students go on to work for these industry giants immediate after graduation, while others go on to start their own companies.
What We Like: ECU’s partnership with the Disney International Program allows students to connect with other hospitality students around the world.
Degree: Hospitality Management, BS
19. New York University
Known as one of the best hospitality management schools, New York University’s Hotel and Tourism Management BS program trains students to be leaders in the culinary and hospitality worlds. Students learn how to be experts in hotel finance, special events, marketing, destination development, revenue management, food and beverage operations, and more.
The faculty and staff at NYU are world class, and are eager to share their experiences in the hospitality and tourism industry with students. Faculty love to share their networking connections with students, making it a breeze to gain access to top notch internships and learning experiences in the city’s restaurants.
What We Like: Located in the heart of New York City, NYU provides students with cultural experiences unmatched anywhere else in the world.
Degree: Hotel and Tourism Management, BS
20. Drexel University
Drexel University in Philadelphia is known as one of the best colleges for hospitality management on the East Coast. Drexel’s Hospitality Management BS program allows students to immerse themselves in hands on culinary and management experiences. Students have several specialty options, including food and beverage management, event planning, global tourism, and hotel administration. Faculty work closely with students to help them develop a one of a kind curriculum that will set them on the path to success for their career goals.
Philadelphia is a hot spot for the culinary world, and Drexel is found in the heart of Philly’s University City neighborhood. University City is bustling with excitement and cultural experiences, and is a well known area for up and coming restaurants and hotels. Students get the chance to enjoy and experience many of the best culinary experiences in the world, and can leverage their education at Drexel into internship opportunities. Baltimore, Washington D.C., Boston, and New York City are all just a train ride away, making it easy for students to break free of Philly for a weekend and see what else the East Coast culinary and hotel scene has to offer. Attending school at Drexel means that students are getting a well rounded education with plenty of opportunities to expand on their unique personal hospitality interests.
What We Like: Drexel is one of the few schools that allows hospitality management students to combine their BS/ MBA into one accelerated program.
Degree: Hospitality Management, BS
21. St. John’s University-New York
The Hospitality Management BS program at St. John’s University – New York is one of the best hospitality management schools in the country. Research at St. John’s has predicted that the need for hospitality managers will rise rapidly over the coming decade, and they’re working hard to mold students into the leaders needed to help the tourism industry thrive. At St. John’s, students are molded to become leaders in the hotel and restaurant industry.
St. John’s unbeatable location just outside of New York City affords students with countless opportunities to immerse themselves in cultural experiences. Internship opportunities abound, making it easy for students to get the education they need to emerge from the program as leaders in the culinary world. Faculty understand how important it is for students to network with professionals, and they’re happy to leverage their connections to provide students with inside knowledge of New York City’s exclusive hotel and restaurant scene. As with many things in life, it’s all about who you know, and students who attend St. John’s get to know the best of the best.
What We Like: St. John’s University has a fantastic scholarship program committed to helping students afford their education.
Degree: Hospitality Management, BS
22. National Louis University
The Hospitality Management BA program at National Louis University in Chicago is one of the best hospitality management programs in the Midwest. The program focuses on preparing students for rewarding careers in food and beverage management, tourism, event planning, hotel management, and more. Students emerge from the program as leaders in the industry, ready to make the fast paced decisions that can make or break a hotel or restaurant. The hands on experience that students get at National Louis University gives them the confidence they need to lead effectively.
The Hospitality Management program is a flexible option for students who want to continue to further their careers in the service industry while also working to further their education. Faculty at National Louis University understand that many students who decide to pursue a higher degree in hospitality management are coming from a nontraditional student experience, with years of workplace experience already behind them. This program allows students to continue doing what they love while also learning the information and skills they need to take their careers to the next level.
What We Like: National Louis University’s downtown Chicago location allows students to become fully immersed in unique cultural, tourism, hospitality, and culinary experiences unlike anywhere else in the world.
Degree: Hospitality Management, BA
23. Fairleigh Dickinson University
Known as one of the best colleges for hospitality management, Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Hotel and Restaurant Management BS program is a great fit for students who want to learn the leadership skills they need to make a difference in the hotel, restaurant, and tourism industry.
The program includes a professional development series that can take a student’s education from informative to life changing. During the professional development series, students immerse themselves in a number of experiences they may not have otherwise. Together, they visit ethnic markets, learning about other cultures and how the prepare their food. They visit major food markets together, discussing how to put together a menu. They enjoy wine seminars, learning more about how to pair the perfect glass of wine with a meal. Well known chefs, restaurateurs, and other industry giants regularly participate in the professional development series, providing students with information and knowledge they wouldn’t get anywhere else.
What We Like: Just a stone’s throw from New York City, Fairleigh Dickinson University offers students all the advantages of attending school in a small college town while also getting the benefits of having the most well respected culinary experts just down the road.
Degree: Hotel and Restaurant Management, BS
24. California University of Pennsylvania
California University of Pennsylvania is known as one of the best hospitality management schools in the country due to it’s Tourism, Hospitality, and Event Studies BA program. Students in this program get a well rounded education that takes them through all the nuances of tourism and event planning.
At CalU, faculty understand that one of the most important parts of any hospitality program is for students to be able to think on their feet and interact with the public. The school provides many opportunities for students to work in the field, understanding the fast paced decision making that’s required to run a successful hospitality business. Time in the hot seat while in school translates to being able to stay calm when the pressure is on during a high stakes culinary or hospitality situation. Faculty at CalU ensure that students are ready to withstand the heat of the industry after graduation.
What We Like: CalU’s Tourism and Geography Instructional Facility provides a state of the art facility for research. Students can rest assured knowing they’re learning using the latest technology available.
Degree: Tourism, Hospitality and Event Studies, BA
25. Stratford University
Stratford University’s Hospitality Management BS program is one of the best hospitality management programs available to up and coming students in the hospitality industry. At Stratford, the Hospitality Management, BS, program takes a global perspective, teaching students how to lead in hospitality industries around the world. Students graduate understanding how to be effective leaders for both their staff and others at the management level. While learning at Stratford is an important part of a student’s career, the school recognizes that it’s not the end of learning. Stratford sets students up to understand that learning must continue over the course of their career in order to continually make progress through management in the hospitality industry.
This program is available online, making it easy for students who are working to advance their careers and advance their education to stay on top of all their responsibilities. Stratford University is committed to making education accessible for students, and welcomes students who have already started a program at another university to transfer credits, shortening the amount of time it will take them to earn their degree at Stratford. Nontraditional students sometimes need a more flexible schedule than traditional students, and Stratford works hard to ensure that nontraditional students have all that they need to succeed, whether they choose to attend school online or in a traditional classroom environment.
What We Like: Stratford offers an accelerated program, perfect for students who want to earn their degree in a hurry. A bachelor’s degree can be earned in as little as 30 months.
Degree: Hospitality Management, BS
How Do I Choose a Hospitality Management Program?
Degrees aren’t always required to get a hotel or customer service job. However, degrees in hospitality management help you move out of entry-level positions.
Hospitality management degrees provide students with an edge not only in getting a management position but also in negotiating a higher salary. Those with hospitality management degrees may feel more confident in managing their peers because they have the tools to do so thanks to degrees in hospitality management.
Some of the best hospitality management schools are located in major cities. So, if you wish to attend one of the best colleges for hospitality management, you may have to move to a new area.
The best hospitality management programs offering an Associate Degree in Hospitality Management include general education and hospitality management in their curriculum. This helps you get a balanced education. It takes two years to finish an associate degree in hospitality.
Look for programs with national recognition and internship programs. That way you can get a job more quickly when you graduate.
The best colleges for hospitality management also offer bachelor degrees. If salary and upper management are your priority, choose best hospitality management programs with marketable four-year degrees and affinity programs with high-profile chains.
What Can I Do with a Hospitality Degree?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, hospitality major jobs pay over $53,000 per year. With hospitality management degree jobs, successful students stand out in a saturated industry. Whereas most manager candidates required many years of experience, it’s easier to get jobs with a degree in hospitality management.
The academic environment of quality programs is very practical and prepares students for careers with a hospitality management degree. What job can you get with a hospitality management degree? Most reputable hotel schools maintain strong links in the community. This helps them place graduates in jobs you can get with a hospitality management degree. Of course, not all hospitality degrees focus on management. Some schools even offer a master’s degree in hospitality for those already working in the industry.
Some companies, such as Google, work with universities to tailor the curriculum to careers with a hospitality degree. These may focus on particular areas of need so that there’s no connection disconnect between what you learn and jobs you can get with a hospitality degree.
Those with hospitality major jobs are often invited to give presentations and some people with careers with a hospitality management degree attend classes as expert lecturers. So, hospitality management degree jobs can be extremely rewarding. Some students leave jobs with a degree in hospitality management to teach others how to begin careers with a hospitality degree.
Jobs you can get with a hospitality degree range from restaurants, to tiki bars to high-end motels in Las Vegas. Are you still wondering what jobs you can get with a hospitality management degree? What job can you get with a hospitality management degree are limited only by your willingness to look for something that matches your personality and lifestyle.
What job can you get with a hospitality management degree? Some popular hospitality major jobs that make good hospitality management degree jobs include:
- Lodging Manager: Lodging managers have one of the best jobs with a degree in hospitality management. They supervise the hotel and resort operations. Careers with a hospitality management degree in this area include revenue managers, general managers, and front office managers.
- Restaurant Manager: This is one of the most popular jobs with a degree in hospitality management. Restaurant jobs you can get with a hospitality degree include food service managers and operations managers. Duties include hiring and firing staff members, ordering supplies, and inventory cost control.
- Casino Manager: Casino managers have one of the most demanding careers with a hospitality degree available. Casino jobs you can get with a hospitality management degree include gaming managers, food service managers, and customer relations managers.
- Cruise Director: Cruise directors are great jobs if you love to travel and wonder what job can you get with a hospitality management degree. This is one of the funniest hospitality major jobs. In fact, you direct activities that help passengers have fun.
- Travel Agent: Travel agents don’t need a degree, but hospitality management degree jobs include those who want to start their own vacation planning services. Jobs with a degree in hospitality management tend to be very rewarding. Travel careers with a hospitality management degree give you more clout with your clients — a degree helps you establish expertise in the field.
Most jobs with a degree in hospitality management let you use your knowledge to gain valuable experience as soon as you graduate. Jobs you can get with a hospitality degree typically pay more than candidates who only have a high school diploma.
What careers with a hospitality degree interest you the most? This is one of the most important questions to answer because many programs cater to specific industries. Although there is a myriad of jobs you can get with a hospitality management degree, establishing your professional goals before you go to school can keep you on track.