Master’s in Hospitality Management Programs Guide

Are you ready to find your fit?

Do you have what it takes to become a Master in Hospitality Management?

Think about the last trip or vacation you took. How did you get there? Where did you sleep? Was it a good experience? Where did you eat? How did you get around? How did you figure out where to go . . . and what to avoid?

Answers to these questions drive the hospitality industry, and business is booming! In the United States, travel and tourism are among the nation’s largest employers.

In fact, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, hospitality ranks among the top ten largest industries in 48 states in addition to the District of Columbia. And if you want in on the action, you’ll need to consider a master’s in hospitality management!

What kind of master’s in hospitality management degree should you get?

Graduate programs in hospitality management can be terminal master’s programs or doctoral programs. It is not uncommon for the schools on our list to feature both.

Some programs offer highly specialized programs, such as Drexel’s program in food service or Florida International’s program in Hospitality Data Analytics. Other programs, such as Florida Atlantic’s MBA program, are intentionally broad.

Some programs also feature online options for their degrees. For more information on online education, see our Best Online Master's in Hospitality Management ranking.

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How much money do people make with master’s in hospitality management degree?

Compensation will vary according to what exactly you intend to do with your degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a lodging manager is $51,840, and food service manager salaries are similar at $50,000.

If you are interested in making big money, however, the key will be in entrepreneurship and ownership. Big risks equal big rewards!

What can you do with a master’s degree in hospitality management?

The hospitality industry includes a number of interrelated businesses, such as hotels, airlines, restaurants, cruise lines, car rental firms, travel agents, and tour operators.

And that’s just the specialists—keep in mind that all these industries need general business and logistics support as well! By 2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that wage and salary jobs in the hospitality industry will grow by 8 percent.

What are the requirements for a master’s in hospitality management degree?

Ordinarily, students will need to come to a graduate program in hospitality management with an undergraduate major in hospitality management or a related field. In some cases, students lacking an appropriate background in the field will be required to complete prerequisite courses prior to admission.

These could be, for instance, in entrepreneurship, finance, food service management, human resource management, marketing, and leadership. Be sure to confirm this with individual schools.

What are the best master’s in hospitality management degrees?

We’ve compiled a list of the 25 best master’s in hospitality management degrees with you and your needs in mind. How did we do it? First, we located the best programs in the country by taking an objective look at the best schools in the country as measured by reputation and return on investment. Then we looked at what we all want to know: how much does it cost? We combined these factors to reach our College Choice Score, which determined where each school fits into the big scheme of things.

Our data for this ranking was drawn from a variety of public sources, such as U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics,, and the U.S. Census. The end result is a list of schools that not only represent the best education you can get and a good return on investment but also one that will fit your budget.

Featured Online Mangement Programs

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  1. Cornell University

    Ithaca, NY




    Cornell University features a Master of Management in Hospitality (MMH) degree designed to jump start students’ careers as future leaders in the hospitality industry. It has prepared students with a wide variety of aspirations, whether corporate or boutique, startup or expansion, domestic or global. The program is AACSB accredited, which means that students can expect to be well prepared for both hospitality in particular and also management in general.


    Students in Cornell’s program have the opportunity to specialize in a number of tracks or even create their own area of specialization. Available concentrations and minor areas of study include

    • Marketing Management
    • Operations and Revenue Management
    • Self-Directed
    • Real Estate
    • Entrepreneurship


    Students in Cornell’s program also work closely in the School of Hotel Administration faculty. The program’s extensive network features business leaders who guest lecture, sponsor internships, fund projects, and recruit graduates. Cornell’s program is consistently featured as one of the best in the country in the field.

  2. Michigan State University

    East Lansing, MI




    Michigan State’s extensive program in hospitality business is not only the oldest of its kind in the country (established in 1927) but also remains one of the nation’s leaders in the field. All of its programs, including its master’s degrees, are offered through the School of Hospitality Business. The School offers graduate programs designed to deepen your knowledge and expertise, develop your professional skills, and successfully compete for a rewarding career in the hospitality industry.


    The School of Hospitality Business offers four graduate program options, each of which features flexible curriculum options. The options include

    • The Michael L. Minor Master of Science in Foodservice Business Management
    • The Master of Science in Hospitality Business Management
    • The Graduate Specialization in Hospitality Business


    All degrees in the school feature required core functional courses, selected specialized electives, and a field study experience, which allows students the opportunity to work with a selected faculty member to research and analyze a current hospitality issue related to the student’s area of interest. For students interested in pursuing a Ph.D., the Graduate Specialization is most appropriate.

  3. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

    Blacksburg, VA




    Virginia Tech’s Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) graduate program seeks to develop students’ ability to systematically recognize, analyze, and address the challenges and problems of hospitality and tourism businesses. The program is housed in the Pamplin College of Business and aims to build on a legacy of teaching and research excellence and to create global leaders in the business of hospitality and tourism management.


    Virginia Tech offers two graduate degrees:

    • Master of Science in Business Administration (MSBA) with a concentration in Hospitality and Tourism Management, and
    • Ph.D. in Business with a Concentration in Hospitality and Tourism Management

    The M.S. program can be completed partially online, while the Ph.D. degree must be completed on campus.


    Both of Virginia Tech’s degree programs are accredited by AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), and they focus not only on theories and methodologies from a variety of disciplines but also their application in real business situations. Both programs also allow considerable flexibility to accommodate students’ particular interests.

  4. New York University

    New York, NY




    New York University offers a Master of Science in Hospitality Industry Studies in the heart of one of the world’s great global cities. The program is designed to prepare leaders for working in a dynamic and multifaceted field that is essential to local and regional economies around the world. Students will be exposed to industry-specific case studies that provide a framework for mastering analytical methods, strategic management, and business principles.


    Coursework in NYU’s program includes

    • Leadership & Organizational Behavior
    • Applied Research Methods
    • Marketing Strategies
    • Hospitality Finance
    • Legal Issues
    • Hotel Operations Analysis
    • Revenue Strategies


    Graduates of NYU’s program will be well equipped with a range of skills and also be able to contribute to the profitability, market competitiveness, and effective branding of domestic and international hospitality companies and organizations. Students will be well versed in legal considerations, regulations, security, and contracts as well as in the day-to-day business operations of this fast-paced industry.

  5. University of Houston

    Houston, TX




    University of Houston, strategically located in a major market for hospitality industry, particularly with its proximity to oil and gas operations, offers a Master of Science in Hospitality Management designed to prepare students to excel, lead, and increase their earning potential in the industry. The program is offered through its Hilton College.


    Students in Houston’s program can choose from a number of areas of specialization, such as

    • Finance
    • Revenue management
    • Human resources
    • Food & beverage
    • Hotels
    • Events


    The program requires 36 credit hours and is designed to be completed residentially. It can be completed on a full- or part-time basis. Students can complete their program with a paper and work practicum, a thesis, or a professional track. Students will benefit from classroom learning, hands-on learning opportunities, and also research and interaction with some of the industry’s leading faculty.

  6. Purdue University

    West Lafayette, IN




    Purdue University offers graduate programs in hospitality management through its School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM), a global leader in hospitality management education. The program features experiential, theoretical, and analytical components. The school offers both a Master of Science degree and a Ph.D. It is endorsed by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration.


    Some of the classes students can expect to encounter include

    • Leadership in Hospitality and Tourism
    • Economics of Travel and Tourism
    • Business Statistics and Quantitative Analysis
    • Advanced Hospitality Accounting and Finance Systems
    • Advanced Personnel Systems in Restaurants, Hotels and Institutions


    All of Purdue’s programs have received first-place rankings in a number of leading publications, including the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism. The M.S. options include a significant exposure to research, and the PhD program is one of the strongest research-based programs, world-wide. The program features restaurant “labs” and real-world event management opportunities.

  7. California State Polytechnic University

    Pomona, CA




    Cal State Polytechnic offers a Master of Science in Hospitality Management (MSHM) through the Collins College of Hospitality Management and the College of the Extended University. It is the premier hospitality management degree in California, and it is designed to prepare graduates with both knowledge and skills that will translate into a career or a foundation for further study.


    Cal State’s program will introduce students to a variety of skills, including

    • Advanced management concepts
    • Accounting and finance
    • Marketing
    • Strategic management
    • Human resources management
    • Qualitative and quantitative analytical skills.


    The program is flexible enough to recognize the full range of skills and knowledge needed for significant contributions in all segments of the hospitality industry. The MSHM program requires a minimum of 48 quarter units, and full-time students typically complete the program in two years. Students have the option to pursue a thesis track or professional track of study.

  8. University of Central Florida

    Orlando, FL




    UCF offers a Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management designed to equip students to build on their strengths and interests, broaden their knowledge of the industry, sharpen their management skills, and incorporate their professional and extracurricular experiences. The program is offered through the Rosen College of Hospitality Management.


    UCF’s program features essential coursework, such as

    • Managing Hospitality and Guest Services Organizations
    • Financial Analysis of Hospitality Enterprises
    • Strategic Marketing in Hospitality and Tourism
    • Critical Issues in Hospitality Human Resources
    • Data Analysis in Hospitality and Tourism Research


    Candidates from UCF’s program are especially attractive hires for hospitality and tourism organizations around the globe. Students come to the program as existing professionals in the field and as undergraduate majors in hospitality, business management, or a related discipline. The program offers thesis and nonthesis options. The nonthesis option is best suited for students who anticipate a leadership position in the hospitality and tourism industry.

  9. Pennsylvania State University

    University Park, PA




    Higher education pacesetter Penn State offers a Master of Science in Hospitality Management as a one-and-a-half year program for students wishing to develop a research focus with the intent of continuing a career in an academic or research area. Prospective students should keep in mind that this master’s degree is a research/academic master’s degree. The program is designed to help students develop solid graduate-level research skills focused within a hospitality research area.


    Penn State’s program offers a number of concentrations options, including

    • Facilities Management
    • Strategy
    • Institutional Management
    • Management Information Systems
    • Hospitality Real Estate Management
    • Branding
    • Financial Management
    • Human Resources Management


    Course work in Penn State’s program is largely customized according to a students’ interests and academic and professional backgrounds. It is a highly flexible program and offers excellent preparation for research and study at the doctoral level.

  10. Boston University

    Boston, MA




    Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration’s Master of Management in Hospitality is designged to prepare students for success anywhere in the world in the hospitality industry. It will appeal to career switchers, industry professionals, and recent graduates looking for an opportunity to build their skills and succeed in this quickly changing industry.


    A unique feature of Boston’s program is its location in one of the world’s great metropolitan areas. It offers a living laboratory and many opportunities for hospitality professionals, including the areas of

    • Education
    • Technology
    • Tourism
    • Sports
    • Restaurants
    • Hotels
    • Entertainment venues


    For students with a strong business or liberal arts background, the program will enhance management skills and prepare them to begin careers in hospitality leadership, whether here in the United States or around the world. Professionals currently working in the hospitality industry will gain the necessary education to advance their careers and be competitive and knowledgeable in the industry.

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