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.
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, PayScale.com, 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.
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $30,014
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
- Real Estate
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.
Michigan State University
College Choice Score: 97.49
Average Net Price: $14,970
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.
College Choice Score: 96.37
Average Net Price: $17,190
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.
New York University
College Choice Score: 92.97
Average Net Price: $39,391
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.
University of Houston
College Choice Score: 92.83
Average Net Price: $15,571
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
- Revenue management
- Human resources
- Food & beverage
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.
College Choice Score: 92.02
Average Net Price: $11,693
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.
California Polytechnic State University
College Choice Score: 91.63
Average Net Price: $12,598
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
- 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.
University of Central Florida
College Choice Score: 91.59
Average Net Price: $15,533
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.
Pennsylvania State University
College Choice Score: 89.81
Average Net Price: $25,055
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
- Institutional Management
- Management Information Systems
- Hospitality Real Estate Management
- 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.
College Choice Score: 89.03
Average Net Price: $31,539
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
- 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.
George Washington University
College Choice Score: 88.36
Average Net Price: $39,562
GWU offers a specialized Master of Tourism Administration designed to bring together the study and practice of successfully achieving organizational goals within businesses such as hotels, restaurants, attractions, tour companies, airlines, and other travel-related service providers. GWU’s program provides students with in-depth knowledge of international hospitality development, management, and marketing.
Examples of coursework in GWU’s program include
- Relationship Management in Hospitality & Events
- International Hotel Management
- Hotel/Resort Market Analysis
- Travel Information Management Systems
GWU’s program focuses on key aspects of the hospitality industry including operations, marketing, customer service, human resources, feasibility analysis, and hospitality sales.
Students will have access to internship and job opportunities with major international hotel brands, including Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons, Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, and Kimpton.
Florida International University
College Choice Score: 86.24
Average Net Price: $12,966
Florida International University offers a Master of Science in Hospitality Management with the option of three different concentrations: Real Estate Development, Revenue Management, and Hospitality Data Analytics. It will appeal to students who have already developed a specific interest in a particular area of the hospitality industry. All students are trained in goal setting, analytical skills, and data analysis.
The Hospitality Data Analytics concentration is available through an M.S. in Data Science, but students will be prepared for the hospitality industry in particular. Courses in this concentration include courses in
- Decision sciences
- Customer experience
- Design and behavior analysis
- Revenue optimization
- Travel and tourism analysis
- Predictive modeling
The Hospitality Real Estate Development concentration will train students to bridge the gap between development and real estate to accomplish a company’s expansion goals. The Revenue Management concentration will appeal to critical thinkers and strategists who are interested in maximizing company revenue and train them to sharpen their data gathering, analytical and decision-making skills.
Oklahoma State University
College Choice Score: 85.86
Average Net Price: $13,951
Oklahoma State University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management is a global leader in hospitality education through its purposeful research, superior teaching, and innovative experiential learning. The graduate program’s focus in on a high-quality academic foundation, diverse experiential learning labs, and signature events.
Graduates of OSU’s program have pursued careers in a wide variety of industries, including
- Lodging and resort management
- Food and beverage management
- Conference and event planning management
- Club management
- Tourism development
- Revenue management
- Hospitality training and development
- Hospitality related entrepreneurial endeavors
A new educational facility opened fall 2016 that combines technology with state-of-the-art laboratories, classrooms, exhibit areas, and faculty offices. It features quantity food preparation areas with commercial equipment, dining room management and table service laboratory, quick service restaurant, basic food preparation laboratory, demonstration classroom and the Hirst Center for Beverage Education.
University of North Texas
College Choice Score: 85.43
Average Net Price: $10,424
UNT offers a Master of Science degree in Hospitality Management designed to prepare future global employees who have the core competencies and a global perspective required for effective business interactions. The degree is a 36 credit-hour program of study focusing on the management of products, services, and experiences in a consumer-driven global market.
Courses in the program cover a range of topics, including
- Hospitality operations
- Legal and regulatory aspects
- Marketing of hospitality services
- Curriculum development
- Information technology
- Global consumer issues
Students will be trained in solving complex problems, generating new knowledge, communicating effectively, and creating new product and business strategies. Graduate coursework in areas such as research methods and applications, consumer theory, global tourism, restaurant development, and hotel operations prepare students for careers in lodging management, restaurant management, resort management, and tourism management.
College Choice Score: 84.87
Average Net Price: $21,237
Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) offers a Master of Science in Hospitality Management aimed at developing tomorrow’s highly skilled management and executive professionals. STHM is the largest School for tourism hospitality, sport, and recreation management in the Philadelphia region, and it tailors its programs to the needs of individual students.
Future hospitality managers and executives in Temple’s programs will be prepared to pursue careers in many areas, including:
- Hotel and resort management
- Hotel marketing
- Event management and entrepreneurship
- Gaming and casino management
- Venue management
- Operations management
- Restaurant management and entrepreneurship
Temple’s placement record is impressive: a full 90 percent of STHM graduate students begin their mid- to high-level executive management careers even before they graduate. Temple’s strategic location in Philadelphia leverages the region’s thriving event, hotel, and restaurant industries, providing students with exceptional opportunities to engage management and operational theory and apply them to real-world industry cases.
University of Delaware
College Choice Score: 84.04
Average Net Price: $15,894
The University of Delaware prepares students to become bold leaders in the hospitality industry through its Master of Science in Hospitality Business Management. It is an ideal fit for working professional in the hospitality industry who recognize the need to sharpen their analytical skills and gain a wider strategic view so that they are ready for a larger managerial role. Delaware’s intensive program will help future leaders do their jobs with confidence.
Key courses in Delaware’s program include
- Revenue Management in Hospitality
- Customer Experience Management
- Statistical Research Methods
- Projects and Valuations in Hospitality
- Hospitality Finance
- Strategic Management in Hospitality
Delaware’s program is available as a thesis or non-thesis program. The one-year non-thesis option is ideal for students who are already working in the industry. The two-year thesis option is ideal for students who are interested in pursuing an academic career. Delaware’s program regularly receives recognition for excellence.
Iowa State University
College Choice Score: 82.22
Average Net Price: $13,623
Iowa State offers a Master of Science in Hospitality Management program along with a residential Doctor of Philosophy and distance Doctor of Philosophy. Iowa State’s program is suitable both for students interested in pursuing careers in the workforce and also for those interested in pursuing research careers at the doctoral level and beyond. Master’s students can complete their program with a thesis or non-thesis option.
Students in Iowa State’s program will benefit from an exhaustive sequence of courses, including classes in
- Food safety
- Foodservice management
- Hospitality education
- Human resource management
- Marketing and consumer behavior
Students from other majors can also opt for a minor in the field. Graduate students are expected to have completed at least one-half of the prerequisite courses for the program. For those who still need to complete these courses, ISU offers them on campus. In some cases, graduate students can still be admitted to the program and take prerequisite courses concurrently.
Fairleigh Dickinson University
College Choice Score: 81.00
Average Net Price: $18,016
Farleigh Dickinson’s Master of Science in Hospitality Management Studies is structured to meet the educational needs of adult learners working as managers, entrepreneurs, educators or other professionals in the hospitality industry. It is designed to provide a hospitality management education with an academically rigorous yet flexible program of study that meets the requirements for a professional master’s degree.
FDU offers both general and highly specific classes in its sequence of courses, from entrepreneurship to wine:
- Discovering the World of Wine
- Advanced Human Resource Management
- Hospitality Education Practicum
- Training and Development
- Hospitality Law – Legal Issues in Hospitality
- Advanced Practicum in Conflict Resolution and Collaborative Negotiation
- Accounting for Hospitality Managers and Administrators
- Global Tourism Development
- International Tourism
- History of Casino Gaming
FDU’s program will be suitable both for practicing professionals and also recent graduates. All students will receive thorough training in analytical, managerial, and leadership competencies. The program is the oldest program of its type in the New York metropolitan area and one of the oldest in the United States. It is regularly recognized for excellence by publications such as the Princeton Review’s Gourman Report.
University of South Carolina
College Choice Score: 80.59
Average Net Price: $19,913
South Carolina’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management offers a Master of International Hospitality and Tourism Management designed to emphasize each student’s unique perspective and work experience. South Carolina’s program is designed to be flexible and to complement existing knowledge and also introduce new skills and knowledge. It is available both as a thesis and non-thesis option.
Students in South Carolina’s program will have access to excellent opportunities to gain experience with organizations such as
- Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development (CoEE)
- International Institute for Foodservice Research and Education
- International Tourism and Research Institute
- Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Travel & Tourism Industry Center
- Culinary and Wine Institute
Students electing the academic, thesis option must complete 21 credit hours of required courses, including 6 credit hours of thesis preparation (HRTM 799) and at least 15 hours of elective course work and prepare and successfully defend a thesis. Students choosing to enroll in the professional, non-thesis option must complete the 21 credit hours of required courses and at least 15 credit hours of elective course work, pass a comprehensive written examination upon completion of all course work.
Georgia State University
College Choice Score: 77.54
Average Net Price: $14,573
Georgia State University’s Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration is home to a Master of Global Hospitality Management and also ranked the among the top 30 hospitality and hotel management schools in the world by CEOWORLD Magazine. The program is housed in Georgia State’s reputable business college, which allows students to learn the skills and acumen needed to understand the functional components of business in the global hospitality industry, including marketing, revenue and asset management, sustainability and more.
Graduates of Georgia State’s program have enjoyed excellent placement with employers such as
- InterContinental Hotel Group
- Marriott Hotels
- Bank of America
- Georgia Restaurant Association
- Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company
Students in Georgia State’s program have extensive opportunities to meet and mingle with owners, developers, and corporate leaders at one of many major trade shows and conferences around the country, free of charge. Students have attended the Graduate Hospitality and Tourism Research Conference, the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference, and the National Restaurant Association Show.
College Choice Score: 75.72
Average Net Price: $39,021
Students with a particular interest in the food service industry will be interested in Drexel University’s Department of Culinary Arts & Food Science’s Master of Science in Culinary Arts and Science. The program places an emphasis on academic and career development. The school’s location in Philadelphia provides access to hundreds of flavor and food companies, sensory research centers, and some of the best events in the nation. Industry partners and project-based learning allow students to develop a professional network while they study.
Drexel’s program is the first and only program of its kind. The core areas of study in the program are
- Culinary arts
- Food and culinary science
- Food systems
Drexel University’s program uniquely combines rigorous academic studies with culinary arts training. Students will have the opportunity to focus on their particular area of interest. They will also acquire technical, theoretical, and scientific skills necessary to distinguish themselves in an ever-growing but specialized marketplace. Graduates can find careers in non-profits, restaurants, policy, and industry.
Kansas State University
College Choice Score: 75.10
Average Net Price: $16,431
Kansas State University features a Master of Science in Hospitality Administration that offers both comprehensive training and also highly specific preparation for students with particular interests in the industry. It is appropriate for both mid-career professionals seeking to improve their credentials and also recent graduates looking to build a competitive foundation for their career.
Kansas State’s program boasts an extensive catalog of courses, including courses such as
- Hospitality Law
- Entrepreneurship in Hospitality Management
- Foodservice Systems Management
- Convention, Meeting and Event Management Systems
- Information Technology Systems in Hospitality Operations
- Problems in Hospitality Management
- Advanced Meetings and Business Event Management
- Administration of Hospitality Organizations
- Financial Management and Cost Controls for the Hospitality Industry
Graduates of Kansas State’s program will be able to demonstrate efficient management of human, material, technological and financial resources; recognize emerging trends and implement strategies to accommodate change; apply analytical decision‐making skills; apply leadership skills in managing foodservice and hospitality operations; use ethical business practices; and more.
University of New Hampshire
College Choice Score: 70.49
Average Net Price: $23,066
New Hampshire offers a highly flexible MBA in Hospitality Management through its Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics. New Hampshire’s MBA programs are the only full-time and flexible (Part-time and Online) MBA degrees in New Hampshire to hold AACSB accreditation. It is also the only New Hampshire school in the Bloomberg Businessweek Top 100 undergraduate business schools.
Graduates of New Hampshire’s program are in high demand and have enjoyed excellent placement records in a variety of industries, including
- human resources
- asset and financial management
New Hampshire’s program regularly receives recognition for excellence from a number of publications. It will appeal to students who re looking to enhance their skills and professional opportunities; need a flexible schedule with courses that can be taken online; prefer shorter terms (8 weeks) and need 2-6 years to complete the program; and have a desire to learn from world-renowned faculty.
Texas Tech University
College Choice Score: 70.00
Average Net Price: $15,235
Texas Tech’s Master of Science in Hospitality and Retail Management prepares students to be industry leaders with the world’s leading hotel, tourism, and retail employers, who actively seek to hire graduates of Tech’s program. It is consistently ranked among the nation’s top schools for hospitality and retail management. The program offers both a professional option for career-minded individuals and also a research option for those preparing for Ph.D. work.
Graduates of Texas Tech’s program have successfully pursued careers in a number of roles, including
- Category manager
- Trend analyst
- Hotel manager
- Corporate buyer
- Corporate manager
- Event manager
- Food service manager
Tech’s faculty boasts years of experience and expertise in both hospitality and retail management. The majority of graduates not only pursue careers or doctoral study after graduation but also secure their next spot within months. Tech graduates are aggressively recruited and in high demand.
Florida Atlantic University
College Choice Score: 68.53
Average Net Price: $11,303
Located in the Sunshine State, whose tourism and hospitality industry is the number one private employer in the state, Florida Atlantic University offers an AACSB-accredited MBA in Hospitality & Tourism Management. As an MBA program rather than an M.S. program, it includes traditional management courses in addition to industry-specific training.
Graduates of FAU’s program are employed throughout the industry, such as:
- Hotels and resorts
- Meeting and convention management
- Private country clubs
- Theme parks
- Cruise lines
- Restaurants and catering
- Destination management companies
- Travel agencies
- Destination marketing organizations
- Revenue management
- Retail operations
By combining training in finance, accounting, and marketing with managerial competencies and practices specific to the hospitality industry, graduates are well-prepared to succeed in any number of employment settings. The program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis.