Picture in your mind a five-star hotel. Fancy, right? Now imagine a Michelin-star restaurant. These kinds of places earn a solid reputation for a reason – every aspect of their operation is flawless, from the immaculate 500-count sheets to the fine china plates to the staff who work there. But who puts all the pieces together? Who makes the magic look effortless?
That’s where you come in! By earning a Master’s in Hotel & Restaurant Management, you are opening the door to becoming the go-to person at your dream hotel or restaurant.
What kind of Master’s in Hotel & Restaurant Management degree should you get?
The programs on this list have, hands down, the best programs in hospitality management. For the record, hospitality management is another word for hotel & restaurant management – it covers all things related to lodging, dining, and tourism.
These five schools are all located in prime cities for tourism, placing you at the center of where the best fine dining and lodging happens. You’ll have access to New York, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Houston, and more. These programs feature numerous specializations and certifications, so pay close attention to the specific areas you want to pursue.
If you’re not quite ready for a master’s degree yet, you can start with College Choice’s ranking of the 35 Best Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management.
What can you do with a Master’s in Hotel & Restaurant Management degree?
Get ready for a Master’s in Hotel Restaurant Management to take you places – literally. What other profession combines delicious food, international travel, and fascinating people? This degree will prepare you to be an expert in not only business operations and management, but also culinary techniques and best practices.
Most graduates of this kind of program go on to work in the service industry. This could include gaming, tourism, food services, or lodging. Here are a few options that you might consider:
- Lodging Manager
- Event Coordinator
- Food Services Manager
How much money do people make with a Master’s in Hotel & Restaurant Management degree?
The hospitality and service industry is all about working your way up the ranks – both in terms of position and salary. By pursuing an advanced degree in the profession, you’re automatically placing yourself in the top 10 percent of earning potential.
Since the field encompasses so many different career paths, here’s a quick breakdown of salary ranges that you can expect in some of the more common jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Lodging Manager: $51k to $98k
- Event Coordinator: $48k to $82k
- Food Services Manager: $52k to $90k
Clearly, there’s quite a range in what you can expect for an annual salary. One thing that is consistent across the board, though, is job security. As our economy continues to build, more and more people are eating at restaurants and booking weekend trips to destinations.
What are the Best Master’s in Hotel & Restaurant Management degrees?
The wait is over! Below you’ll find the 5 Best Master’s in Hotel & Restaurant Management degrees. Our methodology focused specifically on program reputation, tuition rates, post-graduation income and hireability, and retention rates. Our data come straight from the program websites, as well as the esteemable U.S. News & World Report and Payscale.com.
For each program, you’ll find a brief summary of the curriculum, any stand-out features, and the chance to explore more for yourself through the program websites. That about covers it! Next time we venture out on a night of fine dining, we expect to find you at the helm!
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $31,449
One of the top universities in the nation, Cornell University also lands on top for the best Hotel & Restaurant Management degrees. It maintains the vibrant Hotel School, which is housed within the SC Johnson School of Business. The Hotel School was founded in 1922, making it a pioneer in hospitality management.
Unparalleled with any other program of its kind, the Master of Science in Hotel Administration at Cornell is the best-of-the-best. It encompasses 48 credit hours of targeted coursework and an internship. The degree culminates in a master’s thesis. Some of the core courses include:
- Operations Management
- Competitive Strategies for the Hospitality Industry
- HR Management
- Management Communication
Accepted students are required to take three online courses before the term begins – Financial Management, Financial Statements, and Statistical Decision Making. Once you start your program, you’ll be supported by numerous on-campus centers and institutes such as the Cornell Institute for Hospitality Labor and Employment Relations.
University of Central Florida
College Choice Score: 97.22
Average Net Price: $15,341
Based in Orlando, the University of Central Florida finds itself in a hub of tourism. This is perfect for students at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management. It was recently recognized among the top 5 Hospitality and Tourism schools by CEOWorld.
A notably flexible program, students can complete this MS in Hospitality & Tourism Management in anywhere between 12 to 24 months. This 33-credit-hour degree is offered online, on-campus, or as a hybrid format. Beyond the core courses, some highlight courses include:
- Management of Food Service Operations
- Hospitality/Tourism Information Technology
- Convention and Conference Sales and Services
- Event Administration
In line with the program’s versatility and flexibility, graduate students at the University of Central Florida can also choose between a thesis or non-thesis version of this degree. The non-thesis degree incorporates more elective courses and requires students to take a capstone course – Hospitality & Tourism Strategic Issues.
University of Houston
College Choice Score: 97.21
Average Net Price: $15,664
The University of Houston is one of the largest universities in Texas, with over 42,000 students in attendance. Its Hilton College was founded by the Conrad Hilton. The school maintains an internationally-recognized hotel in which 70 percent of its staff are students.
Students spend 36 credit hours in the MS in Hospitality Management degree at the University of Houston. This curriculum is highly customizable, with options to specialize in food & beverage, hotels, events, and more. More specifically, you’ll take classes like:
- Food and Beverage Management
- Hospitality Management Strategies
- HR in Hospitality
- Contract Food Service Management
Students have an amazing opportunity at the University of Houston to earn a dual MS/MBA. This is offered through a partnership between the Hilton College and the C.T. Bauer College of Business. The dual program, understandably, requires 63 credit hours, rather than 36.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
College Choice Score: 95.12
Average Net Price: $11,582
Located in the “City of Lights,” the University of Nevada, Las Vegas is at the center of it all. The main campus is just under two miles away from the Las Vegas Strip. The Harrah College of Hospitality enrolls around 2,300 students. It maintains the Hospitality Hall, which is a training center with an executive kitchen, classrooms, cafe, and more.
You’ll earn an MS in Hotel Administration at UNLV. This program contains a 36-credit-hour curriculum that introduces you all aspects of the field. You’ll have the choice between a thesis track or a professional paper track. Regardless, your coursework will follow a similar path, including options like:
- Laws of Innkeeping and Food Service
- Financial Analysis for the Service Industries
- Marketing Systems
- Operational Analysis in Hospitality Management
You couldn’t pick a better city in which to earn your MS in Hotel Administration. You’ll have access to the biggest and brightest sites. Within the curriculum, you can choose to specialize in some of the following: gaming, tourism, hospitality education, entrepreneurship, and more.
Fairleigh Dickinson University
College Choice Score: 85.98
Average Net Price: $16,781
Fairleigh Dickinson University is one-of-a-kind. It maintains four campuses: two in New Jersey, one in Canada, and another in the UK. The International School of Hospitality and Tourism was started in 1942, and offers students unique access to the New York metropolitan business and tourism networks.
Offered at numerous sites within the Fairleigh Dickinson University system, students will earn an MS in Hospitality Management Studies. Students will complete a total of 33 credit hours. The curriculum consists of core and supporting Hospitality Management courses, and then electives. Here’s a sample:
- Service Management
- Global Tourism Development
- Discovering the World of Wine
- Training and Development
Unique to this program is its international focus. The curriculum integrates numerous courses that explore global tourism, development, and more. Additionally, there are targeted study abroad opportunities that can take you to Switzerland, Italy, Costa Rica, and beyond.