Hospitality is a complex, competitive industry. How do you get ahead?
There are no shortcuts to success – but a master’s degree in hospitality management can be a huge step in the right direction.
Many people who consider a graduate degree are held back by the intimidating cost of higher education. Luckily, there are degree programs out there to fit just about any budget. In this ranking, we feature the schools with the strongest combination of value, quality, and convenience.
What kind of master’s degree in hospitality management should you get?
On-campus programs are ideal for some students, but they’re not practical for everyone. As a rule of thumb, online programs tend to be cheaper than on-campus alternatives.
Not only are these programs typically less expensive on a per-credit-hour basis, but you’ll also save on commuting or moving costs. Additionally, you’ll have a much easier time continuing to work full- or part-time while pursuing an online degree.
If budget is a top priority in your school search, be sure to visit our ranking of the Most Affordable Online Colleges for a Master’s Degree.
How much money do people make with a master’s degree in hospitality management?
You can find an entry-level position in the hospitality industry with just a bachelor’s degree, or without any college education at all. But to maximize your earning potential, a master’s degree is a must.
With an advanced degree, you can secure a job as a Food Service Manager. This job title comes with a median pay of $52,030 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Lodging Managers have a median pay of $51,800 per year, while Administrative Services Managers have a yearly median pay of $94,020.
What can you do with a master’s degree in hospitality management?
A master’s degree in hospitality management can serve you well in a diverse range of settings and industries. It’s one of the things that makes this degree so valuable.
After graduation, you may choose to:
- Oversee a particular aspect of a major hotel chain, such as front desk management
- Work in culinary management, quantity food production, or beverage management
- Serve as a director or manager in a sports venue, conference center, or casino
- Open your own restaurant or hotel
What are the requirements for a master’s degree in hospitality management?
Many programs require applicants to submit scores for the GRE or MAT. If you’re going to apply to such a school, put aside plenty of time to study and prepare for the exam.
Internships are the most common capstone experience for master’s degrees in hospitality management. An internship requirement typically consists of a set number of clock-hours (more than 1,000, in many cases) spent working in a leadership role in a hospitality setting. Less commonly, a traditional master’s thesis may be required.
What are the most affordable online master’s degrees in hospitality management?
Our rankings take into account not only the published tuition rates, but also the typical net cost of attendance – including average financial aid packages.
Of course, you wouldn’t want to choose a graduate school that sacrifices academic quality for the sake of affordability. In light of that, we only include regionally accredited institutions with strong reputations for excellence in scholarship. We examine data from sources such as the National Center for Educational Statistics and U.S. News & World Report.
We wish you the best of luck on your school search!
See our rankings methodology page.
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Average Net Price: $10,200
With a student body of over 19,000, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the state’s second largest institute of higher learning. According to the National Science Foundation, UL Lafayette ranks among the top 10 universities nationwide for percentage of research and development expenditures funded by business. The university offers an online Master of Business Administration with concentrations in Project Management, Global Management, Hospitality Management, and many other areas.
The Hospitality Management degree program requires 11 courses, totaling 33 credit-hours. Of these 11 courses, 7 are core courses that are shared among all MBA tracks. Core coursework for the MBA covers topics such as data analysis, marketing management, and managerial economics. The four courses specific to the Hospitality Management track are:
- Organizational Behavior and Leadership
- International Business
- Feasibility Studies in Hospitality and Tourism
- Global Contemporary Issues in Hospitality and Tourism
Multiple start dates are available throughout the year, so prospective students won’t need to wait until the fall semester to begin working toward their degree. This program can be completed in as little as 15 months. As of the 2018 academic year, the tuition rate for the degree is $387.88 per credit-hour. The total expected cost for the program is $12,800.
University of North Texas
Average Net Price: $10,424
Located just 36 miles north of Dallas-Fort Worth, the University of North Texas offers a comprehensive array of highly regarded academic options. Students at UNT can pursue 103 bachelor’s, 86 master’s, and 38 doctoral degree programs. The Hospitality Management program features a strong emphasis on managerial leadership and core management competencies.
The online program at UNT culminates in a Master of Science in Hospitality Management. This degree requires a minimum of 36 credit-hours. Students may choose to pursue the degree 100 percent online, or they may choose a blended resident/online program. While earning their degree, students will have the opportunity to take elective classes such as:
- Hotel and Restaurant Operations
- Tourism Services Management and Marketing
- Hospitality and Tourism Information Technology Strategies
- Big Data Implementation in Social Network Analysis
For Texas residents, the current cost for this program is $1,421.45 for each three credit-hour course. UNT also offers a unique program leading to a Master of Science in International Sustainable Tourism. This degree is offered through a collaboration with the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center in Turrialba, Costa Rica. Through this program, students will complete the first half of their degree at UNT and the remainder at CATIE.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Average Net Price: $11,432
As a public research institution, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas is well-known for achievement in education, scholarship, and creative activity. UNLV was established in 1957 as a branch campus of the University of Nevada, Reno. Today, the university serves over 30,000 students. The renowned William F. Harrah College of Hospitality offers a Master of Science in Hotel Administration and a Master of Hospitality Administration.
This online degree requires 30 credit-hours, to be earned in ten courses. Five courses are mandatory, and four may be earned through hospitality electives. The remaining three credit-hours will be earned by completing a professional paper. Available electives for this program include:
- Hospitality Organizational Behavior Issues
- Principles and Practices in Convention and Meetings Management
- Information Technology in the Hospitality Industry
- Customer Development Strategies for Casino and Gaming
While most students earn this degree in 18 to 24 months, the program can be completed in as little as one year. All candidates for this degree will choose either the Hospitality Management track or the Gaming Management track. This choice must be made as part of the admission process. The 2018 graduate tuition rate is $4,002 per semester for Nevada residents. For non-residents, the cost for graduate education is $11,096 per semester.
Florida International University
Average Net Price: $12,966
In the four decades since its founding, Florida International University has firmly established itself as one of the anchor institutions of South Florida. The university is home to 54,000 students in 11 academic schools and colleges. The Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at FIU enrolls over 1,000 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students.
FIU’s Master of Science in Hospitality Management is available either on campus or online. Students who opt for the accelerated, fully online track can earn the degree in just 12 months. The curriculum features 33 credit-hours. Candidates for this degree will take classes such as:
- Globalization and Competitive Methods of Multinational Hospitality Companies
- Strategic Management for Hospitality and Tourism
- Contemporary Global Issues in Hospitality and Tourism
- Financial Management of the Hospitality Industry
On-campus students have the option of completing this degree through a thesis track. The online program is only available through a non-thesis track. An internship is required for all degree candidates. The internship will consist of a minimum of 1,300 hours of industry experience. Students who qualify for in-state tuition will pay $455.64 per credit-hour. Numerous forms of financial aid are available, including a $2,250 scholarship that is awarded to FIU graduates, military members, and veterans.
University of Central Florida
Average Net Price: $15,533
Serving more than 66,000 students, the University of Central Florida is one of the largest universities in the nation. UCF has won widespread recognition for its commitment to affordability. The Princeton Review, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, and Forbes have all cited the university as a top value in higher education. The renowned Rosen College of Hospitality Management presents a rigorous and practical Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management.
This degree is available through a thesis track, which emphasizes scientific investigation and preparation for doctoral study. Students also have the option of a non-thesis track, which focuses on practical experience and industry application. For both the thesis and non-thesis track, the following courses are required:
- Managing Hospitality and Guest Services Organizations
- Strategic Marketing in Hospitality and Tourism
- Critical Issues in Hospitality Human Resources
- Data Analysis in Hospitality and Tourism Research
To qualify for admission, applicants should hold an undergraduate degree in hospitality, business management, or a closely related field. While all of the core coursework for this program can be completed online, some elective options and program prerequisites may not be offered through distance education. For in-state, full-time students taking 30 credit-hours per year, the tuition rate for this program is $369.65 per credit-hour.