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How to Get a Bachelor's Degree In Hospitality & Tourism Management

by Gale Thompson, studioD

A bachelor's degree in hospitality and tourism management can help students develop skills they will need for future jobs in management, marketing or other positions in the hospitality industry. The degree may be an interdisciplinary program, combining departments such as business, psychology and the sciences to offer a well-rounded curriculum. Many schools will also offer concentrations or specialized fields such as casino, or food and beverage management. Students may also have access to internships and other hands-on experiential opportunities.

Undergraduate Admissions

Students planning on majoring in hospitality and tourism management must obtain either a high school diploma or GED and apply to a college that offers this major. Many schools, both online and campus-based, offer this major, including the College of Charleston, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Kaplan University and Devry University. Many schools, like Schiller International University, offer specialty degree programs like International Hospitality and Tourism Management. Schools with hotel or tourism connections are highly recommended since a portion of the major requirements will involve direct experience.

Management, Accounting and Marketing Courses

Hospitality majors take a certain amount of required courses in management and marketing, as well as math and accounting courses. The Hospitality and Tourism Management department at the University of Massachusetts is offered through the Isenberg School of Management, so courses such as Introduction to Accounting, Fundamentals of Marketing and Finance, and Operations Management are required. The College of Charleston requires courses in microeconomics and macroeconomics as well. These courses introduce students to planning and controlling financial activities, advertising and business decision-making, which are essential for future hospitality careers.

Core Course Requirements

Most hospitality and tourism management departments offer a set of courses especially for the major that students are required to take. Students in the Introduction to Hospitality and Tourism Management course at San Francisco State University learn about general developments in the industry, and survey different hospitality environments such as tourism businesses and food service establishments. More advanced core courses may include Hospitality and Tourism Management Information Systems, Food Production Management and Hospitality and Human Resource Management.

Upper-Level Courses and Electives

Students should use the upper-level coursework and required electives to pursue their interests and prepare for a postgraduate career. Most schools offer courses grouped in disciplines like international tourism management, hospitality entrepreneurship management and restaurant and catering management. Some schools, such as the University of Massachusetts Amherst, allow students to obtain concentrations in lodging management, club management, food and beverage management and others. College of Charleston allows students to emphasize in general management, human resource management or sales and marketing. Courses in these groups will have titles such as Real Estate Investing, Special Events Management, Catering and Banquet Management and Hotel Supervision.


Being successful in hospitality and tourism management requires hands-on training, so most schools require at least one internship to receive a diploma. Students at the College of Charleston have obtained internships with The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, Walt Disney World and the PGA Golf Tournament in Hilton Head, S.C. The University of Massachusetts Amherst uses its on-campus hotel and conference area to service a great deal of its interns. All majors are required to complete 400 hours of related work or volunteer experience to graduate.

About the Author

Gale Marie Thompson's work has been published in "Denver Quarterly," "Los Angeles Review" and "Best New Poets 2012." Thompson holds a BA in English and creative writing from the College of Charleston, a MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and is working on a PhD at the University of Georgia.

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