2019 Best Hospitality Management Degrees Online
Our comprehensive list of online hospitality management degree programs covers 152 different programs across 76 colleges, while our ranking list highlights the best schools, chosen based on tuition rates and alumni salaries provided by PayScale. Students interested in an online hospitality management degree should also be sure to check accreditation at the schools they are interested in, as well as career options depending on degree level.
2019 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Hospitality Management Degrees
The 12 schools on this list offer the best online bachelor's programs in hospitality management. At #1, the University of Massachusetts - Amherst charges $15,750 per year for their Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Ranked #5, Missouri State University has the lowest tuition. MSU's Bachelor of Applied Science in Hospitality Leadership is just $8,850 per year.
- Annual Tuition: $15,750
- Median Salary: $78,600
The University of Massachusetts- Amherst features an online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management. The degree is offered through the prestigious Isenberg School of Management. The program concentrates on management careers and entrepreneurship in restaurants, lodging and entertainment, and other aspects of the industry. This program requires a minimum of 27 transferable credits, and up to 75 credits may be transferred. Electives such as Convention Sales and Club Management allow students to customize their major. Among the program courses are Hospitality and Tourism Law, Food Service Management, and Lodgings Operations Management. Online undergraduate tuition for business courses is $575 per credit. UMA is the flagship of the state university system.
- Annual Tuition: $11,329
- Median Salary: $73,700
Washington State University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Business Management. The program focuses on overall operations management of hotels, restaurants, events and other industry segments. Freshman admission requires a diploma and SAT/ACT scores, or the GED. For transfer students, admissions is holistic. Courses last seven weeks and include Food Service Systems and Control, Hospitality Leadership and Organizational Behavior, and Service Operations Management. Students are required to work 1,000 paid hours in the hospitality industry. Two certificate programs are offered that can enhance the degree: Culinary and Wine Business. Online undergraduate tuition per credit is $507 for residents and $565 for nonresidents. Dating back to 1932, WSU's Hospitality program is the third oldest in the country and is one of the highest ranked.
- Annual Tuition: $15,180
- Median Salary: $74,000
Johnson and Wales University features seven online Bachelor of Science programs in aspects of the Hospitality field. The programs include Baking and Pastry Arts, Culinary Arts, Food and Beverage Entrepreneurship, Hotel and Lodging, Restaurant Food and Beverage, Tourism and Hospitality, and Hospitality Management. The programs focus on training students to become career managers in all aspects of the industry. The degrees are designed primarily for people currently employed in hospitality. Applicants must have at least two years of full-time employment since high school, and a diploma or the GED. Transfer students should have a 2.0 GPA. Program courses include Beverage Appreciation, Dynamics of Tourism and Sustainability, and Managing the Hotel Guest Experience. Online tuition is $330 per quarter credit hour. J&W's main campus is in Providence, Rhode Island.
- Annual Tuition: $11,091
- Median Salary: $72,700
The University of Missouri offers a well-regarded online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management. The basic program focuses on hospitality law, human relations, sales and marketing, and professionalism. The degree requires 15 credits in business core, 22 in core hospitality and 30 in a specialty area. Students choose a management specialty from among conference and events, food and beverage, and lodging and sport venues. Admission is granted by a combination of ACT/ SAT test scores and class rank. Transfer students need a 2.5 GPA. Courses include Special Events Management, Hospitality Law, and Sales and Marketing. Tuition for Mizzou Online is $284.80 per credit for residents, and $369.70 per credit for nonresidents. There is a 10% discount for military and veterans.
- Annual Tuition: $8,850
- Median Salary: $67,945
Missouri State University features a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Hospitality Leadership, which are both available online. The BAS is a degree completion program specifically for students who have an associate degree in Hospitality Management or Culinary Arts. The BS is a 4-year program and transfer students are accepted. Freshmen need a diploma and 2.0 GPA, or the GED. Transfer students need a 2.0 GPA. The BS has six tracks: club management, food and beverage, general operations, lodging, tourism, and senior living management. These programs focus on management careers in the industry. Among the program courses are Safety and Sanitation, Principles of Food Preparation, and Analyzing Financial Performance in Hospitality Operations. Online undergraduate tuition is $295 per credit.
- Annual Tuition: $8,993
- Median Salary: $66,700
Florida International University offers six online Bachelor of Science degrees in Hospitality Management. They are in Beverage Management, Culinary Management, Event Management, Hotel/Lodging Management, Restaurant/Food Service Management, and Travel and Tourism Management. These are all taught through FIU's highly rated Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. The curriculum focuses on management careers in the industry. The programs require 1,300 hours of paid employment in hospitality, at least 800 while enrolled at FIU. Admission requires a diploma or the GED, and SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students need a 2.0 GPA. 30 credits are in hospitality core courses and 18 are in the specialization. Florida residents with an AA are automatically eligible for admission. Tuition for 3 online credits is $949.20 for residents and $1,300.88 for nonresidents.
- Annual Tuition: $13,104
- Median Salary: $65,600
Arizona State University has an online Bachelor of Science in Business, specializing in Food Industry Management. The program focuses on training students to be managers in the food industry. The curriculum covers all aspects of the industry, including finance, marketing, supply chains, human relations, product innovation, and consumer matters. Admission requires a diploma and 3.0 GPA in competency courses. Transfer students also need a 3.0 GPA. Among the courses in the program are Food Advertising and Promotion, Food Supply Networks, and Food Product Innovation and Development. Online undergraduate tuition is $520 to $728 per credit, depending on the level of the class. ASU’s School of Business and their online program are highly rated, and support for online students is exceptional.
- Annual Tuition: $29,120
- Median Salary: $62,464
The University of Utah offers an online Bachelor of Science in Parks, Recreation and Tourism with a specialization in sustainable tourism and hospitality management. The degree focus is on operations, ecotourism, resort management and marketing. The specialization covers biodiversity, ethical concerns of nature tourism, cultural heritage preservation, visitor management, and ecotourism and wilderness tourism. Admission is holistic, considering GPA, class rank and curriculum strength. Students must also complete a minor in Sustainable Tourism, Hospitality, or Tourism Enterprise and Marketing. Courses include Wilderness Recreation, Leisure Behavior and Cultural Diversity, and Liability and Risk Management. Online upper division undergraduate tuition for 3 credits is $1,782.51 for residents and $5,206.61 for nonresidents.
- Annual Tuition: $21,709
- Median Salary: $60,836
East Carolina University offers three online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management degrees: Convention and Special Events, Food and Beverage, and Lodging Management. These are degree completion programs designed primarily for students with AA degrees. Transfer students need a 2.0 GPA. The programs are offered through the School of Hospitality Leadership in ECU's College of Business. The degrees require a 24 credit Business Administration minor, and the focus is on sound business practice in the hospitality industry. Courses include Multicultural Hospitality, Hospitality Facilities Management, and Hospitality Information Systems. Tuition is $166.41 per credit for residents and $716.31 per credit for nonresidents. ECU's Hospitality program is one of the largest in the Southeast.
- Annual Tuition: $9,466
- Median Salary: $56,800
Northern Illinois University has an online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management degree completion program. It is designed specifically for students who have earned an Associates of Applied Science in Hospitality Tourism, Culinary Arts or a related field. The program focuses on preparation for entry level management positions in the industry, and also for advanced study. Students select either hotel management or restaurant, meeting and event management as specialties. Courses in the program include Hospitality Facility Management, Food and Beverage Operation, and Casino and Game Management. Online undergraduate tuition is $348.84 per credit unit. The degree can be completed in less than two years.
- Annual Tuition: $10,920
- Median Salary: $46,200
The University of Alabama offers a well-regarded online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management. The program provides a thorough preparation for management careers, and covers hotel and resort management, conventions, food service, and other aspects of the industry. There are three concentrations available: food and beverage management, hotel/ lodging, and meetings and events. Admission is based upon GPA, test scores and strength of curriculum. Transfer students need a 2.0 GPA. The program requires 49 credits in hospitality core courses, 21 in the concentration, and 500 hours of internship experience. Among the course offerings are Hospitality Employee Supervision, and Management, Hotel Sales and Event Services. Online undergraduate tuition is $364 per credit unit. Alabama provides support services for online students.
- Annual Tuition: $14,844
- Median Salary: $43,100
Bethune-Cookman University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management. The program focus is strongly oriented to business preparation for career management in restaurants, travel, tourism and other aspects of the industry. Admissions is holistic, and BCU specifies that they evaluate applicants' "intellectual, spiritual and social development." The 123-credit program requires 48 credits of hospitality core courses, and 38 credits from the School of Business. Two internships are required, as is a Hospitality Management exit exam. Online tuition is $250 per credit and there is a one-time $500 technology fee for online students. BCU is an HBCU (Historically Black College or University). The school is located in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Hospitality Management Degrees ( 75)
Online Hospitality Management Degree Overview & Career Information
Online associate degrees in hospitality management are typically offered as an Associate of Science (AS) degree. These programs are often designed to train graduates specifically for the workforce, but some are designed to segue into a bachelor's degree in hospitality. Common courses include food science, commercial food preparation, organization and management, tourism planning, and restaurant management. Most programs also require a small grouping of general education classes in topics like personal finance, college writing, and literature.
The online bachelor’s degree in hospitality management is the degree most likely to lead to supervisory roles such as grounds supervisor, convention services manager, event manager, and guest service representative. The bachelor’s degree program is often a business administration degree with a specialization in hospitality management. Core classes include subjects such as accounting in the hospitality industry, operations, food production management, and leadership in the hospitality setting. Many programs require a certain number of years of professional experience in hospitality or a certain number of documented hours of work experience. Many online programs in this field require an internship.
Online master’s degree programs and graduate certificates in hospitality management address advanced business skills for the hospitality industry. Students study strategic management, information technology, organizational behavior, and law as they apply to the hospitality industry. Electives can be used to tailor the program to the particular hospitality area students plan to work in, such as casino or restaurant management. Most graduate programs require an internship in a management or administrative setting.
The associate degree in hospitality management is typically a two-year degree earned at a community college or through a qualifying online school. Associate degrees are designed to represent half the time commitment and required credits as a bachelor's degree, and many students use it as a prelude to a four-year degree program because it can save students time and money and help them make the transition into advanced education more easily and with more accessible support services.
Every associate degree program features a set of general education requirements. These classes cover a range of disciplines and are intended to ensure that students have the basic skills necessary to help them succeed in college courses. Classes may include math, life sciences, social sciences, communications, and English, or another discipline with a significant writing component. More specific hospitality management courses will likely focus on basic leadership and administrative skills, accounting, human resources, and customer service. Some courses that discuss legal parameters of hospitality and employee management may also be useful.
People who study hospitality management generally have a very particular career goal in mind; they want to work in hotels, bed and breakfasts, hostels, or resorts. Often, those who are interested in hospitality management love to travel and would like to work at hotels and hostels around the world. They may be qualified to work as human resources managers or assistant managers at first, and can work their way up to general management, even with only an associate degree. Still others hope to own their own hotel or bed and breakfast, and hospitality management associate programs can provide people with the basic skills to do so.
There are relatively few bachelor's degree programs in the United States that are dedicated to hospitality management; more popularly, students enroll in a Bachelor of Business Administration program that offers specializations in hospitality management. As business schools struggle to attract business students, they often implement more and more specialization programs to suit the specific needs of career-minded college students, and hospitality management is one such specialization. A bachelor's degree program usually requires a four year, full-time commitment from students. Once students graduate with a degree in hospitality management, they will be able to market themselves at hotels and similar environments around the world.
As with any general bachelor's degree program, a program in hospitality management requires students to take general education classes alongside program-specific requirements. These general education requirements typically take two years and include liberal arts subjects such as literature, writing, history, science, arts, and mathematics. The rest of the program will involve courses specific to hospitality management. Some of the classes that students might encounter include the following:
- Food and Beverage Operations Management: This is a core requirement of most programs and is often taken in the first semester of study. The class provides students with an overview of food and beverage management and a foundation for the rest of the program.
- Fundamentals of Accounting: A basic accounting course is generally required for any graduate in hospitality management. Students will learn bookkeeping skills, from logging incoming and outgoing finances to income tax reporting.
- Leadership and Organization: Hospitality management is, at its core, a degree in management and leadership. Students will learn how to apply leadership principles to a real work setting.
- Planning and Cost Control: Often the difference between a successful business venture and a failure can be traced back to a reduction of extra costs through careful planning. This course examines some basic strategies for how to plan ahead and reduce costs for your business.
- Strategic Marketing: Another important skill for any manager is how to market a business to bring in the most money. This class covers basic principles of how to bring in business through current marketing techniques.
Students will likely have access to many of the same organizations, competitions, and societies that business students do. They may participate in marketing challenges or honors society marketing events. Hospitality management is also an excellent field for internships; students can work in hotels, bed and breakfasts, or resorts to gain practical experience and establish contacts for future career endeavors.
Master's degrees are the most advanced degrees available in the field of hospitality management. Master's degree students often coordinate with a business school to take the comprehensive courses they need and to connect with faculty members. Earning a master's degree generally requires a two-year commitment. One of the most important components of a master's degree is the thesis, an extensive research paper. Students may conduct their own original research or they may analyze existing data and information to help them formulate an opinion on one specific, relevant component of hospitality management. Many degree programs require that students defend their thesis before a panel of professionals and professors.
The courses required during a master's program will be specific to the hotel industry -- customer service, human resources, accounting, and administration -- but they may also take on a broader scope to accommodate students who work within the hotel industry in roles that don't involve management. Therefore, students may take courses that explore corporate structure, marketing and brand recognition, and large-scale administration. A significant amount of on-site training will also be required during the master's program, both during the courses themselves and during an internship.
Master's degree graduates in the field of hospitality management often have considerable professional experience and will generally be overqualified for many positions in hotels. Instead, they may work in the corporate offices for large hotel chains or even start their own hospitality businesses.
Online certificates in hospitality management usually take about one year to earn, though many last only a few months. The programs aim to give students the chance to develop specific skills and knowledge that will make them more effective as managers at various hospitality locations. Often, people who seek such certificates are already working in the industry in some capacity and are interested in promotional opportunities. In such cases, a certificate is a valuable way to prove your commitment to the field and set yourself apart from other applicants.
People who work as servicemen and women in hotels and resorts already have exposure to the industry, and when they combine this experience with demonstrated leadership ability and the training provided by a certificate in hospitality management, they can work their way into management positions. Larger hotels, in particular, typically require many managers, including those who lead certain departments, such as human resources and event planning. A general administrator may have several assistants. Someone who has no other experience but earns a certificate may be able to start in one of these assistantships.
Aspiring hospitality managers will learn about basic management and administrative duties, including attracting, hiring, and training personnel; scheduling; payroll; enhancing customer service experiences; and handling financial transactions and budgets. Programs will introduce students to the specific ins and outs of the hospitality industry, with special emphasis on how to successfully run one individual hotel or comparable overnight-guest-experience environment. Some certificate programs will also include courses in event planning because hotels, inns, and bed and breakfasts are popular places to hold weddings, meetings, and parties, and it often falls to an administrator to oversee the planning and execution of such events. These courses will concentrate on design, utilizing independent contractors, and budgeting.
If you decide to invest your time and money in higher education, it's wise to make sure that the program you select is of the very highest quality. The Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA) is an accrediting body that can help you choose a worthy associate or bachelor's degree program. While specific programmatic accreditation is not required for hospitality management positions, it can be useful for identifying programs that cover particular student outcomes and for narrowing down the field of prospective degree programs you’re considering.
Programmatic accreditation is a process by which a particular degree program or type of school is evaluated by a third-party organization. Unlike institutional accreditation, programmatic accreditation cannot be used for federal financial aid funding, but it does indicate that a program meets high standards, and it may help you earn professional certifications or credentials later in your career.
Accreditation is useful for hospitality management schools, in particular, because the accreditation process takes into account the specific skills and techniques students will need to be successful hospitality managers. ACPHA ensures that a program's curriculum covers subjects such as hospitality marketing, operations, accounting, financial management, legal issues, ethical considerations, organization theory, and administrative processes. ACPHA also makes sure that students have access to sufficient hands-on experience so that they leave their degree program with the appropriate skills.
Along with the course curriculum, ACPHA also evaluates the qualifications of a school’s instructional staff and their effectiveness as teachers. ACPHA also investigates the student services available, such as counseling, industry exposure, and clear program standards. Each school’s financial status is also assessed to make sure the program is solvent and able to meet its financial demands. The school’s library collection, learning facilities, and audio-visual equipment are also taken into account.
A hospitality management degree is closely related to many other degrees in the field of hotel and food services and hospitality management. The most closely related programs are hotel management and food and beverage management. These degrees cover many of the same topics as hospitality management, but they are more focused in their approach. Hotel management is specific to the management of hotels, large casinos, or resorts, while food and beverage management is often sought after by those interested in creating restaurant chains or upscale food or beverage establishments.
Tourism and travel is also closely related to the field of hospitality. A tourism and travel degree focuses on ways to increase tourism, provide tourism-related services to consumers, and capitalize on both business and leisure travel. Many who graduate with this degree work for hotels, cruise lines, local tourism offices, or travel agencies. Many students who pursue a degree in hospitality management might also be attracted to a degree in business or marketing. The important skills of running or establishing a business, working effectively with clients and customers, and successfully marketing a product or idea are relevant and can be easily transferred to careers within the hospitality industry.
- American Hotel and Lodging Association. Accessed May 17, 2014. http://www.ahla.com.
- Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration. Accessed May 17, 2014. http://www.kaplanuniversity.edu/business/business-administration-associate-degree.aspx.
- Associate of Arts With a Concentration in Hospitality, Travel, and Tourism. University of Phoenix. Accessed May 17, 2014. http://www.phoenix.edu/programs/degree-programs/business-and-management/associates/aahtt.html.
- Bachelor of Science in Business With Hospitality Management Certificate. University of Phoenix. Accessed May 17, 2014. http://www.phoenix.edu/programs/degree-programs/business-and-management/bachelors/bsb-hp.html.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor. Accessed May 17, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/lodging-managers.htm.
- Service Management. Ashford University. Accessed May 17, 2014. http://www.ashford.edu/degrees/online/ba-service-management.htm.