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Students working toward a bachelor's degree in hospitality management have an opportunity to gain skills in a variety of areas related to the discipline, including food and beverage management, marketing, and accounting. After completing the degree program, students typically earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in hospitality management or hospitality and tourism management, depending on the school. Many schools offer the degree as a concentration of business or business administration.

Online bachelor's degree in hospitality management: coursework and overview

Undergraduate studies typically last four years for full-time students. Coursework may include a combination of general education requirements, hospitality electives, and relevant business courses. The curriculum varies by school, but there are many courses that overlap. Some common subjects are outlined below:

Hospitality management degree courses

  • Hospitality management: Classes review effective approaches to managing a hospitality establishment. Schools typically offer management courses in specific areas of hospitality, such as food and beverage establishments.
  • Hospitality human resource management: Courses cover applications of human resource management principles to the hospitality industry. Students commonly discuss processes in recruitment, selection, hiring and termination of employees.
  • Cost control: Students learn about the hospitality applications of accounting and sometimes finance and purchasing concepts. For example, courses often involve financial statement analysis for a hospitality organization.
  • Hospitality law: Students explore laws pertinent to the hospitality industry. For example, students may examine torts, contracts and liability to guests.
  • Hospitality sales and marketing: Students learn the relation and application of sales and marketing principles, such as marketing research and advertising, to the hospitality industry.

Courses related to hospitality management

  • Economics: Students gain an overview of major economic concepts such as supply and demand and equilibrium. Hospitality management degree programs often require students to take specialized courses in microeconomics and macroeconomics.
  • Finance: In introductory courses, students learn basic financial management and analysis practices. Common topics of study include investments, capital budgeting and the time value of money.
  • Human Nutrition: Basic courses examine the role of fundamental nutrition principles, such as nutrient requirements, in generating a healthy human body. Courses sometimes explore nutrition concepts in regards to preventing illnesses.

Potential careers for individuals with a bachelor's degree in hospitality management

Although a bachelor's degree is not always a requirement for employment in the hospitality industry, courses that students take can teach them skills applicable to a variety of careers. Management positions tend to call for experience in the field, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov) reports. Below are some careers that students may pursue after earning their degree:

  • Flight attendants work to preserve the safety and comfort of airline passengers. Responsibilities often including administering first aid, directing passengers in emergency situations, and serving and selling refreshments to passengers. According to bls.gov, individuals with a bachelor's degree in hospitality or another relevant subject may have an advantage when seeking employment.
  • Lodging managers help ensure that guests have an enjoyable experience and that a facility operates efficiently. They may work in hotels, motels, or bed and breakfast inns. These managers can approve expenditures, allocate funds to departments, or set room rates and budgets. These professionals may also interview, hire, train, or terminate employees. Students interested in this career can learn about legal issues, such as liability to guests, in a hospitality law course. Some schools also offer courses in hotel management or operations.
  • Food service managers oversee the daily operations of food and beverage establishments. Responsibilities include monitoring food preparation methods, presentation, and portion sizes. Management often entails maintaining budget and payroll records and tracking financial transactions. Courses in cost control and accounting may help students prepare for the financial aspect of this career. Additionally, hospitality law courses may discuss legal issues specific to food and beverage services.
  • Convention service managers help coordinate events at meeting facilities such as convention centers. Acting as an intermediary between clients and facility representatives, these professionals recommend hotel services in accordance with the planner's budget and communicate food service options to outside planners. Since conveying clients' preferences is an important aspect of this career, a communications course could help students prepare for the responsibilities of a convention service manager. Bls.gov reveals that employers hiring for these positions often prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree and relevant experience.
  • Association planners organize trade shows and conferences for professional associations. Responsibilities include marketing the value of events for which attendance is voluntary. With this goal in mind, aspiring planners can discover potentially useful skills and techniques in courses on hospitality sales and marketing. Many schools offer courses in meeting and event planning that could complement this career.

Pursuing a career is not the only option available to individuals with a bachelor's degree in hospitality management. Graduates may wish to further their education in the subject with a master's degree. Schools may offer the degree either as its own discipline or as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) concentration. Students interested in earning a master's degree in hospitality management should research the different types of programs and contact an admissions counselor to determine which option works for them.

Potential students can find more information regarding bachelor's degree programs in hospitality management in the Guide to College Majors in Hospitality Management.


"Flight Attendants," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/flight-attendants.htm

"Food Service Managers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/food-service-managers.htm

"Lodging Managers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/lodging-managers.htm

"Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm

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