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There are several different potential paths to take in the hospitality and culinary worlds, and a variety of master's degree programs exist as well. Most of these programs take between one and three years to complete and focus on management and operations functions. Most culinary management programs assume a basic knowledge of culinary principles and cooking techniques.

Degrees in Hospitality and Culinary Arts

Hospitality management degrees and programs in the culinary arts typically focus on the theoretical and business aspects of the industries rather than the technical or hands-on granular-level components. Within that sphere there are a variety of The following master's degree programs in hospitality and culinary arts cater to a variety of career goals:

  • Master of Management in Hospitality (MMH): An MMH degree is a business degree with a focus on the hospitality industry. Like in other business programs, students of MMH programs study corporate finance, marketing, operations management, managerial communication and other core business courses to learn how hospitality corporations function. Students will specialize in a given hospitality business area like human resource management, real estate finance and investment, marketing management and operations and revenue management. Students are taught the principles behind successful hotels and hospitality businesses and have the potential to apply what they've learned in the hospitality industry.
  • Master of Science in Hotel Administration (MSHA): This degree aims to prepare students for upper-level positions in hotel management and qualifies them to teach in a hotel administration education program. Coursework for the MSHA includes operations analysis in hospitality management, financial analysis for the service industries, human resources and behavior in the hospitality industry and many other business courses focused on hospitality. Students of MSHA degree programs may supplement their core curriculum by specializing in an area of hotel administration, including food service management, convention and meeting management, casino and gaming management, or hospitality education.
  • Master of Restaurant Management (MRM): An MRM degree program, sometimes called a Master of Hotel and Restaurant Management degree, trains culinary professionals for the business side of running a successful restaurant. Restaurant managers must staff the kitchen, order food and supplies and attract customers, all of which can be taught through a combination of traditional business courses and food service principles. For restaurant employees looking to move to a management position, MRM programs offer the formal training to supplement hands-on experience.
  • Master of Science in Nutrition (MSN): This degree is often a requirement to become a practicing nutritionist or dietitian. Nutritionists work with schools, restaurants, hospitals and individuals to develop healthy menus and meal plans, and are frequently involved in community health efforts. MSN programs typically take two years to complete and have a heavy science focus. Candidates for MSN programs often need a background in science, and program coursework includes statistics, pathology, advanced nutrition, biochemistry and psychology. Since science is a large component of nutrition studies, some nutritionists go on to work in food research, while others apply their knowledge as nutrition advisers.

Many master's degrees generally take one or two years to complete and are designed for mid-career professionals.

Path to a Degree in Hospitality and Culinary Arts

As mentioned, master's degrees in the culinary/hospitality field offer the opportunity to specialize. For example, the MBA curriculum typically incorporates specialized training in the form of elective courses, case studies and internships. On the other hand, the academic MS in hospitality management typically goes a step further, requiring students to complete a research project or thesis on a specific problem in hospitality. Hospitality management specializations generally focus on a particular business context:

  • Hotel management
  • Food service management
  • Event planning management
  • Tourism management
  • Sports & leisure facilities management

The applied curriculum covers marketing strategy, feasibility studies, enterprise technology, financial management, hospitality law, accounting and budgeting. Additionally, each specialization features specific topics like food production and safety, sustainable tourism, facility design and international management.

A degree in hospitality management provides students with the well-rounded, business knowledge they need to successfully manage hotels of every variety. Since experience can also important to employers, online master's degree programs in hospitality may allow hospitality professionals to gain the formal education they need without sacrificing experience. Culinary careers can follow similar principles, with formal culinary education programs supplementing experience for restaurant managers and food experts.

What can I do with a master's degree in hospitality and culinary arts?

A master's in hospitality management is typically geared towards professional careers managing a hotel, restaurant, event planning business, or other hospitality enterprise. Within the U.S., hotels and other accommodations provided over 1.8 million wage and salary jobs in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Food services provided over 10.6 million wage and salary jobs during this period, although 9.6 million of these were non-supervisory positions. Careers a master's degree in this industry may prepare you for include:

Discipline2013 Median Annual Salary*2012-2022 Growth Prospects
Hotel manager$46,830While employment of lodging managers is expected to remain unchanged from 2012 to 2022, individuals with a hospitality management degree may be competitive applicants for employment in upscale and luxury hotels with multiple departments to coordinate.
Restaurant manager$48,080While, like lodging managers, this industry is expected to show little or no change from 2012 to 2022, individuals with degrees in a related area may have a competitive edge, particularly at upscale establishments.
Meeting, convention and event planners$46,260BLS projections are that employment in this area is expected to grow 33 percent from 2012 to 2022. This is much faster than the average for all occupations.

For prospective students interested in obtaining an online master's degree in hospitality or the culinary arts, one resource for helping select a reputable program is The Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (CHRIE). CHRIE publishes an authoritative guide to accredited programs in hospitality and tourism, called the Guide to College Programs in Hospitality, Tourism, & Culinary Arts.

 

Sources

  • "Accommodation: NAICS 721," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 27, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag721.htm
  • "Food Services and Drinking Places: NAICS 722," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 27, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag722.htm
  • "11-9081 Lodging Managers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes119081.htm
  • "Food Service Managers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/food-service-managers.htm#tab-1
  • "13-1121 Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes131121.htm
  • "Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm#tab-1
  • "Lodging Managers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/lodging-managers.htm#tab-1
  • "11-9051 Food Service Managers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes119051.htm

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