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Best online master's in hospitality management degrees 2021: Top picks

With a hospitality management master's degree, you have skills to lead in lodging, recreation, travel and tourism, and food and beverage service.

Individuals with a hospitality management master's degree can pursue managerial roles at exciting and exotic locations around the world. 

Hospitality management degrees include business coursework emphasizing marketing, human resources, and finance in the hospitality industry. A master's degree in hospitality management incorporates courses in strategies used by successful hospitality managers, leaders, and executives. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects faster-than-average growth in employment for food service managers and gambling service workers to 2030. Meeting, convention, and event planners are projected to see comparable growth. 

To find out more about the top online hospitality management degrees for 2021, check out our rankings below. 

The best online master's in hospitality management degrees

ZDNet's ranking methodology synthesizes research data and expertise provided by industry professionals to assess the top hospitality master's degrees. Our proprietary formula provides insight into the curricula, affordability, and outcomes of the top master's degrees in hospitality management to help you find the right program.

Unless otherwise indicated, data is drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, College Scorecard, and each program's website.

1. University of Central Florida

Orlando, Florida

About the program: With thesis and non-thesis options, UCF's online master's in hospitality and tourism management emphasizes strategic marketing, financial analysis, and problem-solving in the field. 

  • Acceptance rate: 44%
  • Graduation rate: 72%
  • Avg. annual net price: $10,274
  • Time to completion: Two years
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: Not publicly available
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery methods: Online, asynchronous

Accreditation: The University of Central Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

2. Florida International University

Miami, Florida

About the program: Located in one of the biggest hospitality epicenters in the world, FIU offers an online hospitality management master's degree including 33 credits of comprehensive coursework.

  • Acceptance rate: 58%
  • Graduation rate: 64%
  • Avg. annual net price: $7,296
  • Time to completion: One year
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: 5
  • Course delivery methods: Online, asynchronous

Accreditation: Florida International University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

3. University of North Texas

Denton, Texas

About the program: UNT's online hospitality management master's degree focuses on the future of hospitality and tourism with classes that explore changing demographics, technology and quality management, and the impact of tourism on the global economy. 

  • Acceptance rate: 74%
  • Graduation rate: 60%
  • Avg. annual net price: $15,086
  • Time to completion: Two years
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery methods: Online, asynchronous

Accreditation: The University of North Texas is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

4. University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada

About the program: UNLV's online executive master of hospitality administration degree includes specialization options in hospitality management and gaming management.

  • Acceptance rate: 81%
  • Graduation rate: 53%
  • Avg. annual net price: $11,424
  • Time to completion: Two years
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: 2.75
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery methods: Online, asynchronous

Accreditation: The University of Nevada, Las Vegas is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

5. Johnson & Wales University

Providence, Rhode Island

About the program: JWU's career-focused online master's degree in hospitality management examines all aspects of the hospitality industry and allows learners to choose elective classes that align with their professional goals. 

  • Acceptance rate: 93%
  • Graduation rate: 63%
  • Avg. annual net price: $26,775
  • Time to completion: Two years
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required 
  • Minimum GPA: 2.85
  • Enrollment periods per year: Four
  • Course delivery methods: Online, asynchronous

Accreditation: Johnson & Wales University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

What to expect in an online master's in hospitality management degree program

An online master's in hospitality management generally includes two years of lecture and laboratory courses. Hospitality management students complete independent and group projects and presentations. 

Students study finance, economics, and marketing as they relate to the hospitality and tourism industry. Classes in hospitality business law and risk management accompany qualitative research courses to grow learners' analytical and decision-making skills. 

Students may also take part in an internship to apply degree content in real-time. During a hospitality management project or thesis, learners use what they've learned to address challenges within the hospitality and tourism industry. 

Learners who actively engage with course content, fellow students, and instructors will get the most out of an online degree. 

Hospitality management courses

Foundational hospitality management courses explore technology, human resources, environmental impacts, and financial aspects of the hospitality and tourism industry. 

Here are some courses you'll find in many hospitality management programs.

Hospitality revenue management

Coursework introduces learners to practices and pricing for hospitality and tourism organizations. Learners explore profitability, the revenue cycle, and strategies for short- and long-term revenue streams.

Strategic human resources in hospitality and tourism

Human resources courses focus on training and managing workers in hospitality and tourism settings. Learners develop strategies to assess and use effective compensation techniques and coordinate a hospitality workforce. This course emphasizes creating a diverse, sustainable, and supported workforce.

Hospitality management tools and technologies

This class includes information about systems and software used in hospitality settings. Learners also assess strategic applications of information and communication technologies alongside changes and innovations influencing the hospitality and tourism industry.

Ethics and environment in responsible hospitality management 

By exploring environmental theory, ethical frameworks, and legal aspects of hospitality management, students learn about sustainable practices to apply as leaders in the hospitality industry. Topics include energy conservation and waste reduction.

Hospitality management degree levels

A degree in hospitality management includes business coursework adapted to meet the demands of the hospitality and tourism industry. 

Undergraduate degrees prepare students to enter the hospitality management profession, while graduate programs hone existing knowledge and skills to advance the careers of current hospitality workers. 

Certificate in hospitality management

Length: One year or less

Cost: $2,000-$5,000

Post-grad careers: Restaurant manager, events planner, tour planner

Certificate programs in hospitality management introduce students to hospitality and tourism industry operations. Coursework teaches learners about purchasing, customer service, and marketing in hospitality settings. 

With a certificate in hospitality management, students can enter the hospitality management field or hone their abilities in a current hospitality role. A certificate also provides a strong foundation for continued study. 

Associate in hospitality management

Length: Two years

Cost: $4,000-$10,000

Post-grad careers: Food service manager, customer relations associate, restaurant manager

An associate degree in hospitality management often emphasizes a specific aspect of hospitality: Food and beverage service, hotel and resort management, or travel and tourism. Students develop communication and technical skills while learning about the industry's operations.

Graduates thrive in junior hospitality management positions. An associate degree also serves as a springboard for a bachelor's degree.

Bachelor's in hospitality management

Length: Four years

Cost: $10,000-$60,000

Post-grad careers: Resort manager, event coordinator, human resource manager

Bachelor's degrees in hospitality management establish foundational knowledge of the hospitality and tourism industry. Students study event planning, hotel and restaurant management, and tourism in anticipation of completing an internship as part of the program.

Courses may cover catering, casino operations, food preparation and safety, and hospitality marketing. Many programs have specialization options. Learners can focus on food service, lodging, or travel and tourism. 

Graduates may enter the workforce or continue on to a graduate program. 

Master's in hospitality management

Length: Two years

Cost: $18,000-$65,000

Post-grad careers: Hospitality sales manager, hotel operations manager, cruise line executive 

Emphasizing business essentials and research, a master's in hospitality management builds on existing knowledge and experience to train students for leadership roles within hospitality and tourism organizations.

A master's degree in hospitality management may offer specializations in sustainable tourism, international hospitality, or heritage tourism and conservation. Students might complete an internship, a research project, or a thesis.

In conclusion

Hospitality management might be right for you if you like working in a fast-paced, exciting role, meeting new people, and visiting new places.

To learn more about the hospitality management master's degrees we recommend, reach out to the universities and programs listed above.

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