Best Hospitality Colleges in the U.S.

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Why a degree in hospitality?

Have you ever thought about working on a cruise ship or helping people book vacations? What about managing a hotel chain in Mexico or a casino in Vegas? You can finally turn that interest in vacationing into a career.

What hospitality degree options exist?

With an improving economy, domestic and world travel are gaining in popularity. The industry has been on the rise over the past decade, increasing at a rate of 17%*. It also accounts for almost 10% of the U.S. job market and supports over 14 million jobs*.

So go see a few more beaches and sip a little more wine. You may work longer hours than the average Joe since people vacation 365 days a year. But when you finally get your vacation, you won’t even have to leave the office.

* World Travel and Tourism Council, Research Inforgraphics
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth in the hospitality industry

Best Hospitality Colleges in the U.S. for 2018

Rank School Name Location Description   Rating
1 Cornell University Ithaca, NY

Cornell University offers 3 Hospitality Degree programs. It's a large private university in a small city. In 2015, 290 students graduated in the study area of Hospitality with students earning 238 Bachelor's degrees, 49 Master's degrees, and 3 Doctoral degrees.

Based on 100 Reviews
2 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA

University of Southern California offers 1 Hospitality Degree program. It's a large private university in a large city. In 2015, 33 students graduated in the study area of Hospitality with students earning 33 Certificates degrees.

Based on 52 Reviews
3 New York University New York, NY

New York University offers 7 Hospitality Degree programs. It's a large private university in a large city. In 2015, 149 students graduated in the study area of Hospitality with students earning 80 Master's degrees, 65 Bachelor's degrees, 3 Certificates degrees, and 1 Doctoral degree.

Based on 60 Reviews
4 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers 0 Hospitality Degree programs. It's a large public university in a small city.

Based on 72 Reviews
5 Boston University Boston, MA

Boston University offers 2 Hospitality Degree programs. It's a large private university in a large city. In 2015, 95 students graduated in the study area of Hospitality with students earning 93 Bachelor's degrees, and 2 Certificates degrees.

Based on 104 Reviews
6 Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus University Park, PA

Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus offers 8 Hospitality Degree programs. It's a large public university in a small city. In 2015, 335 students graduated in the study area of Hospitality with students earning 327 Bachelor's degrees, 7 Doctoral degrees, 1 Master's degree.

Based on 132 Reviews
7 Clemson University Clemson, SC

Clemson University offers 8 Hospitality Degree programs. It's a large public university in a large suburb. In 2015, 192 students graduated in the study area of Hospitality with students earning 153 Bachelor's degrees, 24 Master's degrees, 11 Doctoral degrees, and 4 Certificates degrees.

Based on 32 Reviews
8 Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, NJ

Stevens Institute of Technology offers 1 Hospitality Degree program. It's a medium sized private university in a large suburb. In 2015, 5 students graduated in the study area of Hospitality with students earning 5 Master's degrees.

9 George Washington University Washington, DC

George Washington University offers 3 Hospitality Degree programs. It's a large private university in a large city. In 2015, 118 students graduated in the study area of Hospitality with students earning 69 Master's degrees, and 49 Bachelor's degrees.

Based on 28 Reviews
10 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers 3 Hospitality Degree programs. It's a large public university in a small city. In 2015, 162 students graduated in the study area of Hospitality with students earning 122 Bachelor's degrees, 39 Master's degrees, and 1 Doctoral degree.

Based on 104 Reviews

List of all Hospitality Colleges in the U.S.

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School Logo School Name Average tuition Student Teacher Ratio Enrolled Students
Cornell University Cornell University Ithaca, NY
5/5
12 : 1 21,904
University of Southern California University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
5/5
16 : 1 43,401
New York University New York University New York, NY
5/5
8 : 1 50,027
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
3/5
17 : 1 29,084
Boston University Boston University Boston, MA
5/5
11 : 1 32,158
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus University Park, PA
4/5
16 : 1 47,307
Clemson University Clemson University Clemson, SC
3/5
20 : 1 22,698
Stevens Institute of Technology Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, NJ
5/5
20 : 1 6,359
George Washington University George Washington University Washington, DC
5/5
17 : 1 26,212
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
4/5
20 : 1 45,842
University of Florida University of Florida Gainesville, FL
2/5
20 : 1 50,645
Syracuse University Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
5/5
18 : 1 21,789
Ohio State University-Main Campus Ohio State University-Main Campus Columbus, OH
3/5
15 : 1 58,663
Southern Methodist University Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX
5/5
14 : 1 11,643
University of Washington-Seattle Campus University of Washington-Seattle Campus Seattle, WA
3/5
12 : 1 45,408
University of Central Florida University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
2/5
41 : 1 62,953
Michigan State University Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
3/5
18 : 1 50,538
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
3/5
14 : 1 50,678
University Logo University of Georgia Athens, GA
3/5
18 : 1 36,130
Texas A & M University-College Station Texas A & M University-College Station College Station, TX
3/5
21 : 1 63,813
University of San Francisco University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
5/5
15 : 1 10,797
North Carolina State University at Raleigh North Carolina State University at Raleigh Raleigh, NC
3/5
19 : 1 34,015
Elon University Elon University Elon, NC
5/5
14 : 1 6,631
California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo, CA
3/5
23 : 1 20,944
Johnson & Wales University-Charlotte Johnson & Wales University-Charlotte Charlotte, NC
5/5
24 : 1 2,218

Find Local Colleges with Hospitality Majors in the U.S.

Top Schools offering Hospitality Degrees in the U.S.

Questions About Hospitality Degrees

What are the different degrees I can get in Hospitality?

Undergraduates typically receive a Bachelor of Science degree. While some universities have distinct hospitality schools, others have their hospitality programs under the direction of the business school. Common majors include hospitality management, entertainment and event management, or restaurant and food services management. Within each of these disciplines, some colleges offer additional specialization. For example, hospitality management students at Orlando-based University of Central Florida may select a track in golf and club management, lodging management, professional tennis management, or theme park and attraction management.

Students wishing to further develop their industry knowledge often pursue a Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management, a Master of Management in Hospitality, or a Master of Business Administration. For hospitality-related research or teaching, a Ph.D. is the next step. Many schools also conduct continuing education programs for working professionals. These certificates serve as recognized marks of achievement in specific areas, such as destination marketing or event management.

What are some of the skills and experiences I will gain through Hospitality?

Core classes often include human resources management, marketing, hospitality law, leadership, ethics, strategic management, food sanitation, and managerial communication. Much of your additional coursework will be devoted to your particular area of interest. An event management major, for instance, might take specialized courses such as food preparation for catered events, event promotion, and advanced trade show management. An entertainment management student’s schedule might include consumer behavior in entertainment, entertainment and technology, and entertainment law and ethics. All hospitality degree seekers need to be prepared to get out from behind a desk. Most schools encourage internships and other practical experiences. At Rochester Institute of Technology, Henry’s Restaurant operates on the same floor as the hospitality department, enabling students to experience what it takes to run all aspects of an actual dining establishment.

What are Hospitality programs seeking in their applicants?

Couple a solid high school transcript with an entrance essay showcasing your enthusiasm for a career in the hospitality industry. When listing extracurricular activities, be sure to highlight examples of leadership and organizational skills. And be proud of any related work experience. Future execs benefit from understanding what’s involved in being a waitress or a city tour guide!

Should I study Hospitality online or on a campus?

Online programs can be especially appealing for practicing professionals, especially ones who routinely travel for work. And with well-known institutions such as The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University getting in on the action, the quality of classes continues to increase. Through videos and live-streamed classes, you might choose to learn about career-specific areas such as hospitality management information systems or gaming operations. Those who select a traditional campus setting often appreciate the active role schools take in helping them find those all-important internships. They also benefit from hands-on campus facilities, such as the 200-seat training dining room, two test kitchens, and beer and wine laboratory at the University of Central Florida.

What are some cutting edge careers in this industry?

How about managing a casino property? As various states continue to expand their gaming industries, new establishments will need skilled leaders. (And, of course, there’s always Vegas.) Knowledge of operations, food and beverage, event planning, and hotel management could lead to a lucrative casino resort management job. Top execs can command a salary around $200,000. Or perhaps you’re better suited to a position in international tourism. It’s a small world (and not just at Disney), so cities, convention centers, theme parks, and other attractions want to increase their revenues by attracting foreign visitors.

How do you work your way to the top in the Hospitality Industry?

Experts cite education, experience, and leadership skills as keys to advancement. The best colleges realize the importance of real-life practice to future employment prospects and make internships and hands-on learning vital parts of the curriculum. For instance, undergrad degree requirements at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration include 800 hours of practice credit earned over summers or through part-time employment. Practicing professionals desiring higher positions need to keep up on industry trends and present a solid track record of quality performance.

Are there scholarships or grants available to people looking to study hospitality?

The American Hotel & Lodging Education Foundation provides undergraduate and graduate scholarship opportunities for future hospitality leaders. It will award more than $860,000 in 2016 alone, with amounts ranging from $500 to $6,000. The non-profit foundation Tourism Cares seeks to help aspiring hospitality leaders through up to 52 scholarships presented each year. The selection committee awards these merit scholarships based on academic performance, extracurricular and volunteer activities and experiences, motivation, and leadership potential. And if your future hospitality career has a food-related angle, check out the James Beard Foundation. The organization honors a man dedicated to helping people interested in culinary education – perhaps the next one selected could be you!

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