Published November 2016
Welcome to our ranking of the best online bachelor’s degrees in hospitality management.
Ask any career counselor or industry insider, and most would tell you that your best bet in 2016-2017 is to major in a STEM field – particularly technology or engineering. And they have a point. But while experts are busy analyzing job market trends and corporate fads, they’re forgetting a few essential points. Everyone has to eat. Most people eat out at least some of the time. Tourism is a huge source of income in the United States, and the country represents the second largest tourist economy in the world. And as long as there are executives, engineers, and computer scientists at work, we’ll need hotels to host their business trips and vacations.
All of these factors point to the inevitable truth that hospitality is one of the world’s most important industries, if not one of its oldest. So if you’re looking to get a job in a hotel or restaurant, as a travel agent or event planner, chances are you’ll never really run out of employment opportunities.
Career counselors might also tell you that in 2016, online degrees have become a legitimate, effective option for many students. We agree, and this top online hotel management degrees ranking provides evidence to that point.
How did we determine the colleges that deserve to share a spot in this article? In short, we looked at three factors:
- Graduation rate
*The accrediting body for hotel management programs is the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration™ (ACPHA).
**Tuition information was obtained from College Navigator, a division of the National Center for Education Statistics. We calculated average rates ([in-state + out-of-state + fees]/2) for public colleges.
To provide a quantitative assessment of quality, we aimed to give each school a score representing the strength of their online hospitality bachelor’s degree. The maximum possible score was 100 points, which we based on the point total of the top-scoring school (in other words, the point distribution was scaled so that the #1 college earned a perfect 100). These scores came from our performance analysis in each of the three categories above. The best programs produce high graduation rates, keep tuition rates low, and maintain ACPHA accreditation. At the end of the analysis, we plucked the top 10 schools with the top 10 scores and featured them here for all to see.
10. Granite State College
Online Service and Hospitality Management (B.S.)
Students pursuing the affordable online bachelor’s degree in hospitality management at Granite State College must already possess an associate degree or professional experience — a requirement that enables GSU to provide an advanced Bachelor’s degree emphasizing leadership, project management, and other late-career skills. After a set of foundation courses in topics like marketing and management, students have a number of upper-level choices that provide the kind of advanced education usually limited to master’s degrees. There’s even a capstone course (Applied Studies in Management) that requires students to integrate the knowledge they’ve gained in developing their own management strategies.
9. Utah Valley University
Online BS in Hospitality Management
The affordable online hospitality degree from Utah Valley University provides four specializations: General Operations, Revenue Management, Food and Beverage Management, and a unique Foreign Language track. The latter requires 12-15 credit hours of language courses to provide a great foundation for students looking to go international with their hospitality careers. UVU’s accredited hospitality degree online school does require students to complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of business courses in person at the UTU campus. While you’re there, you might want to take some time out to enjoy skiing and hiking opportunities at the scenic Wasatch Mountains nearby.
8. University of the Southwest
Online Bachelor of Business Administration: Hospitality Management
The University of the Southwest is the only institution on this online schools for hospitality management ranking to offer its hospitality coursework as an optional major within a business degree. That means students receive the benefit of USW’s strong online Bachelor’s in Business Administration, which includes courses in accounting, business law, marketing and human resources, along with hospitality-specific classes like Managing Diversity and Food Services Management. This fully online and very affordable online bachelor’s degree in hospitality management also provides a solid foundation for students who might want to pursue an MBA, whether at USW or elsewhere.
7. Fort Hays State University
Online Bachelor of Science in Tourism and Hospitality Management
Students enrolled in the top online hospitality management degree program at Fort Hays State University can dig into a relatively new field of hospitality management with a concentration in Health and Wellness Tourism. That focus includes 12 credit hours in unique subjects like Spa Faculty and Destination Management and Medical Tourism. This focus on cutting-edge study extends to the rest of the curriculum, which includes courses in high-tech fields like web development and management information systems. And with 20 years of experience and over 6,000 students making up FHSU’s “virtual student body,” the school has plenty of expertise in using technology to build a better online learning experience.
6. East Carolina University
Online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management: Lodging, Food and Beverage, or Conventions and Special Events
Career-focused students should look closely at East Carolina University, which offers one of the best online hospitality degrees with a strong focus on practical skills and experiential learning. Every student at this top online school for hospitality management earns a minor in Business Management, and all three degree tracks provide job-specific training. In addition, a brief externship and a more extensive internship provide real-world experience, and the school relies on strong relationships with industry professionals throughout the country to ensure that online students can find an internship close to home.
5. Charleston Southern University
North Charleston, SC
Online Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management: Hospitality & Tourism Management Concentration
Charleston Southern University is the only institution on this hospitality degree online school ranking to boast an affiliation with the Southern Carolina Baptist Convention, and accordingly CSU aims to provide a faith-based education in every subject. For Hospitality and Tourism students, that means required core courses in Christian Studies as well as an online-only course called Student Success and Christian Worldview in Online Learning. Beyond the faith-based curriculum, CSU offers a variety of foundational business classes as well as some interesting courses in marketing, economics, and human resources as applied to hospitality.
4. North Carolina Central University
Online B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Administration
The accredited online bachelor’s degree in hospitality management at North Carolina Central University is the only one in the Tar Heel State to be certified by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA). This nearly 20 year-old program boasts a strong job placement rate and enrollment figures, no doubt helped by the 23 semester hours of business courses that all hospitality majors take. This fully online degree is the least expensive ACPHA-accredited program on this online hospitality management degree program ranking and also benefits from being part of the University of North Carolina online degree system, which provides exhaustive transfer information and a robust network of proctors.
3. Florida International University
Online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management
Florida International University offers one of the best online bachelor’s degree in hospitality management simply because of the sheer variety of coursework available. Students can choose from minors in Beverage Management, Hotel/Lodging Management, Restaurant/Food service Management, and Travel & Tourism Management. Although a minor is not required, the option means every student has an unusually varied set of electives from which to choose. Courses like Business of Wine and Sustainable Tourism Practices are unique to FIU and should be tempting to any student with broad-based interests. This affordable online hotel management degree does not require any on-campus time, although students must earn 1,300 hours of work experience.
2. Northern Arizona University
Online Hotel and Restaurant Management Bachelor’s Degree
The accredited hotel management degree at Northern Arizona University offers some unique features that make it one of the best online hospitality degrees on this list. For example, the school’s Marion W. Isbell Endowment for Hospitality Ethics provides access to lectures and research within the field of hospitality ethics, a subject you won’t find at any of the other schools on this list. In addition, NAU’s Arizona Hospitality Research and Resource Center provides market research for the Arizona Office of Tourism, meaning students have the opportunity to observe and contribute to real-world tourism analyses like visitor surveys, focus groups, and economic impact studies.
1. University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management
The University of Massachusetts-Amherst has combined a strong focus on experiential learning, innovative academics, and plenty of elective options to build the best online hospitality management degree program in the country. The Convention Sales Management course is a perfect example of the caliber of education that UMass provides; students learn interpersonal communication skills and how to use industry software in a class not offered by any of the other programs on this online schools for hospitality management ranking. Other unusual electives include Gaming and Social Policy, Casino Management, and Social Entrepreneurship. And as you might expect, UM-Amherst’s program is accredited by the ACPHA.
You’ve reached the end of our ranking of online bachelor’s degrees in hospitality management.
- Top 10 Online Associate Degrees in Hospitality Management 2016-2017
- Top 10 Online Hospitality Management Bachelor’s Degree Programs 2016-2017