Hospitality Degrees | Top Universities

Are you interested in a career in the hospitality industry? If so, a specialized hospitality degree could be the best option for you, allowing you to gain detailed knowledge of this diverse industry, ready to commence your career in hospitality.

Hospitality degrees are most commonly found as Bachelor of Hospitality Management courses, in which you will be given an introduction to the world of hospitality, learning about how the industry works and the managerial and customer service skills you will need to succeed.

Click on the tabs below for information about types of hospitality degrees, entry requirements, specializations and popular careers in hospitality.

The structure and content of your course will vary depending on both your university and the specializations you choose. You’re likely to start with a selection of course modules introducing you to different aspects of the industry and providing an overview of different hospitality careers. As you progress, you should have opportunities to specialize in one or more of these, leading up to a final project or dissertation in your final year.

To prepare for your career in hospitality, it may be especially valuable to choose a hospitality degree which includes an internship, allowing you to gain real-world experience of the industry while studying. For example, Les Roches International School of Hotel Management offers two internships as part of its three-and-a-half year hospitality management degree – one at the start of the second year and another at the start of the third year, enabling students to put into practice what they’ve learned.

Course lengths vary between countries, but undergraduate degrees are generally around three to four years. Degrees which include internships may be longer than the norm, especially if the work experience is a full year – known in some countries as a ‘placement year’ or ‘sandwich year’.

Entry requirements 


To apply for a hospitality degree, you will typically need to have attained a high school diploma or the equivalent. For undergraduate-level hospitality degrees, it’s unlikely that you’ll be expected to have studied specific subjects beforehand, though some universities may have academic grade requirements. It will help your application if you have previous work experience in a hospitality-related role, and you will need to demonstrate a strong interest in the subject and in entering a career in hospitality. You may have the chance to discuss this in an interview, and/or by submitting an application essay or personal statement. 

Discover the top universities for hospitality and leisure management

Hospitality degrees offer a wide range of specializations, often overlapping with other subjects, such as business, finance, marketing and leisure and tourism. Below are some of the most common specializations which you may be able to choose from as part of your hospitality degree.

Hospitality business administration 

If you have a particular interest in the business aspects of hospitality and aspire to become a general manager, executive or even an independent business owner, then this specialization is for you. Within business administration, you’ll cover the full range of skills and knowledge needed to run a business, drawing on relevant aspects of finance, accounting, human resources, innovation and management best practices. As part of a hospitality degree, business administration will be approached with hospitality careers and industries specifically in mind.

Luxury brand management 

Luxury Hospitality

Luxury is the fastest-growing sector of the US$6 trillion global hospitality industry, offering opportunities for many exciting and competitive careers. This specialization will give you a comprehensive understanding of luxury industry trends, segments, brands and consumer behaviors. You’ll find luxury brand management offered both as an option within general hospitality management degrees, and as a specialized degree in its own right. Glion Institute of Higher Education, for instance, offers this subject as a main hospitality course, including an internship in a luxury company and an applied workshop in Milan.

Event management 

Events manager

Another common specialization available as part of many hospitality degrees, event management is a good choice for those aspire towards hospitality careers in the dynamic and varied world of events management, operations and marketing. You will gain a thorough understanding of how the events industry works, exploring a range of issues currently faced by events professionals and practicing applying what you’ve learned to real-world situations.

Tourism management 

If you’re interested in pursuing hospitality careers in travel and tourism (for example, management roles in the cruise industry), you would benefit from specializing in tourism management during your degree. This will mean covering topics such as tourism strategy and development, destination marketing, operating systems and corporate social responsibility. You will analyze a range of current issues and challenges in the tourism sector, and learn to apply this theoretical knowledge in practical case scenarios.  This specialization could lead to a range of attractive hospitality careers, including managerial roles in hotels, travel companies and regional/national agencies.

Hospitality marketing 

Hospitality marketing

Marketing is essential for success in any competitive industry, and this certainly includes the hospitality sector. If you specialize in marketing during your hospitality degree, you’ll learn about a range of marketing strategies and tools, including the latest new media and technologies, as well as learning how to analyze consumer behaviour and conduct relevant market research. You’ll practice compiling marketing strategies for different products and audiences, and tracking campaign results.

Other common hospitality degree specializations include food and beverage management, sport tourism management, finance, human resources, real estate and revenue management, and sustainable development in tourism.

Discover the top universities for hospitality and leisure management

Hospitality careers

The skills and knowledge developed during your degree should prepare you for many specialized careers in hospitality, as well as giving you transferable skills applicable in many other sectors. Other fields in which your degree would be useful include human resources, communications, media, training, and general management, operational or marketing roles. You could even set up your own business.

You will find it is extremely useful to have completed relevant work experience before applying for hospitality careers, either as part of a placement during your studies, or an internship or temporary job between semesters. You may also consider furthering your expertise by studying a Masters in Hospitality Management.

While the hospitality sector offers a huge variety of different roles, some of the most common careers in hospitality include:

Hospitality manager 

The most obvious career option as a graduate of a hospitality management degree would be to take on a management role in the hospitality sector. As well as the options listed below, this could also include managerial roles in bars, clubs, casinos, entertainment venues, conference facilities, travel agencies, national/regional marketing organizations and more.

Hotel manager 

Hotel manager

Hotel managers ensure the smooth running of hotels through the effective supervision of employees. This role requires a range of skillsets, including strategic planning, budget allocation, performance tracking and quality auditing, and synchronizing and overseeing hotel services such as catering and accommodation facilities. You’ll need a strong understanding of the hotel sector in general, as well as a good knowledge of the local industry, trends and challenges.

Marketing executive

If you would like a challenging and fast-paced role in marketing, developing campaigns to promote products and services within the hospitality industry, then this career could be for you. You will need a combination of analytical and creative skills to help plan and oversee the direction of successful marketing campaigns. As with all hospitality careers, you can increase your prospects of finding a position by completing relevant work experience and building up a network of professional contacts during your studies.

Tourism officer

Tourism officers are responsible for increasing revenue and developing and promoting tourism through development initiatives and campaigns. This role combines aspects of marketing, public relations and management, and you will need strong planning and organization skills. Most tourism officers enter the vocation as assistants and work their way up, and you don’t normally need a postgraduate degree to enter this career.

Events manager 

events management

If you enjoy meeting people and making things happen, and you have excellent organizational skills, a career in event management could suit you. Events managers are responsible for arranging and running a variety of events, ranging from charity fundraisers to corporate conferences. You would oversee each project, from initial planning to the smooth running on the day. You’ll need to be able to can work well with all kinds of people, be a good problem-solver and be able to cope with pressure. To prepare for hospitality careers in this area, you could gain practical work experience while studying, through part-time or voluntary involvement in local events.

Discover the top universities for hospitality and leisure management

Key Skills

Common skills gained from a Hospitality degree include:

  • Analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Market research skills
  • IT skills to effectively collect, analyze and present information
  • Written communication skills
  • The ability to work well both independently and as a team
  • Strong knowledge of the hospitality industry
  • Organizational skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Understanding of relevant international and cultural contexts