Restaurant Management Graduate Program Options

Read about graduate degree programs in restaurant management. Explore educational prerequisites and program coursework, as well as popular career options for graduating students.

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Essential Information

Master's degree and doctoral programs in hotel and restaurant management cover the business, finance and management skills necessary to run restaurants and other services. Master's-level programs may feature restaurant development and management-related courses as well as a thesis project requirement. A bachelor's degree in business or a similar discipline is necessary for program entry. Graduates may pursue positions as assistant restaurant or hotel managers.

At the doctoral level, students learn about hospitality business strategies and funding. Career titles for graduates may include professor or entrepreneur. Bachelor's degrees and relevant work experience are often required for admission.

A voluntary professional certification may be earned through the the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. Experienced individuals must pass written tests to qualify for a credential.


Master's Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management

Master of Arts (M.A.) and Master of Science (M.S.) programs in hotel and restaurant management discuss the financial, human resource, marketing and legal aspects of running hospitality businesses. Students learn to conduct research on restaurant management topics to learn about successful business models, and many programs also include statistics courses. Most programs require students to complete a thesis or an in-depth research project prior to graduation.

Education Prerequisites

Applicants who hold a bachelor's degree in a field like business or finance will understand many of the topics covered in a hotel and restaurant management master's degree program. Some students who enter these programs have previous employment experience working in restaurants or the hospitality industry.

Program Coursework

The classes in hotel and restaurant management master's degree programs emphasize the business skills needed to successfully run hospitality services. Students learn to set budgets, plan menus, manage employees and develop business ideas. Programs also cover more theoretical aspects of restaurant management, offering courses on research design and organizational psychology. Courses in the following topics are usually included:

  • Restaurant development
  • Hospitality service management
  • Strategic restaurant management
  • Hospitality financial management
  • Food systems management

Popular Career Options

People who earn a master's degree in hotel and restaurant management qualify for several advanced positions in the hospitality industry. Graduates often need to work in entry-level positions before advancing to management. The careers listed below are popular options:

  • Hospitality associate
  • Restaurant assistant manager
  • Hotel assistant manager

Doctor of Philosophy in Hotel and Restaurant Management

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in hotel and restaurant management emphasize the theoretical skills used to operate service-oriented institutions. Students also learn to analyze economic trends to help market and manage their businesses. Students often complete original research assignments as part of their coursework.

Education Prerequisites

Applicants need to have at least a bachelor's degree in an area like hotel and restaurant management, dietetics or business. Many Ph.D. programs require incoming students to have at least a year of work experience in the field.

Program Coursework

Ph.D. curricula discuss the economic and social trends that influence the hospitality and restaurant industry. Students also learn the operational leadership and marketing skills used to ensure that businesses succeed. Students often learn about the subjects below:

  • Hospitality business strategy
  • Restaurant branding
  • Hospitality funding
  • Food production and menu planning
  • Beverage management

Popular Career Options

Ph.D. graduates can work in academia, or they can apply their skills in the field. Graduates sometimes open and operate their own restaurants or hotels. The following are common career options:

  • Hospitality professor
  • Entrepreneur
  • Restaurant manager

Certification and Continuing Education Information

Some food service professionals earn voluntary certification through the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. The standards for earning Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) certification include passing a written test, completing relevant work experience and completing relevant coursework.

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