Postgraduate study in hospitality, tourism and personal services

Courses and specialisations

Hospitality and tourism is quite a new field at postgraduate level, although there is a wide range of courses available. Courses in the personal services industry, in areas such as hairdressing and beauty therapy, are offered in the VET sector only. For more information, see VET study in tourism, hospitality and personal services.

Most postgraduate students complete coursework degrees, including graduate certificates, graduate diplomas and coursework masters degrees. There are many specialist postgraduate degrees in areas such as tourism management, events management, hospitality management and international hotel management, as well as in unique areas such as ecotourism and gastronomic tourism. There are also postgraduate degrees in business and management that offer specialisations in hospitality and tourism (a master of business administration specialising in tourism management, for example).

Postgraduate coursework degrees provide opportunities for those who are new to the field to gain professional skills and qualifications that will allow them to move into management positions within the hospitality and tourism industries. For those who already work in the industry or have completed an undergraduate degree in hospitality and tourism, postgraduate study is a good way to improve career advancement into higher levels of management. Due to the practical nature of the hospitality and tourism industries, industry placements are included in many of the courses.

Postgraduate research degrees in hospitality and tourism are also available, including research masters degrees and research doctorates, although they are currently less popular than coursework degrees.

Applicants must meet academic and English language entry requirements, which vary between courses, institutions and qualification levels. Entry to most postgraduate courses is open to students with an undergraduate degree in any discipline or relevant industry experience. Selection for some institutions is highly competitive and requires students to attend an interview. For more information about postgraduate degrees and entry requirements, see Higher Education — Postgraduate.

Where to study

Postgraduate hospitality and tourism courses are offered at both universities and private colleges. There are a number of specialist providers in this field of study. You may find that there is greater range of courses and a higher level of expertise at specialist providers and institutions located in popular tourist areas.

Gaining industry experience is very important in hospitality and tourism courses, so you should look for institutions that have up-to-date, industry-standard facilities, incorporate plenty of practical experience into their courses, and offer simulated training environments (such as training restaurants and mock hotel front desks) as well as access to the latest equipment and techniques. The best institutions also have good contacts with the industry, which help students to find work once they have graduated.

There are many employment opportunities overseas in the hospitality and tourism industries, so international recognition is important to many students. Look for courses and providers that are accredited by prestigious international organisations in your industry and ask institution staff about graduate prospects overseas.

If you are considering a research degree, you should look for university departments and schools that specialise in tourism and hospitality and have an established research program in your area of interest. You should also investigate possible supervisors.

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