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Your Guide to Getting an Online Graduate Degree in Tourism

written by: Sonal Panse•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 1/15/2010

If you are looking for an interesting, well-paying career in tourism, you ought to consider getting a masters degree in tourism online. People with a masters degree usually hold higher work positions, and this program will equip you with the necessary knowledge for those roles.

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    Masters Degree in Tourism Online

    Tourism is a fast growing industry world wide, and a masters degree in tourism development can prepare you for an exciting career in this field. An online masters degree in tourism development is ideal for -

    • Professionals in the travel industry who are seeking to move up the career ladder.
    • Students interested in pursuing careers in the tourism industry.

    Some of the topics covered in the tourism development program include -

    • Travel industry operations and procedures
    • Tourism marketing and promotion
    • Travel agency management
    • Tour arranging and planning
    • Convention and event planning
    • Travel industry law
    • International and domestic operations
    • Travel and tourism policy
    • Destination Development and Management

    To be eligible for this masters degree program, students must have at least three years of travel and hospitality industry experience and/or have a bachelors degree in tourism, hospitality, business, marketing, finance, etc. You must have a computer, the requisite computer software and an Internet connection.

    Prior to admission, it is advisable that students do the following -

    • Research colleges and check their accreditation.
    • Find out if the program is completely online or requires some onsite attendance.
    • Find out about tuition fees and if financial aid is available.
    • Find out who the instructors are and what their teaching and industry credentials are.
    • Talk to former students, if possible, about their educational experience and their subsequent work experience.

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    Colleges Offering a Tourism MA Degree

    George Washington University

    Accelerated Master of Tourism Administration (AMTA) Program

    This program requires 36 credits to be completed in a period of two years. The 13 courses offered are all online, but students must attend two onsite sessions, the Inaugural session at the start and the Capstone session at the end.

    Students can take an individualized studies program or choose one of three formal concentration areas.

    The individualized studies programs include -

    • International Hotel and Resort Management
    • Airline Management
    • Heritage Tourism Management
    • Ecotourism

    The formal concentration areas include -

    • Event and Meeting Management
    • Destination Management
    • Sport Management

    Students can make their application online and must include the following with their completed admission form -

    • Official educational transcripts
    • Resume
    • Three reference letters from employers and faculty
    • An essay stating professional goals
    • GRE or GMAT certification
    • TOEFL certification for international students
    • Application fee of $60

    The program director may conduct personal interviews with applicants prior to selection.

    The tuition fee for this program is $627 per credit. There is a registration fee of $35 for five or six registration sessions. The total fee is around $22,747-$22,782.

    Cal U Global Online

    Online MA Tourism Planning and Development program

    This is a 100% online course that can be completed in a one and a half to two year period. Students complete their coursework in the first ten months and then choose to undertake a thesis or a Master's Degree Project (MDP) in the next eight to twelve months. Tuition fee for PA students is $3,330 for 12 credits, plus $103 as technology fee and $135 as off-campus fee. For non-PA and international students, the tuition fee is $3,396 for 12 credits, plus $155 as technology fee and $135 for an off-campus fee.

    Interested students can apply online and should include educational transcripts and two recommendation letters with their application.

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    Benefits of an Online Program in Tourism Development

    • Studying online is beneficial to both industry professionals who cannot take the time off from full-time work to finish this course and students looking for a flexible learning format.
    • Students can learn to use the latest web technologies in the course of the program.
    • They can interact with and learn from industry professionals .
    • They can receive individual attention and guidance.
    • They can forgo the expense of commuting or relocating.
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    Career Prospects with a Graduate Degree in Tourism Online

    Employment prospects in the tourism and hospitality industry are excellent and are expected to remain bright as more and more people over the world travel for both business and pleasure purposes.

    To cater to their diverse needs, well-qualified, culturally aware people will be highly sought after in the industry for various administrative and managerial positions at both the national and international levels. People with a Tourism Development Masters Degree can work in hotels, restaurants, airlines, railways, ships, tourism companies, event management companies, theme parks, NGOs, etc.

    Salaries depend on the size and popularity of the work establishment, the work position, the work duties and responsibilities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, tourism industry professionals can earn salaries from $31,870 to more than $82,510 annually.