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Washington State University
Carson College of Business Ph.D.: Hospitality & Tourism Management Concentration

Hospitality and Tourism Management Concentration

Now accepting applications for Fall 2024

This program will prepare you for a career in research and teaching at institutions throughout the United States and abroad.

The coursework includes several hospitality and tourism management courses as well as a group of research design and statistics courses. You will also complete courses in supporting fields of inquiry such as psychology, sociology, management, marketing, etc. The program typically requires four years to finish, including courses, a second-year paper, a comprehensive exam, and a doctoral dissertation. Applicants with strong hospitality and tourism management backgrounds are preferred. Incoming students are expected to have both good written and oral communication skills, as well as the analytical skills required to master research methods and statistics.

Admission requirements

We prefer the GMAT, but we do accept the GRE test as a substitute. In either case, the exam must have been taken within 5 years of the time of application to WSU.

Desired prerequisites

In general, you must meet the following prerequisites to be accepted into the program:

  • A master’s degree (M.S., M.A. in a related discipline, or MBA), although outstanding applicants with bachelor’s degree will be considered
  • A GPA higher than 3.25 on a 4.00 scale
  • Hospitality and/or tourism related background (educational or professional)
  • Interests and goals that complement faculty interests and the program’s goals
  • Letters of recommendation supporting your candidacy for admission
  • A substantial industry experience (strongly preferred)

While applicants may have diverse profiles, an educational or business background that reflects an understanding of and interest in hospitality and tourism management is advantageous. Students with an MBA or business experience, in particular, are preferred. Because the program is focused on graduating students qualified to teach at high-quality, research-oriented institutions, you should have good command of the English language, both spoken and written, and have a reasonable level of skill in mathematics to facilitate the mastery of research methods and statistics. You should also have competencies in hospitality and tourism management in addition to accounting, economics, finance, management, marketing, operations management, and computer skills.  If you are deficient in any of these areas, additional coursework and preparation beyond the major course of study may be required. Your advisory committee will determine these requirements.

General Competency

The requirements for this program follow the Ph.D. Program in Business Administration Policies and Procedures and Program Requirements in the Carson College of Business. The concentration in Hospitality and Tourism takes advantage of existing course and seminar offerings in the other five business disciplines to offer a diverse and flexible high-quality program. The program requirements for the concentration in Hospitality and Tourism Management are designed to develop proficiency in the student’s major field of study with applications in hospitality business management.

Research tool requirements

12 credits

A minimum of 4 research tool courses to be selected by the student with the approval from his/her Ph.D. committee.

  • ANOVA (e.g., Psych 511, Stat 507, Stat 512, or Soc 522)
  • Regression/Econometrics (e.g., Psych 512, Soc 521, Stat 530, Stat 533, Stat 535, EconS 511, or EconS 512)
  • Psychometric Theory (e.g., Psych 514 or Stat 520)
  • Multivariate Statistics (e.g., BA596, Mktg 594, Stat 519, MgtOp519, or MgtOp591) or Applied Structural Equation Modeling (Psych 516)

These suggested courses above may be substituted for other courses that treat each of the above topics in a comprehensive fashion, as approved by the student’s program committee. Although four research tool courses are required, additional research courses may be taken as part of the student’s supporting field requirements.

Major field requirements

13 credits

These courses will enable you to develop proficiency in your primary area of study.

  • HBM 591: Seminar in Services Management
  • HBM 592: Seminar in Current Issues in Travel and Tourism
  • Mktg 593: Behavioral Research Methods Seminar
  • BA 598: Research and Professional Development Seminar (1 credit course)
  • HBM 600: Independent Study (Second-year Research Project)

Business electives

6 credits

You are required to complete at least 2 of the following graduate-level business courses:

  • EconS/Fin 596 Advanced Topics in Financial Economics
  • MGTOP 516 Time Series
  • HBM 581 Services Management
  • IBUS 580 International Business Management
  • MGMT597 Seminar in Organizational Behavior
  • MGMT597 Seminar in Organizational Theory
  • MGMT597 Seminar in Strategic Management
  • MIS 572 Database Management Systems
  • MIS 574 Telecommunications and Networking in Business
  • MIS 582 Systems Analysis and Design
  • MKTG 590 Seminar in Consumer Behavior
  • MKTG 591 Seminar in Marketing Management
  • MKTG 592 Seminar in Marketing Foundations

These suggested courses above may be substituted for other courses as approved by the student’s program committee.

Supporting field requirements

9 credits

Coursework in the area of specialization is intended to provide necessary skills and knowledge to conduct research in a chosen field. Courses must be related to an area of study selected by the student and approved by the doctoral student’s committee. Supporting doctoral level coursework may be selected from areas such as (but not limited to) research seminars in anthropology, psychology, sociology, economics, management, international business, information systems, marketing, communication, etc. Additional coursework in HBM may also be taken, with approval from the doctoral student’s committee.

PhD Research Credit Requirements

32 credits

In addition to major field requirements, business electives, and supporting field requirements, the Ph.D. in Hospitality and Tourism Management requires additional research credits associated with the development of the final dissertation. A minimum of 32 (800 level) research credit hours is required.

Sample PhD Program in Business Administration With Concentration in Hospitality and Tourism Management

Based on 9 credits per semester in the first year of study**

Year 1


  • HBM 591
  • Psych 511
  • BA 598 (1 credit course)
  • Business Elective


  • MKTG 593
  • Psych 512
  • Business Elective


Start preparation for 2nd Year Research Project

Year 2


  • HBM 592
  • Psych 514
  • Supporting Field Course


  • HBM 600 (2nd Year Research Project)
  • Psych 516
  • Supporting Field Course


Preparation for Comprehensive Exams

Year 3


  • Comprehensive Exams
  • Supporting Field Course


Full-time Research (Dissertation and Other)

Year 4


Full-time Research (Dissertation and Other)


Full-time Research (Dissertation and Other)


  1. Courses cannot be counted twice under any of the above-mentioned requirements.
  2. No more than 9 hours can be taken as independent study courses.

Annual Review and Written and Preliminary Exams

The goal of the annual reviews and the exams is to assess the candidate’s overall mastery of the core body of knowledge in the field and the degree of preparation to undertake research independently or with minimal supervision. The Ph.D. Program area coordinator and committee along with appropriate advisors will annually review the progress of the students in terms of publications and research effort. The Preliminary Exam (scheduled sometime during the third year in the program) will test the candidate’s knowledge in five areas:

  1. Hospitality and tourism management major field requirements: Hospitality and Tourism Management core knowledge includes a thorough understanding of hospitality and tourism, and behavioral research methods.
  2. Business electives: The student should be able to demonstrate an appropriate level of understanding of theories and research methods aligned with those business disciplines chosen for further study, including finance, information systems, international business, management, operations, and/or marketing.
  3. Hospitality and tourism research: The student should be able to demonstrate a thorough understanding of hospitality and tourism research, including explanatory theories and past research findings. In addition, the candidate is expected to demonstrate command over the relevant literature from his/her supporting field.
  4. Hospitality and tourism research methods and statistics: The student should also have an extensive knowledge of statistics and the research methodologies that can be employed to study hospitality and tourism phenomena from a behavioral standpoint.
  5. Oral and written communication skills: Given the program’s focus on producing hospitality and tourism scholars who can be successful at other accredited, peer or better research universities, the student is also expected to show a high level of written and oral communication skills exhibited in the written and oral comprehensive exams, research presentations at national/international conferences, and publications in hospitality & tourism journals.


Jenny Kim, Ph.D.
School of Hospitality Business Management
Todd Hall 331C

Program at a glance

Degree offered: Doctor of Philosophy
Number of faculty working with students: 9
Number of students enrolled in program: 8
Students with assistantships/scholarships: 100%
Industry experience preferred
Priority application deadline: January 10