Career Guide


The Hospitality Management (HM) major is one of two programs in the School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management. Students within the major will receive a Bachelor of Science degree.

Admission and Progression Standards

Visit the Major Snapshots site to learn more about the admission and progression standards of this major.

Students wishing to declare a Hospitality Management or Hospitality Management major must first attend a New Major Orientation session, which are scheduled periodically throughout the semester. Students must declare the major prior to enrolling in non-Foundation HM or SRM courses. 

For any student transferring into the Hart School, there are cutoff dates for declaring Sport and Recreation Management and Hospitality Management. Students are admitted only twice a year, October 1 and March 1. 

  1. Any student wishing to take Hart School courses in the Spring semester, or any summer term session would be required to contact the Hart School advisory team and declare the change of major on or before October 1.
  2. Any student wishing to take Hart School courses in the Fall semester would be required to contact the Hart School advisory team and declare the change of major on or before March 1. 
Description of Major

The hospitality leaders of tomorrow must be educated and enlightened citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives. The Hospitality Management program at JMU prides itself on being a leading Bachelor of Science hospitality degree program in the country. The HM major emphasizes practical experience through the curriculum and students are encouraged to participate in opportunities to study abroad.

The HM mission is to develop hospitality leaders through sound theoretical coursework, innovative learning activities, mentoring opportunities, exposure to premier hospitality organizations, and interaction with dynamic industry professionals. Together with alumni, students, parents, and friends of the program, HM at JMU will be recognized as the preferred provider of hospitality graduates.

Hospitality Management is an extremely dynamic field and students may pursue careers in hotels, resorts, restaurants, private clubs, travel, various food service operations or convention management and meeting/event planning. 

The goals of the program are:

  • To expose students to a rigorous academic and experiential learning program, including 600 hours of industry experience prior to senior year and a 400-hour internship prior to graduation.
  • To provide an intimate educational setting of small classes, team learning experiences and meaningful personal contacts with faculty and industry professionals.
  • To promote the use and development of technology, critical thinking and communication skills in hospitality leadership.
  • To ensure that all HM students have a meaningful choice of job opportunities upon graduation.
  • To build a set of leadership skills while providing students exceptional financial acumen.
  • To maintain a faculty of knowledgeable and respected industry professionals, dedicated to continuous improvement via internships, authorship, industry contacts and participation at national and international industry conferences.

More About the Field 

The Hospitality field, also known as the mega-industry, includes many career opportunities. Recent statistics include the following:

  • Hospitality Management provides $98.3 billion in tax revenues to federal, state and local governments.
  • Total Hospitality Employment in the United States includes 15.4 million jobs.
  • Pleasure travel volume was 950.4 million; personal-trips with business travel accounted for over 251 million trips in the United States alone.
  • The World Tourism Organization forecasts a growth in international tourist arrivals of between 3% and 4% in the next year. International visitors spend $79.4 billion a year.
  • The travel field is America's largest services exporter, with international travelers spending over $110 billion in the United States.
  • The US hotel and motel industry consists of about 40,000 companies that operate 48,000 properties, with combined annual revenue over $120 billion.
  • The restaurant industry’s total economic effect is $1.5 trillion.
  • The restaurant industry remains one of the nation’s largest private-sector employers with its 12.7 million employees, comprising 9% of the U.S. workforce.
  • The restaurant industry is projected to have a total of 15.7 million career and employment opportunities by 2024. Dining is the most popular domestic trip activity and is included in 31% of all domestic trips. On a typical day, 130 million Americans will visit a restaurant.
  • The private club industry represented by The Club Managers Association of America had $31.3 billion in revenue in 2024 employing 271,000 associates.


Individuals can pursue entry level management paths in the hospitality industry. General Managers of hotels, resorts, restaurants and clubs coordinate a team of managers to deliver exceptional service and a memorable experience, relative to the following: Convention services managers coordinate meetings, conventions, and other special events for a hotel. Food and beverage managers direct the food services of hotels. Front office managers coordinate reservations and train front desk staff to deal with the public. Executive housekeepers ensure that guest rooms, meeting rooms and public areas are well maintained and train and supervise housekeepers. Restaurant managers are responsible for all phases of a food service operation as well as daily operations.

Complementary Majors and Minors 

There are many compatible combinations with an HM degree, including: Accounting, Communications, Finance, Modern Foreign Languages, Music Industry, Human Resource Development, or Psychology.

Characteristics of Successful Students

Good business skills, exceptional written and oral communication skills, and excellent interpersonal skills are essential in this field. Individuals must also be able to adapt and work well under pressure in order to solve problems and handle emergencies.


Many graduates choose typical career paths associated with this major. However, some graduates choose unrelated careers that utilize skills and experiences developed during their years in college. Keep in mind, that some fields will require graduate study or further training. The listing below offers a few examples of some career paths taken by recent graduates of the HM program:

  • Banquet Director
  • Cake Designer
  • Catering Director
  • Club Manager
  • Conference Coordinator
  • Food/Beverage Manager
  • Food Cost Accountant
  • Human Resource Specialist
  • Lodging/Resort Manager
  • Meeting/Event Planner
  • Operations Manager
  • Purchasing Agent
  • Retail Manager
  • Sales Manager
  • Special Projects Assistant
  • Technical Recruiter
  • University Food Service Manager

Who Employs Graduates?

Airlines, Amusement Parks, Associations, Catering Companies, Colleges/Universities, Country/City Clubs, Cruise Lines, Bridal Establishments, Conference Centers, Convention Centers, Hotels/Motels, Lodging Corporations, Resorts, Restaurants, Special Events/Promoters, Tourism Companies, Travel Agencies.

Internships and Experiential Opportunities 

Hospitality Management requires the student to complete 1,000 hours of work experience in the hospitality field prior to graduation. This is reflected in three courses:

  • HM 310: 600 hours of Work Experience
  • HM 333/444: Supervisory Internship

Students pursue internships under the direction of a faculty advisor and our Internship Director.  In addition, students have a variety of opportunities to gain practical experience. Students may wish to become active in one of the related student organizations:

  • CMAA – Club Management Association of America
  • NSMH – National Society of Minorities in Hospitality
  • PCMA – Professional Conference Management Association
  • ESD - Eta Sigma Delta
  • HSMAI - Hospitality Sales and Marketing Assoication International 

NSMH participates in the regional and national NSMH Conferences and CMAA members attend regional events as well as the World CMAA Conference. PCMA participates in Convening Leaders conference. 

View our list of  internship coordinators for each major.

Career Profiles 

Chefs and Head Cooks
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners
Food Service Managers

Additional Resources to Research Careers
  • Handshake: view new internships and jobs that employers are looking to hire JMU students from your major 
  • Career Outcomes: see where alumni worked or studied right after graduating.
  • GoinGlobal: learn more about employment opportunities overseas as well as H1B visa information for international Dukes pursuing jobs in the U.S.
  • O*NET: browse occupational profiles to learn about thousands of different careers, pulling data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 
  • CareerOneStop: explore thousands of different careers by looking at career profiles 
  • Utilize the LinkedIn Alumni tool to see what others have done with their majors and what their career paths look like. Reach out to alumni via LinkedIn and conduct an informational interview.

© University Career Center, James Madison University

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from the JMU University Career Center. Content for each major has been written/reviewed by faculty in the respective department and is revised each year. Requests to update content can be submitted to

Back to Top