Academics & Majors

Hospitality Business Management

Carson College of Business

School of Hospitality Business Management
Offered as:
Graduate program


Hospitality business management focuses on management operations in the hospitality field, lodging, tourism, and food and beverage businesses. Students in this business option are taught theoretical and applied methods, interpersonal skills, leadership aptitude, and teamwork strategies.

Strengths of the program
  • Summer programs in Italy and Thailand.
  • All of the program's courses are taught in a state-of-the-art building with classrooms featuring Internet connections and the latest audiovisual technology.
  • Learn cuisine creation in a fully equipped commercial kitchen.
  • Gain front- and back-of-the-house management skills.
  • Taco Bell and the late Ivar B. Haglund (of Ivar's restaurants) have created two distinguished professorships to attract and retain top faculty.
  • More than 85 percent of degree holders accept career offers before graduating.
  • WSU's School of Hospitality Business Management is No. 1 in the nation for providing career services assistance to its students as they seek internships and jobs.
  • Attend the only four-year hospitality baccalaureate program in the United States that offers a degree program in Europe (in Brig, Switzerland).
  • WSU's hospitality school is consistently ranked among the top 10 in the U.S.
Certification and Signature Courses

Certifying into the major

Students on all campuses must meet the following requirements to qualify for certification into a business major:

  • Complete the following certification courses with a GPA of 2.50 or better:
    - EconS 101 and 102
    - Engl 101
    - Acctg 230 and 231
    - B Law 210
    - MgtOp 215
    - Math 201 and 202
    - MIS 250
  • Have a cumulative WSU GPA of at least 2.5
  • Have earned at least 60 credits

On the Pullman campus, certifying as a business major is competitive and course enrollments are limited. Pullman campus students are required to apply online to be considered for certification. Applicants who meet the minimum requirements above are ranked by academic performance. The top students are then certified based on the number of spots available that semester.

On all campuses, transfer course grades will be used to calculate the certification GPA, but they are not included in the WSU cumulative GPA.

Students desiring to certify their business major on the Online, Tri-Cities, or Vancouver campuses should contact a business advisor on that campus for specifics about certifying their major.

Note: Certification is required for enrollment in all 300- and 400-level business courses.

Signature Courses

An example of the courses hospitality business management majors generally take:

HBM 182 - Introduction to Industry Experience
HBM 280 - Lodging Systems and Procedures
HBM 320 - Industry Experience
HBM 358 - Foodservice Systems and Control
HBM 381 - Hospitality Leadership and Organizational Behavior
HBM 491 - Operational Analysis
HBM 494 - Service Operations Management
HBM 495 - Case Studies and Research

Graduation requirements

See the WSU Catalog for degree requirements and talk with your academic advisor about planning and scheduling your courses. All students must meet requirements as outlined in the catalog in order to graduate.

Minor in hospitality business management

The minor in hospitality business administration is designed for students who aren't majoring in a program in the WSU College of Business.

It provides you with practical skills and an understanding of business principles that can be applied to any field of study.

Featured courses

The minor in hospitality business management requires a minimum of 19 credit hours. Paid internships and industry experience are part of the minor.

These core courses are required:

Introduction to Financial Accounting
Introduction to Industry Experience
   -or- Industry Experience

Among the other courses you could take:

Lodging Systems and Procedures
Foodservice Systems and Control
Advanced Culinary Management and Catering

Hospitality Leadership and Organizational Behavior
Operational Analysis
Industry Experience
International Tourism

Introduction to Event Planning
Meeting and Convention Management
Service Operations Management

Graduation requirements

See the WSU Catalog for requirements and talk with your academic advisor about planning and scheduling your courses. All students must meet requirements as outlined in the catalog in order to graduate.

Transfer information

Plan ahead

To certify your major in the Carson College of Business, you will need to complete specific prerequisite courses. Use our list of transfer equivalencies to make sure you take the right transfer courses at your current college.

Also check out our transfer student guide for more information on transferring to WSU. 

Scholarships and financial aid

A variety of state, federal, and university-sponsored programs are available to help students with educational costs.

For all students at WSU

Washington State University awards millions of dollars in financial aid and scholarships to students every year based on financial need, academic merit, or a combination of the two.

To get all the financial help WSU can provide, start by doing these two things:

  • Complete the University's general scholarship application so you can be eligible for scholarship consideration.
  • Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) so WSU can consider you for aid (scholarships, grants, loans, etc.) based on financial need.

Click here for more info about WSU scholarships and financial aid

For students in hospitality business management

WSU's School of Hospitality Business Management awards scholarships to its students from more than a dozen different scholarship funds created by alumni and industry friends of the program. Several awards from the hospitality industry are also available to HBM students. Additional scholarships are available through the College of Business.

Campus Organizations and Activities

WSU has several active student groups in hospitality business management. You can explore your interests, share mutual interests with other students, connect with alumni and industry guests, gain leadership experience, and get help in finding internship and career placements.

Careers in hospitality business management

A degree in hospitality business management can lead to roles in managing top restaurants, hotel departments, convention centers, sports facilities, entertainment services, and vacation centers.

Other potential hospitality careers for graduates include purchasing, publicity, hiring and training employees, organizing catering, and forecasting facility profits. Students could also become entrepreneurs and operate their own franchise eatery or hotel.


Many well-experienced graduates who become top executives or business owners earn six-digit incomes.

An average starting salary during the brief training period just out of college might be around $34,000, increasing to $35,000–44,000 after completing training. Starting salaries are highest in the Midwest and on the East Coast and slightly lower in the Rocky Mountain and Northwest states.