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Hospitality and Tourism Management Ph.D. in Business

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Virginia Tech’s Hospitality and Tourism Management Ph.D. in Business emphasizes the research applications of business concepts and strategies to hospitality and tourism management. More specifically, our Ph.D. students develop the knowledge and research skills to address the critical challenges and problems faced by hospitality and tourism businesses.

The goal of our program is to develop the next generation of faculty for Hospitality and Tourism Management Business programs at major research universities throughout the world. We accomplish this goal by producing doctoral graduates who have both conceptual and methodological knowledge and significant research experience in the applications of that knowledge during their Ph.D. program. Students develop the knowledge, skills and research abilities to become successful scholars by engaging in close and collegial research collaborations with a faculty comprised of internationally renowned scholars, journal editors, and professional leaders.

More specifically, our curriculum emphasizes (1) the understanding of business theories and practices in hospitality and tourism management and (2) the conceptual skills and understanding of research design, measurement, and statistical analyses necessary to be effective and productive researchers. The faculty has developed the doctoral program to provide challenging research and learning experiences for students seeking the skills to become leading researchers. The key ingredients to the program’s success are excellent students, a dynamic, research-oriented faculty who publish regularly in top-tier journals, and research collaboration between students and faculty. The specific curriculum and research program is customized to the individual student’s interests; each student works with an advisory committee to develop a program of study and a research dissertation focusing on her / his specific areas of interest.

Areas of specialization of our graduate faculty include, but are not limited to, Hospitality and Tourism Marketing, Service Management and Strategy, Information Technology and Business Analytics, Food and Beverage Management, Sustainable Tourism, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Human Resources Management.  In addition, a wide variety of coursework options exist outside the department including the functional areas of business, sustainable resource management, and geographic information systems.  The Pamplin College of Business has research and education centers focusing on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Business Intelligence and Analytics, and Global Business.

Students are admitted to the HTM graduate programs each fall semester. Applications are submitted via the Virginia Tech Graduate School website.  To be considered for admission, applicants must create an account on the VT Graduate School Applicant System and submit their materials directly via that website,

The deadlines for application are January 15th for the Ph.D. program.

The size of our Ph.D. program is strictly controlled to allow for intensive faculty – student collaboration. As a result, the program is highly selective. Admission decisions are made by a committee of faculty based on a number of criteria including:

  1. Fit with departmental mission and faculty research interests – a statement of research interests and experience is required. In this statement, an applicant should articulate her / his areas of interest and specialization.  Additionally, students should also describe their research experience and background. Prior to being accepted, at least one member of the graduate faculty must agree that the applicant’s research interests are a good fit with her / his interests.
  2. Official Test Scores [GMAT or GRE]
  3. Previous academic work (official transcripts for all previous academic work are required).
  4. Curriculum Vita, reflecting both academic and professional experience.
  5. Letters of recommendation (3 letters are required).

For students where English is a second language, TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores are required. Applicants should have a minimum TOEFL score of 600 (paper based) / 250 (computer based) or 100 (internet based). As with the standardized test scores, the TOEFL scores must be sent directly to the VT Graduate School.  This requirement is waived for Ph.D. applicants who have graduated from an MS program from an accreditated English speaking university. While TOEFL scores are preferred, IELTS (International English Language Testing System) scores are also accepted.

In general, students admitted to our Ph.D. program have a GMAT score well over 600 or approximately similar GRE scores (verbal-150, quantitative reasoning-150, & analytical writing 4.5), a GPA of 3.5 or greater in their MBA or MS program, very strong letters of recommendation, and more than two years of industry experience.

Students admitted to the MSBA program generally have a GMAT score over 550 or approximately similar GRE scores (verbal 145, quantitative reasoning 145, and analytical writing 4.0), a GPA of 3.0 or greater in their undergraduate work, strong letters of recommendation and at least one year of industry experience.

Please note that admission into our graduate programs is competitive.  While there are basic requirements as articulated above, the final admission decisions are made by the HTM Graduate Curriculum Committee based primarily on the applicant’s fit with the Department’s needs.  As such, please do not submit materials for an informal review as it is impossible to provide such a review without knowing the mix of applicants and their interests.

The Department awards a limited number of teaching/research assistantships to graduate students on a competitive basis. Full-time assistantships normally require 20 hours of work weekly on assignments related to the teaching and research functions of the Department. Stipends are extremely competitive and include full tuition remission.  Presuming acceptable progress toward the degree and budget availability, graduate assistantships are renewed annually for four years. For Ph.D. students, summer research grants are provided for the first two years and available competitively for the following years, presuming continued budget availability and the successful completion of a research grant proposal approved by the student's committee chair and the HTM Graduate Curriculum Committee. Additionally, research scholarships and dissertation research grants are available on a competitive basis. This assistantship package is even more attractive when coupled with the low cost of living in Blacksburg.

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