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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

Degree Programs

Ph.D. in Hospitality Management

The Ph.D. program in Hospitality Management is designed to meet the demand by industry and educational institutions for high quality academicians with a hospitality and tourism management background. Students will be given the opportunity to generate significant industry-specific knowledge through exposure to and participation in the highest levels of academic research, and subsequently, as professors and managers, to disseminate such knowledge to all stakeholders and to the public.

To meet its objectives, the Ph.D. program includes 60 credit hours divided into five components: (1) 6 hours of Hospitality Management Core, (2) 15 hours of Research Core, (3) 12 hours of Concentration in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management (HRTM), (4) 12 hours of Cognates and (5) minimum 15 hours of Dissertation.

What makes us unique

The School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management is home to world-renowned professors who have significant publication records in the most prestigious journals in hospitality and tourism. The college hosts several research centers and institutes, and collectively provides excellent opportunities for students to get involved in research projects with organizations like:

  • The Richardson Family SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development
  • International Institute for Foodservice Research and Education
  • International Tourism and Research Institute
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Travel & Tourism Industry Center
  • Culinary and Wine Institute
  • The Center for Mega-Event Research and Education

Admissions process

All applications for the Ph.D. program must be submitted online through The Graduate School. Applications will be reviewed and assessed individually by the department's graduate faculty based on:

  • The applicant's academic record (especially work done at a Master's level)
  • Promise of ability to adequately pursue advanced study and research
  • GMAT or GRE scores (TOEFL/IELTS scores for international students)
  • Sufficient preparation to enter graduate study
  • Professional experience
  • Personal and/or phone interview
  • Students must have a departmental faculty member who is willing to serve as their dissertation committee chair prior to admission.

Assistantship and fellowships

Assistantships and fellowships are awarded to graduate students on a competitive basis. A fellowship makes you a vital part of the college through teaching, research and other meaningful educational experiences. Stipend rates are competitive, tuition reductions are included and we support travel for research conferences. More information about assistantships can be found here.

Admission requirements

Before you apply, please refer to the Graduate School.

Admission requirements conform to the general regulations of The Graduate School and regional and national accreditation standards. Application form with non-fundable application fee is $50.00.

Important for you to consider as you work through the application process…

It is extremely important for you to find a faculty member who is willing to work with you and “champion your case” during the application process. Feel free to contact the HRTM faculty directly and identify one (or more) faculty members whose research interests match your own. Faculty bios can be found here.

Applicants must submit the following supporting materials to The Graduate School as part of the online application process:

  1. A current resume. A one to two page statement of career objectives that specifically addresses how the department's Ph.D. program will help the applicant achieve these objectives.
  2. Two letters of recommendation that comment on your academic or professional qualifications. The ApplyWeb system, which you will use to apply to UofSC, will ask you to provide recommender contact information. Upon submission of your application, the online system will contact your recommenders directly with instructions for submitting their recommendation. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework.
  3. Official transcripts are mailed directly from your institution to The Graduate School, or submitted in an envelope sealed by your institution. Opened copies of your transcript are not official. Successful applicants generally have a GPA of 3.0 or above (on a 4.0 scale). Such a GPA, however, does not guarantee admission.
  4. Official test scores on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE).  Successful applicants generally score at least 550 (verbal and quantitative combined) and a writing score of 4.5 on the GMAT or at least 310 (155 verbal and 155 quantitative) and a writing score of 4.5 on the GRE. These scores, however, do not guarantee admission.  GMAT/GRE scores more than five years old will not be accepted.  

International applicants

Important information for international student applicants can be found at The Graduate School and at International Student Services.

International applicants must provide official documents, but DO NOT mail your original copies. Instead, send certified copies and/or bring your originals to The Graduate School upon arrival.

In addition to the supporting materials listed above, international student applicants will need to satisfy the following:

  1. Financial Resource Requirement
  2. Application for Immigration Language Requirement
    Applicants whose native language is not English must submit TOEFL scores. International applicants who have received a degree from a college or university in the United States are not required to submit a TOEFL. Test scores are valid for two years only. The recommended score for the TOEFL is a combined total of 107 or higher (28 speaking, 27 writing, 26 reading, and 26 listening). Official language test scores must be submitted using the following code:

• TOEFL – 5818 (international applicants only)

Financial requirements and application for immigration

For more information on financial and immigration requirements visit the International Student Services website and click on the Before You Arrive tab.


Applications and all supporting documentation for fall admission must be received on or before January 15th.


More information about tuition and loans can be found here.

Degree requirements

Degree requirements can be found at the academic bulletin.

The Ph.D. in Hospitality Management is based on a three- to four-year period of residential study following the completion of a Master’s degree with an undergraduate or graduate degree in hospitality and tourism management or related fields. The Program provides students with the opportunity to generate significant industry-specific knowledge through exposure to and participation in the highest levels of academic research. The Ph.D. program requires 60 credit hours beyond the master’s degree, including 16 hours devoted to original dissertation research. To complete the Ph.D. program, a student must successfully complete a comprehensive exam, propose and complete a dissertation study, and successfully pass a final examination on the dissertation administered by the student's advisory committee.

Degree Requirements (60 Post Masters Hours)

Hospitality Core (6 Hours)

  • HRTM 850 - Scientific Foundations of Hospitality Management
  • HRTM 888 - Advanced Research Seminar in Hospitality Management

Research Core

  • Three courses in Statistics (two courses have to be in multivariate statistics) (9 hours)
    Two Research Methods courses (one qualitative and one quantitative research) (6 hours)

These core courses expose students to the critical methodological and topical foundation that is crucial for anyone engaging in top-level hospitality research. The Program will include strong elements of statistics and research design.

Concentration in Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management (HRTM) (12 Hours)

Students will also be required to take 12 credit hours in their area of interest based on the list of graduate courses offered in the School of Hotel Restaurant and Tourism Management.

Cognates (12 Hours)

Each student will take 12 hours of graduate-level cognates offered by other programs within the College or other academic units within the University of South Carolina. This is intended to encourage interdisciplinary synergy between College and University academic units and will enhance the concentration area of the program.

Dissertation (Minimum 15 Hours)

A minimum of fifteen credit hours will constitute the dissertation, which provides students with the opportunity to identify and rigorously analyze a relevant issue within their specialized field, with an aim toward generation of original knowledge.

  • HRTM 899 - Dissertation

For further information or questions contact:

Robin DiPietro, Ph.D.
Director of the International Institute for Foodservice Research and Education
PhD Program Coordinator
School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management
Phone: 803-777-2600
Fax: 803-777-1224
Office: Close-Hipp 627

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