University of South Carolina


Tourism Management: What to Expect

Tourism Management majors at the University will be exposed to challenging coursework, outstanding faculty, and numerous opportunities for hands-on experience. Tourism is the #1 industry in South Carolina, which gives Tourism Management majors at the University of South Carolina a number of internship opportunities. You will get a great deal of hands-on experience through a minimum of two required internships. Tourism Management majors combine studies in the liberal arts with studies in statistics, accounting, marketing, economics, human resources, service management, finance, information technology, as well as club management, hotel management, and tourism management. The major also offers one of only two Club Management Association of America certified programs. You can also choose to concentrate in meeting and events. As a Tourism Management major, you will benefit from field studies, group projects, computer simulations, and event and festival planning. Outside of the classroom, you will be exposed to internships, clubs, volunteer opportunities, study abroad experiences, and work experiences.

The following courses fulfill some of the course requirements for a Bachelor of Science with a major in Tourism Management:

  • Foundations of Tourism
  • Hospitality Practicum
  • Conference and Meeting Planning
  • Travel and Destination Management
  • Tourism Festival Planning and Management
  • Resort Development and Management
  • Hospitality and Tourism Marketing
  • Analytical Techniques in Tourism and Hospitality
  • Sustainable Tourism Planning and Policy
  • Tourism Information Technology Issues
  • Hospitality and Tourism Internship

Students wishing to pursue the Concentration in Club Management are required to complete 15 credit hours including Club Management, Club Cuisine and Service, Advanced Club Management, and Hospitality and Tourism Internship. A detailed list of degree requirements can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Enhancing your Experience

Study Abroad allows you to earn academic credits toward your USC degree while seeing the world! Overseas study can complement any academic program or major. Tourism Management majors at USC have traveled all over the world including China, Costa Rica, and Italy. Students have even studied abroad on a cruise ship in the Caribbean! While studying abroad, you will learn research skills, tourism management, cultural sensitivity, and hospitality management. You will also learn a great deal about wine, food, and culture. You are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Web site for more information on opportunities to broaden and extend your knowledge and perspectives.
Student Organizations can be instrumental in helping you adjust to life on campus and network within your field. The University of South Carolina has a family of nearly 300 student organizations. As a Tourism Management major, you may want to get involved in the Club Management Association, Professional Convention Management Association, and the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality. Students must receive an invitation to join Eta Sigma Delta Honorary Society. Involvement in these organizations is a great way to network, meet new friends, develop leadership skills, and attend national conventions and other events. You can also seek out volunteer opportunities that relate to your major. Find a student organization on campus that interests you!
Graduate School is one of many possibilities following graduation. Many graduates go on to pursue graduate degrees in hospitality, tourism, finance, education, or business administration.
Distinguished Faculty can help enhance your overall academic experience while at the University. Ed Coon has been on the faculty for thirty years and has received the Teacher of the Year award multiple times. Dr. Cathy Gustafson teaches a Club Management certification course and has been awarded teacher of the year several times.
Departmental Scholarships may be awarded to outstanding students. The College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management awards more than 35 scholarships each year.

Internship and Research Opportunities

Internships can be an important asset to your overall educational experience. Internship experiences often help you confirm your career interests, give you hands on experience in a professional setting, help build your resume, reinforce what you’ve learned in class and can often lead to full-time employment. Likewise, pursuing professional research opportunities as an undergraduate student can also help enrich your academic experience while at the University. As an undergraduate student, you can work closely with faculty research mentors and explore a discipline that interests you. Both internship and research opportunities help you build a competitive edge in the job market.

As a USC student you will have numerous resources at your disposal to assist you with locating internship and research opportunities. The USC Career Center is the central location at USC for assisting students with internship preparation and finding an internship. In addition, be sure to visit your academic department as many programs offer supplemental internship guidance specific to your major. The School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management employs an Internship Director to assist you with your search. The Office of Undergraduate Research assists all USC undergraduates by providing research and scholarly experiences in their chosen fields.

Tourism Management majors at the University of South Carolina have had a wide range of exciting and unique internship opportunities. Students have interned at the Masters Golf Tournament, Walt Disney World, the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Kiawah Island, resorts and coffee groves in Brazil, boutique hotels in New York City, Alaskan resorts, and on a variety of cruise ships.

Student Spotlight

Tourism Management major Danielle Earle packed her bags and headed to the Dominican Republic for an exciting research experience. Danielle collected and compiled information for an international tourist exist survey. She conducted research and collected data for the major airport in the Dominican Republic. She worked with information regarding the improvements of the facility and overall satisfaction of airport and specific areas, including those outside the airport at the resort of Punta Cana. One of the most important things Danielle learned during her experience was how to interact with the tourists and how to relay information to those speaking different languages. “One of the most exciting parts about my research experience was being in a new and exciting culture and interacting with locals,” she said. “I enjoyed learning about tourism first hand, both through other tourists and also through being one.” Danielle said she learned a variety of skills through her experience including teamwork, patience, and the ability to prioritize work and play. “Being on a fabulous island at a wonderful resort with the beach minutes away by foot made wanting to work very difficult sometimes,” she said. “But before the two weeks were over, I was able to find a happy medium of enjoying both play and finding time to complete the task at hand.” Danielle also learned more about the Tourism industry through her experiences. “I learned that to get valuable information out of tourists and natives of a particular destination in order to improve that area, it is important to dig deep,” she said. “You will find that most of the time, you must ask multiple questions on a certain topic in order to get really honest responses instead of only things at the surface level.” Danielle said she also learned that perception is reality. “How people view a place or the people of that place will completely shape their attitudes and determine the likelihood of them visiting for a first time or making a return visit,” she said. The courses Danielle took while at Carolina helped prepare her for her experience abroad. “Classes taught me different perspectives to have when in a tourist destination and how to scrutinize it and look at it through a lens of wanting to enhance and improve an already flourishing destination.” Danielle encourages current students to pursue research opportunities to gain additional experience outside the classroom. “Make it fit into your schedule,” she said. “Research outside the university in your field of study is so vital to your future career. It puts you into things head first and requires you to sometimes be outside of your comfort zone, which will only grow you and your knowledge of the subject you’ve been looking at through only books.” As a side project, Danielle wrote an analysis paper on ways to enhance tourism in the Punta Cana region through Destination Weddings.

Career Opportunities

Tourism Management majors have a wide-range of career opportunities and often pursue careers as hotel managers, human resources managers, private club managers, event planners, wedding planners, festival planners, meeting planners, directors of convention and visitors’ bureaus, chamber of commerce directors, and tourism managers. Many graduates also pursue careers in food sales and beverage distribution. The average salary for tourism management majors five years after graduation starts at $40,000 and is often higher in major cities and resort areas.

You can find more information about career options in the US Department of Laborís Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The USC Career Center offers numerous resources which provide more information about career opportunities for students in this major. Once admitted, a Career Development Coach is available to help you assess your interest areas, make decisions about your career path, and identify the experiences and skills that will help you accomplish your goals. Spur Connections will help you locate mentors from among USC alumni, employers and community members who can provide insights based on their careers and experiences. Early planning and preparation are keys to success.

About the School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management

The School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management (HRTM) at the University of South Carolina is accredited through Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration. Tourism is the #1 industry in the State of South Carolina, which benefits HRTM students at Carolina. It is one of just two Club Management Association of America certified programs and is one of only six universities offering Introduction to Master Sommelier Training. The school boasts excellent facilities including the McCutchen House Food Laboratory. The School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management offers a Bachelor of Arts with a major in hospitality management, Bachelor of Arts with a major in tourism management, a Masters of International Hospitality and Tourism Management, and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree (PhD) in Hospitality Management. The School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management is in the College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management.

Points of Pride

  • The School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management has consistently ranked in the top 10 of undergraduate Hospitality Management programs.
  • We are accredited through Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration.
  • We are one of two four-year degree programs certified through The Club Management Association of America.

Additional Resources.
School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management Website
College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management
University Career Center
Undergraduate Bulletin