Degree courses and professional qualifications in travel and tourism could give your career a significant boost and help you stand out to employers. Take a look at your options
Travel and tourism degrees
Undergraduate travel and tourism degrees are commonplace. They can be studied as standalone qualifications or combined with other business-related subjects such as finance, accounting, management or human resources (HR), or with widely spoken languages such as French, Spanish or Italian.
Coventry University, Glasgow Caledonian University and the universities of Strathclyde, Sunderland and Surrey consistently rank highly for travel and tourism courses in university league tables. These institutions provide the following programmes:
- Coventry University - BA Tourism and Hospitality Management.
- Glasgow Caledonian University - BA International Business and Tourism Management.
- University of Strathclyde - BA Accounting and Hospitality and Tourism Management, BA Business Enterprise and Hospitality and Tourism Management, BA Business Law and Hospitality and Tourism Management, BA French and Hospitality and Tourism, BA Hospitality and Tourism Management, BA Human Resources Management and Hospitality and Tourism Management, BA Management and Hospitality and Tourism Management, BA Marketing and Hospitality and Tourism Management, BA Spanish and Hospitality and Tourism Management.
- University of Sunderland - BSc Tourism Management, BSc International Tourism and Hospitality Management.
- University of Surrey - BSc International Hospitality and Tourism Management, BSc International Hospitality Management, BSc International Tourism Management.
To study the BA Tourism and Hospitality Management degree at Coventry University you'll need 104 UCAS points and five GCSE passes including English and maths. The course takes three years to complete, four if you opt to do a placement year. In your first year you'll study modules such as 'Understanding the Global Hospitality and Tourism Industries', 'Hospitality Operations' and 'Tourism Geographies'. In year two you'll cover 'Strategic Marketing for Hospitality and Tourism', 'Human Resource Management in Hospitality and Tourism' and 'Sustainable Tourism and Destination Management'. In your final year you'll learn about the 'Emerging Issues in Tourism and Hospitality Industries' and complete an independent Management Project.
The BSc International Hospitality and Tourism Management programme at the University of Surrey requires ABB at A-level. It combines core business and management studies with specialist hospitality and tourism modules. The course takes three years to complete, although students have the option of taking a professional training placement, which adds another year to the programme. Recent graduates of the course have found employment with companies such as Air Berlin, Fairmont Group, Four Seasons, Hilton and Thomas Cook.
To find out what travel and tourism graduates do, see what can I do with my travel and tourism degree?
Postgraduate travel and tourism courses
While not always a prerequisite to getting a travel and tourism job, a Masters could prove extremely useful. Regardless of whether your undergraduate degree is in a relevant subject or not, postgraduate study provides non-travel and tourism graduates with the opportunity to broaden their skillset, and travel and tourism graduates with the opportunity to further specialise. It can also help you stand out in an increasingly competitive field.
Several high-quality institutions offer postgraduate programmes in travel and tourism, including:
- King's College London - MA Tourism, Environment and Development.
- Plymouth University - MSc Tourism and Hospitality Management, MSc International Hospitality Management.
- University of Bedfordshire - MSc International Tourism Planning and Management.
- University of Derby - MSc International Hospitality Management, MSc Tourism Management.
- University of Exeter - MSc International Tourism Management.
- University of Glasgow - MSc Tourism, Development and Culture, MSc Tourism, Heritage and Development, MSc Tourism, Heritage and Sustainability.
- University of Kent - MSc Conservation and Tourism.
- University of Surrey - MSc International Hospitality Management, MSc International Hotel Management, MSc International Tourism Management.
The MSc International Tourism Management programme at the University of Exeter takes one year to complete. Graduates typically need a 2:2 degree in any discipline to gain a place on the course. Core units include 'Tourism Business: Management, Impacts and Evaluation', 'Tourism and Marketing' and 'Tourism Dissertation'. The course prepares graduates for careers in roles such as hotel manager, tourism officer or tourism consultant.
At Plymouth University you'll need a 2:1 degree to get onto their MSc in Tourism and Hospitality Management. This one-year course includes core modules on 'Managing People in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry', 'Tourism and Hospitality Marketing' and 'Disaster and Crisis Management in Tourism and Hospitality'. The programme can be studied both full and part time. Full-time fees for UK/European Union (EU) students in 2017 were £5,500.
Travel and tourism apprenticeships
If university isn't for you, an apprenticeship in travel and tourism may be a good alternative. This route enables you to earn a wage while gaining relevant qualifications. Travel and tourism apprenticeships cover a variety of job roles. Possible areas of study include:
- activity leadership (Level 2)
- cabin crew (Level 3)
- retail travel (Level 2/3)
- travel services (Level 2/3).
Apprenticeships exist nationwide, but most opportunities are based in large towns and cities. The current minimum wage for an apprentice is £3.50 per hour. However, most employers will pay their apprentices more than this. On completion of your apprenticeship annual salaries could potentially rise to £30,000.
TUI (formally Thomson), Virgin Holidays and STA Travel all offer travel apprenticeship schemes.
TUI offers several programmes, including the four-year Management Degree Apprenticeship, the two-year Retail Apprenticeship and the seasonal JCA Apprentice Activity Instructor scheme, which results in an activity leadership apprenticeship.
Virgin Holidays offer a two-year Retail Travel Apprenticeship, which provides you with two qualifications on completion - a level 2 customer service award and a level 3 qualification in retail travel consultancy.
STA Travel's two-year scheme offers apprentices a level 2 and 3 diploma in travel and tourism. You'll work 37 hours a week and train to become a qualified travel expert.
Discover how to apply for an apprenticeship.
Professional qualifications in travel and tourism are awarded by the Confederation of Tourism & Hospitality (CTH) and the Institute of Hospitality, and can be either an alternative or a complement to university study.
The CTH offers numerous management programmes in travel and tourism, at Level 3 (foundation level), Levels 4, 5 and 6 (undergraduate level), and Level 7 (postgraduate level). These are aimed at aspiring managers, with each programme specifically geared towards a particular learning outcome. Options include:
- Foundation Diploma in Tourism and Hospitality (Level 3)
- Diploma in Hospitality Management (Level 4)
- Diploma in Tourism Management (Level 4)
- Advanced Diploma in Hospitality Management (Level 5)
- Advanced Diploma in Tourism Management (Level 5)
- Professional Diploma in Tourism and Hospitality Management (Level 6)
- Executive Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management (Level 7).
The CTH also offers Professional Skills Programmes that are shorter and focused on developing specific attributes. Options include:
- Certificate in Hospitality Practice (Level 3/4)
- Certificate in VA-Earth (Level 2)
- Certificate in the Sabre System (Level 2)
- Certificate in Workplace Assessment (Level 3)
- Team Leadership (Level 3).
The Institute of Hospitality, meanwhile, offers Management Qualifications for those working in the tourism sector in the UK or abroad, at introductory, intermediate and advanced level. These include:
- Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management (Level 3)
- Diploma in Advanced Hospitality and Tourism Management (Level 4)
- Certificate in Management for International Hospitality and Tourism
- Diploma in Management for International Hospitality and Tourism
- Specialist Diplomas for International Hospitality and Tourism
- Advanced Diploma in Management for International Hospitality and Tourism.
Find out more at professional courses.
Find out more
- Learn more about the leisure, sport and tourism sector.