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HTM vs. Other Master’s Programs: 5 Things We Do Differently

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February 26, 2016

By: Lori Sipe

So, you’ve decided that you want to pursue a master’s degree. Now what?

With thousands of colleges and universities across the U.S., choosing a master’s program can be utterly overwhelming. You’re investing a great deal of time and money, and you want to be sure you pick a program that is going to truly change your life.

If you’re looking for a unique and exciting graduate program—a career-defining experience that’s much bigger than passing your tests and leaving with a piece of paper—San Diego State University’s Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) Master’s Program might be for you. Here are 5 things we do differently than other graduate schools:

Applied Assignments

Many graduate students become discouraged or disinterested when they find that the master’s program they were so excited to join feels more like a series of lectures and homework reminiscent of undergraduate school.

In the HTM Master’s Program, every assignment is integrated with some aspect of your career or personal life, so you never feel like school is a separate compartment. Our integrated approach enables you to complete your work more seamlessly and accelerate your professional development.

Personalized Learning

In any graduate program, each student is at a different point in their career. That’s why our curriculum is built on a proven leadership development model and personalized to your strengths, goals, and aspirations. You will be a part of a small cohort in which nobody is anonymous or disconnected. In every step of your journey through the program, we will help you find your competitive edge in the workplace and train you to become an effective leader.

Mentorship Pairing

As an HTM student, you will be paired with a mentor who is fully invested in your success. They are your personal career coach for the 18 months you are in the program.

Your relationship with your mentor is one of the most valuable resources that the HTM program has to offer. Whether you need someone to bounce ideas off of or to provide hindsight from their own failures and successes, your mentor will become an invaluable resource. You will be given monthly assignments to complete with them but will also be encouraged to take the lead on interacting with them.

Capstone Project (No Thesis!)

We don’t believe in the traditional master’s thesis. It’s bland and boring for everyone. Instead, we have what we call a capstone project. This is an active research project involving your current workplace. You will be using your new skills and perspective to create a significant organizational change for your employer, who will undoubtedly be impressed with your new skills and perspective.

Online Learning with In-Person Meetups

The HTM Master’s Program has successfully found the happy medium between online and in-class learning. We start with a one-week, on-campus retreat in San Diego that helps students feel confident, connected, and charged up for their new endeavor. Then, we break for online coursework supplemented with video and phone chats, allowing you to mostly set your own schedule while still building strong working relationships with your colleagues and faculty.

You can get your HTM master’s degree from anywhere in the world, without disrupting your busy life. You’re also, of course, encouraged to schedule your own meetups throughout the program!

Is Now the Right Time?

Are you getting excited about this whole HTM Master’s idea? One of the biggest questions you might have is whether it’s the right time in your life to take the leap. Click here for a guide to help you evaluate whether you’re ready to join the HTM Program.


loriAuthor: Lori Sipe, Assistant Professor of Leadership (LinkedIn)

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