As careers in restaurant, catering and venue management become increasingly popular, the University of Missouri is answering the call for higher education in the food and beverage industry with an online bachelor's degree in hospitality management. Aspiring restaurateurs can begin the degree this fall.
The degree–a bachelor of science in hospitality management with a focus on food and beverage management–is designed for those with culinary training background, including active-duty military and veterans. Students from community colleges and other training programs who have taken food service vocational course work are encouraged to apply.
Courses begin in August and January, are eight weeks long, and will cover commercial food production, hospitality law, food service and beverage operations, as well as private club and catering management.
"These online courses will build off the practical experience students bring from culinary programs and military training," said Leslie Jett, executive chef, assistant teaching professor and faculty coordinator of the program. "We will help transition students from food service operators into thinking and leading like managers, which will give them a competitive advantage.
"In addition to preparing graduates for back-of-house leadership, they will be able and ready to manage positions that hold fiscal controls, staff accountability, guest services and operational responsibility," Jett said.
The program is one of the first undergraduate online offerings from the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR). The on-campus hospitality management program has been recognized nationally for its hands-on approach and focus on the business and management side of the food and beverage industry. The same faculty who teach the on-campus program have created this version and will be teaching the online courses.
"CAFNR is excited to offer this in-demand degree through distance education technologies and serve the educational and career preparatory needs of students," said Bryan Garton, associate dean and director of academic programs for the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. "Students learning at a distance receive the same high quality education as on-campus students, thus helping fill the employment demand in the hospitality industry."
In addition to food and beverage management course work, students also will meet Mizzou's general education requirements for a bachelor's degree with online courses in the social sciences, English, math, economics and science.
"Our goal is to provide students access with the same academic programs online that we provide on campus so that our students have the true One Mizzou education experience," said Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies and interim vice provost for e-Learning.
"This degree program in hospitality management is an important addition to Mizzou's online portfolio because it provides access for the thousands of men and women in military food service operations and culinary vocational programs who now have an opportunity to move into a relevant undergraduate program. This allows these students to continue their education while advancing in their careers," Spain said.
Many of the courses are 100 percent online, but the program does require an on-campus experience in Columbia, Mo., for the capstone course. For more information see online.missouri.edu/degreeprograms/hospitality-management.