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Guide to studying Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation & Tourism

Opportunities for hospitality graduates are varied and always challenging, with students taking up positions both nationally and internationally.

Briefing of waiters, manager giving tasks to waiting staff


  1. What's Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation & Tourism?

  2. Why study Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation & Tourism?

  3. What jobs can you get as a Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation & Tourism graduate?

  4. What do graduates do and earn?
  5. What qualifications do you need?

  6. What degrees can you study?

  7. How will you be assessed?

  8. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation & Tourism?

Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation & Tourism focuses specifically on providing knowledge and business skills for a sector which includes tour operators, travel agencies, online retailers, accommodation providers, visitor attractions and tourist boards.

Courses in this subject area equip you with the knowledge and skills required for an exciting and challenging career. You’ll need energy and enthusiasm but once you have the knowledge and experience the opportunities are endless.

Similar courses for Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation & Tourism include: 

  • Heritage Studies
  • Hospitality, Leisure, Sport, Tourism & Transport
  • Management Studies

Why study Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation & Tourism?

Even with the economic crisis that has impacted many industries in recent years, hospitality and tourism are among the fastest-growing areas of employment in the world. Some sources estimate the global number of people employed in the industry stands at over 100 million.

The beauty of Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation & Tourism is that no matter where you are in the world, the industry has a place. Whether you choose to work in hotels, events, attractions or elsewhere in the sector, there are always jobs available to graduates. Many university courses offer a year studying or working abroad, providing even more opportunities for you to see the world.

Many courses in Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation & Tourism, particularly those with a specific focus on management, encapsulate the learning of business skills. This knowledge can be used in careers far beyond those related to the degree, especially given the degree's focus on service. Service is increasingly important in global markets, so graduates from a highly service-oriented degree are set to have an immediate advantage over the competition.

While it may not always come in the form of a joint honours course, degrees in Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation & Tourism will often embrace a wide range of other subjects. Archaeology, History, Art & Design and Sport are among the huge number of disciplines that can be taken alongside a degree in this field. 

The skills you’ll develop include organisational, communication and operational expertise, equipping you with the confidence to be able to shape situations and deliver success. 

Manager and chef writing on clipboard in kitchen at hotel

What jobs can you get as a Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation & Tourism graduate?

Many students have firm graduate offers from leading employers such as Hilton, Marriott, Park Plaza, Red Carnation and Mitchells & Butler. Increasingly, employers approach universities actively seeking graduates to fill challenging and rewarding positions.

Recent graduates have taken up a wide range of positions in areas such as training and development, front office and reservations, marketing, sales and events, product development and business operations.

What do graduates do and earn?

In the infographic below, the first table shows what graduates of Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation & Tourism have gone on to do in the months after their graduation.

The second table shows the average salaries of undergraduate Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation & Tourism students entering employment. The three skill levels – high, medium and low – reflect the UK's Standard Occupational Classification's major groups 1–3, 4–6 and 7–9 respectively.

Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18

What qualifications do you need? 

There are no typical A Level subjects (or equivalent) required for Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation & Tourism.

However, grades and other entry requirements vary between each university and course. Make sure to check for the institution you'd like to study at.

What degrees can you study?

  • Hospitality Business Management 
  • Hospitality Business Management with a Modern Language 
  • Hospitality Business Management (Top-up)
  • Travel & Tourism Management 

Other and related degree courses:

  • Archaeology & Heritage
  • Museum & Heritage Studies
  • Culture & Heritage Studies
  • Maritime Museums & Heritage Management
  • Environmental Sustainability

How will you be assessed?

Both teaching and learning will generally be enhanced by a wide range of methods intended to stimulate and encourage active participation in a variety of learning environments. These include seminars, lectures, workshops, live business case studies and field trips. Assessment can be in a variety of forms such as written and practical examinations, coursework, reports.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  • Business MSc
  • International Business Management MSc
  • International Hospitality Management MSc
  • International Marketing MSc
  • Marketing MSc
  • Marketing Management MSc

There are related postgraduate courses available in areas such as Archaeology, Heritage, Museum Studies, and Culture.

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