Hospitality focuses on delivering quality entertainment, comfort and luxury to vacationers, businesspeople and other customers. Studying hospitality in graduate school involves researching how to deliver the best quality of hospitality services to customers. Hospitality Ph.D. recipients can work in academia or industry after graduation. Luckily, there are numerous hospitality Ph.D. programs across the country, and each offers its students something unique.

Hospitality in the Northeast

The northeast hosts some of the nation's leading hospitality programs. These include the Hotel School at Cornell University, which was the United States' first school of hotel management. Founded in 1922 and ranked No. 1 in the world by "The Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research," Cornell has the Statler Hotel right on campus, which provides students the opportunity for case studies and field work. In addition to Cornell, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst's Isenberg School of Management offers a Ph.D. in hospitality and tourism management. The program focuses on tourism in the U.S. and abroad, and all Ph.D. candidates serve as research or teaching assistants. The Princeton Review's "Gourman Report" currently ranks UMass No. 4 in the nation for hospitality.

Midwestern Programs

In the midwest, the Michigan State University School of Hospitality Business is a leading program, and is ranked No. 3 in the world by "Hospitality and Tourism." While Michigan State doesn't offer a standalone Ph.D. in hospitality, it offers an interdisciplinary concentration that can be attached to another compelling doctorate degree. Students of business or economics, for example, can choose to concentrate on hospitality as part of the School of Hospitality, which provides a unique perspective on the discipline. Another top program in the midwest is Penn State's School of Hospitality Management. Penn's Ph.D. program offers full funding to its candidates for three full academic years.

Studying in the South

Virginia Tech's Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management offers a Ph.D. program that emphasizes skills in methodology, statistics, theory development and hotel management. The program accepts students every other year, and BestSchools.org ranks it the fifth best hospitality program in the nation. The University of Central Florida also offers a Ph.D. at its Rosen College of Hospitality Management. Located right near a major tourism industry, including Walt Disney World, the Rosen School's Ph.D. offers many opportunities for field work that allows students to gain extensive industry-specific knowledge and to concentrate closely on one aspect of hospitality.

Western Hospitality Schools

Located in the heart of a major tourism center, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas offers a Ph.D. in hospitality administration at its William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration. With Sin City tourists surrounding the school, it's no surprise that BestSchools.org ranks it the third best program in the nation, and "Hospitality and Tourism" places it at No. 4 in the world. Students in the program may spend up to two semesters completing an academically relevant internship somewhere in Las Vegas, or beyond. For students hoping to be closer to the West Coast, the Washington State University College of Business offers a Ph.D. that can include a concentration on hospitality and tourism business management. This business-centric approach offers a different and more quantitative perspective on the hospitality industry.