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Before sitting for the final comprehensive oral exam, candidates must complete a rigorous course load, complete a thesis, and participate in a series of research-centered activities.

Course Requirements

General (Core) Requirements (13 credits):

  • HM 590 (Colloquium) - sequence of 4 semester seminars (1 credit each)
  • HM 585 (Seminar in HM) - an in-depth exploration of hospitality research literature (prerequisites: HM 503 or equivalent and 6 credits of statistics beyond STAT 500, fifth semester standing)
  • HM 586 (Research Methods and Evaluation) - advanced graduate hospitality research methods and data analyses techniques (3 credits)
  • HM 503 (Research Methods in HM) (3 credits)

Research Methods (12 credits)

Disciplined-Based Courses (minimum of 18 credits)

Courses selected will build an HM concentration specialty area.

Advisor Approved Electives (12 credits)

Minimum of 12 credits

  • Students must select a supporting area that emphasizes course work outside of the HM program. Students develop this supporting area with the assistance of an outside committee member.


A thesis is developed with and approved by students' doctoral committees.

Additional Requirements

  • Ph.D. candidates are required to present a research poster at the University Graduate Research Exhibition (held in the spring semester) at least once prior to their final oral defense.
  • Ph.D. candidates are expected to participate in all creative empirical research, research symposia, and presentations sponsored by the school.
  • Ph.D. candidates are expected to participate in the SHM Research Mixer series held each semester.
  • Ph.D. candidates are required to attend and present at least three conferences prior to graduation.
  • Ph.D. candidates must submit three manuscripts to a refereed journal prior to their proposal defense.

The SARI program at Penn State is designed to offer graduate students comprehensive, multilevel training in the responsible conduct of research (RCR), through a two-part program: an online course to be completed in the first year of graduate study, followed by five hours of discussion-based RCR education prior to degree completion.