Tourism and Hospitality

BA in Tourism and Hospitality

The Bachelor of Arts in Tourism and Hospitality is an interdisciplinary degree designed to prepare students with the skills and knowledge to serve as leaders in the tourism and hospitality industry in Maine and beyond.

The 39-credit major provides a solid and comprehensive academic foundation for all students, both experienced professionals and those new to the field. It draws upon the social and natural sciences, recreation, business, and planning disciplines to provide an integrated understanding of tourism as a global industry and source of economic, environmental and social change. Graduates of the BA in Tourism and Hospitality bring to their careers and the community an understanding of the local, regional, and global implications of the sector, including its impact on communities and places and its prominent role in cultural contact, exchange, and learning.

Flexibility and customization are hallmarks of the program. Students may select one or more specialized concentrations, including:

  • Tourism Creation and Promotion
  • Managing in Tourism and Hospitality
  • Event Planning, Management and Promotion
  • Tourism Planning, Development and Sustainability
  • Sport Tourism and Adventure Tourism
  • Cultural and Culinary Tourism

Students complement these concentrations with electives drawn from a number of disciplines, and a capstone experience that allows them to apply their knowledge to a real-world setting or problem. The degree curriculum emphasizes hands-on learning and practical knowledge, with faculty from several departments within USM, as well as industry professionals, preparing students to engage directly in this sector in a variety of possible career pathways.

The BA in Tourism and Hospitality includes four required courses, an internship or other professional experience; an intercultural communication and awareness requirement; and a four-course concentration. Students may then complete an additional concentration and/or electives to meet the minimum 39 credits for the major. Students must earn a minimum GPA in the major of 2.0, and a grade of C- or better in all major courses. Students may apply a maximum of nine (9) credit hours of internships, practicums, field courses, and independent studies toward the major. Students may also apply up to 18 credits of transfer courses from other institutions toward the BA. All students must meet with their advisors before registering for courses each semester.

Required Courses

All students must complete these required courses:

  • TAH 101 Introduction to Tourism & Hospitality
  • TAH 301 Global Issues in Travel & Tourism

Students also select one of the following:

  • TAH 211 Tourism Entrepreneurship
  • TAH 221 Tourism & Introduction to Hospitality Management

Plus one of the following:

  • TAH 231 Introduction to Sustainable Tourism
  • TAH 241 Tourism & Community Development
  • TAH 250 Nature Based & Adventure Tourism
  • TAH 251 Ecotourism & Sustainable Development
  • TAH 261 Introduction to Cultural Tourism
  • TAH 264 Introduction to Culinary Tourism

Students must also complete at least three credits of the following capstones:

  • TAH 406 Capstone: Research in Tourism & Hospitality
  • TAH 407 Capstone: Field Study in Tourism & Hospitality
  • TAH 408 Capstone: Practicum in Tourism & Hospitality
  • TAH 409 Capstone: Tourism & Hospitality Internship

Concentrations

Each student must complete at least one four-course concentration to develop knowledge and proficiency in an area that reflects his or her interests and career goals. If a student chooses to complete a second concentration, one course may overlap between the two concentrations. Students may also complete a TAH certificate in conjunction with the concentrations in event planning and tourism development.

The following are general descriptions and requirements of the six concentrations. Course descriptions for TAH classes are found in the Course Descriptions section. Descriptions for non-TAH classes in each concentration can be found in the descriptions of those programs.

1) Tourism Creation and Promotion
This concentration focuses on identifying, creating and developing new tourism and hospitality products and services and promoting both new and existing businesses through advertising, trade shows, websites, and other means. Students can take several courses from the School of Business in addition to specialized courses from Tourism and Hospitality.

Students must take this required course:

  • TAH 211 Tourism Entrepreneurship

Then select three of the following, at least one of which must be a TAH course:

  • TAH 21X Concentration Elective (approved transfer courses)
  • TAH 311 Event Planning & Management
  • TAH 312 Tour Group Planning & Management
  • TAH 410 Seminar in Tourism Promotion
  • TAH 415 Trends & Innovation in Tourism & Hospitality
  • BUS 260 Marketing
  • BUS 311 Sport Marketing
  • BUS 363 Branding & Advertising
  • BUS 364 Professional Selling

Followed by one of the program capstones, normally TAH 408 or 409.

2) Managing in Tourism and Hospitality
In this concentration students learn about key aspects of tourism and hospitality management, including accounting and finance, business management principles, human resources, facilities management, and other topics. Management and accounting classes from the School of Business supplement specialized courses from TAH.

Students must take this required course:

  • TAH 221 Introduction to Hospitality Management

Then select three of the following, at least one of which must be a TAH course:

  • TAH 222 Food & Beverage Management
  • TAH 22X Concentration Elective (approved transfer courses)
  • TAH 231 Introduction to Sustainable Tourism
  • TAH 321 Lodging Operations & Systems
  • TAH 331 Sustainable Hospitality Management
  • TAH 420 Seminar in Hospitality Management (selected topics)
  • ACC 110 Financial Accounting Information for Decision Making
  • BUS 200 Introduction to Business
  • BUS 313 Sport Facility Management
  • BUS 340 Managing Organizational Behavior

Followed by one of the program capstones, normally TAH 408 or TAH 409.

3) Event Planning, Management and Promotion
This concentration, offered in collaboration with the School of Business, provides students with skills and knowledge in the planning, organizing, and promotion of sporting events, festivals and fairs, weddings and banquets, meetings and conventions, and other types of events.

Students must complete one of the following courses:

  • TAH 311 Event Planning & Management
  • BUS 316 Sport Event Management

Then select three of the following, at least one of which must be a TAH course:

  • TAH 23X Concentration Elective (approved transfer courses)
  • TAH 311 Event Planning & Management (if not already taken)
  • TAH 340 Topics in Event Planning
  • TAH 410 Seminar in Tourism Promotion (selected topics)
  • TAH 440 Applied Topics in Event Planning
  • BUS 260 Marketing
  • BUS 363 Professional Selling
  • BUS 311 Sport Marketing
  • BUS 316 Sport Event Management (if not already taken)
  • BUS 317 Sport Sponsorship & Sales

Followed by a capstone experience that involves event planning, management, or promotion.

4) Tourism Planning, Development and Sustainability
This concentration looks at the potential role of tourism in economic development, focusing on community planning and sustainability. Students may take planning-related courses from the Department of Environmental Science & Policy and the Program in Geography-Anthropology.

Students must complete this course:

  • TAH 241 Tourism & Community Development

Then select three of the following, including at least one TAH course. At least one course must include significant sustainability concepts (e.g., TAH 231, 251, 341).

  • TAH 231 Introduction to Sustainable Tourism
  • TAH 251 Ecotourism & Sustainable Development
  • TAH 261 Introduction to Cultural Tourism
  • TAH 262 Women, Arts & Global Tourism
  • TAH 341 Tourism, Development & Sustainability
  • TAH 361 Local Food & Agritourism
  • ESP 200 Environmental Planning (or GEO 209)
  • ESP 305 Community Planning Workshop
  • ESP 308 Global Environmental Problems & Sustainability
  • GEO 203 Urban & Regional Development
  • GEO 209 Introduction to Land Use Planning (or ESP 200)
  • GEO 210 Planning Maine Communities

Followed by one of the program capstones in an area connected to the concentration.

5)  Sport Tourism and Adventure Tourism
This concentration, offered in collaboration with the Sport Management program in the School of Business, provides an understanding of sport tourism and adventure tourism concepts and practices, and prepares students for work in settings such as sports commissions, destination marketing organizations, event planning companies, and tour management agencies.

Students must take one of these required courses:

  • TAH 250 Nature Based & Adventure Tourism
  • BUS 318 Sport Tourism

Then select three of the following:

  • TAH 250 Nature Based & Adventure Tourism (if not already taken)
  • TAH 252 Tourism, Wildlife & Biodiversity
  • TAH 25X Concentration Elective (approved transfer courses)
  • TAH 350 Topics in Adventure Tourism
  • BUS 318 Sport Tourism (if not already taken)
  • BUS 311 Sport Marketing
  • BUS 313 Sport Facility Management
  • BUS 314 Sport Communication
  • BUS 316 Sport Event Management
  • BUS 317 Sport Sponsorship & Sales

Followed by a capstone in an area connected to the concentration.

6) Cultural and Culinary Tourism
This concentration prepares students to work in the cultural tourism and/or culinary tourism industry in Maine and beyond. Students learn how history, arts, food, and cultural heritage can be developed and promoted as an element of tourism. Graduates of culinary arts degrees may transfer up to two approved food-related courses into this concentration.

Students must take one of the following:

  • TAH 261 Introduction to Cultural Tourism
  • TAH 264 Introduction to Culinary Tourism

Then select three of the following, at least one of which must be a TAH course:

  • TAH 222 Food & Beverage Management (or transfer equivalent)
  • TAH 261 Introduction to Cultural Tourism (if not already taken)
  • TAH 262 Women, Arts, & Global Tourism
  • TAH 263 Food & Culture (or ANT 233)
  • TAH 264 Introduction to Culinary Tourism (if not already taken)
  • TAH 311 Event Planning & Management
  • TAH 312 Tour Group Planning & Management
  • TAH 361 Local Food & Agritourism
  • TAH 410 Seminar in Tourism Promotion (selected topics)
  • TAH 460 Seminar in Cultural Tourism
  • ANT 233 Food & Culture (or TAH 263)
  • HTY 360 History of Maine
  • SBS 304 Food, Culture, & Eating

Followed by one of the program capstones in an area connected to the concentration.

Second Concentration and/or Electives

Students have the option of completing a second concentration plus electives, or electives alone, to complete the 39 credits toward the major. If students select a second concentration, no more than one course may be used in both concentrations. If students choose the electives option, at least two courses must come from outside their concentration and be at or above the 300 level.

Intercultural Awareness and Communication Requirement

Students must demonstrate the capacity to interact successfully outside of their own primary culture and/or language and to assist foreign travelers and those with special needs in a sensitive way. Prior to graduation, all majors must have their advisor's confirmation that they possess the interpersonal and intercultural skills needed for entry level into the tourism and hospitality industry. The following options may be used to meet this requirement.

  • Successful completion of the course TAH 305, Culture & Communication in the Travel Industry, with a grade of C- or better.
  • Demonstration of competence in a modern language other than English through one of the following methods: a score of three or above on a high school AP exam; testing out of an intermediate-level modern language course via a USM placement exam, the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), or an ACTFL or ASLPI assessment higher than two; or completing at least six credits of college-level language courses. American Sign Language (ASL) courses can be used to meet this requirement.
  • Completion of a pre-approved study abroad program, travel course, or professional position such as an internship, which provides a significant cultural and/or linguistic experience. Students will be required to report on this experience as part of the outcome.
  • Completion of a research project, internship, or other experience that involves significant interaction with a group that differs from the student in language, culture, or special needs. This experience may also satisfy the capstone requirement for the major, with prior approval.
  • Completion of one or more travel experiences that provide significant knowledge of other peoples and cultures. For this option students must provide a written narrative explaining their experiences and how these have influenced their perception of other peoples, cultures and languages (further guidelines for this essay will be provided with advising materials). A faculty committee will determine whether a student's experience(s) satisfy this requirement.
  • Demonstrating through written narrative that the student's life experience, when combined with their academic course of study, provides them with extensive intercultural communication skills. This option is intended mainly for international students attending USM, but may apply to others as well. Satisfaction of the requirement will involve a faculty committee review.

School of Business Credit Restrictions

The USM School of Business has limitations on the number of Business courses (including certain Economics courses) that non-Business majors may take. In general, non-business majors may take a maximum of 30 credit hours in ACC, BUS, FIN, and RMI courses, plus ECO 101, 102 and 310. Students completing concentrations in the Tourism and Hospitality program that use these courses would count them toward the 30-credit hour maximum. Students may also apply for admission into minors in the School of Business and use up to one-third of the credits in their minors toward the Tourism and Hospitality major.

Thirty-Credit Rule

For all baccalaureate degrees at the University of Southern Maine, a minimum of 30 credits hours, including at least nine hours in the major, must be completed while matriculated in the school or college from which the degree is sought. A student may earn no more than six of these 30 credit hours at another campus of the University of Maine System. In addition, 30 of the final 45 credits of a student's degree program must normally be completed at USM. For this program, this rule includes online and blended courses offered through USM's Division of Professional and Continuing Education.

Admission to the program requires formal acceptance to USM, which is completed through the Admissions Office. The University of Southern Maine has defined measures of college readiness in writing and math, which are available on the USM website or through the Office of Admissions. All students must meet these measures before matriculating in this program. Full-time USM students should declare their major through the Student Success Center, which can provide them with the necessary forms and instructions. These forms are available in the TAH Program office, 300 Bailey Hall.

Articulation Agreement with Southern Maine Community College (SMCC)

USM and the Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) have developed an articulation agreement designed to allow eligible SMCC graduates to complete the Bachelor of Arts in Tourism and Hospitality with only an additional two years of study at USM, provided they meet the following requirements:

  • Graduated with the AAS in Hospitality at SMCC within the past five years with a minimum GPA of 2.0 overall and in the major; and
  • Completed courses at SMCC that satisfy the following requirements of the USM Core: College Writing; Quantitative Reasoning; Creative Expression; Cultural Interpretation; Socio-Cultural Analysis; Science Exploration; Diversity; and International. Any of these requirements not met at SMCC must be completed at USM, in addition to the various requirements listed below.

Students will then be required to complete the following at USM:

  • An additional 15 credits of Core requirements, including the Ethical Inquiry, Social Responsibility and Citizenship course; a Thematic Cluster (three courses or a minor); and a Capstone course;
  • An additional 18-21 credits toward the major, depending on which concentration(s) they elect to complete;
  • The major's Intercultural Awareness & Communication requirement, which may take 3-8 credits depending on the option selected; and
  • An additional 18-27 credits of electives to complete the required 120 credits for the BA degree.

Certain SMCC courses may also be applied toward the major, including up to two approved courses toward their selected concentration(s) and/or electives up to a total of 21 credits toward the major. The remaining 18 or more credits in the major must be completed at USM. Any exceptions to these requirements may be made on an individual basis at the discretion of the program chair.

Prior Learning Assessment

The Office for Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) at USM believes that students should be rewarded for knowledge acquired outside the traditional classroom if it fulfills the academic criteria set forth and evaluated by the USM faculty. PLA is a process that builds a bridge between students' practical, applied learning experiences and their theoretical, college-level knowledge. There are several pathways across this bridge: testing options, credential reviews, military evaluations, and academic portfolio development, paving the way to academic credit where appropriate. Proof of competency rests with the student. Transcripts older than twenty years cannot be used for credit. For further details regarding credit options, students should contact the Office for Prior Learning Assessment at http://usm.maine.edu/pla .

The Tourism and Hospitality program supports the PLA process and works with students to identify and give credit for various professional and life experiences, including employment in the tourism and hospitality industry. In particular, the TAH program awards credit through the Academic Portfolio Assessment Program, based on a formal collection of evidence in support of a person's claim for college credit. To earn credit the student must prove understanding and learning competency in specific areas, subject to evaluation by appropriate faculty. The TAH program also uses Credential Review, which recognizes professional certifications, educational and training courses, and certain college-level experiential learning that has led to licenses, certificates, and/or credentials for organizations outside the University. Credit is assessed and given on a case-by-case basis. More information on these programs is available through the Office for Prior Learning Assessment.