Ph.D. in Business

Concentration in Hospitality and Tourism Management

Virginia Tech’s Hospitality and Tourism Management Ph.D. in Business emphasizes the research applications of business concepts and strategies to hospitality and tourism management. More specifically, our Ph.D. students develop the knowledge and research skills to address the critical challenges and problems faced by hospitality and tourism businesses.

Program Goals, Process, and Structure:

The goal of our program is to develop the next generation of faculty for Hospitality and Tourism Management Business programs at major research universities throughout the world. We accomplish this goal by producing doctoral graduates who have both conceptual and methodological knowledge and significant research experience in the applications of that knowledge during their Ph.D. program. Students develop the knowledge, skills and research abilities to become successful scholars by engaging in close and collegial research collaborations with a faculty comprised of internationally renowned scholars, journal editors, and professional leaders.

More specifically, our curriculum emphasizes (1) the understanding of business theories and practices in hospitality and tourism management and (2) the conceptual skills and understanding of research design, measurement, and statistical analyses necessary to be effective and productive researchers. The faculty has developed the doctoral program to provide challenging research and learning experiences for students seeking the skills to become leading researchers. The key ingredients to the program’s success are excellent students, a dynamic, research-oriented faculty who publish regularly in top-tier journals, and research collaboration between students and faculty. The specific curriculum and research program is customized to the individual student’s interests; each student works with an advisory committee to develop a program of study and a research dissertation focusing on her / his specific areas of interest.

Advisory Committee

Students selected for admission to the Ph.D. program are accepted by a faculty member who will be their major professor. This selection is based primarily on the potential of a match between the professor's expertise and the student's interest as expressed on the application for the program. An Advisory Committee consisting of the major professor and at least three other members will be recommended by the student and his / her major professor to the Department Head to be recommended to the Graduate School. This committee advises the student in planning a program of study and in other degree requirements. It also serves as the examining committee for the preliminary and final examinations. A typical committee consists of a minimum of three faculty members (including the major professor/chair) from the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management. It is expected, but not required that the committee include at least one faculty member from outside the Department reflecting the student’s cognate area. Preference is given to on-campus faculty.  The makeup of the advisory committee may be different for the preliminary exams and the dissertation.

The student should consult with his/her major professor in determining the makeup of the advisory committee. Additional information about the advisory committee can be found in the Graduate School catalog (http://graduateschool.vt.edu/graduate_catalog/policies.htm)

 

Program of Study

A Program of Study refers to the plan of course work and any other related experiences that prepare the student for successful completion of the preliminary exams and dissertation defense.

A program of study meeting all department requirements should be submitted to the Graduate School prior to completing the third semester in residence beyond the Masters degree at this University. The program of study must be approved and endorsed by the student's advisory committee, the Department Head, and the Graduate School.

 

Qualifying Exam

The HTM Qualifying Exam for first year Ph.D. students is comprised of a research project completed during the spring and summer of their first year.

Research Proposal:

During the spring semester, students will work with their primary advisor to develop and submit to the HTM Graduate Coordinator by April 1 a five to ten page research proposal that includes:

  1. Applied and theoretical justification for the research study (including the study’s managerial contribution and theoretical foundations which are supported by a summary of the literature)
  2. The specific research questions, problem, and/or hypotheses
  3. Research methodology
  4. A detailed timeline for the research project
  5. As this work will commonly extend beyond the end of the summer, the proposal should include a statement articulating the deliverables which will be provided by September 1 as part of the preliminary research report
  6. The contribution of the proposed research to the student’s Ph.D. program of study
  7. Anticipated target journal

Prior to submission, this proposal must be approved by the student’s committee chair.

Preliminary Research Report (due September 1)

With the guidance of their Ph.D. committee chair, students will develop and submit to the HTM Graduate Coordinator a report of work completed during the summer.  This report should coincide with the approved list of deliverables provided in the proposal.  Deviations from the approved list of deliverables would be considered only as a rare exception and must be explained and justified.  Prior to submission, this report will be approved by the student’s committee chair.

Final Research Report Draft Manuscript (due by December 31)

Under the guidance of their Ph.D. committee chair, students will develop and submit to the HTM Graduate Coordinator a final research report draft manuscript being prepared for journal submission, reporting on the approved summer research project.  While it is anticipated that this report may not yet be completed, it should include, at a minimum, a well-articulated introduction, a substantive review of the literature, a detailed description of the research methodology, and preliminary results.

Prior to submission, this report must be approved by the student’s committee chair.

During the fall semester, students will be required to present the research to HTM 5944 Graduate Seminar.

Preliminary Examination

This examination is designed to determine the candidate’s ability to progress into the research phase. The written portion of the examination is to be completed within 6 months of completion of coursework. The oral examination phase requires that an examination card be obtained. The graduate student is responsible for the completion and submission of all paperwork required from the Graduate School at least two weeks in advance of the exam date.

The examination is given in two parts:

  1. Written Examination – Traditional or Portfolio/Synthesis of the Literature Format
  2. Oral Examination – scheduled within 30 days of successful completion of the written examination.

Student Qualification Requirements

Students sitting for all preliminary exam components, i.e. written and oral examination parts, must have completed the following:

  1. Approval of the Student’s Chair and Committee members
  2. They must have fulfilled all requirements for taking their preliminary examination as stipulated by the Graduate School (see Graduate Catalog).
  3. They must have an approved plan of study on file with the Graduate School.

Written Preliminary Examination – Specialization (Major) Area

The preliminary exam, oral and/or written, is conducted by the student's advisory committee. It is comprehensive in nature and is intended to test a student's ability to integrate, synthesize, and apply concepts, facts, and techniques in solving new and complex problems associated with hospitality and tourism management. The student may be tested on any aspect of their plan of study. It is recommended that the student meet with his/her advisory committee prior to preparing for the exam to discuss the nature of the exam, the format, and the evaluation procedures that is the best fit.

Dissertation

Candidates for the Ph.D. are required to carry out original research which will add to the present body of knowledge in the field of hospitality and tourism management.  Students are required to defend their proposal for their dissertation research to their dissertation committee.  Prior to this defense they must present their proposal in the HTM 5944 Graduate Seminar.  The purpose of this exercise is to provide students with the opportunity to get feedback from peers and faculty before actually defending the proposal to his/her committee. Guidelines for this seminar are available in the HTM Department.

Depending on the nature of the student’s research and with advisory committee approval, dissertations can be structured in either a traditional or an article style format.  The traditional format typically involves five or six chapters (introduction, review of literature, theory, methodology, results and conclusions).  By comparison, an article style dissertation typically involves an introduction, review of literature, three independent articles reporting different components of the research, and a conclusions chapter.  (see HTM Ph.D. Policy 14 for greater detail on both the process and format of article style dissertations).

Final Examination

This oral examination is primarily a defense of the dissertation, although the examining committee may test the candidate on any material relevant to the field of study. The examination is scheduled through the Graduate School in the same manner as the written preliminary examination. Prior to this defense graduate students present their final dissertation in the HTM 5944 Graduate Seminar.  The purpose of this exercise is to provide students with the opportunity to get feedback from peers and faculty before actually defending the dissertation to his/her committee. Graduate School requirements must be met for submission of dissertation. Refer to the Virginia Tech Graduate School Policies and Procedures for further information.

Virginia Tech’s Hospitality and Tourism Management Ph.D. in Business emphasizes the research applications of business concepts and strategies to hospitality and tourism management. More specifically, our Ph.D. students develop the knowledge and research skills to address the critical challenges and problems faced by hospitality and tourism businesses.  The goal of our program is to develop the next generation of faculty for Hospitality and Tourism Management Business programs at major research universities throughout the world.  The student's plan of study is designed and approved in conjunction with a graduate advisory committee comprised of a chair and a minimum of three (Ph.D.) graduate faculty members. On admission into the graduate program, an initial advisory committee chair is assigned by the Graduate Program Director. The student has the ability to change this committee after s/he has the opportunity to better know the faculty and articulate her/his interests. The following reflects the general framework of the Ph.D. plans of study.

Degree Requirements (66 Credits plus the MS or MBA)

Core Requirements (15 credits / 12 graded credits, see note 1)
- HTM 5944 Graduate Seminar (taken 4 times with 3 credits toward the degree)
- 12 credits of coursework in research methodology, ethics, and data analysis taken at the Ph.D. level at Virginia Tech

HTM Requirements (6 credits / 6 graded credits)
-
HTM 6434: Theory Development for Hospitality & Service Management (3 credits)
- HTM 6464: Research Foundations in Hospitality and Tourism Management (3 credits)

Note:  Prerequisite of 6 credits of masters level methods and statistics coursework as part of the MS Degree

Specialization/Major Area (15 credits / at least 9 credits must be graded)
- At least 3 credits need to be at the HTM 6000 level
- Remaining credits (12) can be either within or outside HTM, and can be at the 5000 or 6000 level.
- Students are encouraged to include at least one section of HTM 6974 Independent Study, whereby the finished product is a manuscript to be submitted to a top-tier academic research journal. Students are also encouraged to take GRAD 5114, Contemporary Pedagogy, if they and their committee feel this would assist them with improving their teaching skills.

Dissertation (30 credits)

Total Credits – 66 Credits

Notes:

  1. Depending on the student’s specific research interests, the Pamplin College of Business offers a series of behavioral, financial, data analytic, and econometric methodology courses.  Additionally, students may substitute other Ph.D. level methodology courses from elsewhere at Virginia Tech.  All substitutions must be approved by the student’s primary advisory and the HTM Department Head.
  2. A minimum of 9 credits of coursework are required each semester of the first two years of the program.  Students receiving either GTA or GRA support are required to take 12 credits of coursework each semester they are funded.
  3. Courses should be taken in consultation with the committee and approval of the Head of the Department.
  4. Courses cannot be counted twice under any of the above mentioned categories.
  5. No more than 9 hours can be taken as independent study courses.
  6. Consult graduate catalog for the number of courses that can be transferred.