Hospitality PhD Prospective Students

Harrah College of Hospitality is excited that you are interested in our Doctoral of Philosophy in Hospitality Administration degree program!

Learn why UNLV Hospitality is the place to be!

This site is designed to help guide you through the application process for this PhD program. If you have questions, please contact Diane Wrightman, Director of Hospitality Graduate Programs.

Courses at a Glance

To see what types of courses you will complete in the PhD program, reference this one page flyer. For official degree degree requirements, visit the UNLV Graduate College Program catalog.

Sign up for a Zoom Information Session

To learn more about our PhD program, we are holding Zoom Information Session this fall. Participants will have the chance to hear from current PhD students. Sign up today to learn more and ask us questions!

Guidance through the Application Process

Application Deadlines

The PhD program is a fall entry only program. The application deadline is January 1.

All applications materials must be submitted by the application deadline. Applications will be considered incomplete after the deadline and may not be reviewed.

Application Requirements

  • Applicants for the PhD program must hold a master’s degree from an accredited institution with at least 24 credit hours in hotel administration, food service administration, tourism-convention administration, or a closely aligned field. It is preferred that application have completed a thesis-based master’s program.
  • An overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for all work completed at the post-baccalaureate level.
  • A minimum of one-year of full-time work experience in a management/supervisory capacity in the hospitality industry, or three years of full-time, front-line experience is preferred but not required.

Application Materials

Online Application and Application Fee

Applicants must complete the UNLV Graduate College online admission application and pay the applications fee ($60 for domestic applicants / $95 for international applicants)Start Now!

Statement of Purpose

Applicants must submit a two-page statement of purpose that provides the Admission Committee with the following information:

The Statement of Purpose should be a document that is written in a concise and informative fashion to allow the Admission Committee to understand your backgrounds and goals for the doctoral program.

Letters of Recommendation

  • Three letters of recommendation are required. Letters of recommendation should be from at least two faculty members and either another faculty member or a current or previous manager.
  • Select your recommenders carefully. Choose references that can vouch for your academic abilities and be successful in research.
  • Ensure that your recommenders know you very well and can write about your strengths — not just that you do well in their course or performed well in your job.
  • Make sure to ask your references well in advance to write your letters.  Supply your reference with an updated resume to help them learn more about you.

Applicants will provide the names and contact information of their two letter recommenders when completing the online application. A link will be sent to each recommender for them to upload their letter into the application system. Please follow up with your letter recommenders to ensure letters are submitted by the deadline. Also, it is highly recommended letters be submitted in PDF format.

Resume or CV

  • A two to three-page document as it is important to be very detailed on your experiences.
  • Address your research experience, conference presentations, publications, projects, internships or job experiences, remarkable achievements, student or professional organizations, awards, and leadership experiences.
  • Should provide the Admissions Committee an overall picture of your background.


Applicants must submit an unofficial copy of all post-secondary transcripts through the online application (upload a PDF copy of each transcript). This is a requirement of the university. In addition, it is a university requirement that students with class credits and/or degrees from educational institutions outside the United States must provide a course-by-course evaluation of those credentials by a Graduate College approved NACES Evaluation Agency. This is to obtain an evaluation of the courses, verification of degrees, and establish accreditation of the schools and/or universities. A copy of this evaluation must be uploaded into the online application system by the application deadline.

Applicants who are offered admission into the program must submit official transcripts (and Foreign Credential Evaluation if applicable) to the UNLV Graduate College within the first semester of starting the program.

GMAT or GRE Exam

Applicants are required to submit either the GMAT or GRE Exam scores. The exam must have been completed in the last 5-years to be valid. This requirement is not waived for any applicant and an application will be considered incomplete if exam scores are not submitted by the deadline. The Admission Committee looks for a minimum score of 166 on the quantitive portion and 148 on the verbal portion of the exam for the GRE. With the GMAT, the committee looks for a minimum score of 550 with at least 25% on the verbal portion.

Below are links to learn more about the GRE or GMAT exam and how to register.

GRE : GRE website | Test Content and Structure | Registration/Test Centers/Dates | Preparing for the Exam

GMATGMAT website | Exam Structure | Registration | Exam Taking Strategies and Best Practices

International Students Only

International students must submit a “Proof of English Proficiency”(example: TOEFL or IELTS exam scores). A copy of the exam results must be uploaded into the application systems. An official copy must be submitted to the university if admission is offered. To learn more about this requirement, visit

International students will be asked to submit a KIRA virtual interview by the application deadline. The Hospitality Graduate Programs Office will email international applicants, using the email address provided in their application, an invitation to complete this part of the application once they submit their online admission application. Therefore, please do not wait until the deadline to submit your application.

Funding Opportunities

The Harrah College of Hospitality awards applicants applying to be a full-time PhD students a GA position. This provides PhD students with a monthly stipend, tuition waiver, and a partial fee waiver. Applicants must complete the GA application at the same time they complete their admission application. The GA application is located in the GradRebel Gateway. Visit the UNLV GA Website to learn more.

For part-time, admitted PhD recruits, the college hires part-time instructors (PTI) from time to time to assist with teaching the hospitality undergraduate courses. This provide students with just a stipend to teach the course. To be considered for this type of position, please contact Dr. Tony Henthorne, Associate Dean of Graduate and International Programs.

UNLV Hospitality Faculty

  • Food, Beverage and Events
  • Hospitality Management
  • Gaming, Resorts, and Golf Management