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Degree of hotel know-how

Published on Sunday, 14 Jul 2013
Kaye Chon, dean and chair professor of SHTM, says their doctorate programmes aim to anticipate future trends. (Photo: Ricky Chung)
The PolyU SHTM’s Hotel ICON offers a practical test bed. (Photo: PolyU)

The School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM) at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is one of the world’s leading institutions of hotel and tourism management. Highly regarded, it offers two doctoral programmes in Hotel and Tourism Management – a doctorate and a PhD.

Leading to a Doctor of Hotel and Tourism Management, the D.HTM is targeted at senior industry executives, academics and senior staff in governmental and non-governmental hospitality and tourism organisations.

Launched in 2007, the D.HTM programme is the first of its kind in the world. It is a self-financed programme, meaning it does not receive any government subsidy.

In addition to Hong Kong, it will now be offered on the mainland in co-operation with Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, following approval by the Ministry of Education. Classes will begin in September 2013.

Because the D.HTM is offered on a credit basis, it can be studied full or part time. The programme normally takes two-and-a-half years to finish on a full-time basis. The normal duration for part-time study is five years. The maximum study period is eight years

“The D.HTM is a one-of-a-kind programme which provides an alternative path to a doctorate than the PhD, integrating coursework and research with a focus on innovation, creativity and anticipating future trends,” says Professor Kaye Chon, dean and chair professor of SHTM. “This also means that it offers more specifically tailored learning for professionals. It is a stand-alone qualification that places hotel and tourism management within a broader social, economic and political context.”

The programme has attracted students from as far afield as Ghana, Japan, Korea, Macau, Taiwan, and the US, who have benefited in many ways, Chon says.

“The D.HTM’s specific Asian focus, unique combination of subjects and research, and flexible delivery pattern, enable industry professionals to develop their skills while remaining in the workforce,” he says. “The programme prepares graduates to advance their careers by developing innovation, creativity and needed research skills within an Asian context.”

Candidates should have a Master of Science in Hotel and Tourism Management – or its equivalent.

Leading to a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Hotel and Tourism Management, the PhD programme is targeted at students who wish to base their research on theoretical insights. Usually, this means those wishing to pursue a research career in academia – but not always. Some may want training in how to do research for government or private industry.

The PhD is more theoretical in nature, offering advanced training to help participants develop an ability to conduct original research in areas related to their individual interests and career aspirations.

“The programme prepares graduates for educational and research positions related to hotel and tourism management. The intellectual and support environment encourages research collaboration between staff and students, with results disseminated through scholarly publications and conference presentations,” Chon says.

The PhD programme can be completed in three years of full-time study. Students are required to take five compulsory subjects and one elective. “Students who join our postgraduate programmes have normally had work experience in the hospitality and tourism industry in Hong Kong, the mainland or overseas,” he adds. 

“Students of the PhD programme have usually had industry experience, and they then became academics at universities before joining our programmes in order to pursue a higher academic or research career. Students of the D.HTM programmes have usually had industry experience and became our students because our programmes are gateways to outstanding career opportunities,” Chon says.

An innovative lecture series was recently launched by SHTM. Leading scholars and executives from around the world will be invited to give talks on topics related to hotel and tourism management, typically held at Hotel ICON, which also serves as SHTM’s teaching and training facility.

Recent topics have included the impact that water and oil shortages will have on the hospitality industry, China’s outbound tourism, and opportunities and challenges of transferring Asian hotel brands to other parts of the world.

“Our school is innovative in its education offerings,” Chon says. “We strive to connect industry professionals and academics in an effort to promote a closer tie in collaboration, not only for the benefit of education and research, but also for the advancement of the entire industry.”

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