The Cornell Nolan School’s Hotel Administration degree requirements ensure students graduate prepared to be leaders within the hospitality industry.

Suggested Core Curriculum Timeline

A four-year schedule for a powerful start and maximum flexibility

Our suggested core curriculum schedule allows you to complete two-thirds of your major requirements in your first two years. Giving you a thorough overview of hospitality, this timeline allows you to quickly determine your specific interests, making your internships more relevant to your career plans. Here is a typical schedule (see Courses of Study for the most recent course descriptions):

SHA Degree Requirements Infographic
Year 1: In your first year you will be immersed in core major requirements, providing a solid foundation. Year 2: In your second year you will fulfill a large portion of your required courses along with time for electives. Year 3: This year you should take the opportunity to study abroad, pursue your Specialization, or explore a minor. Year 4: In this most flexible year, explore your interests through a wide variety of options.

Rigorous Coursework Plus Hands-on Field Experience

What are the requirements for hotel management at the Nolan School?

Bachelor’s degree candidates in the Cornell Nolan hotel administration program study all aspects of the business of hospitality, developing the requisite knowledge and skills for leadership in the world’s largest industry. You’ll complete a minimum of 120 classroom credits plus a minimum of 800 hours of work in the field. Your credits come from the following:

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Are You a Current Student?

If you matriculated before Fall 2022, your requirements are slightly different from those described on this page. Here’s the path back to information on Degree Requirements in our Current Students section.

Current Students 



Nolan School courses are designed to provide you with strong foundational business knowledge and skills, as well as industry-specific expertise. We provide a rich variety of hotel school courses to develop your capabilities and satisfy your career interests.


HADM Specialization and Distribution Electives

Choose electives from inside and outside the Nolan School to take advantage of Cornell’s amazing breadth and depth of knowledge.

two students working at a podium at a dinner partyHADM Specialization Electives

Focus on your specific interests within hospitality through Nolan School-specific (HADM) electives. You have the option to complete a specialization or the Real Estate elective minor. All coursework must be taken for a letter grade (unless offered only with an S/U option).

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Distribution Electives

Explore your career interests through electives offered within the greater context of Cornell’s many schools. Choose from more than 4,000 courses offered by Cornell’s other six undergraduate schools and colleges.

Students photographed through the glass door at The Statler Hotel while they work

Practice Credit

You’ll fulfill at least 800 hours of valuable work experience directly relevant to your career — to gain hands-on experience directly in the industry. Student work opportunities are available at The Statler Hotel or Taverna Banfi. Working or volunteering in various capacities during Hotel Ezra Cornell HEC  weekend can also contribute to your practice credit requirements.



Minors and Specializations

Choose from the Nolan School Minor in Real Estate, more than 70 Cornell minors, or Nolan School specializations. For more information on the various Cornell minors, visit Undergraduate Minors under the Cornell University Fields of Study. As a note, students must follow the requirements of their matriculation term. Students matriculated before Fall 2022 will complete concentrations instead of specializations.

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Experiential Learning Opportunities

Enhance your Nolan School experience even further with extended academic opportunities, which let you pursue your passions in even greater depth. These optional components complement your degree and enhance your time at Cornell. The experiences include study abroad opportunities, the Hotel Leadership Development Program (HDLP), Statler Hotel Work Experience, Culinary Institute of America (CIA) Alliance, Establishment (Esb.), Hotel Ezra Cornell (HEC), Undergraduate Research Opportunities, and the Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series (DDLS).



Academic Advising

At the Nolan School, you have comprehensive resources for advising including the Office of Student Services, Faculty Advising, and Career Advising. Our faculty and professional academic advisors help you with choosing coursework, degree audits, and transferring credits, among other items. Students needing academic accommodations can connect with the Academic Accommodations Manager to ensure their needs are met. Lastly, Career Advising provides career guidance including access to internships and posted jobs.


Common Degree Requirements & Curriculum FAQs

Start Your Nolan School Journey Today

Your hospitality management education opens up a world of possibilities in a rewarding, fulfilling industry that’s constantly growing. Take the first step by applying today.