international sustainable tourism

Master's Degree Program


Our joint Master of Science degree in International Sustainable Tourism — offered in partnership with CATIE (Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza) in Turrialba, Costa Rica — is the first of its kind in the U.S. and truly unique in its interdisciplinary approach.

Graduate opportunities

Sustainable tourism strives to meet present tourist market needs without compromising the resources of future generations. This leading-edge tourism specialty balances environmental, economic and socio-cultural benefits and concerns.

As a student in our two-year joint master’s degree program, you’ll spend the first two semesters at the University of North Texas and the last semesters at CATIE. All courses are taught in English.

CATIE combines scientific research, graduate education and technical cooperation to create equilibrium between conservation and sustainable production. It has strategic alliances with public and private universities, research centers, nonprofit organizations, corporations and government entities around the globe.

Our master’s program provides unique opportunities such as:

  • Application of sustainable tourism in the U.S. and Costa Rica
  • Hospitality services and operational perspectives of sustainable tourism
  • International instruction from industry experts and experienced researchers

The coursework prepares you for management and leadership positions in international sustainable tourism or to pursue a doctoral degree. You gain insight and experience from policy and operational perspectives, including comprehensive knowledge of hospitality management.

Gain new perspectives

The travel sector is one of the world’s biggest industries. One of every 10 jobs globally comes from the travel and tourism sector, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. It’s vital for tourism development professionals to understand the interdependencies of economic benefits, environmental impacts, and social and cultural resources.

Costa Rica, which welcomes 3 million visitors a year, is a pioneer in environmental conservation and has excellent infrastructure and services. The country’s network of national parks and conservation areas, biodiversity, innovative policies and exceptional geographical location are ideal for scholars and institutions devoted to the issues surrounding natural resources and their use.

Outstanding student support

UNT provides a wide variety of services exclusively to graduate students. The Graduate Student Writing Support office can help you with writing, and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research offers assistance with statistical research.

The Toulouse Graduate School® offers several professional development workshops, many of them available online for your convenience.

Attending UNT

Admission requirements

You must meet the admission requirements for the graduate school, which are outlined on the graduate school website, and provide the following materials to the College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism graduate coordinator.

  • Detailed professional résumé
  • Essay addressing your motivation for seeking a master’s degree, previous academic or professional honors, future professional goals and how this degree enables you to obtain your goals
  • Three CMHT recommendation forms completed by employers or former faculty members

Degree requirements

The degree requires a minimum of 36 credit hours and a comprehensive exam. The first 18 credit hours are taken at UNT, and the last 18 credit hours are taken at CATIE.

First year courses

HMGT 5280 Hotel and Restaurant Operations: Theory and Analysis
HMGT 5530 International Sustainable Tourism
HMGT 5540 Tourism Services Management and Marketing
HMGT 5560 Planning and Policy in Sustainable Tourism
BIOL 5100 Environmental Impact Assessment
CMHT 5400 Research Applications in Merchandising and Hospitality Management

Second year courses

HMGT 5531 Sustainable Natural Resource Management
HMGT 5532 Context and Challenges of Sustainable Tourism Development
HMGT 5533 Environmental Policies in a Changing World
HMGT 5534 Seminars in Sustainable Tourism: Experiences of Successful Practitioners in Costa Rica
HMGT 5535 Socio-Cultural Contexts of Sustainable Tourism Development
HMGT 5536 Field/Practical/Professional Experience with Research Applications (Capstone)

Financial assistance

You may apply for competitive scholarships and teaching assistantships from the College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism. Applications are available from the dean's office. Additional funding may be available from the graduate school and other sources. For more information on financial assistance programs, visit the financial aid website.