The Indiana University School of Physical Education and Tourism Management at IUPUI has been cleared to offer a master of science degree in event tourism.
The program will begin accepting students in the fall semester of 2011. Only eight to 10 students will be admitted annually, said Sotiris Hji-Avgoustis, chairman of the tourism department.
"They're going to be very selective positions," he said. "The demand is not that great; that's why we try to control the numbers."
The School of Physical Education and Tourism Management has an overall enrollment of 400, 320 of whom are pursuing bachelor's degrees. The other 80 are pursuing certificates, which are similar to minors, in which only 18 to 25 credit hours are needed.
Students earning bachelor's degrees work in tourism jobs involving daily operations. Students pursuing the higher degree likely already will be employed in the tourism industry and can use their research to help an organization plan for the future, Hji-Avgoustis said.
Students in the master's program will have the ability to work on projects with professors and to join them in their lines of research. Upon completion, graduates should be qualified to work in high-level jobs, both in the private and public sectors, of the hospitality and tourism industries, Hji-Avgoustis said. Those jobs might include management and consulting positions.
The program, which Hji-Avgoustis said is the only one of its kind in the Midwest, is proving popular, even though it won't begin for another year.
"We're getting inquiries from all over the world—from China, India, Ecuador," he said. "It's just amazing how people hear about this."
Hji-Avgoustis said the new degree fits well with Indianapolis’ mission to be a leader in the convention industry. The expansion of the Indiana Convention Center is set to open in January, which should enable the city to attract larger meetings.
The Indiana Commission for Higher Education approved the new degree.