Department of Hospitality and Tourism

Business School

Welcome to our Department of Hospitality and Tourism

Thank you for taking the time to check out what we offer at University College Birmingham, the highest-ranking university in the region as voted by students at the 2024 Whatuni Student Choice Awards. Our student support is the best in the region too, according to students, as is our provision for international students and postgraduates.

If you are looking at joining us to carve out a career in hospitality, tourism, events or aviation, here is a glimpse into our student and staff community - with insight into the placements and enrichment we offer - to see if we are the right choice for you. 

Read about our Whatuni award wins

Associate Professor Kathryn Hayat
Head of Hospitality and Tourism

Welcome from Kathryn

If you are considering joining us, that's great news. Hospitality, tourism, aviation and events are all really exciting industries and demand for skilled managers and leaders in these areas has never been so great. There's so much to look forward to on our courses with exciting industry visits, live projects and placements in fantastic locations in the UK and overseas, along with award-winning support.

Our lecturers are all industry experts and bring the classroom to life with their experiences and excellent industry links. Our graduates include head sommeliers, hotel and airport managers, stadium conference managers, financial controllers and small business entrepreneurs, and have worked for companies including Visit Britain, British Airways, Hotel du Vin, The Ritz, Virgin and more. Many have become regional and managing directors – the opportunities are endless.

*Kathryn worked in the tourism and aviation sectors in a range of roles, including product management, digital and social media marketing and B2B/trade relations, before starting her career in education.

Find out more about Kathryn

“This really is a university where you will not only receive a high quality teaching and learning experience, but award-winning support at the very highest level. We pride ourselves on our industry connections to give you the best opportunities to gain the graduate advantage."

Professor Elaine Limond Vice Dean Business School

Nicky Millard
Deputy Dean, Curriculum Development and Student Recruitment for the Business School

Meet Nicky Millard

We’re really proud of our links and partnerships with employers and alumni. At the heart of what we do is preparing you for a graduate career in your industry. Our industry partners regularly visit to speak to students, set projects and provide graduate employment opportunities.

We’re also really proud of the outstanding support we’ve been recognised as providing for students while on their journey with us. It gives us great pleasure to pass on our skills to the next generation and your future starts here. We are ready to kick-start your career and we look forward to seeing you soon.

*Nicky gained her degree with us before launching a career in hotel business management in the USA and the UK before moving into HR and lecturing

Read more about Nicky

Our teaching and learning

Whether you want to manage a hotel, plan marketing for a tourism destination, plan new flight routes or manage world-class events, our aim is simple - to support you on the journey. We have an award-winning reputation for a learning experience that sets us apart from bigger universities.

Our degrees are designed to develop you personally and professionally, with graduate advantage, employability and enrichment sessions threaded throughout the curriculum, sitting alongside really interesting theory modules. Our partnership with the University of Warwick, a top-ranking Russell Group university, also brings extra opportunities including access to guest speakers and additional resources.


Our courses are developed and taught by experienced lecturing staff with diverse backgrounds working in various industries. Lecturers can draw on their industry expertise and years of experience to make scenario-based discussions, debates and concepts come to life, supporting the linking of theory to practice within the context of global trends and challenges.

You will learn so much from our lecturing teams, who are passionate about their profession and eager to inspire and nurture the next generation of hospitality and tourism professionals.

This is enriched by an international body of guest lecturers who share their knowledge and experiences to inspire you and enhance your learning. Students also have a lot to bring and as a team, we will also learn a lot from you. We encourage you to share your perspectives and viewpoints, especially when reflecting on your own life and placement experiences.


Industry live projects feature in many modules and this provides students with a hands-on opportunity to work with an industry client to propose solutions to a current issue or challenge. Examples of past live projects have included the planning and management of live charity events, sustainable airport practices at Birmingham Airport and Commonwealth Games legacy planning with the West Midlands Growth Company. 

Students have access to industry software platforms such as Opera Property Management Systems and HOTS (hospitality), CAPA (aviation) and Cvent (events planning). Furthermore, as an Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT) Centre of Excellence, students benefit from attending our annual ITT Future You student conference to network with industry professionals.

We have a fully functioning aviation suite – a specialist teaching facility where, in some modules, students (aviation and tourism programmes) can learn about cabin crew operations and management, and ground handling operations within a realistic airport/airline environment. In addition, our award-winning on-site restaurant is the base for students on hospitality programmes developing their front of house skills.

Placements are also key to success as employers want you to have real experience. We have excellent links with international hotel chains, world-leading airlines and attraction venues across the region and beyond, as well as globally.


Our support is exceptional, so much so, our students voted to make us the winner of the Student Support award at the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2022 and we came a close second in 2023. In 2024, we were voted the best for student support in the West Midlands.

Throughout your studies, you will not only have a personal tutor, but a link tutor during placements and module leaders to support you through academic modules. And we have a whole range of additional support services available, providing you with as much or as little support as you need to succeed in your degree. Our smaller teaching groups enable all students to grow and flourish, with strong peer support and friendship.  

Our Learning and Teaching Strategy 2021-24 is key to how we approach the educational journey, focusing on three main pillars that set out our commitment to your learning and teaching experience while you are studying with us.

  • Pillar 1 – Provide accessible and inclusive teaching and learning across a wide range of vocationally-led courses
  • Pillar 2 – Develop next generation opportunities and skills through innovative, future-focused curriculum and pedagogy
  • Pillar 3 – Shape local and global sectors, promoting sustainable futures and global citizenship

Read our Learning and Teaching Strategy

Our facilities

We have invested £200 million into our university facilities so you can learn in outstanding training environments approved by industry. In our department, they include:

  • Our state-of-the-art Aviation Suite – part of a real Boeing 737 cabin, a check-in and departure lounge and live links to Birmingham Airport
  • Restaurant at Birmingham College of Food - our AA Gold-accredited training restaurant, where students get to put their training into practice with real guests
  • Virtual reality – we can’t visit everywhere, but we can bring some of this to you. Our students experience airports and a range of destinations through our VR headsets
  • 100-seat and smaller lecture theatres, workspace pods, ThinkSpace glazed study pods to discuss projects, 150+ brand new top-spec computers

We look forward to seeing you on campus

As you prepare to join us, here's a refresher on some of the essentials:

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