Research Interests | Admission Requirements | Program Plan and Rules | PhD Forms | ContactTHEM Past PhD Students

Through distinctive teaching, research, and outreach the Department of Tourism, Hospitality & Event Management (THEM) seeks to improve the understanding of social, psychosocial and environmental factors that lead individuals, families and industry to value and benefit from tourism, events and recreation, and thereby improve quality of life. Further, the department aims to provide knowledge that helps communities and organizations develop and improve sustainable tourism, recreation, and environmental opportunities including parks, beaches and public areas that benefit an increasingly diverse population.

The Recreation, Parks and Tourism concentration is available to our Ph.D. students: THEM RPT PhD Program Plan

Areas of Research Interests

THEM houses internationally recognized experts in the areas of sustainable tourism, crisis management, risk management, water-based recreation, hospitality marketing, social impacts of tourism, social networks, data-mining, and economic impact related to events.

Graduate Faculty

Admission Requirements

  • A recognized baccalaureate, graduate or professional degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or a comparable degree from an international institution. 
  • A minimum grade point average of B (3.0), calculated from all grades and credits after the semester where the applicant reached 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours.
  • Acceptable TOEFL scores (if applicable)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Compatibility of applicant’s education, experience and research interest with the mission of the program
  • Compatibility of the applicant’s background and interests with those of an available advisor
  • Teaching, research and other departmental needs in cases where departmental financial support is requested

During the application process, please look through the research interests of individual faculty members and directly contact those who you would be interested in working with. An individual faculty member MUST accept Ph.D. applicants prior to admission, which is decided by the THEM faculty body.

>>Application instructions can be found here.

Admission for Fall: February 15 (both US and non-US Residents)
Admission for Spring: September 1 (both US and non-US Residents)



THEM RPT PhD Program Plan

  • Core: 12 credits
  • Concentration: 18 credits
  • Research Methods: 21 credits
  • Data Analysis: 9 credits
  • Cognate: 15 credits
  • Dissertation: 15 credits

Course Planning

Students will work closely with their mentor to determine course selection, an individual development plan (IDP), and timeline for academic milestones. Curriculum includes core Departmental, College, and University course requirements and recommended courses. In summary, doctoral students must pass a comprehensive written and oral qualifying examination upon completion of all coursework, maintain a satisfactory academic record, submit an approved dissertation topic, and receive the supervisory committee’s opinion of ability for advancement to candidacy. Upon completion of the dissertation, the student must successfully complete an oral examination pertaining to the dissertation research.

Course requirements for doctoral degrees vary from field to field and from student to student. In all fields, the Ph.D. degree requires at least 90 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree. All master degree credits that are counted towards the PhD must have been earned in the last 7 years. The supervisory committee is responsible for using established criteria to ensure the academic integrity of coursework before accepting graduate transfer credits. Acceptance of transfer of credit requires approval of the student’s supervisory committee and the Dean of the Graduate School.

PhD Program Roadmap

  • Year 1: Admission, coursework selection, committee selection, research
  • Year 2: Coursework, committee selection (if not completed), research
  • Year 3: Qualifying examination, dissertation proposal, admission to candidacy, research
  • Year 4: Research Dissertation completion and graduation

Transfer of Credit

Up to 30 approved credit hours may be transferred in from a Master's degree earned at another institution, except completed more than seven years prior, which do not qualify. All courses transferred must be graduatelevel and letter-graded with a grade of B or better. Courses must also be directly related to the PhD degree. Transfer requests are made to the Graduate School through petition by the student’s supervisory committee.

A student may petition for coursework taken more than seven years prior to apply to their doctorate. He or she must meet with their mentor to review such coursework. Students may be asked to provide syllabi, books, and papers from these courses. The advisor will make a recommendation to the graduate coordinator and program assistant who will petition the Graduate School. The final decision rests with the Graduate School.

Research Courses

Advanced Research (HLP 7979) is open to doctoral students not yet admitted to candidacy.  Students enrolled in HLP 7979 during the term they qualify for candidacy will stay in this registration unless the academic unit elects to change their enrollment to Research for Doctoral Dissertation (HLP 7980), which is reserved for doctoral students admitted to candidacy.  This requires a letter of petition from the major department.  This change of registration is not required for a student, as both courses count towards the students’ research credit requirement.

Qualifying Examinations

The qualifying exam should be taken by the end of the last semester of coursework. The examination, prepared and evaluated by the full supervisory committee or the major and minor academic units, is both written and oral, and covers the major and minor subjects. Except for allowed substitutions, all members of the supervisory committee must be present with the student at the oral part. At this time, the supervisory committee is responsible for deciding whether the student is qualified to continue to work toward a Ph.D. degree. Grading format is PASS or FAIL. Failing written or oral can lead to dismissal from the program

Written Component: The exam is to take place over a five-day period, allowing for four hours of writing each day. The five content areas are to include:

1. Core
2. Concentration
3. Research Methods
4. Statistics and Data Analysis
5. Cognate

Dissertation topic can be part of Concentration or Cognate component. The mode of the written component of the qualifying exam (e.g., sit-in or take home, open or closed book), schedule, and timing is determined by the Supervisory Committee. The exam schedule ( is signed by the Committee Chair. The sit-in exam on any of 5 areas is 4 (four) hours.

Oral Component: The oral exam must be scheduled within two weeks of successfully completing the written portion of the exam. Except for allowed substitutions, all members of the supervisory committee must be present with the student at the oral part. Accommodations can be made for committee members not being able to be physically present to facilitate the defense. The Chair must be physically present during the oral exam. At this time, the supervisory committee is responsible for deciding whether the student is qualified to continue to work toward a Ph.D. degree. The student has to be ready to present a prospectus for their dissertation idea after the oral examination has concluded and the committee deemed the qualifying exam as PASS. It is important that students allow plenty of time to schedule the oral exam and it is recommended that this be done in conjunction with the scheduling of the written exam. The length and content of the exam is determined entirely by the supervisory committee.

Admission to Candidacy

A doctoral student becomes a candidate for the Ph.D. degree when the student is granted formal admission to candidacy. Such admission requires the approval of the student’s supervisory committee, the department chair, the college dean, and the dean of the Graduate School. The approval must be based on:

1. The academic record of the student (all grades B- or higher with a minimum 3.0 GPA)
2. Passing a qualifying examination
3. A supervisory committee approved dissertation topic
4. The supervisory committee’s opinion on overall readiness of the candidacy

The student should apply for admission to candidacy as soon as the qualifying examination is passed and a dissertation topic is approved by the student’s supervisory committee. An “Admission to Candidacy” form (located in GIMS) should be signed by all committee members after passing the oral examination. A student may not register for HLP 7980 (Research for Dissertation) until he or she is admitted to candidacy for a doctoral degree.

Students must request a petition from the department in order to change HLP7979 to HLP7980 registration after the add/drop period. This request is only necessary if a student registers for HLP 7979, and then is admitted to candidacy prior to the mid-point of the semester, and intends to graduate the following semester consecutively. Changes to registration are not automatically processed.

Dissertation Proposal

A dissertation proposal is required and must be submitted in writing to the supervisory committee chair at least 5 weeks prior to the scheduled proposal defense (presentation) date to allow for revisions and 2 weeks prior to the full supervisory committee meeting. The proposal document typically includes three sections: (1) introduction to the dissertation topic and formulation of the study purpose, research questions, and, possibly, hypotheses; (2) review of the pertinent theories and literature; and (3) proposed research design and methods of analysis. At the meeting, the supervisory committee provides feedback on the proposal and helps the student shape the study.

Final Semester Registration

Students are required to be registered for a minimum of 3 credits (Fall/Spring) or 2 credits (Summer) during their final semester (more if on assistantship/fellowship). PhD students MUST register for HLP 7980: Advanced Doctoral Research during their final term regardless if the required credits have been met. This request is only necessary if a student registers for HLP 7979, and then is admitted to candidacy prior to the mid-point of the semester, and intends to graduate the following semester consecutively. Changes to registration are not automatically processed. Students must request a petition from the department in order to change course registration after the add/drop period.

Dissertation and Final Examination

Every candidate for a doctoral degree is required to prepare and present a dissertation that shows independent investigation and is acceptable in form and content to the supervisory committee and to the Graduate School. Dissertations must be written in English. The work must be of publishable quality and must be in a form suitable for publication, using the Graduate Schools’ format requirements. Students are required to follow closely the Graduate School calendar with respect to all deadlines and provide sufficient time to the supervisory committee to review their dissertation prior to the defense date. Typically, two weeks are required for the committee to read the dissertation. One full week is an absolute minimum.

After the submission of the dissertation and the completion of all other prescribed work for the degree the candidate will be given a final oral examination by the supervisory committee through a meeting on campus. The candidate and the entire supervisory committee must be present at the defense. All work for the doctoral degree must be completed within five calendar years after successful completion of the qualifying examination or the qualifying examination must be repeated.

Graduation Requirements

It is the student's responsibility to make sure they have met the requirements below for graduation.

  • Submit a degree application in the term you plan to graduate, before the mid-point of the semester. Failure to submit this application may result in graduation being delayed.
  • Obtain a 3.0 GPA overall and in major courses.
  • Register for the minimum requirements.
  • Resolve any financial or academic holds.
  • Check transcript for any I, C-, D+, D, D-, E or U grades. These grades must be resolved prior to the midpoint of your final semester and may require a petition from the department.
  • Verify that the Final Exam Form has been submitted in GIMS. (This is the final paperwork signed by your committee at your defense.)
  • Verify degree and committee information in GIMS prior to the midpoint of your final semester in which you plan to graduate
  • Graduation Checklist

Clear Prior

Clear Prior status is only possible for thesis and dissertation students who have met all published deadlines for the current term except Final Submission and/or Final Clearance from the Graduate Editorial Office. No other students are eligible.  Clear Prior permits students to be exempt from registration for the term in which the degree will be awarded. To find out if you qualify for Clear Prior status, please contact the Graduate School Editorial Office.


Leave of Absence

Any student who does not register at UF for a period of more than 1 semester needs prior written approval from the supervisory committee chair for a leave of absence for a specified period. This approval remains in the student’s departmental file. The student must reapply for admission on return.

THEM PhD Program Forms


Giulio Ronzoni, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Instructional Assistant Professor
Graduate Coordinator 

For a complete overview of our HHP doctoral program, download the HHP Ph.D. Student Handbook.