Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management FAQ

How can I obtain information about the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management associate degree and certificate programs?

Information about our associate degrees and certificate programs, including course descriptions and requirements, can be obtained by visiting the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management webpage or the MCC Catalog. Information sessions and tours of our Culinary Arts Center are conducted each month during the school year. For more information, please visit the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management webpage. Advanced registration is required.

Students with additional questions are encouraged to email the department’s chairpersons, either Ricardo Aragon at or Kathy Kern at, who will respond to your emails year-round, including during the summer (summer inquiries will receive a response within four days). Students can also speak to Guided Pathways Advising at 860-512-3320 or contact the Social Science, Business and Professional Careers Division at 860-512-2753.

What’s the difference between the Culinary Arts associate degree and the Foodservice Management associate degree, and what’s the advantage of earning both degrees?

Culinary Arts majors concentrate on taking hands-on food and bakery production courses to prepare them to become chefs, and Foodservice Management majors concentrate on taking management courses to prepare them to become managers. By earning both degrees as part of a dual major, students gain both the management skills and the culinary arts skills to be successful in a restaurant or hotel kitchen, and kitchens of other food service operations in businesses and industry dining, healthcare facilities, and schools. It will also give you the tools and skills to work for businesses that supply foods for catered events, meeting and convention centers, and supermarkets. For a complete listing of course requirements, go to Culinary Arts, A.S. or Foodservice Management, A.S.

What’s the difference between the Professional Baker certificate and the Culinary Arts certificate?

Both programs are designed to allow students to complete the certificate course requirements in one-year or at their own pace. The Professional Baker certificate concentrates on teaching students the fundamentals of baking and pastry production, and the Culinary Arts certificate concentrates on teaching students basic cooking skills, including baking.

What is the difference between a certificate and an associate degree?

MCC’s certificate programs require students to earn between 20 to 30 credit hours and MCC’s associate degree programs require students to earn between 60 to 65 credit hours. Students who choose to earn (or begin to earn) a certificate have the option of transferring their credits toward a degree. Both the associate degree and certificate programs provide credentials required for entry-level positions in hospitality related fields. What’s more, our associate degree credits transfer to many baccalaureate programs at other colleges and universities. For more information on transfer opportunities, see transfer information below.

What happens if I earn enough credits to fill the requirements of both a certificate and an associate degree? Will I be awarded both a certificate and an associate degree?

Students will be awarded a diploma based on their highest level of achievement. Students who have completed enough credits to earn an associate degree will be awarded an associate degree.

What is the value of MCC’s accreditation by the American Culinary Federation?

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) is the largest professional organization of chefs and cooks in the United States. An accreditation from the ACF signifies that the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation’s team of professional evaluators has conducted a rigorous and comprehensive review of all facets of MCC’s Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts programs to ensure that the programs meet the standards established by the ACF. Consistent with our focus on excellence, our programs exceed ACF standards. MCC is the only college in New England to receive two “Exemplary Status Awards” for excellence in post-secondary hospitality management and culinary arts education. ACF constantly monitors our programs through surveys to students, employers and graduates, as well as through periodic site visits, and evaluations of our curriculum, labs, library collection, faculty, student services, and advisory committee. Our ACF accreditation is effective through 2019.

Graduation from an ACF accredited college is an important factor for our students in securing employment, assisting with transfer credits and gaining personal certification. Students who meet the criteria of our programs may apply to the ACF to become an ACF Certified Chef, a nationally recognized certification.

How does an MCC Culinary Arts graduate become an ACF Certified Chef?

After receiving an MCC Culinary Arts, A.S. or Foodservice Management, A.S. degree, students are eligible to apply to become American Culinary Federation (ACF) Certified Chefs.  Students seeking certification must join the ACF as active members. ACF membership packets are available through our culinary arts instructors, who can also answer any questions that you might have about the ACF certificate.

Other culinary schools are a lot more expensive than MCC. Does this mean that they offer a superior program to MCC?

MCC is the only school in New England to be granted “Exemplary Status Awards” from the American Culinary Federation (ACF), which is indicative of the fact that our culinary arts programs are excellent and exceed ACF standards. Our tuition is affordable compared to other for-profit culinary schools because MCC is part of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (CSCU) system, which means that a portion of the tax dollars collected in the state helps to support our state schools and keep your tuition costs low.

It’s also important to know that MCC is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Many for-profit culinary schools are not NECHE-accredited. By taking classes through a NECHE-accredited institution, you have the assurance of knowing that applicable coursework is transferable to other NECHE-accredited schools.

How much can I expect to pay in tuition and fees at MCC?

Unlike other for-profit culinary institutions that charge students an all-inclusive fee, MCC students pay on a course-by-course basis (charged only for the courses they take). The total cost for the entire associate degree is approximately $8,800; and the total cost for a certificate is approximately $5,200. Additional fees apply for textbooks, uniforms and tools. Financial aid is available. For more information on MCC’s tuition and fees, please visit our Admissions webpage or our Enrollment Guide.

Do you offer internships?

Yes. All Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts associate degree and certificate candidates are required to take HSP* 296: Cooperative Education, a semester-long course that consists of an internship placement (150 volunteer hours or 300 paid hours) and a classroom component. Internships allow students to apply their academic knowledge to real world experiences. MCC’s cooperative education director and a student’s academic advisor work closely with local employers to find internships that fit a student’s personal schedule, lifestyle and career goals. Students are evaluated based on successful completion of required classroom assignments, a site visit by a student’s instructor and feedback from a student’s internship supervisor.

Do you assist with job placements?

MCC’s Career Services office provides workshops, job fairs, online services, and connections to local businesses to assist students, alumni, and community members with job placements. Through Career Services, students learn skills such as how to write resumes, how to interview for a job and how to conduct a job-search. Students can also tap into the wealth of networking connections available to them through their professors who are chefs and professionals with years of experience in the hospitality industry.

How will I know when a course is offered?

Compared to many for-profit culinary institutions where students’ schedules are dictated to them, MCC students have the flexibility to create schedules that fit their personal lifestyles. For a complete list of courses that are offered at MCC during a semester (including what time and where classes meet), visit the Search for Courses webpage and follow the instructions. Here are some guidelines for searching and selecting courses at MCC:

  • Some courses are only offered one time each year. Students should consult the MCC Catalog to see when courses are offered: Fall, Spring, Summer or Winter Intersession.
  • Students should meet with their academic advisors before registering for courses.
  • Courses that are required—must be taken to earn a degree or certificate—are offered each semester during the day or at night (sometimes both).
  • Registering for courses at MCC is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • The number of students allowed to register for a course varies depending on the course.
  • To ensure that you are guaranteed a seat in a class, we recommend that you register for classes when registration opens or as soon as possible after registration opens.
  • Important registration dates are posted on the Registrar’s webpage. 
  • Students can preview courses prior to registration at Search for Courses.
  • Keep in mind that classes fill up quickly; conversely, if students wait too long to register, courses are cancelled if not enough students register for a particular class.

Do I need to take my classes in any specific order or sequence?

We recommend that part-time and full-time students follow the suggested sequence of courses as listed in the “course requirements” for each associate degree and certificate program (course requirements are located in the MCC Catalog). Most food laboratory classes require the successful completion of one section (a prerequisite) before you can advance to the next section: HSP* 101: Principles of Food Preparation I, and HSP* 112: Advanced Food Preparation, for example. However, as long as you have completed the prerequisites for any course, you are allowed to take those courses as they fit into your schedule and if the courses are offered.

How often do the food laboratory courses meet?

Most of our food laboratory courses meet one day per week.  However, there is an accelerated cooking and baking sequence that is offered in a two days per week format, which enables students to take a first level course (prerequisite), then the second level of the course and complete both courses in one semester.  If you have questions, please email the department’s chairperson listed above.

I have earned college credit from another educational institution. Will my credits transfer to MCC?

Courses taken at other accredited high schools, colleges and universities will transfer to MCC, if it is determined that the courses are equivalent to courses offered at MCC and a student has earned a C- or better. Students interested in having the MCC Admissions Office do an official transcript evaluation should make arrangements with their former educational institutions to have their official transcripts sent to the Admissions Office, Manchester Community College, MS  #12, P.O. Box 1046, Manchester, CT 06045-1046. 

As a hospitality student, I am interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree and transferring to another college or university. What transfer options are available to me?

MCC’s courses transfer to other colleges and universities and, in particular, to educational institutions with MCC approved articulation agreements. MCC students can also transfer credits to other ACF-accredited post-secondary programs.

In many cases, articulated schools offer scholarships to students who have graduated from MCC.  Articulation agreements include:

MCC Foodservice and Culinary Arts Degree Articulation Agreements

  • Johnson and Wales
  • Paul Smith’s College
  • New England Culinary Institute
  • University of Massachusetts

MCC Hotel-Tourism Management Degree Articulation Agreements

  • Central Connecticut State University
  • University of Massachusetts

I have a ServSafe Certification.  Do I still need to take HSP* 109: Sanitation Certification?

HSP* 109: Sanitation Certification is a short one-credit course that covers all legal facets of foodservice sanitation. If students provide evidence of their current ServSafe Certification, the department chairperson can grant students a prerequisite waiver and special permission to take courses in our foods lab. If the students’ certification expires while at MCC they must immediately take the course and become re-certified. It is recommended that students possessing a ServSafe Certification take HSP* 109 toward the completion of their coursework, an advantage that will give students the most current sanitation certification and qualifications.

Where do I buy my textbooks, uniforms and tools?

All textbooks, uniforms and tools are available in the MCC Bookstore. Once you are registered for courses, you can go to the bookstore and review a list of the exact requirements for the course.


  • Textbooks can be purchased through the MCC Bookstore or bookseller of your choice.
  • For textbook information online, go to the Search for Courses page and follow the instructions: select a “Term, College, Subject” and choose “Get Courses”. When a course list appears, select a course from the list and click “textbook info”.
  • Some textbooks are used for multiple classes; therefore, we recommend that you do not rent the textbooks for the following courses:
    • HSP* 101: Principles of Food Preparation
    • HSP* 112: Advanced Food Preparation
    • HSP* 103: Principles of Baking I


  • Tools can be purchased through the MCC Bookstore or a supplier of your choice.
  • Students can purchase the minimum amount of tools for each course or buy a tool kit that provides 95 percent of the supplies students will need as they work toward earning a degree.
  • If you have specific questions about tools, such as can you use tools that you already own, students should wait until the first day of class before purchasing tools.


  • Chef jackets must be purchased at the MCC Bookstore and include your full name and the MCC hospitality and culinary arts logo (embroidery is included); it is recommended that you order chef jackets at least two weeks before the start of your first class.
  • Chef pants, hats, and aprons can be purchased through the MCC Bookstore or a supplier of your choice (items need to be exactly the same in appearance and quality as those available from the MCC Bookstore).
  • MCC Bookstore prices are reasonable and comparable to other uniform suppliers.
  • Order forms for all items, except shoes, are available in the MCC Bookstore.
  • A list of uniform items needed for food laboratory classes include:
    • Long-Sleeved Chef Jackets (must be purchased at MCC Bookstore)
    • Checked Chef’s Pants
    • Black Non-Slip Shoes (sneakers are not acceptable)
    • White Skullcap
    • White Bistro Apron

What do I wear or bring to my first day of class in the Culinary Arts Center kitchen?

While students need to purchase their textbooks, uniforms and tools in advance, students do not need to wear their uniforms or bring their tools to class on the first day; however, students should bring their textbooks. On the first day of classes, students will receive a complete schedule of course expectations from the chef who will be teaching the course.

Why do I need an academic advisor?

An academic advisor will assist you in creating a semester-by-semester plan of study to fit your family, work and social schedule. Because some courses are offered only in the spring or fall, academic advisors can help you choose the best sequence of courses to ensure that you complete your degree or certificate program according to your timeline. Most importantly, Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts academic advisors know the intricacies of the hospitality coursework and course expectations. Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts students should meet with their academic advisors at least two times each year and especially before registering for courses.

How do I know if I have completed my associate degree or certificate requirements, and when I am eligible to graduate?

Detailed information about graduation requirements and deadlines, along with a “Graduation Application” form, is available online at Graduation Application and Instructions. Once the Registrar’s Office receives a student’s completed graduation application form, the office conducts a graduation audit, a review of a student’s coursework and grades to determine if a student has completed the course requirements needed to be eligible to receive an associates degree and certificate.

Students eligible to graduate are invited to participate in MCC’s formal commencement ceremony, which is conducted once each year in May. Students who receive graduation confirmation during the academic calendar months of August and December are welcome to participate in the May commencement ceremony. For more information about graduation or graduation requirements, students should contact their academic advisors or the Registrar’s Office.