Special Events Planning Overview - 2019/2020

The event management industry is growing. Skilled event planning professionals are needed in many industries including corporate business, hospitality, non-profit, sports, travel and weddings. In North America, over $381 billion is spent on business meetings and events and over $4 billion is spent in Canada’s wedding industry.

The Special Events Planning two-year diploma program includes event planning courses developed by event management professionals designed to provide you with practical hands-on learning opportunities as well as skills in project management, technology, marketing, food and beverage, customer relations, event execution and so much more.

Our event planning courses will even provide you with the opportunity to collaborate and network with community partners as part of your learning. When you graduate, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and skill to find employment in the events industry, as well as a portfolio of practical event experience.

Are you ready for an exciting career in event management ? Jobs available in this field include the following:

  • Catering and Event Coordinator
  • Event Manager
  • Meeting and Convention Planner
  • Trade Show Organizer
  • Fundraising Coordinator
  • Wedding Planner

Our event planning courses provide you with the experience you need to succeed in the industry!

  • Learn in the heart of downtown London, Ontario in a state-of-the-art facility equipped with special event space and steps away from Budweiser Gardens, the convention centre, restaurants and nightlife;
  • Develop a strong connection with both faculty and peers with small class sizes;
  • Gain valuable experience through practicum courses where you complete volunteer work with local charities and businesses;
  • Plan and execute fundraising events, including your final capstone project, where you will apply the skills you’ve learned;
  • Participate in various multi-disciplinary event projects with students in other programs;
  • Enjoy field trips to event spaces and guest speakers who are well-known event professionals;
  • Obtain globally recognized wine and beer certifications through WSET and Prud'homme Beer, if you choose to;
  • Continue your education after graduation with a degree pathway to Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC or the Limerick Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Tralee in Ireland.

"After completing my special events planning diploma, I decided to take advantage of the pathway to a degree in Limerick, Ireland. It’s the best decision I ever made."
- Bailey Boudreau, Graduate
Special Events Planning program progression

Fall intake

Year Fall Winter Summer
Year 1 Level 1 Level 2 Off
Year 2 Level 3 Level 4 n/a


Winter intake

Year Fall Winter Summer
Year 1 n/a Level 1 Level 2
Year 2 Level 3 Level 4 n/a

Admission Requirements - 2019/2020

OSSD with courses from the College (C), University (U), University/College (M), or Open (O) stream WITH:
- Any Grade 12 English (C) or (U)
- Any Grade 11 Mathematics* (C), (U), or (M)
Academic and Career Entrance Certificate (ACE)
Ontario High School Equivalency Certificate (GED) AND:
- Any Grade 11 Mathematics* (C), (U), or (M)
Mature Applicant with standing in the required courses stated above

Note: *Applicants who lack the required Mathematics may still gain eligibility for admission by completing appropriate prior upgrading.

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in English by one of the following methods:

  • A Grade 12 College Stream or University Stream English credit from an Ontario Secondary School, or equivalent, depending on the program's Admission Requirements
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test with a minimum score of 550 for the paper-based test (PBT), or 79 for the Internet-based test (iBT), with test results within the last two years
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic test with an overall score of 6.0 with no score less than 5.5 in any of the four bands, with test results within the last two years. SDS Program Requirements. 
  • Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) test with an overall score of 60 with no score less than 50 in any of the four bands, with test results within the last two years
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE) with a minimum score of 53, with test results within the last two years
  • A Cambridge English Test (FCE/CAE/CPE) with an overall score on the Cambridge English Scale of 169 with no language skill less than 162, with test results within the last two years
  • An English Language Evaluation (ELE) at Fanshawe College with a minimum score of 70% in all sections of the test, with test results within the last two years
  • Fanshawe College ESL4/GAP5 students: Minimum grade of 80% in ESL4/GAP5 Level 8, 75% in ESL4/GAP5 Level 9, or 70% in ESL4/GAP5 Level 10

Recommended Academic Preparation

  • Grade 11 and Grade 12 Hospitality and Tourism (C)
  • Grade 12 Business and Technological Communication (O)
  • Academic and Career Entrance Certificate (ACE): Business or Technical Mathematics course and Computer Skills course

Applicant Selection Criteria

Where the number of eligible applicants exceeds the available spaces in the program, the Applicant Selection Criteria will be:
  1. Preference for Permanent Residents of Ontario
  2. Receipt of Application by February 1st (After this date, Fanshawe College will consider applicants on a first-come, first-served basis until the program is full)
  3. Achievement in the Admission Requirements


Special Events Planning-2019/2020

Level 1
Take all of the following Mandatory Courses:
HOSP-1016Event Management-Intro3
This course in an introductory level course on the basic elements of event management, including small meetings, tournaments and various social functions. Students will gain an overview of the event industry, associations and designations. Students will discuss various types of events, and the different approach methods to planning a successful event and the core competencies required for today's event planners.
FDMG-1039Dining for Professional Success3
Enjoy the tastes, sounds and aromas as you dine each week. This exploration of culture and customs in various national dining practices is designed to create an awareness of and develop sensitivity to different cultural behaviors and customs, especially for students traveling outside their own country or who will be dealing with people of other countries or cultures. Students will explore the influence of culture, religion, geography and history on dining practices around the world.
SFTY-1067Food Safety, Smart Serve & First Aid1
This course provides students with basic principles of safe food handling, smart serve and first aid. Students will learn current principles and practices of sanitation and safety, government regulations and sanitation codes. Students will also obtain the requirements needed to implement responsible alcohol service. Lastly students will in learning how to deal with common medical emergencies in the work place with emphasis on recognition of the signs and symptoms of medical emergencies and how to create a safer work environment. Upon successful completion of the certification exams, students will receive certification in Safe Food Handling, Smart Serve and First Aid.
WRIT-1042Reason & Writing 1-Tourism/Hospitality3
This course will introduce tourism and hospitality students to essential principles of reading, writing, and reasoning at the postsecondary level. Students will identify, summarize, analyze, and evaluate multiple short readings and write persuasive response essays to develop their vocabulary, comprehension, grammar, and critical thinking.
MATH-1210Math for Hospitality2
This course provides students with a review of basic and essential arithmetic and algebraic skills providing mathematical tools and concepts needed for a career in the hospitality industry. Topics include fractions, decimals and percentages, conversions between metric and imperial measurements and algebraic competency applicable to the travel, hospitality and culinary services.
COMP-1517Technology for Hospitality3
Every day technology impacts how individuals work and live. This course will expose students to the variety of technology used in the hospitality sector today. Students will develop their skills in word processing, spreadsheet and presentation tools. The course will also explore desktop publishing, digital communication tools and technology trends.
MGMT-1259Event Sales & Service3
The business of events is highly competitive and event planners must have strong selling skills, a customer-focused strategy and an appreciation of superior service. In this course, students study the art and psychology of selling and learn the principles and techniques of strategic selling. Students will develop the skills required for prospecting, making sales calls, relationship building, conducting sales meetings and presentations and negotiating and closing the sale. The course utilises case studies, presentations, discussions and team participation, and places emphasis on developing the student's confidence and professionalism in communicating with event stakeholders and corporate decision makers.
DEVL-1049Career Preparation2
This course will define the necessary tools and skills to implement a successful career strategy and plan, from self-evaluation to the procurement of suitable employment. Students will be introduced to the many diversities of the Hospitality and Tourism Sector with special emphasis on marketing oneself into an appropriate career. Students will explore their aptitudes and strengths and learn how transferable skills lead to success in their chosen profession. This course will augment the work placement process and focus on business etiquette, networking, and job search, resume writing and interviewing skills.

Level 2
Take all of the following Mandatory Courses:
HOSP-5003Event Management Systems3
Technology has become mainstream in the event industry, and there are many systems available to assist the modern event planner. Students will gain experience using various tools used in the industry for promoting events, managing registration, planning catering, creating event orders, billing, security, floor plans and more. This course is delivered in a fully online format.
FDMG-1116Food Service & Catering3
Food service is a vital element in event planning. This course aims to develop the student's understanding of the catering and events industry, including specific terminology used and common types of meal service. Under the tutelage of event and catering professionals, students will study topics such as menu planning and design, room layouts, pricing catering, calculating alcohol requirements and contract preparation and negotiation. The culminating project allows students to demonstrate their knowledge with a presentation of a themed event plan.
BUSI-1179Business Essentials for Event Management4
This course will help students develop an understanding of the business environment in Canada and the skills required to be a successful events entrepreneur. Students are exposed to a variety of business management tools and study topics such as monetary and fiscal policy, types of business ownership, accounting, ratio analysis and leadership. Case studies, videos and project work are utilised to demonstrate understanding of the steps required to start up a business.
MGMT-1256Event PR & Sponsorship3
This course lays the foundation for studies in public relations and sponsorship in the special events industry. The terminology and principles of public relations are covered before looking at sponsorship packages, press releases and media notifications. Students will apply knowledge of public relations and sponsorship to industry case studies and prepare a full event sponsorship strategy, proposal and recruitment plan.
PSYC-1027Human Relations3
To a very large degree, the satisfaction we experience in life is greatly influenced by the quality of our interpersonal relationships. There are numerous personal and social factors that play a role in shaping our thoughts, feelings and behaviour with others. As such, this course is designed to examine some of the fundamental variables underlying the dynamics of human relations. The particular topics of interest will include culture, socialization, personality, the self-concept, perception, emotions and communication factors. At the end of this course, the successful student will have learned the skills and knowledge essential for both personal and career development.
COMM-3080Comm for Tourism & Hospitality3
This course, designed for students who plan to work in the field of tourism and hospitality, focuses on professional written and verbal communication skills. Students learn to prepare a variety of work-related documents. In addition, students learn about research methods and documentation formats. The principles of effective writing - organization, grammar, style, clarity, and tone - are reinforced throughout the course. The goal of the course is to prepare students for the communication tasks and considerations they will encounter in the workplace in order to meet the needs of employers and/or the communities they will serve.
MKTG-1059Marketing for Tourism & Hospitality3
The purpose of this course is to provide tourism, hospitality and club management students with an understanding of the basic concepts and processes of marketing. This developmental procedure will involve customer identification and analysis, product analysis, market reasearch and analysis, and promotional development and analysis, with the end result equating to positive sales growth and ultimately profit.
FLDP-1033Practicum 11
Over the course of the program, students will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of events to gain further practical event experience. With the aid of faculty, students can seek out opportunities such as serving at a banquet, managing registration for a charity fundraiser, volunteering at a show or expo or welcoming guests at the college's open house. The experience gained will be as varied as the events themselves. Students will record their experiences in a portfolio that includes a minimum of 15 hours each year of the program.

Level 3
Gen Ed - Take a 3 credit General Education elective course.
Take all of the following Mandatory Courses:
PLAN-3009Event Management Strategies3
This course is an intermediate level course on the elements of logistic planning for event management. A successful event requires detailed planning; through this course students will continue to develop their event planning skills focusing on specifics such as: site selection, managing registration, audio visual, food & beverage, staffing, transportation and security. Students will gain critical experience into the many details required of an event manager within the industry and will have the opportunity to plan out their own event to execute in the Semester 4, PLAN-5002 Event Management course.
PLAN-1028Meetings & Conferences2
In this course, students will learn the specific requirements needed to design, plan, implement and evaluate Meetings and Conferences. Students will become familiar with all aspects from the development of exhibitor packages, site selection, site plan development and marketing and promotional strategies.
PLAN-1029Weddings & Occasions2
Taught by industry professionals, this course is designed to provide students with an understanding of different types of occasions and some common cultural and dietary considerations. Students learn how to develop client relations, sell event services and how to charge for event planning services. Topics covered include putting together an event timeline, creating the event contract, key clauses used by venues, creating the event theme, working with flowers, linens and more. The courses utilises case studies and field trips to enhance student understanding.
PLAN-1030Sports & Festivals2
The focus of this course is the development and operation of festivals and sporting events. Students will learn the different roles event staff, exhibitors, volunteers, sponsors and the suppliers of goods and services play together in successfully hosting events. Students will also use tools, templates and techniques to enhance and assist in successful and innovate events.
ENTP-3001Entrepreneurial Spirit3
In this course students will develop the entrepreneurial characteristics and attitudes necessary to succeed in today's competitive and dynamic business environment. Working in teams, students will research and create an innovative business idea to meet organizational or client objectives.
BEVR-1026Beer, Wine & Spirits3
In this course students study the history and production process of wine, spirits and beer and learn how to objectively evaluate these products and market them in a hotel or restaurant setting. Students will practice pouring, mixing and tasting various beers, wines and spirits and participate in a field trip. Successful students will gain industry certification from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) in the UK, one of the world's leading providers of wine education.

Level 4
Take all of the following Mandatory Courses:
MGMT-3085HR & Volunteer Management4
In this course students will explore the intricacies of the role of a human resource professional in the events industry. We will focus on the importance of employee engagement and how positive progressive management techniques can ensure success at every level of the organisation. Students will develop an understanding of labour legislation as it relates to employees and volunteers in Ontario workplaces.
MGMT-5087Global Leadership3
Create a global impression as a conscious leader within the hospitality sector. This course is intended to provide students with the knowledge of how to use effective leadership and management strategies to affect change on a global scale. Students will become leaders with the capacity for a global mindset and an ability to lead in multicultural settings.
PLAN-5002Event Management4
This is an advanced course in professional event management, providing students with an opportunity to demonstrate their learning over the course of the program and add to their event-planning portfolio. Working collaboratively in small teams, students will design, execute and evaluate an event. Recent examples include a charity gala, a concert, a sports tournament and a mystic and holistic fair; the possibilities are endless! As well as the actual execution of the event, students are assessed on their collaboration skills, their in-class participation and their event planning process.
MGMT-3086Risk Management & Insurance4
The course explores the potential guest liability and risk within the hospitality industry. Strategies and best practices to reduce such liabilities will be explored. Emphasis will be in the areas of contracts, torts and risk management practices.
FINA-3045Event Financial Management4
This course introduces students to the concepts, functions and techniques of financial management, providing a disciplined approach to the understanding and execution of these functions within event management. Students will learn how to develop and monitor an event budget, conduct breakeven analysis and calculate return on investment.
ENVR-5016Corporate Responsibility2
Today's event management professional endeavors to give back to their communities through green and sustainable initiatives. After a review of the event management process students will be introduced to green strategies and sustainable practices. Students will be given the opportunity to plan a sustainable and corporately socially ethical event.
FLDP-3037Practicum 21
This course builds on Practicum 1. Students will have more opportunity to participate in a variety of events to gain further practical event planning experience, and are encouraged to seek out a variety of events to enhance their personal portfolios. With the aid of faculty, students can seek out opportunities such as serving at a banquet, managing registration for a charity fundraiser, volunteering at a show or expo or welcoming guests at the college's open house. The experience gained will be as varied as the events themselves. Students will record their experiences in a portfolio that includes a minimum of 15 hours each year of the program.

Gen Ed - Electives
Take 3 General Education Credits -
Normally taken in Level 3

Program Residency
Students Must Complete a Minimum of 21 credits in this
program at Fanshawe College to meet the Program Residency
requirement and graduate from this program

Careers - 2019/2020

Career Opportunities

Who hires Event Planners? 
Hotels, Convention Centres, Conference Centres, Casinos, Caterers, Golf and Country Clubs, Event Planners, Wedding Planners, Festivals, Cruise Lines, Theme Parks, Museums, Entertainment Complexes, Tourism Bureaus, Professional Associations, Non Profit Organizations, Universities, Colleges, Corporations, Insurance Companies, Hi-tech Companies, Hospitals, Pharmaceutical Companies and Marketing Companies.

More Information - 2019/2020

A Two-Year Ontario College Diploma Program
Program Code: SEP1
Campus Code: LCD (LCD - London Downtown)
September/January Admission
15 week terms
Academic Calendars available at


School of Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts: 519-452-4289

Program Description

Are you interested in an exciting career in Event Planning? Planning a big or small event requires extensive planning from choosing the venue, reviewing contracts, to the finer details of guest lists, decor, marketing and sponsorship.

Special Events Planning is a two-year diploma program designed for individuals interested in a career in event management. Designed by industry professionals, students will be exposed to the vast types of special events, from social events, corporate meetings, festivals, conventions and large sporting events. Students will develop essential event management skills such as planning, assessment, communication, critical thinking.

This program will explore current trends and technologies in the event industry, including; software applications, food and beverage, PR and sponsorship logistics, risk management,  business tools and more. Students will gain hands-on experience in planning, marketing and executing events.

Students will be provided opportunity to explore their area of interest including: corporate events, social events and sporting events. Students will also have the opportunity to explore and tour national and/or international event destinations.

Fanshawe College is geographically positioned to expose students to the extensive global event management industry, as London is home to a state of the art Convention Centre, Budweiser Gardens, The Western Fair District, international hotel brands, and the host of many local and international sport events. Students will visit these venues, network with industry professionals and gain hands-on experience in the event planning industry.

Other Information

Students entering Level 1 of the program in January will continue into Level 2 of the program in the Summer term and Level 3 in the Fall term. 

Learning Outcomes

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

1. Plan an event portfolio with an evaluative component using the current tourism and event industry process and computer software

2. Apply contemporary business administration skills including accounting, finance and cost control techniques to the operation of events and destination tourism planning

3. Develop an assessment plan for a special event incorporating key performance indicators.

4. Identify and plan for the distinctions between public and private sector roles and collaboration in the development of destination tourism and/or other special events.

5. Apply knowledge of food and beverage service to the planning of special events.

6. Develop a special event business plan including relevant costs, expected revenue and economic impact

7. Support the provision of healthy, safe, and well-maintained events and tourism environments and substantiate the risk, liability and security needs of participants.

8. Apply knowledge of the various tourism industry sectors and their necessary interactions, both with each other and with government and other regulating bodies, in the provision of tourism products and services.

9. Apply human resources and leadership knowledge and skills, including managing the performance and development of staff and volunteers, to contribute to the management of a special event and/or destination tourism enterprise, and toward ongoing personal and professional development.

10. Contribute to marketing effectiveness to promote successful operation of events and tourism enterprises.

11. Create, plan and implement programs and activities that respond to identified needs and interests and maximize the delivery of personal, social, economic, and environmental benefits.

Program Pathways

  • The Special Events Planning program shares common courses with other Hospitality diploma programs at Fanshawe College which allows for program transfer.
  • Graduates of the Special Events Planning program will be able to proceed directly into the last year of other hospitality programs at Fanshawe College. Students are able to obtain two diplomas in only three years! Pathways exist to and from; Tourism & Travel, Hospitality - Hotel and Resort Services Management, Golf and Club Management, and Food & Beverage Management.
  • The Special Events Planning program fulfills the educational requirements for the industry certification designation: Certified Meeting Planner (CMP).
  • Graduates may be eligible for admission to the following graduate certificate programs at Fanshawe College: Guest Relations Management - Concierge Specialist, Hospitality and Tourism Operations Management, and Retirement Residence Management.
  • For information about Program Pathways visit www.fanshawec.ca/programpathways

Program Details

More details

Canadian Students

Start Dates
2019 September
London - Downtown
2020 January
London - Downtown
2020 September
London - Downtown
2021 January
London - Downtown
2021 January
London - Online

International Students

Start Dates
2019 September
London - Downtown
2020 January
London - Downtown
2020 September
London - Downtown
2021 January
London - Downtown
Program Code

Program Coordinator:

Emma Geraghty

Day Time
Ontario College Diploma
60 weeks