Best Master’s in Project Management Degrees 2021

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Getting a Master’s Degrees in Project Management

Learners who enjoy overseeing complex undertakings often pursue careers in project management. These professionals need skills in budgeting, leadership, communication, and organization. Project managers guide undertakings through stages such as initiation and planning, implementation, and closure. Individuals in the field often manage internal teams, and they may collaborate with professionals from other organizations and areas.

While earning a project management degree, students cultivate the knowledge and skills necessary to complete project-based work in diverse industries. Graduates can secure positions in the engineering, construction, computer and information systems, and healthcare industries. Many project management positions require only a bachelor’s degree, but earning a master’s can help individuals qualify for more advanced management positions.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), project management specialists earn an average salary of $80,220 per year. Earning potential and employment projections vary by industry. According to the BLS, construction managers and information systems managers earn median annual salaries of $95,260 and $146,360, respectively. The BLS projects an 8% increase in employment for construction managers between 2019-2029 and a 32% growth in jobs for health services managers during the same time frame.

Applicants to master’s-level project management programs typically need strong letters of recommendation and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Some programs also require applicants to provide standardized test scores and to hold relevant work experience and prerequisite coursework. This guide includes academic and career information for individuals pursuing a master’s degree in project management.

FAQ


  • What jobs can you get with a project management degree?

    A project management master’s degree can qualify holders for high-level management positions in growing industries such as construction, software development, information technology, and healthcare.


  • Is a degree in project management worth it?

    Graduates of project management master’s programs often secure higher-paying jobs, which offset the financial investment of earning a graduate degree.


  • Are project managers in demand?

    The BLS projects a 5% growth in management occupations between 2019-2029, which translates to about 505,000 new jobs.


  • Is project manager a good career?

    Project managers often enjoy lucrative and diverse career options. Professionals in the field can work in many industries, and the BLS reports above-average earning potential for project management specialists.


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What Are the Goals of a Project Management Degree?

Project management often appears as a concentration option within master’s programs in business, management, and business administration. Students can earn an MS, MA, or MBA in project management. Master of science in project management programs typically focus on technical knowledge and skills, while MA and MBA programs usually include more general business coursework.

Students earning a project management master’s degree typically take courses on budgeting and finance, strategic management, risk management, and business communication. Learners pursuing a master of science in the field often specialize in a certain industry, such as human resources, construction, technology, or clinical trial design. Programs may also offer specializations in leadership, supply chain management, project business analysis, and human capital administration.

Why Get a Project Management Degree?



Earning a project management master’s degree can lead to benefits such as career advancement, improved job performance, and increased salary potential. The list below describes a few common benefits of obtaining a master’s degree in project management.

Salary Advancement
According to PayScale, graduates with a project management master’s degree earn an average salary of $80,250 per year. Alternatively, individuals with a bachelor’s in project management earn an average annual salary of $70,180.
Networking Opportunities
Master’s programs often attract accomplished professionals seeking additional education. Graduate students can benefit from the connections they make with peers during coursework and group projects.
Improved Job Performance
Master’s programs in project management help learners develop advanced skills that graduates can apply to roles in the field. Working professionals can apply these skills immediately to their current position.
Career Advancement
Many professionals pursue a master’s degree to become more competitive for upper-level management roles. A master’s degree can also help graduates transition to a project management career from another field.
Intellectual Stimulation
Graduate programs typically require rigorous, advanced coursework. Degree-seekers gain insights by studying research in the field, and they learn from instructors with professional experience.

What Are the Requirements for a Project Management Degree?

Applicants to project management master’s programs typically need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school. The most competitive candidates generally possess an academic or professional background in the field and a strong undergraduate GPA. Applicants may submit recommendation letters, official transcripts, an essay, a portfolio, and a resume. Some programs require GMAT or GRE scores.

Full-time students typically complete their project management master’s program in two years. However, accelerated programs may require less time. Most project management programs require 33-45 credits, including core business and management classes and concentration courses or electives. Some programs offer concentrations such as construction management and information technology management.

Many master’s-level curricula include group projects. Graduate students often complete internships to gain practical experience and bolster their resume. Typically, master’s students also complete a final project or a portfolio showcasing their skills.

What is Accreditation and Why Does it Matter?

Professional Organizations for Project Management Students



Many professional organizations offer resources for project management students and professionals. These organizations often provide networking opportunities, career development resources, and access to current research and news. Professional associations may also deliver continuing education opportunities, such as certification programs and online courses. The following list highlights a few prominent organizations for project management degree-seekers.


  • Project Management Institute PMI primarily serves current and aspiring program, project, and portfolio managers. This nonprofit helps members enhance their professional performance and development by providing research, advocacy, and continuing education opportunities. PMI also sets standards for project management education and practice.

  • International Project Management Association IPMA is a global association of project management organizations. The association connects organizations regionally and globally. IPMA encourages professional collaboration and networking, and the organization delivers continuing education opportunities and awards.

  • American Academy of Project Management Founded in 1966, the AAPM connects and educates project management educators and professionals. This professional organization accredits project management programs, offers online education and publications, and sets professional standards for the field.

  • American Management Association With more than 25,000 members worldwide, this professional development organization offers training, webinars, and certifications in various management-related fields. AMA also maintains a women's leadership center and hosts networking and professional development events.

Scholarships for Project Management Students

Project management degree-seekers often apply for scholarships to reduce out-of-pocket educational expenses. Graduate students may qualify for scholarships based on their identity or background. Many organizations also offer awards based on academic merit or financial need. The list below features a sampling of the scholarships available to learners pursuing a master’s in project management.

Dr. Harold Kerzner Scholarship Fund

Who Can Apply: Sponsored by the International Institute for Learning, Inc, The Project Management Institute administers this scholarship. The award supports undergraduate and graduate project management students attending accredited schools. Applicants must submit references, transcripts, a resume, and an essay.
Amount: Up to $7,500

280 Group Product Management Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The 280 Group offers this scholarship to undergraduate and graduate students in business-related programs. Scholarship winners receive access to a certification course that helps cultivate core product management skills. Applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA and must submit a short essay.
Amount: $500, plus access to the certified project manager course and exam

Mary Keith Memorial Academic Scholarship for Women

Who Can Apply: The Project Management Institute administers this scholarship to support women pursuing project management degrees at accredited U.S. schools. Applicants submit an essay, a resume, transcripts, and references.
Amount: Up to $3,000

PMI David I. Cleland Memorial Fellows Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Project Management Institute awards this scholarship to master’s students in project management-related programs. Applicants must attend an accredited school and submit transcripts, references, a resume, and a short essay.
Amount: Up to $2,000

Best Master’s in Project Management Degrees 2021



  1. Georgetown University
    Location

    Washington, DC

    A research university located in Washington, D.C., Georgetown offers a master of professional studies in project management. Students can attend full time or part time, either on campus or online. Students can take 12 credits per term and complete the degree in one year or take one course per term and finish in five years.

    The 30-credit program begins with two core classes: ethics and a capstone course. Five foundation courses include project management fundamentals, project initiation and planning, and communications and collaborations for managers. Students become well-versed in agile principles and take nine credits of approved electives to customize their degree track.

    The school of professional studies does not require GRE or GMAT scores. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree. Georgetown is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  2. University of Southern California
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Located in Los Angeles, USC offers an online master of science in project management. Students may enroll full time or part time to complete the program in 12-24 months.

    Students begin the curriculum with core courses introducing the principles of project management. Courses include principles of project management, elicitation and project analytics, scheduling, and cost estimation and forecasting. Students also explore risk management principles and become familiar with agile project management principles. A project management capstone towards the end of the program allows students to explore the curriculum in the context of real project analysis.

    Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Students do not need to send in GRE or GMAT scores to apply. USC is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

  3. Drexel University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Drexel offers a master of science in project management. Students take two courses per quarter, and most finish in as few as 24 months.

    Students take project management core, electives, and a capstone course to complete the 45-credit program. Core courses include an introduction to project management, project estimation and cost management, project risk assessment and management, and managing multiple projects. Students then move to 12 credits of electives to further direct their learning experience. A capstone project allows students to examine project management principles and apply learned skills to a real project.

    Students do not need to send GRE or GMAT scores to apply. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. Drexel is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  4. The George Washington University
    Location

    Washington, DC

    Based in Washington, D.C., GW offers a master of science in project management. Students can finish the 33-credit program in about two years.

    Project management core courses include project management finance, directed computational project management, executive decision-making, and project portfolio management. Students take two electives: an approved option in decision sciences and one chosen in partnership with their advisor. A capstone project allows students to demonstrate mastery of skills and build a case history.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. The school does not specify a minimum GPA requirement, but the average admitted student possesses a GPA of 3.2. Students do not need to submit GMAT or GRE scores, but they may send them to strengthen an application.

    GW is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Project Management Institute Global Accreditation Center.

  5. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
    Location

    Daytona Beach, FL

    Based in Daytona Beach, Florida, Embry-Riddle offers a master of science in project management. Students take courses solely online and can finish the 30-credit program in as few as 12 months.

    Students begin the program with core courses such as planning and execution of strategy, foundations for project management, management science for project managers, and contemporary project management. Students become familiar with the concepts of project scope, schedule, cost, and procurement management. A capstone experience allows students to demonstrate skills mastery.

    The school allows students to transfer credits into the graduate program on a case-by-case basis. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and possess a minimum GPA of 2.0 to qualify for admission. Students do not need to submit GMAT or GRE scores.

    Embry-Riddle is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Project Management Institute Global Accreditation Center.

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