Best Online Master’s in Project Management Degrees

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What Are the Goals of a Project Management Degree?

Natural leaders thrive as project managers, who execute and oversee an idea from its inception to completion. Highly organized individuals with strong interpersonal communication skills also excel as project managers, who supervise teams in hospitality, civil engineering, healthcare, and human resources.

Online master’s programs in project management introduce students to methodologies and skills such as quality assurance, risk management, human resources, and team leadership. Online master’s programs also provide hands-on experience through capstone projects in which students assess operations in local organizations.

Many learners enter project management programs with military or career experience that can often count as college credit. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), project managers earned a median annual salary of $73,570 in 2019.

Read on to learn more about the courses offered in an online master’s in project management degree and the scholarships available.

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FAQ

What does a project manager do?

Project managers supervise teams of employees, prioritize tasks, manage budgets, and conduct risk management. Project managers serve as a liaison between staff and management.

What project management software is there?

Project management software such as Trello, Asana, and Monday.com allows all members of a team to easily share information, track project developments, and manage assets.

What industries need project managers?

Project managers have the tools and educational background that appeal to employers across different industries. Employers in construction, finance and insurance, and healthcare rely on project managers.

Accreditation for an Online Project Management Degree

Accreditation provides students with evidence of a school or university’s credibility. Under the guidance of the U.S. Department of Education, third-party agencies oversee the national and regional accreditation process. Employers often prefer candidates who earn a degree from a school with regional accreditation, a designation considered more prestigious than national accreditation.

Accreditation matters for practical reasons. Students pursuing online graduate programs cannot receive federal financial aid from schools that do not hold nationally recognized accreditation.

Online programs also receive accreditation. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission assesses online programs to ensure that they meet quality standards and policies. To receive accreditation, distance learning programs must undergo a voluntary examination and meet academic criteria.

Learn more about why accreditation matters.

 
 

Project Management Masters Degree

The best online master’s in project management degrees offer students a flexible and well-rounded curriculum with competitive tuition rates. The online master’s programs listed below serve students through concentrations, specialized courses, and comprehensive capstone projects.

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. George Washington University
    Location

    Washington, DC

    Tuition

    $30834

    With more than 26,000 students from across the world, GW is a global university located in Washington, D.C. The university's prime location allows both online and on-campus students to engage with world leaders.

    Created 24 years ago, the online master of science in project management is among GW's oldest specialized online degrees. The program's faculty boasts experience in various industries, including engineering, IT, and astrophysics. They also possess industry connections in the private and public sectors. GW emphasizes course flexibility, making its online master's programs ideal for working students. Online learners experience the same courses as those on campus.

    Full-time students and working part-time students complete the degree in 18-24 and 30-48 months, respectively. Courses count as 1.5-3 credits, with lower-credit courses lasting just seven weeks.

  2. New York University
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $45426

    NYU is one of the nation's largest private universities, serving more than 50,000 students. Since its founding in 1833, NYU has offered degrees designed to elevate the middle class by teaching employable skills.

    NYU offers a Project Management Institute (PMI)-accredited online master of science in project management. The school reports that 95.8% of graduates find employment within six months. The program requires 36 credits split among core courses, specialization courses, and a three-credit capstone. Students may begin studying in the fall, spring, or summer semesters.

    Online project management applicants must submit college or university transcripts, a resume, a personal goals statement, and two academic or professional recommendations. Students complete applications online.

  3. Georgetown University
    Location

    Washington, DC

    Tuition

    $50012

    As the country's oldest Catholic university, Georgetown boasts plenty of experience teaching students from all backgrounds. The school's 17,000 learners come from around the world to experience a flexible liberal arts education.

    Available online or in a hybrid format, Georgetown's master's in project management prepares students for various careers that require planning and managing projects. This online master's degree requires 30 credits and takes 2-5 years to complete, depending on students' enrollment status. Required courses include project planning, project initiation and development, and a three-credit capstone. Degree-seekers may take up to nine credits each semester and can begin the program during the fall, spring, or summer semesters.

    Online students complete the same curriculum and receive access to all the same university resources as on-campus students. Georgetown charges a total tuition rate for the online project management degree.

  4. Golden Gate University-San Francisco
    Location

    San Francisco, CA

    Tuition

    $16095

    Since its founding in 1901, GGU has offered students degrees that advance careers. Many of GGU's students are adult learners who continue working while earning their degrees.

    The school's online master of science in project management prepares students for project management careers. Degree-seekers complete the 33 credits entirely online or in a hybrid format with some courses in San Francisco. While GGU does not require a capstone course, students can complete a for-credit internship. Graduates possess strong program management skills and know how to use technology for digital project management. GGU waives foundation courses for select students, reducing the number of required credits.

    Online project management applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Before applying to the online graduate school, students may individually complete up to nine credits that count toward the project management degree.

  5. Regis University
    Location

    Denver, CO

    Tuition

    $13177

    Based in Denver, Colorado, Regis provides students with a holistic education that develops the whole person. Curriculum in most Regis programs reflects holistic education, emphasizing a combination of employable skills and personal development courses. Despite requiring just 30 credits, the online master of science in project leadership and management follows this format.

    Students complete this online master's degree entirely from a distance. Courses include project monitoring and delivery, leading in a new era, and a strategic corporate social responsibility capstone course. The degree strives to prepare students -- including current managers -- to become better leaders. The program also emphasizes employable skills, such as risk management, communication, and utilization of business intelligence through technology.

    Regis reviews applications to the program holistically, meaning the school does not require a specific GPA, test score, or number of references. Instead, applicants submit all relevant materials online and potentially take part in a faculty interview.

  6. Boston University
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Tuition

    $53572

    With more than 35,000 students spread across three physical campuses and an online campus, BU is one of the region's largest private research institutions. The school emphasizes the importance of making higher education accessible to more students, and the online master of science in project management reflects this mission.

    BU's project management degree requires 40 credits with each course worth four credits. Most credits focus on project management, though students with PMI-accredited certificates can waive some of these credits. Degree-seekers can also specialize their program through required specialization courses. Most students complete the program in 18-24 months.

    BU offers the project management degree entirely online or in a hybrid format. Online graduate students secure financial aid through scholarships, grants, and occasionally in-person graduate assistantships.

  7. Northeastern University
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Tuition

    $24195

    Northeastern runs campuses across the globe and boasts a large professional and education network. This network comprises the Global Network, a distance education program that allows students from around the world to complete degrees online.

    Northeastern's online master of science in project management boasts PMI-Global Accreditation Center (GAC) accreditation and requires no visas. The number of required credits depends on professional experience. Individuals with more than three years of project management experience complete roughly 36 credits. The program requires a three-credit capstone and 12 credits toward one of 10 concentrations. Students can also earn credits through virtual experiential learning, available through the university's network or students' current employers.

    Applicants must submit a statement of purpose, a resume, two recommendation letters, and undergraduate transcripts. International students must submit English language proficiency proof. Northeastern charges a total tuition rate for the entire program, though some students receive financial aid.

  8. Penn State World Campus
    Location

    State College, PA

    Tuition

    $21772

    After more than 100 years of offering distance education, Penn State launched its World Campus in 1998 to reach even more distance students. Most programs emphasize employable skills and offer flexible structures to accommodate working adult learners.

    The World Campus' online master of project management requires 30 credits. Learners pay a flat per-credit tuition rate. Six of the credits go toward a career track in enterprise architecture, enterprise resource planning, supply chain management, engineering, or independent study. Also, because Penn State's online, 12-credit graduate certificate in project management requires the same courses as the master's degree, students earning the master's degree can complete the certificate without increasing the time it takes to finish either program.

    Penn State World Campus accepts students during the spring, summer, and fall semesters. Qualified applicants need an accredited bachelor's degree, two references, and a statement of purpose. The school does not require GRE or GMAT scores.

  9. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Tuition

    $8333

    Founded in 1971, Liberty trains its students to become champions for Christ. In a short period of time, Liberty has grown to educate over 100,000 students, many of whom are adult learners or military members who prefer the flexibility of distance education.

    Liberty's online master of science in project management requires 36 credits and takes roughly 1.5 years to complete. Liberty offers courses fully online in accelerated eight-week formats. Some required courses include supply chain management, operations management, and leading organizational change. Degree-seekers with previous graduate degree credits can transfer up to 18 credits. The online project management program covers basic skills required to sit for the Certified Associate in Project Management exam.

    Applicants need an accredited bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA. Liberty charges a per-credit tuition rate and offers a tuition discount to military members.

  10. Florida Institute of Technology
    Location

    Melbourne, FL

    Tuition

    $22588

    Based in Melbourne, Florida, Florida Tech is a private research college with close connections to the aerospace industry. Many of the school's graduates find positions with public and private aerospace organizations.

    The PMI and GAC-accredited master of business administration in project management combines online classes with hands-on experience to increase graduates' employability. Because business professionals can perform many operations remotely, the project management program teaches students leadership, teamwork, and other management skills, all through online courses. Learners can also complete contact hours that count toward credit and satisfy prerequisites for various PMI certifications.

    Online project management students complete 12 project management specialization courses, 21 business core courses, and a three-credit capstone for a total of 36 credits. Full-time learners complete this program in roughly two years. Applicants may apply transfer credits and do not pay an application fee.

Career and Salary Outlook for Project Managers

Experience, educational level, and location all impact a project manager’s salary. Salaries also vary depending on the industry. For example, project managers working in information technology make an average annual salary of $87,895, according to PayScale. In construction, project managers make an average salary of $74,036 per year. On the lower end of the pay scale, project managers in marketing make an average of $61,497 annually.

Project managers with additional credentials or continuing education credits can further boost their earning potential. Earnings may also differ depending on bonuses and commission. The PayScale salary averages listed below represent estimates.

No matter the industry, management positions should increase in the coming years. The BLS projects all management jobs to grow by 7% between 2018 and 2028.

General/Unspecified IndustryConstructionIT
$73,901$74,036$87,895

Source: PayScale

Certifications and Licensure for Project Managers

Certifications and licenses provide project managers with specialized project management training to enhance their resumes. Employers often prefer candidates with specialized skill sets and mastery of industry software or methodologies. Students can obtain certifications during an online master’s program. Professional organizations also offer post-graduate certifications, including the three options listed below.

  • Certified Associate in Project Management: The CAPM certification appeals to professionals who manage large-scale projects. Administered by the Project Management Institute, the three-hour test consists of 150 questions. Candidates must complete 23 hours of project management continuing education before applying. This certification prepares project managers to take the project management professional exam.
  • Certified ScrumMaster: This certification appeals to project managers across all industries who want to strengthen their understanding of Scrum methodology and frameworks. Project managers who pursue this certification generally work in software development. The certification consists of an online or in-person session with a certified Agile coach. To earn the certification, applicants must complete a 50-question test, which takes about 60 minutes.
  • Project Management Professional: This certification is the next stepping stone in professional development for individuals who took the CAPM. Candidates need a four-year degree with three years of career experience and 35 hours of continuing education experience in project management. Otherwise, applicants need a current CAPM certification or five years of work experience and an associate degree.

Courses in Project Management Programs

Earning an online master’s in project management provides students with a foundation in current industry standards and methodologies. Graduates leave these programs with an understanding of risk management and how to maximize team performance and perform a cost analysis. The practical skills students learn through hands-on assignments teach them how to prioritize, plan, and schedule projects. They also become adept at using industry tools and software.

However, each online master’s degree differs in focus. For example, a master’s in business administration degree with a concentration in project management features more business-focused courses than an online master’s in project management.

The following examples are common courses featured in an online master’s in project management.

Agile Fundamentals

This course teaches students how to implement incremental management practices as outlined in the Agile Manifesto. Developed to manage software development projects, Agile now applies to many industries.

Project Risk Management

This course teaches students how to mitigate and respond to risks. Students learn about the internal and external risks involved in project management and how to conduct qualitative and quantitative project risk analysis. The tools and skills that students learn in this course can apply to construction, finance, and healthcare.

Project Planning and Scheduling

This course teaches students how to implement frameworks to proactively manage project schedules and work under time and financial constraints. Coursework covers topics like linear resource leveling, chain scheduling, and program evaluation review techniques. Students also learn about the legal responsibilities associated with contracts.

Introduction to Project Management

Students taking this course learn the principles and skills needed to become project managers. Topics include resource allocation, risk assessment, progress monitoring, and recruitment. Instructors often use case studies to demonstrate how project managers can implement industry tools and methods.

Capstone Project

At the end of a master’s program, students must typically complete a capstone project that allows them to integrate what they have learned. Students often work at a local organization to assess and analyze management operations for a final capstone project.

Scholarships for Project Managers

Students earning a master’s in project management can explore the five scholarships below.

Dr. Harold Kerzner Project Management Scholarships

Who Can Apply: Undergraduate and graduate learners studying project management at an accredited college can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must submit a resume, transcripts, two references, and an essay.
Amount: $7,500

Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Undergraduate and graduate women pursuing business-related majors can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must be in their final year of a master’s program. Applicants must submit an essay to their local Zonta club.
Amount: $1,000-$7,000

PMTI’s Annual $500 Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Project Management Training Institute offers a $500 scholarship to aspiring project managers. Applicants must be enrolled full time in an accredited college.
Amount: $500

SILA Post Secondary College Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Securities and Insurance Licensing Association Foundation offers this scholarship to college learners studying business administration, education, finance or accounting. Students pursuing information technology, insurance studies, marketing, or math may also apply. Candidates need a minimum of a 3.0 GPA and U.S. citizenship.
Amount: $2,500

Bishop/Kloch Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Established to honor the founders of the Baltimore chapter of the Project Management Institute, this scholarship benefits undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a project management program in Baltimore, Maryland.
Amount: $2,500

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