Master’s in Project Management Degrees & Schools Guide

Masters Degree in Project Management Career Options & Salary

Why Earn a Master’s in Project Management?


A master’s degree in project management is vital if you want to gain a management position without first spending years gaining the requisite experience. These positions require a lot of base knowledge and technical information for you to succeed, which is why so many employers require their hires to already have master’s degrees. If you have a lot of time to work your way up, you can achieve the same results with many years of experience, but earning a degree gets you there much more quickly, even with the +-6 years it will take you to earn your masters in project management. All the more reason to get started right away.

Business Degrees & Career Paths


PROS

    A master’s degree in project management will help individuals seeking managerial, executive, or C-level positions within the profession. In fact, this field is becoming so competitive that many companies require a project management master’s degree for any management position. Project management tools and trends change as quickly as technology. A master’s degree in project management helps you to be able to adapt to such changes and keep your projects on task regardless of the challenges and obstacles. With a master’s degree, you will also be more qualified for positions than those who only have a bachelor’s degree, and you will make a significantly higher salary than individuals with project management bachelor’s degrees. Such a degree will also make it possible to complete professional and organizational certifications that require a master’s degree and are seen as necessary continued education for career advancement.

CONS

    One of the biggest potential cons is the potential not to make your master’s degree investment back from future salary increases. Some of the most prestigious project management programs offer a master’s degree for $30,000 or more. If your immediate job market does not pay well enough and you do not plan to move to a more competitive and higher-paying market, taking on $30,000 or more in debt may not be wise. Keep in mind that certain specializations in project management make more money than others. IT and engineering project managers make more money than most other specializations. Another potential drawback is the amount of time it takes to complete a master’s degree, particularly if you have full-time obligations to work, your community, or family. Many people find the balance to be too difficult to maintain and never complete the degree. While the benefits of a master’s degree in project management are significant, you have to decide whether or not it is right for you.

Types of Degrees Available for Master's


What Project Management Master’s Degrees are Available?


You will find very few, if any at all, Master of Arts (MA) Degrees in Project Management, as project management requires more technical, analytical, and informatics skills. The vast majority will be either a Master of Science (MS) in Project Management or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Project Management.

  • MS in Project Management
    An MS in Project Management will typically focus on the intricacies of project management that are not taught at the undergraduate level. Some such areas of focus might include business analysis, the latest project management methodologies such as Agile, business relationships, ethical leadership, and more.
  • MBA in Project Management
    An MBA in Project Management is also referred to as an MBA with a project management major, emphasis, concentration, or specialization. The title simply depends on the college or university and does not change the nature of the program in general. The difference between an MS in project management and an MBA in project management is that the MBA program provides a specialization in project management with a broader education based on managerial and high-level business concepts simultaneously.
  • Master’s Degree in Project Management to MBA Dual Degree Program
    Today, as colleges and universities attempt to solidify a greater market share of those who seek a master’s degree in project management, many higher learning institutions are beginning to provide a dual degree program that combines both a Master’s Degree in Project Management and an MBA. These programs minimize the time and cost it would take to complete both degrees individually and provide you with the best of both programs as required by exceptional project management professionals.

Admission Requirements


Most project management master’s degree programs will examine several aspects of your personal, academic, and professional life to determine your acceptance status. They will examine your bachelor’s degree GPA, whether or not you have any relevant work experience as a full-time employee or through an internship, your short-term and long-term goals, any community service and extracurricular participation, your communications skills, and your potential leadership capabilities.

Many schools require the completion of a graduate school entrance exam, such as a GRE or a GMAT, with a minimum score to be determined by the program. Each college and university will have unique requirements. If you complete a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the same school or if you meet certain GPA requirements in your bachelor’s degree program from an accredited higher learning institution, you will likely be able to waive the exam requirement. Often times, the more reputable the program the more stringent and grueling the application and admissions process.

How long does it take to earn a Master’s Degree in Project Management?


The time it takes to complete a master’s degree in project management will greatly depend on the amount of time you are able to commit to the program each term. If you can dedicate yourself to a classroom-based, fast-paced program, you can complete a project management master’s degree in as little as a year. The vast majority of project management programs at this level takes between one and two years. Online programs may take longer despite requiring fewer credits in some cases, particularly if you must dedicate most of your time to work, family, or your community. Keep in mind that, regardless of the length of time it takes to complete a master’s degree, many employers will reimburse you for your continued education as long as you enroll in an accredited program from an approved college or university and maintain a certain GPA.

Potential Careers in Project Management with a Master’s Degree


  • Continuous Improvement Manager
    A continuous improvement manager is a possible transition for individuals who start out in project management. This position requires strong analytical skills as well as strength in communication, organization, and working well with others. You must be able to identify problems and provide solutions to said problems to succeed.
    Median Salary: $82,400
  • IT Project Manager
    Being an IT project manager requires that you have strong skills in both technology and communication. These individuals will be required to work with a wide array of team members, from tech specialists to company leaders. If you do not possess both skill sets, you will likely not qualify for such positions.
    Median Salary: $86,100
  • Construction Project Manager
    A construction project manager specializes in organization, leadership, and the industry of construction. You must understand this industry to be able to succeed and secure highly sought-after positions. It is possible that you might work for yourself or be hired by a construction management business, a real estate developer, an architecture firm, or general contractors.
    Median Salary: $72,100
  • Operations Manager
    An operations manager is responsible for overseeing the entire operations of a company. It is essentially like managing many large projects at the same time, in both the short-term and the long-term. Many project managers will seek promotions as operations managers.
    Median Salary: $63,900
  • Chief Operating Officer (COO)
    Project managers who wish to advance their careers to the highest degree will do so by becoming a COO. These positions require at least a master’s degree in most circumstances. You will lead the operations and projects of a company from a high level and determine the directive of the organization rather than simply a single project.
    Median Salary: $140,800

Options to Advance


Unlike some other professions, experience within an industry is important to long-term career advancement in project management. It is essential that you understand reasonable pricing and time frames to complete projects within a specific industry to be able to complete your projects successfully. You will also require professional and organizational certifications with specializations in your preferred industry to reach managerial and executive promotions. These certifications are often provided in coordination with project management master’s degrees. Upon completion of such a degree, the best programs should have prepared you to take the professional certification exams that are highly desired from project managers to secure the best jobs.

Best Master’s of Science in Project Management Programs


  • Boston University
    Boston, Massachusetts

    Boston University has an MS in Project Management that will prepare you for professional certifications, such as PMP and IPMA. The program centralizes its focus on scheduling, budgeting, and tracking methodologies. It will also provide you with the ability to manage various communication tools and project resources.

    Degrees Offered:

    • MS in Project Management
    • Graduate Certificate in Project Management
  • Lehigh University
    Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

    Lehigh University has one of Pennsylvania’s premier master’s degree in project management offerings. The program focuses on project processes and management skills. It is an MBA program with a concentration in project management which will allow for career advancement with ease. The school also encourages community involvement that provides graduates with a competitive advantage.

    Degrees Offered:

    • MBA in Project Management
    • Project Management Certificate - Executive Education
  • University of Texas at Dallas
    Dallas, Texas

    The University of Texas at Dallas provides an alternative project management master’s degree program. It is unique in that you can either choose to complete a master’s degree in project management or to combine the degree with an MBA to save time and money. The initial project management master’s program can be completed in as little as 12 months. With the MBA path, you will participate in a study trip abroad.

    Degrees Offered:

    • MS in Project Management
    • MBA in Project Management
  • University of Denver
    Denver, Colorado

    The University of Denver offers master’s degrees with concentrations in project management. These programs are designed to empower students to be able to work on both small-scale and large-scale projects. They are also designed to prepare students for professional certifications upon graduation. A few of the specializations include Principles of Project Management, Project Contract and Procurement, Project Risk and Quality Management, and Project Management Dynamics.

    Degrees Offered:

    • MS in Organizational Leaders - Specialization in Project Management
    • MS in Project Management - Specialization in IT
  • Mississippi State University
    Mississippi State, Mississippi

    You can complete an MBA in Project Management at Mississippi State University. The program focuses on ethics, social responsibility, business trends, and adaptability. They also center the program around technology and communication so that their graduates are ready for leadership roles upon graduation.

    Degrees Offered:

    • MBA in Project Management

Traditional Schools Offering a MS in Project Management


  • Penn State University World Campus
    University Park, Pennsylvania

    The online education system of Penn State University is called Penn State University World Campus. The project management master’s degree offers an education that prepares graduates for a PMI certification. You will also be trained in ERP, project budgets, and supply chain management.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Project Management
    • Graduate Certificate in Project Management
  • University of Maryland University College
    Largo, Maryland

    At the University of Maryland, you can complete an online Master’s Degree in Management with a Project Management specialization. The program prepares participants to take project management certifications upon graduation. They also focus on risk, procurement, leadership, and project management tools.

    Degrees Offered:

    • MS in Management - Specialization Project Management
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
    Hoboken, New Jersey

    The Stevens Institute of Technology centers its project management master’s degree program around technical aspects of the field. You will learn about budgets, managing people, and project completion. You will also be highly trained in analytical and critical thinking. At the end, you will be ready to complete the PMI certification.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master’s Degree in Enterprise Project Management
  • Western Carolina University
    Cullowhee, NC

    Western Carolina University provides a master’s degree in project management for individuals with hands-on experience. If you aspire to management positions, they will train you for career advancement. All professors possess PMP certification, a doctorate degree, and actual project management experience working in the real world.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Project Management
    • Graduate Certificate in Project Management
  • Drexel University, Drexel LeBow College of Business
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Drexel University is a world-renown higher learning institution that offers an online master’s degree program in project management. You will learn how to manage several projects simultaneously and to integrate related projects with ease to meet end goals on time and on budget. You can also complete a PMI certification once you graduate.

    Degrees Offered:

    • MS in Project Management

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