Project Management Graduate Degrees
Learn about master's and doctoral degree programs in project management. Find out common course topics and admission requirements, and learn the employment outlook and average salary for project managers.
What Kinds of Courses Can I Take?
You'll study topics like team leadership, business development, risk assessment and project-specific partnerships. You'll learn how to create and modify project budgets, maintain client relationships, handle project-scheduling conflicts and make informed decisions using quantitative data. There are no general education requirements in a master's program, but most schools will ask you to write a final thesis paper in order to graduate.
The main component of a Ph.D. program is the dissertation process, which includes finding a faculty advisor, assembling a review committee and writing a scholarly paper on the research topic of your choice. A master's degree can be earned in 2-3 years, while a Ph.D. program may take 5-7 years to complete.
|Common Courses||Business development, risk assessment, leadership|
|Prerequisites||A bachelor's degree is required for enrollment in all programs; some schools may require standardized test scores, a personal statement, work experience, and/or letters of recommendation|
|Learning Environments||Traditional classroom, fully online, and hybrid programs are available|
|Possible Work Environments||Education, construction, information technology, marketing|
|Potential Salary (2019)||Project managers between the 10th and 90th percentiles earned $55,000 to $125,000 per year|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||12% growth (for all computer & information systems managers)|
|Career Options||Financial analyst, professional accountant, financial consultant, transaction services associate, asset manager|
Source: PayScale.com, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Are There Any Prerequisites?
You'll need to have a bachelor's degree before applying, preferably in engineering, science or math. Most schools will ask you to submit your Graduate Records Exam (GRE) or Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) scores, as well as a short essay outlining your career goals. A minimum of two years of professional experience is usually required by most graduate programs. You'll need to submit your resume along with 2-3 letters of recommendation from teachers or employers.
Are Online Programs Available?
Some project management graduate degrees are offered entirely online, while others may ask you to attend a few campus-based classes or seminars per year. Because teachers of online classes often use web discussion forums, streaming video applications and e-mail to deliver lectures and tests, you'll need a computer with Internet access and word processing software. An online degree might be the right decision if you can't relocate or you need a flexible schedule. Most schools allow you to access course materials at your convenience.
What Can I Do With a Project Management Graduate Degree?
A master's degree in the field might help you find work as a project manager for a marketing, information technology (IT) or construction firm. A doctoral (Ph.D.) degree may be good preparation if you're interested in scholarly research or becoming a university professor.
How Much Can I Earn?
According to PayScale.com, project managers made between $55,000 and $125,000 in 2019, with those in the IT sector earning at the high end of the spectrum. Post-doctoral research associates made between $39,000 and $67,000 during the same year, and university professors took in between $51,000 and $156,000.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employment of project managers would grow by an estimated 12% between 2016 and 2026 (www.bls.gov). During the same period, there would be a 15% employment increase in the number of employed postsecondary teachers.