Best Online Project Management Master's Degree Programs
Explore the top schools with online project management master's degree programs. Learn about program components, such as length and courses, as well as what careers are available to graduates.
Top Schools with Online Project Management Master's Programs
When determining the top schools for an online project management master's degree program, it's important to consider factors such as cost, flexibility and program length. The top 20 schools with online master's degree programs in project management are listed below.
1. Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
|Location||Tuition & Fees (in-state)|
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota was founded in 1912 and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and its project management program is separately accredited by the Project Management Institute Global Accreditation Center (PMI GAC). The online Master of Science in Project Management program consists of 36 credits hours, takes around 2 years to complete and has a tuition rate of $660 per credit hour. Courses in the program include those in project leadership, risk management, communications and project costing. Most coursework is optimized for the iPad, letting students work on assignments on the go.
2. University of Wisconsin-Platteville
|Location||Tuition & Fees (in-state)|
The University of Wisconsin at Platteville was founded in 1866 and offers flexible online and on-campus programs with world-renowned faculty. The public university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and its Master of Science in Project Management program is accredited by the PMIGAC. The program consists of 30 to 36 credit hours and allows students to choose from three optional concentrations: integrated supply chain management, human capital administration or managing engineering projects. Students have a tuition rate of $424 to $932, depending on residency, and have courses in organizational behavior, techniques in project management and interpersonal skills.
3. Sam Houston State University
|Location||Tuition & Fees (in-state)|
Sam Houston State University has been providing educational programs for around 140 years and emphasizes service and academic excellence from faculty and students. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and offers an online Master of Science in Project Management program. The program prepares students to take the Project Management Institute (PMI) certification exam and has a cost of $3,732.75 per 9-credit semester, which includes tuition and fees. Students are required to complete 36 credit hours which includes courses in project management, quality management, leadership and human resources.
4. Dallas Baptist University
|Location||Tuition & Fees (in-state)|
Dallas Baptist University seeks to improve students and their lives so that they can improve the world around them. Accredited by the SACSCOC, the school was founded in 1898 and offers a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Project Management online. The program has a tuition rate of $1,004 (per credit), includes 36 credit hours of coursework and allows students to add a second concentration to their degree (12 additional credits). Students in the program take courses in project management, business ethics, leadership and problem-solving.
5. The College of Saint Scholastica
|Location||Tuition & Fees (in-state)|
The College of Saint Scholastica was founded in 1912 and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The Master of Science in Project Management here boasts faculty with experience in the field, advanced degrees and Project Management Professional certification. The program has a tuition rate of $565 per credit hour and consists of 37 credit hours completed through 8-week terms. The curriculum consists of courses in decision making, leadership, project management techniques, communication and organizational change.
|Rank||School Name||Location||Tuition & Fees (in-state)|
|6||Central Michigan University||Mount Pleasant, MI||$13,804|
|7||Granite State College||Concord, NH||$8,610|
|8||Cornerstone University||Grand Rapids, MI||$13,990|
|9||New England College||Henniker, NH||$13,560|
|10||Wayland Baptist University||Plainview, TX||$12,730|
|11||Oklahoma Baptist University||Shawnee, OK||$9,900|
|12||Saint Leo University||Saint Leo, FL||$8,498|
|13||Florida Institute of Technology||Melbourne, FL||$22,588|
|14||George Washington University||Washington, DC||$30,834|
|15||Fairfax University of America||Fairfax, VA||$13,268*|
|16||Colorado State University-Global Campus||Aurora, CO||$9,000|
|17||Bellevue University||Bellevue, NE||$11,025|
|18||Brenau University||Gainesville, GA||$12,910|
|19||Charleston Southern University||Charleston, SC||$7,540|
|20||City University of Seattle||Seattle, WA||$15,450|
All table data is provided by the National Center for Education Statistics; tuition represents the 2018-2019 school year.
*2019-2020 school year
Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.
Overview of Online Project Management Master's Degree Programs
Online project management master's degree programs can usually be completed without any visits to campus. Depending on the school and course, classes may be delivered in traditional 16-week lengths or in accelerated terms (such as 8-weeks). Master's degree programs in project management can lead to several different types of degrees, including:
- Master of Business Administration: Concentration in Project Management
- Master of Science in Project Management
- Master of Project Management
Admission requirements vary by school and program, but students need to have a bachelor's degree for entry into project management master's degree programs. Most schools do not require that students hold a bachelor's degree in a specific field, but they generally prefer students to have earned a specific GPA on their undergraduate coursework (such as a 2.75). In addition, some programs require that students submit a qualifying score on a graduate entrance exam (such as the GMAT) and have a specific number of years of work experience (such as two years); some schools that do require students to have work experience prefer that experience to be in a leadership role while other schools do not.
Online project management master's degree programs usually contain around 30-40 credit hours of coursework. Full-time students typically finish these programs in two years, although students can finish faster or slower by taking more/fewer credits each semester. In addition, students who have completed some graduate coursework previously may be able to transfer some of their previously earned credits into the online program. Decreasing the number of credits required cuts down on the overall program length. For example, a student who transfers in 12 credits could complete the remaining 24 credit hours in one year by taking 2 classes each 8-week term, or 4 classes during each standard semester.
Some online project management master's degree programs have specifically set curriculum and other programs allow students to choose some courses of interest from a handful of electives. Other schools offer specific degree concentrations within the curriculum so that students can prepare for specific roles. Some concentrations that are available to online project management master's degree students are listed below.
- Supply Chain Management - Students take an in-depth look at supply chain components and effective methods for managing supply chains in various industries.
- Construction Management - In this concentration, students study construction laws and processes and learn how to become effective leaders in the industry.
- Engineering - Engineering concentrations give students a broad understanding of practices and theories in engineering, and dives into the particular challenges of leading engineering projects.
Online project management master's degree programs usually include courses in leadership, project management and related subjects. Although specific courses vary by program and concentration (when applicable), many include some of the courses listed below.
- Communication - This course examines various communication topics and styles, including written and oral communication, and helps students develop professional communication skills.
- Accounting - In this course, students explore the internal systems of organizational accounting and develop an understanding of topics such as budgeting and costs.
- Finance - This course explores organizational financial topics such as capital structure, budgeting, dividends and managing working capital.
- Project Management Fundamentals - Courses like these provide an overview of primary terms and practices in project management, including topics such as costs, scheduling and managerial roles.
- Decision Making - Students review ethics and other implications of decision making as well as topics such as risk assessment and contingency preparations.
- Advanced Project Management - Advanced project management courses dive deeper into the techniques and resources used in project planning, controlling and maintenance.
- Leadership - Students review variants in behavior as well as appropriate approaches and strategies to leading diverse teams and individuals in organizations.
- Project Quality - This class focuses on the techniques of ensuring project quality, and may cover topics such as quality history and variables.
- Risk Management_ - Students become more familiar with risks in project management and different methods for monitoring, assessing and responding to risks.
Accreditation for Online Project Management Master's Degree Programs
Students of online project management master's degree programs should understand the difference between institutional accreditation and programmatic accreditation. Institutional accreditation applies to an entire school and can be awarded by one of about a dozen accrediting agencies (both national and regional). Programmatic accreditation applies specifically to programs or departments. The main accrediting body of project management programs is the Project Management Institute's Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs (GAC). Students aren't required to graduate from GAC-accredited programs, but these programs can streamline the process of obtaining certification from the Project Management Institute and increase employment opportunities.
What Can You Do with an Online Project Management Master's Degree?
There are a variety of careers that graduates of online project management master's degree programs can pursue. Depending on interests, work history and concentration, graduates may be qualified to work in some of the positions discussed below.
Construction managers oversee construction projects and are responsible for their budgets, planning and implementation. Their duties can include choosing subcontractors, assessing problems and responding to any issues that arise, as well as preparing timetables and budgets. Construction managers typically need to have earned a degree related to construction, so students interested in this position that do not have construction in their work experience should look for a project management program with a concentration in construction management.
Medical and Health Services Managers
Medical and health services managers are responsible for coordinating healthcare offices, departments, practices and even entire facilities. Their duties can include preparing budgets, hiring staff, scheduling employees and events, and ensuring regulatory compliance. Many medical and health services managers have experience working in the field of healthcare and a degree in a leadership field, such as management or business administration. Project management graduates interested in this position may need to pursue a program with a healthcare concentration to increase their employment odds if they do not have experience working in healthcare.
Computer and Information Systems Managers
Computer and information systems managers oversee the computer-related operations of businesses and other organizations. Their duties can include keeping up with changes in technology, directing the tasks of department employees, updating equipment as needed and maintaining and repairing computer components. Computer and information systems managers usually have an undergraduate degree in a computer-related field and/or some work experience in the industry. Graduates of project management programs with a concentration in information technology or experience in the field have greater employment odds than those that do not.
Purchasing managers supervise purchasing agents and purchasing buyers, who buy services and items to be resold or used. The duties of purchasing managers can include attending trade shows, negotiating agreements and contracts, evaluating different suppliers and vendors and maintaining records. Purchasing managers typically need some experience in procurement and at least a bachelor's degree in a field such as project management. Candidates can obtain one of several optional certifications, such as the Certified Purchasing Professional, in order to increase their employment opportunities.
Industrial Production Managers
Industrial production managers are responsible for supervising the functions of plants, including manufacturing plants. Their duties can include hiring staff, reviewing and analyzing production data, efficiently utilizing resources and monitoring production. Many employers prefer candidates to have several years of experience relating to production or a graduate degree in a field such as business administration. Project management students who concentrate their program in industrial management are able to effectively prepare for both the managerial roles and the industrial operations pertaining to these roles.
Architectural and Engineering Managers
These managers oversee the operations of their respective companies and ensure that they are running smoothly. Their duties can include creating and maintaining budgets, ensuring compliance, staying up to date with practices in their field and coordinating staff. Many employers prefer candidates with significant work experience in their field and a degree in engineering or architecture. Students interested in these roles may prefer to earn a project management degree with a concentration in engineering if they do not have significant work experience in the field.
|Job Title||Median Annual Salary (2018)||Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||$99,730||18%|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||$142,530||11%|
|Industrial Production Managers||$103,380||1%|
|Architectural and Engineering Managers||$140,760||3%|
All salary and job growth data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Professional Resources for Project Management Graduates
There are dozens of organizations available to graduates of online project management master's degree programs. Depending on their chosen careers, individuals may choose to join organizations based on their industry. Some of the organizations that are specifically catered to project management professionals are listed below.
- Project Management Institute - PMI is the largest project management organization, with more than 500,000 members across the globe. Members have access to professional development, planning templates, networking and certifications.
- Association for Project Managers - APM offers consulting and training services to project management professionals and clients. Membership is not required, as APM offers free resources online and paid services on-site (such as training sessions).
- International Project Management Association - IPMA helps project managers increase their preparation and credibility for project management roles around the world. IPMA offers events, certifications and networking through both individual and organizational memberships.