Online Project Management Master's Degree

Overview

A picture representing this degree

On time and under budget: Those are the goals of a project manager, whose work involves motivating and managing a team of employees to move large-scale projects from concept to completion.

To that end, online master’s degree programs in project management aim to equip students with a unique blend of hard skills - budgeting, planning and technical knowledge - and soft skills such as negotiation, communication and conflict resolution.

Course Work

Example courses
Integrated cost and schedule control
Strategic management and business policy
Human resource management
Introduction to supply chain management
Managerial economics
Project procurement management

Many programs align their curricula with the framework outlined by the Project Management Institute, an international organization for project management professionals.

Core courses for a master’s in project management often include organizational management, risk management and project quality assurance, as well as professional communications and organizational leadership and decision making. Students also learn about finance, human resources, cost analysis and scheduling while studying for their degree.

Many schools also offer bachelor’s degrees in project management, as well as graduate certificates, and many MBA programs offer concentrations in project management.

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Job Outlook

Median salaries by industry*
Project manager, construction $97,000
Project manager, healthcare $99,500
Project manager, information technology $104,000
Project manager, engineering $110,000
Project manager, pharmaceuticals $114,000

*per Project Management Institute

Career prospects for project managers are brightest in high-tech industries such as information technology and biotech, but are also strong in the construction and engineering sectors, according to PMI.

While a master’s degree is not required to work in the field - 43 percent of project managers working in the United States only have a bachelor’s degree, according to a PMI survey of nearly 13,500 industry professionals - project managers working in IT or engineering often have degrees or prior work experience in those fields. Prospective students may therefore want to consider first pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science or systems engineering.

Earning potential for students graduating from an online project management program also varies by industry. Median pay for a project manager working in the construction industry is close to $97,000, but climbs to nearly $104,000 for those working in information technology, and $114,000 for project managers in the pharmaceutical sector, according to PMI.

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