Contract Management Schools and Colleges: How to Choose

Contract management programs teach students how to oversee, negotiate, price and legally assess contracts with government, commercial and private entities. Business schools throughout the nation offer certificate, bachelor's and master's degree programs in contract acquisition and management.

Students interested in contract acquisition and management can find degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Online options can be found at either level.

Top 10 Management Schools

The following schools offer programs in general business administration and management.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition and Fees (2015-16)*
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergrad: $13,856 in-state, $43,476 out-of-state \ Grad: $20,966 in-state, $42,016 out-of-state
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergrad: $49,536 \ Grad: $34,268
University of California - Berkeley Berkeley, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergrad: $13,431 in-state, $38,139 out-of-state \ Grad: $13,431 in-state, $28,533 out-of-state
University of Virginia - Main Campus Charlottesville, VA 4-year, Public Undergraduate Certificate, Master's, Doctoral Undergrad: $15,192 in-state, $44,365 out-of-state \ Grad: $17,094 in-state, $26,892 out-of-state
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergrad: $8,591 in-state, $33,673 out-of-state \ Grad: $11,074 in-state, $28,285 out-of-state
New York University New York, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, Postgraduate certificate $40,984
University of Texas - Austin Austin, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergrad: $9,806 in-state, $34,676 out-of-state \ Grad: $10,934 in-state, $20,762 out-of-state
Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN 4-year, Public Master's $9,743 in-state, $28,113 out-of-state
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergrad: $46,704 \ Grad: $49,272
Rockhurst University Kansas City, MO 4-year, Private not-for-profit Undergraduate Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's Undergrad: $34,790 \ Grad: $15,250

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

All programs provide at least an overview of legal and regulatory issues regarding negotiation and acquisition. Some provide in-depth studies into specific state and federal contract laws. Students interested in contract management programs may want to keep these considerations in mind:

  • Graduates may find work in private business, non-profit organizations and government agencies.
  • Some certificate and graduate programs require several years' experience for acceptance, and some are designed specifically for experienced contract negotiators and administrators.
  • Many undergraduate programs focus on government contracting; private business and non-profit specializations can be found within graduate degree or post-graduate certificate programs.
  • The National Contract Management Association offers optional federal, commercial and professional contract management certification credentials for graduates of a bachelor's or master's degree program with one or more year's experience (www.ncmahq.org).

Certificate in Contract Management

Certificate programs are commonly offered as introductory or continuing education for managers, supervisors and administrators who require training in contract management. These programs typically consist of 30 hours of contract management education to help them gain useful, practical experience. They do not require any generally education coursework. Instruction areas include cost breakdowns, change management, negotiation, and administration.

Bachelor's Degree in Contract Management

There are only a handful of bachelor's degree programs in contract management in the country. Such programs train students how to manage a contract from proposal to completion, including payment strategies. Students interested in applying to a master's degree program in contract administration may find that bachelor's degree programs in business administration or finance lay a solid groundwork for concentrated graduate studies. Some undergraduate programs offer internships, which provide an opportunity for students to gain real-world experience in contract management. Courses could include legal regulations, accounting, contractual laws, and communication.

Master's Degree in Contract Management

Some master's programs focus on contract management, while others include contract management as a specialization within a broader management program. Coursework typically focuses on studies in government, commercial, public and private contracts, including development, negotiation, change management, cancellation and payment planning. Generally, master's programs require any bachelor's degree for admission, though some programs require specific courses for non-business majors. Additional coursework could include project management, business ethics, law, accounting, and finance.

Although few undergraduate programs offer a major in contract management, management programs do usually include courses in contract management. At the graduate level, programs focused on contract management are more common, but some are specializations offered through a larger management program.


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