Students who want to earn a master's degree in government have a few different degree options. The most common is a Master of Science (M.S.) in Acquisition and Contract Management, but students may also earn a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) with a concentration in government contracting.
These two-year programs are designed to prepare individuals for leadership positions in the government procurement field by training them in all aspects of the federal acquisition process, including federal government cost and pricing policies, government contract components and methodologies, government budgeting processes and the history of the federal acquisition process. Prior to graduation, students must submit a thesis in the form of an original research project, government policy analysis, or working internship.
In order to apply, students must have a bachelor's degree, preferably with some training in basic accounting and business practices. Other required application materials include GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and an admissions essay.
Master of Science in Government Contracting
Most master's degree programs in government contracting offer a focused curriculum with few or no elective requirements. Possible core course titles include:
- Cost principles
- Components of negotiation
- Public administration foundations
- Public administration ethics
- Organizational behavior
Employment Prospects and Salary Info
A master's degree in government contracting should enable the graduate to pursue a range of employment opportunities in both the public and private sectors. A few sample job titles are included below.
- Industrial property manager
- Cost analysis officer
- Budget analyst
- Financial management consultant
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for purchasing managers - a group that includes procurement managers - was expected to see only about a 4% increase between 2018 and 2028, which is slower than the national average for all occupations. As of 2018, purchasing managers who worked for the federal government earned a median annual salary of $134,790.
Continuing Education Information
The master's degree is the terminal degree in the field of acquisition and contract management. For students who want to pursue a doctoral degree, there are programs available in related fields. Examples include a Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Organizational Behavior, either of which can prepare students for careers in research, academia or government policymaking.
Overall, a master's degree in government contracting provides advanced training in the field and prepares students for high-level industry positions or further education.