Individuals who would like to work in the field of project management may be wondering what kinds of graduate degrees would best assist them in accomplishing this goal. This article focuses on a number of master's degree programs that help students develop skills and knowledge that could be helpful as a project manager, as well as give them academic credentials that might make them stand out as a job applicant.
Best Types of Graduate Degree Programs for Careers in Project Management
Master's Degree in Project Management
Students who are generally interested in the field of project management itself may want to consider enrolling in a master's degree program in project management. These may be offered as Master of Science or Master of Professional Studies degrees, and both will equip students with a number of skills and abilities that are essential in the role of a project manager, like problem-solving, project planning/management, and negotiation, among others.
These programs may be available on a part-time or online basis to suit the needs of working professionals, and the curriculum is generally comprised of between 30 and 36 credit hours. Many programs may allow students to specialize in certain areas, depending on their career interests, like business intelligence, human resources management, or information technology. Because such a wide number of fields, including medicine, business and computer science, employ project managers, graduates of these programs may be eligible for positions in a variety of different industries.
Master's Degree in Information Technology Management
Students who know that they would like to be a project manager in a certain area may be wise to enroll in a graduate program that provides them with management skills specifically within that field. An example of this is enrolling in a master's degree program in information technology management. Because of the technical nature of this field, project managers who have experience with both information technology and management may be more attractive to potential employers.
In this type of master's program, coursework will likely cover different systems that are used in information technology, like security systems and cloud systems, in addition to how management concepts apply specifically to this field. Students will likely have to complete a capstone project in order to fulfill the graduation requirements. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job outlook for computer and information systems managers, into which project managers in this field would fall, is projected to grow by 12% between 2016 and 2026.
Master's Degree in Organizational Behavior
Another option for students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in order to enter the field of project management is a master's degree in organizational behavior. This field is focused on providing organizations and companies with guidance for efficiency, effective handling of problems or challenges, and profitability, among other aims. Select master's degrees in organizational behavior may be geared toward specific fields like human resources or management. Graduates from these programs are well-suited for jobs as project managers, as they could put the skills they learned to good use within the projects and companies where they are employed.
Admission Standards of the Best Graduate Degree Programs for Project Management
Because the above master's degree programs vary in nature, their admission requirements may reflect these differences. For example, some information technology management degrees may prefer applicants who have some background in undergraduate information technology courses, while others may not state this as a prerequisite. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the project management field and the related degree programs, often students from a variety of undergraduate and professional backgrounds are considered. However, students typically must follow a relatively standardized admissions process across all programs, which includes submitting a completed application file and having already completed a bachelor's degree by the time of admission. When applying, students will usually need to submit undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a resume or CV.
In summary, there are a number of master's degree programs that could best prepare students for the project management field. These programs all contain a management development component, regardless of the specific field of focus.