Best Online Master's Degrees in Acquisition and Contract Management

Jun 04, 2021

What Is an Online Master's in Acquisition and Contract Management Degree?

A master's degree in acquisition and contract management prepares the graduate for different professional career options in governmental and commercial positions. The master's program is multi-disciplinary and is designed for the student to become proficient in business, financial management, and procurement principles. More specifically, the student will be able develop business relationships and complete financial contracts and subcontracting plans.

Wide knowledge is gained through a varied course of study including business, law, economics, and research. Some students who pursue a master's degree in this field have already been employed as a contract manager or administrator and usually have a bachelor's in a business-related field.

The Best Online Masters Degree Programs in Acquisition and Contract Management

School Tuition* Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
1 Central Michigan University $17150 70% 61% 96% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits
2 Webster University $13500 57% 58% 96% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits
3 Florida Institute of Technology $22588 66% 59% 93% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit Study.com's ranking methodology page.

*Tuition information is based on published tuition and required fees, per data by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Why Should I Get an Online Acquisition and Contract Management Master's Degree?

One should get a master's degree in online acquisition and contract management because it prepares the graduate for careers in the government and private sector with higher-level positions and leadership opportunities, as well as those who want to pursue a doctorate in the field. Obtaining a master's in this field is equivalent to two years of work experience and helps propel them towards midlevel and advanced level contract management positions.

How Long Does It Take to Earn an Online Master's in Acquisition and Contract Management?

All courses, including transfer credits and degree requirements, should be completed within five consecutive years. A minimum GPA of 3.0 has to also be maintained with a typical number of credits totaling 36, three of which that can only be used as transfer credits. One or two foundational courses are taken, followed by five to ten core courses in acquisition planning, contracting, advanced law, logistics management, and supplier relations. For better success in the program, it is suggested that courses in computing and writing be taken, which do not add to the total number of required credits.

Curriculum for Online Master's Degree Programs in Acquisition and Contract Management

Common courses as a curriculum for an online master's degree can include the following:

  • Fundamental Acquisition Planning and Costs Price Analysis: explores how the acquisition process, planning, management, and pricing works through the position of a contract manager. An acquisition plan is drawn up and different cost analysis techniques are applied in order to negotiate cost contracts.
  • Sourcing Decisions and Legal Considerations in Contracting: learn about the role of a contract manager and how legal issues, administrative duties, and ethical principles are dealt with under federal, state, and local governments.

Acquisition and Contract Management Foundational Courses

Foundational courses in a master's in acquisition and contract management can include the following courses:

  • Financial Reporting & Analysis: this course is designed to help the student develop skills needed to determine a company's performance and future risks from reports of financial records. Skills will also be acquired in how transactions and investments affect the financial outcome of a company including its income and cash flow.
  • Business Analysis for Decision Making: explores the tools needed for decision making using statistical analysis and graphical displays of results from line graphs, bar charts, and histograms. Applying these skills to actual business ventures will be explored to enable the student to become more proficient in critical thinking and problem solving.

Acquisition and Contract Management Specialist & Elective Courses

These are some of the specialist and elective courses that allow the student to focus on a particular subject:

  • Project Management: students learn how to construct a project plan through project management tools and methods. They will also learn how best to assess these tools and methods during the planning process of a project.
  • Legal Considerations in Contracting: this course is designed to give the student knowledge on the legal aspects of contract law, fiscal law, protests, subcontracting, and fraud and debt.
  • Conflict and Negotiation: the student will learn how best to apply principles of negotiation to resolve conflict.

Licensure & Certification in Acquisition and Contract Management

The only type of licensure and certification that exists in the field of acquisition and contract management is becoming a certified federal contract manger. This is accomplished by enrolling in such a program even before a master's degree is completed, where the student will learn about contract management and apply them in the public and private sectors. There are some instances when the certification is included in a master's program with an exam at the end of the program.

Obtaining this certificate will open up many more opportunities in this field and help you stand out from other applicants. Once the program is completed with knowledge gained in government contracts, negotiation, procurement, and Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) certification exam will need to be scheduled and taken with a fee of $125. Typical professionals who become certified are usually contract administrators, project manager, contract managers, and business development managers. Though similarities exist between project and contract managers, there are also large differences.

Admissions Requirements for Online Acquisition and Contract Management Master's Programs

Admission requirements for an online master's program in acquisition and contract management include the following:

  • At least a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. A bachelor's degree in a business field, contract management, or business administration may be necessary depending on the program or school.
  • A GPA of 2.5 or higher from the last 60 credits of your bachelor's degree or a GPA of 3.0 or higher from your graduate degree.
  • No certificates or licenses are required nor are entrance exams such as the GRE or GMAT.
  • No prior work experience is required but if a student is currently working, they have to be working a minimum of 5 years in a related field and be approved into the program.

What Can I Do with a Acquisition and Contract Management Master's Degree?

After the master's degree in acquisition and contract management, there are many fields that will be available to the graduate. At the master's level, the student will learn in more detail about the different types of contracts that are needed for small and large businesses that may also include international management. Someone with a master's in acquisition and contract management could become an acquisitions analyst.

Some of the other career options available after a master's degree are the following:

  • Contract Manager: carry out administration duties associated with negotiating and closing of contracts. This may also include supervision of projects.
  • Purchasing Manager, Buyers, and Purchasing Agents: manage the buying of products through negotiation from suppliers for use in a business. A review of these products is also performed.
  • Administration Services and Facilities Manager: maintain facilities including office activities and recordkeeping in order to help run a business more smoothly.

Job Outlook for a Master's in Acquisition and Contract Management

The job outlook for a master's in acquisition and contract management varies depending on the type of career path followed. For Purchasing Managers, Buyers, and Purchasing Agents, the median annual salary is $72,270 and the projected decline rate of -7%. For Administration Services and Facilities Managers, the median annual salary is $98,890 with a projected growth rate of 6%.

How to Become a Contract Manager

In order to become a contract manager a bachelor's degree with a preferred amount of experience in contract acquisition law and regulations is preferred . In some cases, companies may hire someone with a high school diploma with many years of experience in the field.During employment there is usually some type of training that may last for one or more years. Such training is also gained through internships during a college student's educational program. Contract managers have skills in analytics, business, communication, leadership, decision-making, and finance law.

How to Become a Administration Services and Facilities Manager

To become an administration services and facilities manager, a bachelor's degree in business or management is required. In some cases, a high school diploma with an adequate amount of related experience is accepted. For improved opportunities of employment in this field, workers should also have experience in project management and building maintenance or skills in administration. Though not required, it is also advantageous to obtain certification when seeking employment. Professional associations offering such certification include the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), Institute of Certified Records Manager (ICRM), and the Association of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA).

Common Undergraduate Degrees for Acquisition and Contract Management

Common undergraduate degrees for acquisition and contract management include those in business, finance, or supply management. Other degrees that are possible in this field also may include agriculture or animal science. Depending on the type of position, a common undergraduate degree would include business, law, or management. Degrees in communications and mathematics are also common. As you can see the types of degrees in this field vary widely, but still include those in business and project management.

Post-Graduate Options After Completing a Master's in Acquisition and Contract Management

The only post graduate options after a master's in acquisition and contract management is following a certification in this field, but this is usually completed during a master's degree. The other option is to obtain a doctorate, but such programs in acquisition and contract management do not exist. Instead, one would have to major in public policy, public budgeting, or public administration during their Ph.D. Once the Ph.D. is completed, which takes between 3 and 7 years to complete, the person can pursue teaching and research as a college professor.

Financial Aid, Scholarships & Grants for Online Master's in Acquisition and Contract Management Programs

There are many options for financial aid or scholarships for online master's in acquisition and contract management. For one there exists the Federal Student Aid (FASFA) where students can obtain up to $20,500 per year in aid. This type of aid is called an unsubsidized direct student loan. If students apply to the University of Maryland, scholarships are available as well as tuition reimbursement from their employer. In this case, you will need to complete a tuition assistance form in order to determine if your employer does provide any kind of financial assistance for your education.

Other aid in the form of scholarships from the University of Maryland include the Graduate Out-of-State Scholarship. This scholarship is reserved for out-of-state students that can save $50 per credit on their master degree. For additional eligibility, you must be enrolled for at least 3 credits per semester, possess a GPA of 2.5 in your bachelor's degree, and the first time enrolling for a master's degree.

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