Degree in Project Management
Does seeing a project through to completion efficiently and productively sound appealing to you? Do you enjoy taking on multiple roles and discovering new ways to help solve problems? If the answer is yes, you may have found your calling when it comes time to pick a major at your college or university!
A degree program in project management teaches you how to plan and run multiphase projects, a valuable skill that will make you an asset in any industry or company. Depending on the level of study, you can devote anywhere from two to six years to a degree in project management.
Project Management Associate Degree
An associate degree in project management involves a two-year plan of study, usually found at a community or technical college. While you can find associate degrees in project management, they're typically tailored for a specific industry, such as project management in construction or finance. For that reason, you should choose a program that will allow you to work in the industry you want to join once you graduate.
Project Management Bachelor's Degree
Typically found at four-year colleges and universities, a bachelor's degree in project management prepares you with a wide set of academic and professional skills for a project management career. Bachelor's degree programs offer a more substantial academic experience than associate degree programs. Some of the coursework covered in a project management bachelor's program could include:
- Production planning
- Quality control
- Management of demand forecasting
Along with more advanced classes, many undergraduate programs accept credit for completed internships allowing you to earn academic credit toward your degree while gaining valuable, real-world experience.
Master's Degree in Project Management
A master's degree or MBA in project management is a great option for those who want to stand out among their peers with advanced qualifications for a career in project management. The length of the program will depend on your chosen track, but most can be completed in around two years.
In a Master of Science (MS) in project management degree program, you're able to choose electives to tailor your curriculum based on your personal interests and goals. Master's programs typically culminate in a capstone project or thesis, where all your knowledge and experience can be applied to a final semester-long effort. Some of the courses you could take include:
- Commercial law and project management
- Interpersonal and group behavior
- Engineering product innovation
Another master's degree option is an MBA in project management. If you plan to move to industries like consulting or IT development or advance into a more senior project management position, an MBA in project management may be right for you. This degree will teach you how to link your business savvy, leadership skills with project management strategies to effectively develop, implement, and evaluate project performance.
If you're coming from a background without any previous business exposure, you might have to take some extra foundation courses before starting on the main curriculum. Courses for the MBA in project management might include government impact on business, accounting and financial analysis, and operations management and technology. An MBA program typically ends with a capstone project.
Online Project Management Degree
For working adults with full-time jobs, going back to school may seem like an impossible commitment. However, online and hybrid programs can provide you with the flexibility you need to earn your degree. Online project management degree programs are readily available, with some universities offering them on the same semester/quarter schedule as traditional classroom programs. Earning a project management degree online allows you to focus on your current career while moving toward a new one, and the flexible schedule of an online program means you won't be pressured to give up any current commitments.
Online project management programs are just as valued as traditional degrees in the field and will appear no different when listed on a resume or CV. Although there are many fully-online project management programs out there, there may be some on-campus requirements, such as meetings or presentations, that must be fulfilled before graduating.
Project Management Courses
Course names might vary a bit between different project management programs, but the coursework will be largely the same at any college or university that offers the degree. Let's take a look at a few project management courses you may encounter in your program.
- Project contracting and procurement courses teach you the practice of product and resource acquisition, as well as how to plan, conduct, control, and close procurements.
- Resource estimating and scheduling courses explain how to keep projects within scope, under budget, and on schedule through estimation, time management, and defining milestones.
- Adaptive project management courses cover how businesses evolve and adapt with time, and how to change existing techniques to keep your methods relevant.
- Integrated cost and schedule control courses introduce you to techniques associated with overall budgeting and time management along with cost oversight and scheduling within an assigned scope of a project.
- Risk management courses teach how to minimize risk and vulnerabilities in an organization, how to develop policies to mitigate risk, and how to manage risk exposure. Different categories of risks and probability of risk occurrences are discussed, along with planning, organizing, and controlling risk.
- Leadership courses look at various approaches to motivation, and which methods of leadership, communication, and motivation can be applied to members of your team.
What Can I Do with a Degree in Project Management?
Graduating from a project management program qualifies you to work in nearly any industry, since all of them require some degree of planning, organization, and successful execution of projects. Some employers prefer candidates with an advanced degree. Take a look at some of the project management careers you'd be eligible for below, along with salary information:
|Career Title||Median Annual Salary*|
|Account Project Manager||$55,000|
|Event Project Manager||$42,000|
|Government Project Manager||$71,446|
|Localization Project Manager||$60,464|
*Source: payscale.com (June 2018)