Best Online Master’s in Project Management Programs

Project management is a popular concentration for contemporary business students. The field explores tools and strategies for all stages of a large-scale project, from the initial ideation and development to the final phases of execution, presentation, and evaluation. Project managers are found in companies and organizations of all sizes, from small startups to major corporations. Often, employers want their project managers to hold a graduate degree. Consequently, many prospective project managers are non-traditional students who are returning to school to bolster their credentials and future job prospects.

In 2013, the median annual salary for project managers in the U.S., according to PMI’s Project Management Salary Survey, was $108,000.

For these students, an online degree in project management might make more sense than a traditional program. An online master’s program will cover the same information you’d find on campus, but the material is presented in an asynchronous format, which allows you to take classes and study without disrupting your current professional obligations.

Aspiring project managers can choose from two different degree pathways: a master’s degree in project management, or a master of business administration (MBA) with a project management concentration. Many project management master’s programs culminate in a capstone project or thesis, allowing students to demonstrate the skills and knowledge they have acquired. Some also carry internship or practicum course requirements, which enable students to receive hands-on training from experienced professionals.

Learn more about what you can do with a master’s in project management and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.


Project managers are expected to oversee every aspect of a project from start to finish. The best online master’s in project management programs equip students with the diverse knowledge and skill set needed to manage these various elements. The curriculum in these programs will cover key skills like leadership, communication, resource management, and critical thinking. Students will also learn about key concepts like budgetary analysis, supply chain management, delegation, and risk analysis.


Online master’s programs are conducive to students who must balance their schoolwork with other important commitments, such as employment or childcare. Many programs follow an asynchronous format, allowing students to complete assignments and take exams at their own pace. Current technology connects students with course materials and their professors from their home computer, or while they’re on the move with a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other portable device with Wi-Fi capabilities. Faculty members work with students during the latter stages of their program, offering guidance about capstones and theses or helping them arrange internships close to home.


Graduates who leave school with a master’s in project management will qualify for many top-level positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that project managers often earn jobs in industries like business, construction, information systems, and engineering. Students are encouraged to consult with professors and career counselors to determine the occupational path that aligns best with their goals and interests.


Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online master’s of project management programs in the United States. If you are considering earning an online master’s in project management, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Georgetown University 78.61 4/5 94% Washington, DC

The 30-credit project management online master's degree at Georgetown is designed for early- to mid-level professionals looking to enter the field or advance their careers. Combining focused coursework and practical hands-on projects, this program provides students with the opportunity to enhance their business skills and work with highly experienced industry experts.

Though all required courses are offered online, some electives are offered only on campus. Core courses include ethics and a final capstone project, in which students must earn a grade of “B” or better to graduate from the program. Prerequisites include a bachelor's degree and two years of professional experience. Online learners can pursue this program on a full-time and part-time basis, so it can take anywhere between 1-3 years to complete. Class sizes are small, between 20-25 students, and online students can begin their studies in the fall, spring, or summer terms. While this program is offered to students anywhere in the U.S., including Puerto Rico, the school is not currently accepting online applications from students in certain countries unless they are U.S. citizens. Be sure to check the policy site for more specific information.

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2 George Washington University 71.23 4/5 80% Washington, DC

Founded in 1996, the 36-credit online online project management master's degree (OMSPM) program at George Washington University is one of the oldest and most reputable specialized degrees in the world. Designed for working professionals interested in integrating motivation with cost-effective results, GWU’s program blends project management with general management principles and leadership training.

With a mix of three-credit and 1.5-credit courses, the school's challenging curriculum is divided into four cumulative terms. Courses are either seven or 14 weeks long. The program culminates with a final capstone project. Coursework is delivered via Blackboard and recorded lectures. Online students can study on a part-time or full-time basis. It can take anywhere between 18-48 months to complete this degree. As a competitive program, admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree and strong academic performance. GWU’s School of Business offers tuition benefits and an application fee waiver for LEIDOS, SAIC, Lockheed Martin, and full-time GS/OAS employees.

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3 Brandeis University 68.00 4/5 90% Waltham, MA

Consistent with PMI’s Project Management Body of Knowledge, Brandeis University's 30-credit master of science in project and program management degree is offered entirely online. The rigorous curriculum of this online master's in project management integrates business functions and challenges with an interdisciplinary study of management, leadership, communication, and technology.

With a highly experienced faculty and a diverse student body, online students get to network with practitioners of varying cultures, management levels, and industries. Coursework includes 10 classes, which are offered in 10-week terms and must be taken in a particular order. Class size is limited to 20 students. Online learners interact with classmates through real-time audio and video. The program is typically completed between 2-3.5 years. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. institution or equivalent. Students can begin their coursework in the spring, summer, or fall terms. Transfer credits must be approved by the program chair, however, no transfer credits from previously completed degree programs are accepted.

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4 Stevens Institute of Technology 66.30 4/5 78% Hoboken, NJ

Located in Hoboken, New Jersey, Stevens Institute of Technology offers an entirely online master's degree in enterprise project management. With an emphasis on strategy, forward thinking, and cross-project leadership, the program enhances working professionals' business, technical, and leadership skills. A registered education provider with the Project Management Institute, coursework can be applied to a project management professional certification.

Coursework is delivered through the learning management system Canvas and the web-conferencing tool Blackboard Collaborate. Online master's degree project management students participate in live lectures, work collaboratively on group projects, and contribute to discussion boards. No experience is necessary to apply, however, a familiarity with business is helpful. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is also preferred. Students are encouraged to apply for financial aid at Stevens, as about 90% of students receive some form of aid. Transfer credits earned at other colleges are accepted on a case-by-case basis.

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5 Boston University 63.74 5/5 84% Boston, MA

Designed for full-time working professionals, BU's 48-credit master's in project management online program takes two years to complete. Students combine strategy, leadership, and management principles to master the art of planning and implementing a project through its full lifecycle.

Online coursework is delivered through Blackboard and incorporates synchronous elements via Adobe Connect. Accredited by the Project Management Institute, students with certifications can earn up to 45 PDUs per course. Online students have several options throughout the year to start, including September, November, January, March, May, and July. Transfer credits are typically evaluated on a case-by-case basis, however, students who have earned BU’s graduate certificate in project management may transfer credits to this master's degree. Financial aid is available to online learners through graduate assistantships, scholarships, loans, and optional payment plans.

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6 Southern New Hampshire University 63.74 5/5 84% Boston, MA

SNHU's MBA in project management is designed for professionals in construction, IT development, manufacturing, or consulting. Courses are offered in 10-week terms and explore planning, monitoring, measurement, and adaptation phases of a project. SNHU is registered with the Project Management Institute, and all students must take the PMI certification course in order to take the PMP exam.

This online masters project management program culminates with an MBA capstone project and can be completed in just over a year. Applicants are accepted on a rolling basis so students can begin their coursework at any of the five start dates throughout the year. There are no GMAT or GRE requirements for admission, however, students without business backgrounds may be required to take business foundation courses. SNHU is known for its low tuition rates, plus the school offers a 25% tuition discount for active-duty service members and their spouses.

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7 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide 63.25 3/5 48% Daytona Beach, FL

ERAU was one of the first schools to offer distance education. Designed for working professionals in various industries, including technology, healthcare, global infrastructure, renewable energy, aerospace, construction, and government, the online master's in project management degree provides students with the leadership skills needed to improve operations at their businesses.

A registered education provider through the Project Management Institute, all professors at ERAU have professional certifications. Courses are offered in nine-week sessions and can be completed in 10 terms. This master's program includes a unique graduate capstone project, in which students complete an ePortfolio to demonstrate their mastery skills. Specific prerequisite requirements, including "B" grades or better, must be met for certain graduate courses, so be sure to check before enrolling. Online students are encouraged to apply for financial assistance, as over $30 million is awarded in aid each year. Transfer credits are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

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8 Northeastern University Global Network 60.97 4/5 40% Boston, MA

Northeastern University's College of Professional Studies offers a robust online master's in project management that provides the theoretical knowledge needed to successfully lead a project through its lifecycle. Students explore everything from defining a project to managing a budget and handling staffing issues, equipping them with the practical skills needed to tackle even the most complex projects.

Students choose a concentration based on their unique interests and professional goals, whether it's construction management, information security, or technical leadership. This program follows a cohort model and requires a total of 45-48 credits, depending on the chosen concentration. Start dates include fall, winter, spring, and summer. There are no specific GRE or GMAT scores or prerequisite requirements. Up to 12 quarter hours of credit can be transferred, however, transfer credit is only granted on a case-by-case basis. Students are encouraged to apply for financial aid.

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9 Saint Mary's University of Minnesota 56.46 3/5 62% Winona, MN

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota offers a 36-credit, 24-month project management online master's degree. Preparing students for the PMP certification exam, curriculum includes coursework on cost management strategies, productivity, management principles, technology, project lifecycles, international studies, ethics, and conflict resolution. Areas of concentration include supply chain, risk, information security, talent acquisition, HR, consulting, quality assurance, and more.

Online coursework is delivered via the learning management system Engage and is offered synchronously, so there are no specific requirements to meet with classmates or professors. Graduation requirements include a final capstone project, which is either a major term paper or a project simulation. Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution and an overall GPA of 2.75. Some applicants are asked to partake in an interview as well. Students are encouraged to apply for financial aid.

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10 Purdue University-Main Campus 55.25 3/5 70% West Lafayette, IN

Purdue Polytechnic offers a master of science with a concentration in IT Project Management online program. Focused on the tools and techniques necessary for IT leadership, this program is designed for individuals with a background in IT systems and architecture. Developed using the Project Management Institute body of knowledge, graduates gain management skills while studying the full lifecycle of a project.

Courses are offered in eight-week terms via Blackboard. Online project management master's students are required to complete 34 credits to graduate, unless they are already PMP certified, in which case it takes 30 credits to complete. The amount of time it takes to finish this program varies greatly, but can be done between 1-5 years. Applications are accepted on a rolling admissions basis. Online students can begin in the fall or spring. Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better. Students are encouraged to apply for financial assistance, including Stafford loans, graduate PLUS loans, military programs, and private loans.

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11 Colorado State University-Global Campus 54.86 3/5 40% Greenwood Village, CO

CSU Global’s online master's in project management prepares project leaders to successfully carry out organizational goals, plans, policies, and procedures. From strategy, control, tracking, negotiation, and conflict resolution, students gain the right blend of technical and business skills needed to succeed.

CSU-Global's online degree builds on previous education and business experience and dives deep into advanced topics such as decision sciences, risk management, project control and monitoring, and financial metrics. Students can choose a specialization in accounting, business intelligence, criminal Justice, finance, fraud, healthcare, HR, IT, international studies, and more. The program requires 36 credits to complete and is broken up into eight courses. Applicants should have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0, however, everyone is encouraged to apply, as the school offers a 39-credit option for individuals with a lower GPA. Students can transfer up to nine credits from previously attended institutions. CSU has low tuition rates and a unique guarantee not to increase tuition while students are enrolled. Online students pay in-state tuition regardless of residency.

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12 Florida Institute of Technology-Online 52.80 5/5 57% Melbourne, FL

FIT offers a unique online MBA with a specialization in project management. Combining academic principles, practical hands-on application, and case study analysis, this program prepares students to be successful at all phases of the project management lifecycle. Accredited by the Project Management Institute, credit hours may be applied towards requirements needed for credential exams or professional development units for current credential holders.

This program consists of 12 classes and a total of 36 credits to graduate. Courses are offered in eight-week terms and the program is typically completed in two years. Students complete a final capstone project in strategic management. Start dates are flexible and include May, July, August, October, January, and March. Applicants are not required to submit GRE or GMAT scores. Transfer credits are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Financial assistance is available to online masters project management students in the form of scholarships, grants, and military assistance programs.

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13 University of Wisconsin-Platteville 52.62 3/5 52% Platteville, WI

Accredited by PMI, the master of science in project management program at UW-Platteville explores the details of project management, from budgeting time and money to creating strong and sustainable business relationships. Students can choose from interesting electives in HR, ethics, risk, and more. Courses are delivered via the online platform Desire2Learn. There are no exams in this program, however, students must complete a final capstone project.

Consisting of 30-36 credits, this program can be completed in two years when done full time, however, most students take one or two courses at a time and finish in 3-4 years. Online master's degree project management students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to graduate. Applicants are not required to submit GRE or GMAT scores, however, a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 is needed. Students have the opportunity to transfer up to 12 credits in courses where the student received a "B" or better. Start dates include December, April, and July.

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14 Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus 51.05 4/5 86% University Park, PA

Penn State's World Campus 30-credit master's in project management online program is an interdisciplinary graduate program that allows students to tailor the curriculum to their unique interests and professional goals. Students can take interesting electives in enterprise architecture, enterprise resource planning with SAP software, supply chain management, and more. Registered with the Project Management Institute and designed for analysts, project coordinators, master schedulers, computer and information systems managers, industrial production managers, this program prepares leaders to take on large-scale projects.

Students simultaneously achieve a 12-credit graduate certificate in PM while working on their master's degree. Coursework is delivered asynchronously through Blackboard Collaborate. Students also use Skype, email, and discussion forums. Courses are between 12-15 weeks long. Applicants are required to submit GMAT scores, however, individuals with more than five years of project-based work experience may apply for a GMAT waiver. GRE scores may also be considered as a substitute. Transfer credits are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

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15 Liberty University 50.95 4/5 46% Lynchburg, VA

Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty is a Christian school that's been pioneering distance education since 1985. The School of Business offers a master of business administration with a specialization in project management that integrates marketing strategies and management practices. Students explore business law, economics, and organizational operation within both national and global contexts.

Classes include a mix of strategy, finance, accounting, economics, and operations management. Coursework is delivered asynchronously via Blackboard. Most online courses are eight weeks, though some are 14 or 17 weeks long. This project management online master's program consists of 45 credit hours. Applicants must hold a regionally or nationally accredited bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prerequisites also include a minimum of 15 hours of business-related upper level undergraduate coursework. A total of 15 credit hours can be transferred. Students are encouraged to apply for financial assistance.

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16 Sam Houston State University 48.93 3/5 48% Huntsville, TX

Located in Huntsville, Texas, the online MS in project management program at Sam Houston is designed for professionals who want to tackle the challenge of introducing new products and services into changing environments. This degree provides individuals with the tools and techniques needed to be successful across the whole project lifecycle and earn their PMI certifications.

Coursework is delivered via Blackboard. Programs run on fall and spring semesters and two condensed four-week summer sessions. This degree requires 36 graduate hours to complete and students must complete a final capstone project. Applicants must submit an official GMAT score greater than 1,200 and demonstrate a minimum of three years of managerial and professional experience. Online project management master's students are eligible to apply for scholarships and financial aid programs. Sam Houston is a veterans-preferred institution and a military-friendly school.

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17 City University of Seattle 48.26 3/5 20% Seattle, WA

City University of Seattle offers a globally accredited, fully online 45-credit project management online master’s degree. With robust coursework that covers fundamentals, actionable insights, and problem solving, this program prepares individuals for senior-level jobs in government, manufacturing, healthcare, IT, and more. Students complete a two-part capstone project in which they implement an applied action learning method and create an ePortfolio.

Registered with PMI, coursework counts towards continuing education credits. Admissions operate on a rolling basis and the academic year runs from July 1 to June 30. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree or equivalent from an accredited university, however, it can be in any discipline. No GRE or GMAT scores are required to apply. As a nonprofit university, CityU offers competitive tuition rates, scholarships, grants, loans, and work study options. The school also features a generous transfer policy and a Prior Learning Assessment program, which allows students to earn credit for previously learning material and/or professional or military experience.

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18 Drexel University 46.94 5/5 65% Philadelphia, PA

Designed for mid-career professionals, Drexel’s online online master's in project management trains individuals to effectively manage all kinds of projects, programs, and portfolios. By developing strong communication skills and incorporating business acumen, students learn to coordinate several integrated project.

Aligned with Project Management Institute, the program's curriculum supports individuals who want to receive their PMP certifications. Students take classes in quality, planning, scheduling, procurement, teamwork, and more. The program requires 45 credits to complete and students are required to complete a capstone project. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0. Applicants may be requested to go through an interview process as well. Classes begin in September, January, April, and June and run for 10-week quarters per year. Online students are eligible for financial aid, and there are special tuition rates available for Drexel University alumni, military members, and members of the school's partner organizations.

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19 Bellevue University 46.49 3/5 31% Bellevue, NE

Bellevue University's online master's in project management prepares graduates to effectively communicate technical information across business analysis, development, management, and consultancy. Students utilize scholarly research and data collection to initiate, plan, execute, control, close out, and deliver projects. Instructors implement an applied learning approach, which enables students to integrate business scenarios, simulations, and case studies into the classroom.

Aligned with PMI, all instructors have achieved their PMP certifications and are active practitioners. Students complete an applied capstone project, which is a culmination of all the concepts, tools, and techniques explored throughout the program. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree, three years of experience in a related field, a minimum of 2.5 undergraduate GPA, and minimum of 3.0 in previously taken graduate courses. Some prerequisite courses can be waived with significant experiences and/or certifications. As an advanced professional program, this degree is typically recognized as a terminal degree.

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20 Regis University 46.04 4/5 59% Denver, CO

Regis University's College of Business and Economics offers a 30-credit MS in organization leadership with specialization in project management that focuses on a strategic perspective of leadership. With integrated learning experiences, graduates from this program gain critical thinking skills and the ability to take risks and make change in a rapidly evolving marketplace. Students have the option of pairing this degree with another MSOL focus area and achieve a dual specialization degree.

Master's in project management online students are required to complete a capstone project called Leading Responsible Organizations. Coursework is offered asynchronously and delivered in eight-week terms. Program start dates include January, March, May, June, August, and October. Applicants must have two years of significant full-time work experience and hold a regionally accredited bachelor's degree in any field of study. Students are encouraged to apply for financial aid, as the school boasts several financing options, including scholarships, grants, loans, and student employment stipends from federal, state, and institutional sources.

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21 Missouri State University-Springfield 44.00 3/5 55% Springfield, MO

Accredited by the Project Management Institute, Missouri State University-Springfield's online master's in project management is an interdisciplinary program that entails the practical examination, evaluation, and analysis of the theory, research, and practice of project management. There are two degree options, a 33-credit thesis option, and a 36-credit seminar option.

As an applied program that provides science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, this degree is designed for individuals who hold a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree in technology, business administration, liberal arts, applied or natural sciences, or engineering and have a background in project management with industry experience. Applicants must be computer proficient and submit a minimum GPA of 2.75 for the last 60 hours of academic work and a score of at least 400 on the GMAT or a comparable GRE score. Accepted candidates can begin the program at the start of any semester, fall, spring, or summer. Students are encouraged to apply for financial aid as the school boasts several financing options, including scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs.

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22 Golden Gate University-San Francisco 43.60 5/5 40% San Francisco, CA

San Francisco's Golden Gate University offers a 54-credit MBA with a concentration in project management and a 39-credit MS in project management. GGU's MBA program utilizes an integrative activity-based learning approach to prepare students to become top leaders. The curriculum hones in on critical integrative thinking, logic, and problem-solving skills in budgeting, conflict resolution, communication, project scope, developing and using resources, leadership, and team building.

The master's in project management online focuses on planning, budgeting, managing risk, building integrated relationships, understanding corporate strategies, and strengthening communication skills so graduates are prepared to manage local and global projects. Students in this program must complete an applied capstone project. Applicants must meet the graduate writing proficiency requirement and have math skills equivalent to intermediate algebra or better. As a PMI member, faculty in both programs are PMI certified. Financial aid options are available. Golden Gate University is not currently authorized to offer online courses to students in Alabama, Arkansas, Minnesota, or Wisconsin.

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23 Granite State College 42.04 3/5 50% Concord, NH

Located in Concord, New Hampshire, Granite State College offers a 30-credit online master's in project management. Designed for managers looking to grow professionally, this program implements a practice-oriented approach to prepare students to integrate complex projects and achieve cost-effective results.

Studying the scope of the entire project lifecycle, graduates learn how to acquire and monitor resources, manage human resources, cost, timelines, workflow, and communicate effectively. Students complete a project management integrative capstone project. This program satisfies the components needed for PMP certification. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants are accepted on a rolling basis so students can start the program at any time throughout the year. Granite State offers tuition assistance through financial aid programs, grants, loans, and work-study programs. The school also boasts a generous transfer policy, as more than 80% of students are transfer students.

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24 New England College 34.79 4/5 43% Henniker, NH

New England College offers a 40-credit MBA with a concentration in project management. Focusing on decision-making, supply chain management, contract management, and general leadership, this program is designed to build on expertise, hone in on business skills, and prepare students to pursue their PMI certifications.

Students not only learn about current technical tools, but they also dive deep in quality analysis and meeting international standards. strategy, planning, and implementation of projects in an organization. Online masters project management students complete a final capstone project. This program consists of 10 four-credit courses and can be completed in 20 months. A flexible program, students can work toward this degree on a full-time or part-time basis. Students are encouraged to apply for financial assistance when applying for admission. Graduate assistantships and loans are available. Students can transfer credits from previously attended regionally accredited universities, however, credits are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

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25 Harrisburg University of Science and Technology 33.61 3/5 18% Harrisburg, PA

Registered with the Project Management Institute, Harrisburg University offers a 36-credit master's in project management online program. With an experiential approach to learning, this program prepares graduates with the practical leadership skills needed to solve real-world project management scenarios. Students explore cost issues, staffing, risk management, and more. Harrisburg's online format allows students to take classes entirely online, however, there is one weekend on-campus requirement each month.

The program consists of 12 courses, including elective courses in information technology management or an individualized concentration area. Students are required to complete either a thesis or a practical project management capstone. Students can pursue this degree on a full-time or part-time basis. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree; the degree can be in any discipline. Some undergraduate education in technology is preferred for students who plan to pursue the IT concentration. Applicants are not required to submit GRE or GMAT scores.

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Online master’s programs in project management are designed to equip graduates with the skills needed to oversee all aspects of a project. A project manager helps companies accomplish goals more effectively, and graduates with a master’s in the field are increasingly in demand. Specific details of what to expect when pursuing an online master’s in project management degree vary depending on school and program.


Concentration Description Potential Careers
General Most online MBA project management degrees do not have further concentrations, because project management is often a concentration available for business students. Students who pursue a general concentration within a project management degree will be prepared for most jobs in the field. Project manager
Information technology (IT) An information technology concentration prepares graduates to oversee, coordinate, and plan information technology projects within an organization. Students learn how to use computers to analyze how effectively technology is being utilized and to troubleshoot problems. IT managers also monitor progress to make sure that projects are on track and within a predetermined budget. IT project manager
Construction management A construction management specialization within an online project management MBA degree prepares graduates to manage projects in the construction industry or to manage construction-related projects in other industries. Construction project managers use project management skills to plan, design, manage, and assess projects. Construction project manager


Courses for online master’s degree programs in project management vary from school to school. Some programs focus more on the technical skills needed to manage projects, while others emphasize a more theoretical view. Below you’ll find a sample curriculum for a master’s in project management online degree.

  • Introduction to project management: This course provides an overview of the field. Students learn to plan, schedule, control, allocate resources, and analyze the success or failure of projects. The skills gained in this course are useful to anyone who wants to become a project manager or work in a related position.
  • Business analysis: Students taking this course learn to identify business needs, recommend solutions, and manage requirements for business projects. Business analysis ensures that projects meet goals.
  • Risk management: Students learn to assess and manage risks that may arise during projects. Skills learned include identifying potential risks that can cause projects to go over budget, become delayed, or fail to meet performance standards. The course also covers the topic of risk mitigation. Project managers need to understand risk management, especially those working in industries like construction or real estate.


One factor affecting program length is how many courses are available each term, and whether or not the student attends part-time or full-time. Some programs offer courses year-round, while others only offer two semesters a year.

Some programs give students the choice to go at their own pace, while others adopt a cohort learning approach. In cohort programs, a group of students goes through the program together, taking the same courses each term. The cohort approach fosters a community of learners who support each other and often have to take courses and finish the program at a predetermined time. Students who go at their own pace have more flexibility in deciding how many courses to take each semester. On average, it takes one-and-a-half to two years and anywhere from 30 to 45 credits to complete an online master’s in project management.


  • Project management professional (PMP): The PMP, awarded by the Project Management Institute, is the most important and recognized certification for project managers. It is recognized globally and in nearly all industries. PMP-certified project managers earn, on average, 20% more than project managers without the credential. Earning the PMP requires 4,500 hours of project leadership, 35 hours of project management education, and passing an exam with 200 multiple choice questions.
  • Certified associate in project management (CAPM): The CAPM, also awarded by the Project Management Institute, is a credential for those with less professional experience than required by the PMP. It prepares you to manage larger projects and take on more responsibility. To sit for the exam requires completion of 23 hours of project management education; no professional experience is required. To earn the CAPM requires passing an exam with 150 multiple choice questions.

When looking for master’s in project management online programs, it’s important to make sure the school is accredited. Accreditation is a voluntary process in which a school is evaluated to make sure it meets minimum educational standards.

There are two types of accreditation: regional and national. Regional accreditation agencies concentrate on specific geographic regions of the country. National accreditation agencies can accredit schools in any part of the country. Regional accreditation is more widely recognized, and regionally accredited school are more likely to accept transfer credit. By choosing an accredited school, students can be assured they will get a high quality education. Students should check if the project management program they are interested in is accredited by the industry-specific Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs.

Two organizations play important roles in accreditation: the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The Department of Education (DOE) is a U.S. government agency that establishes policy and coordinates federal assistance, including student loans and grants. The DOE publishes a list of nationally recognized accreditors. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation is an organization of degree-granting American colleges and universities. Its purpose is to coordinate the accreditation process for higher education in the United States by ensuring the quality of accrediting agencies. For a list of all accredited schools, visit the Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Job Placement: Master’s vs Bachelor of Project Management

The job market is booming for project managers. According to an estimate by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the nation is projected to add roughly 2.3 million project manager positions by 2020. The field is also swelling internationally, and experts project that there will be more than 6 million new project management jobs around the world by 2020, giving master’s degree-holders plenty of opportunities to work overseas. A 2014 survey by PM Solutions found that project management offices are distributed throughout a handful of different sectors.

Using data from that survey, the table below highlights the industries that employ the most project managers.

Industry Percentage of Project Management Offices
Professional and Technical Services 20%
Manufacturing 14%
Finance and Insurance 13%
Information 11%
Healthcare 11%
Energy 9%
Public Administration 6%
Other Industries (Including Pharmaceutical, Retail and Education) 18%

Source: The State of the Project Management Office (PMO)

The survey also notes that 75% of project management offices are located in North America. An additional 12% are found in Europe, with 4% in South and Central America, 3% in Asia, and 3% in Africa.

Earning a Living

The 2015 ‘Earning Power’ survey by PMI found that project managers in the United States earn a median annual salary of $108,220, ranking third globally behind Switzerland ($130,000) and Australia ($108,546). However, this figure does not account for work experience. The survey notes that the average project manager in the U.S. will see their salary increase by 67% over the course of their career. While this salary premium ranks 23rd out of 34 countries surveyed, the starting salary for project managers in the U.S. ranks second out of 34, behind only Switzerland. The following table uses data from this survey to illustrate the salary expectations for project managers in the U.S. at six different career benchmarks.

Career Stage Median Annual Salary Salary Increase Over Previous Career Stage
Less Than 3 Years $74,900
3 to 5 Years $85,000 13.5%
5 to 10 Years $100,000 17.6%
10 to 15 Years $112,200 12.2%
15 to 20 Years $120,000 7.0%
More Than 20 years $125,000 4.2%

Source: Earning Power: Project Manager Salary Survey, Ninth Edition

The 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report found that project managers with a master’s degree stand to earn significantly higher salaries than their counterparts with a bachelor’s degree. The next table looks at expected earnings for master’s, MBA, and bachelor’s degree-holding project managers at the early and mid-career marks.

Degree Level Median Early-Career Salary (0-5 years) Median Mid-Career Salary (10+ years)
Bachelor’s Degree in Project Management $52,400 $86,500
Master’s Degree in Project Management $64,100 $109,000
Master of Business Administration with a Project Management Concentration $62,700 $91,900

Source: 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

As the table shows, candidates with a master’s in project management and an MBA with a project management concentration earned a much higher salary than bachelor’s-holding project managers at the early-career mark. Interestingly, the average mid-career salary for a master’s degree holder was 18.6% higher than what MBA holders make.

Career Opportunities

Graduates who finish school with a master’s in project management or an MBA with a project management concentration leave school qualified for dozens of jobs across a range of industries. Below, we’ve listed some of the most common career paths for graduates.

Architectural and Engineering Managers: These managers oversee projects related to the construction of buildings, bridges, roadways, and other major land developments. They are responsible for drafting development plans, coordinating supplies and equipment, creating a budget, and hiring personnel.

Computer and Information Systems Managers: Also known as IT managers or IT project managers, information systems managers coordinate organizational technology projects. They evaluate their company’s computational systems, use cost-benefit analyses to determine feasible upgrades, and hire temporary and permanent employees.

Construction Managers::Construction managers oversee construction projects during the development, budgeting, building, and evaluation phases of the job. They work with accountants to estimate costs and allocate funds toward different resources. They also hire laborers, contractors, and other personnel.

Human Resources Managers: These managers (HR managers for short) oversee the administrative activities of a company or organization. They are responsible for recruiting, screening, interviewing, and hiring job candidates, and for creating training and orientation programs for new employees.

Occupation Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2014-24)
Architectural and Engineering Managers $132,800 2%
Computer and Information Systems Managers $131,600 15%
Construction Managers $87,400 5%
Human Resources Managers $104,440 9%

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to project management is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for project managers. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • Project Management Institute: With roughly 450,000 members in nearly 300 global chapters, PMI is considered the world’s largest organization dedicated to project management. Eight professional certifications are available. Members also enjoy continuing education opportunities, invitations to networking events, and discounts on various learning resources and services.
  • Construction Management Association of America: The CMAA offers the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) certification, considered one of the industry’s leading management credentials. The association operates 28 regional chapters across the country, and members qualify for free professional liability insurance.
  • Society for Human Resource Management: Considered the world’s largest HR-oriented professional organization, the SHRM has 285,000 members in 165 countries. The website features a vast online resource library, along with links to continuing education opportunities and an events calendar.
Despite the relative affordability of online project management programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other financial aid opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. You can also browse through our collection of resources below to learn more about your financial aid options.


Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.


Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.


Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based programs, but that hasn’t always been the case. Here, you can learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to distance learners.


Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.


Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.


Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.


Students who pursue online degrees will be eligible for scholarships, grants, and other financial aid that is unavailable to their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Here, you can learn more about these financial opportunities.

Best Online Master's in Project Management Programs of 2016
Rank School Location
1 Regis University Denver, CO
2 Boston University Boston, MA
3 The George Washington University Washington, DC
4 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach, FL
5 Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Winona, MN
6 Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne, FL
7 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
8 Northeastern University Global Network Boston, MA
9 Brandeis University Waltham, MA
10 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX
11 New England College Henniker, NH
12 City University of Seattle Seattle, WA
13 Missouri State University Springfield, MO
14 Golden Gate University San Francisco, CA
15 University of Wisconsin - Platteville Platteville, WI
16 Granite State College Concord, NH
17 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE