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Project managers help companies turn plans into tangible results. A master of business administration (MBA) in project management provides graduates with the skills and experience needed to obtain advanced managerial roles. An MBA teaches students about accounting, finance, human resources, strategic planning, and business operations.
The total tuition for an MBA in project management can range from $20,000-$40,000. An online MBA tends to cost less than an on-campus degree and can take 2-3 years to finish. However, many accelerated online tracks allow students to graduate in about 12 months.
According to PayScale, project managers with MBAs earn an average annual salary of $83,030.
Many sectors of the U.S. economy need project managers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment for managers could grow by 5% between 2019 and 2029, resulting in over 500,000 new jobs. According to PayScale, project managers with MBAs earn an average annual salary of $83,030.
Our guide helps you choose from the best online MBA in project management programs. Prospective students might consider the value of an MBA and its drawbacks, typical courses, the job outlook for MBA graduates, and what they can do with an MBA in project management.
What Are the Best Online MBA in Project Management Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 10:
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|Rank||School||Cost per Credit|
|1||Pennsylvania State University||$1,236|
|4||University of Mary||$550|
|5||University of Wisconsin - Whitewater||$652|
|7||Maryville University of Saint Louis||$714|
|10||Montclair State University||$866.67|
Still unsure about your MBA college choice? Check out our overall Best Online MBA Programs.
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What Is an MBA in Project Management?
Project managers work as employees or freelancers and help people move their projects from conception to conclusion. These professionals must display excellent problem-solving and communication skills. They also need to manage their time effectively to make sure projects stay on budget and schedule.
An online MBA in project management allows graduates to work in various industries, including construction, engineering, healthcare, marketing, and information technology (IT). Also, an MBA can enable a project manager to move into the role of a chief operating officer or other C-suite executive.
While most MBA programs cost $20,000-$40,000, some private and out-of-state schools charge higher tuition. Students who need to be cost-conscious might consider an online MBA in project management, which can cost less than an on-campus degree.
With an MBA, many project managers can gain access to greater employment or promotion opportunities. Moreover, the job outlook for professionals with an MBA in project management appears promising. The 5% projected growth rate in managerial employment could yield up to 505,000 new jobs between 2019 and 2029.
Admission to an MBA program often requires at least four years of work experience. Schools do not usually accept students straight out of a bachelor's program. Most institutions prefer candidates who have demonstrated success in their prior work.
MBA programs in project management differ in their format and courses. Most students complete the required 30-45 credits in 2-3 years. Learners seeking a more accelerated timeline might enroll in an online program, which can take only 12-18 months.
Working professionals who want to pursue an MBA might consider a program that allows for part-time or weekend attendance. While this option provides flexibility, it could lengthen the time necessary to earn the degree. Some flexible programs offer asynchronous classes, enabling students to progress through online lessons and assignments without attending scheduled classes.
In addition to an MBA in project management, professionals might consider getting a Project Management Institute (PMI) certificate. PMI credentials demonstrate that holders can direct teams and manage a project through its entire life cycle. To earn the certificate, professionals must pass an exam and accumulate 36 months of project management experience.
What Can I Expect From an Online MBA in Project Management Program?
Students earning an MBA in project management gain an understanding of business concepts and build their leadership and management abilities, positioning themselves for senior-level management positions. Whereas a master's in project management exposes students mainly to concepts relevant to the field, an MBA places this project management in business contexts.
Earning an online degree does not attract the scrutiny it used to. Many employers value them as much as on-campus credentials.
Online degrees provide many learners with the opportunity to pursue an MBA regardless of location or work schedule. Another difference between online and traditional MBAs is the amount of self-discipline and time management they might require. People with the motivation to stay on top of their coursework in light of other demands might thrive in an online program.
Example MBA in Project Management Courses
- Project Tools and Strategies
- Agile Project Management
- Risk Assessment
- Managerial Finance
- Strategic Project Management
What are Admission Requirements for an MBA in Project Management Program?
- Test Scores
Most business schools require Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores. The most competitive applicants score 700 or higher, but many schools also accept a score of 650-690.
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) consists of three components: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. The GRE does not test on a specific subject, and schools vary on what they consider acceptable scores in the three areas.
- Letters of Recommendation
Applicants should submit recommendation letters from former professors or employers. Writers should describe how they know the applicant and discuss their best qualities. Recommenders should also provide examples of how the student has demonstrated their proficiencies in the past.
The most successful applicants typically have at least four years of work experience. Many programs prefer candidates with technical knowledge of their field. Prospective students should also show managerial experience on their resumes.
Well-written personal statements provide an introduction and articulate students' career objectives. They also clearly state students' motivations for applying to a school and showcase their achievements. Many MBA applications contain question prompts, which applicants should read clearly and answer completely.
- Official Transcripts
Program applicants should send official transcripts in sealed envelopes directly from their schools. MBA programs vary in the number of transfer credits they accept. Some schools do not take transfer students but might allow applicants to test out of some courses.
What Can I Do With an MBA in Project Management Degree?
The demand for project managers with an MBA or another graduate degree continues to grow. The BLS projects 5% job growth for all management professionals between 2019 and 2029.
MBA students might focus on a particular career track, such as a career in IT, marketing, finance, sustainability, or human resources. Choosing a concentration helps students focus their careers and positions them for employment in industries that suit their interests.
- Construction Project Manager
Construction project managers work in diverse settings, such as residential, commercial, and infrastructure. They generally collaborate with engineers and supervise subcontractors' work. These project managers manage virtually all aspects of a construction project, including costs, materials allocation, hiring, and adherence to building codes.
Median Annual Salary: $97,180
- Health Services Project Manager
Health services project managers usually serve as administrators, managing departments in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. These individuals maximize efficiency, ensure adherence to standards, and identify improvement areas. They also speak to investors or boards on behalf of their organizations about funding and other issues.
Median Annual Salary: $104,280
- IT Project Manager
IT project managers can work as supervisors or chief information officers. They generally oversee all computer-related operations and determine how to meet their companies' computing needs. Their duties include selecting and upgrading hardware and software, making personnel decisions, and implementing cybersecurity procedures.
Median Annual Salary: $151,150
- Project Management Consultant
Project management consultants advise organizations on improving their workflows and maximizing their outputs. They often conduct needs assessments before generating plans and provide feedback through the life of a project. These professionals either work for one organization or as freelancers.
Median Annual Salary: $84,730
- Senior Project Manager
Senior project managers oversee different projects in more than one department. Their duties include creating schedules, managing budgets, supervising work progress, and allocating resources. These individuals typically advance to this senior position after several years of work experience.
Median Annual Salary: $104,500
Project Management Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Is an MBA in Project Management Worth It?
An MBA demonstrates a job candidate's ability to manage complex projects and see them through. The degree also indicates an understanding of various business aspects and how a project ties in with a company's overall goals. According to the BLS, management professionals tend to earn higher average pay than workers in other occupational groups.
Some students might not appreciate the difference between an MBA in project management and a general MBA. MBA programs typically teach valuable skills, such as management, communication, problem solving, and conflict resolution. However, an MBA without a concentration is broad in scope.
On the other hand, an MBA in project management can help project managers step into high-level leadership positions within various contexts. This focused degree also provides students with finance and managerial competencies essential to overseeing and completing complex projects.
People who desire a managerial position might benefit from an online MBA in project management. This degree provides a relatively straightforward path to organizational leadership. However, competition for jobs in project management can be intense.
Why Get an MBA in Project Management Instead of a Master's in Project Management?
A master's degree in project management allows students to focus on the specific skills they want to market during a job search, making them more attractive candidates.
An MBA in project management focuses on more than the technical aspects of the field. MBA students typically learn how their duties fit in with the overall organization, including culture and strategic planning. This degree also prepares graduates for leadership roles.
Professionals who want to earn an advanced degree in project management and seek a managerial position might consider a dual MBA/master's degree. Students willing to commit the time and money can benefit from leadership training and exposure to advanced coursework in their field.
Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.
How Do I Choose an MBA in Project Management Program?
Students can expect to pay $20,000-$40,000 for an online MBA in project management. This cost might be greater at private schools. Online MBAs can cost less, which makes them a viable choice for some students. Online learners must also consider fees related to distance education, books, supplies, and transportation to attend on-campus classes.
- Program Format
MBA students in project management typically complete 30-45 credits over about two years. Some schools provide accelerated programs that enable students to graduate in 12-18 months. Others allow working professionals to attend school part time.
Individuals wanting a flexible schedule might consider MBA programs with asynchronous delivery, which eliminates all scheduled classes.
Students might consider choosing an online MBA in project management program located nearby in case they need to attend on-campus courses. These programs might also offer internships or fellowships with local businesses.
- Career Opportunities
Applicants might consider MBA programs in project management that offer internships, practicum experiences, and projects that allow students to acquire professional experience. Applicants should also look for schools with student services or career placement centers.
- Programmatic Accreditation
Choosing a school without the proper accreditation can prevent a student from receiving financial aid or transferring credits to another program. Individuals pursuing an online MBA in project management should look for schools with regional and programmatic accreditation.
Regional accreditation comes from one of the six regional accrediting bodies that the U.S. Department of Education monitors. Online MBA programs get programmatic accreditation from one of three organizations:
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
- Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
- International Accreditation Council for Business Education
2021 Best Accredited Online MBA in Project Management Programs
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Pennsylvania State University
|University Park, PA||
Penn State World Campus offers a 48-credit online MBA in project management. The curriculum includes core business training and a nine-credit concentration. Learners take courses in cost and value assessments and commercial law. All students pay the same tuition regardless of where they live.
The program starts in the spring, summer, and fall, and incoming students begin with a mandatory three-day residency, which plans to run virtually until the summer of 2022. Applicants need a strong undergraduate GPA and test scores and five years of relevant experience.
Pennsylvania State University is accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
|West Lafayette, IN||
In Purdue's online MBA in project management, students complete 76 credits, including 60 credits in core business courses and 16 in one of six concentrations. The project management specialization features coursework in project planning and risk assessment.
MBA students take courses in six-week terms, with start dates available for each session. Learners should anticipate spending approximately 20 hours per week on school and graduating within two years, although applicants with a minimum of three years of experience may qualify for an accelerated pathway.
Purdue University is accredited by Higher Learning Commission.
Liberty's MBA students can choose from more than 20 concentrations. In the 45-credit online MBA in project management, learners complete nine specialization credits in courses with a global focus.
Liberty delivers online coursework asynchronously throughout eight-week sessions. Learners can begin during any of the eight annual start dates and graduate within two years. Applicants need a minimum undergraduate 3.0 GPA, and all online learners pay the same tuition rate no matter where they live.
Liberty University is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
University of Mary
Mary's online MBA in project management allows students to graduate within 20 months. Relevant courses include project initiation, planning, and control, and learners complete 45 credits before graduating.
Mary's online MBA in project management offers start dates every five weeks. Applicants need a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75, and all distance learners pay the same tuition rate regardless of where they live.
University of Mary is accredited by Higher Learning Commission.
University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
UW-Whitewater offers 12 emphases in its MBA program, including an online MBA in project management. The 36-credit curriculum includes 24 core credits, nine emphasis credits, and three elective credits. Concentration courses include sustainable management and disaster recovery.
All online students at UW-Whitewater pay the same tuition rate and take asynchronous classes in six-week or eight-week sessions. Applicants need a minimum undergraduate 3.0 GPA with at least two years of professional experience. Graduates may qualify for a project management professional certification after graduation.
University of Wisconsin - Whitewater is accredited by Higher Learning Commission.
Students choose from eight specializations in Regis's MBA program, including project management. This specialization emphasizes leadership and project performance within contemporary organizations. Learners typically complete the 36 required credits within two years.
Regis delivers online coursework both synchronously and asynchronously throughout eight-week terms. Incoming students can begin the program on six annual start dates. They can take some courses in person if they live close to campus. No matter where they live, all online MBA students pay the same tuition rate.
Regis University is accredited by Higher Learning Commission.
Maryville University of Saint Louis
|Saint Louis, MO||
Maryville's 39-credit online MBA in project management curriculum includes 12 concentration credits for courses, such as supply chain and operations management. All students also complete a three-credit business policies capstone. This specialization can prepare graduates for project management professional certification.
Incoming distance learners can begin the program on six start dates per year. The program does not include on-campus requirements. Students also benefit from a standard online tuition rate, and all learners can graduate within 14 months. Applicants do not need business experience.
Maryville University of Saint Louis is accredited by Higher Learning Commission.
In Norwich's online MBA in project management, students complete 36 credits, including 18 credits of specialization courses, such as management communications, techniques, and tools. The program blends asynchronous and synchronous coursework and concludes with a one-week residency.
Online learners complete classes in 11-week sessions and typically graduate within 18 months. Applicants need a minimum undergraduate 2.75 GPA, and all learners pay the same tuition rate no matter where they live. Graduates may qualify for various project management certifications.
Norwich University is accredited by New England Commission on Higher Education.
|Saint Louis, MO||
Webster students can choose from 10 MBA specializations, including a 42-credit MBA in project management. This concentration features nine credits and includes a course in project procurement. Learners also complete practical business training during core MBA courses, which include case studies and consulting projects.
Webster delivers most online coursework asynchronously, although learners participate in a two-hour discussion session each week. Applicants need a minimum undergraduate 2.5 GPA. Courses typically run in eight-week sessions, and incoming students can start the program during the spring, summer, or fall.
Webster University is accredited by Higher Learning Commission.
Montclair State University
One of six MBA specializations available, Montclair's MBA in project management requires 39 credits, including nine credits of concentration courses, such as systems and software development management.
Learners can complete the program entirely online, taking a blend of synchronous and asynchronous classes throughout eight-week sessions for approximately 27 months. Incoming students choose from six start dates. Applicants with inadequate business training may need additional online classes to qualify. Prospective students with professional business experience are more likely to earn admission.
Montclair State University is accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Central Michigan University
|Mount Pleasant, MI||
CMU offers 11 MBA specializations, including an online MBA in project management. The program's 36-credit curriculum features courses in operations management and analytical problem-solving. All students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency.
Program courses run through eight-week terms, and learners can graduate within 12-18 months. The online classes typically combine synchronous and asynchronous delivery. The program eliminates all in-person requirements. Applicants without professional experience need a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.7 and a GMAT score of 450.
Central Michigan University is accredited by Higher Learning Commission.
|Center Valley, PA||
DeSales's online MBA in project management delivers coursework both synchronously and asynchronously. Learners complete four required concentration courses, which cover topics like scope and contract management.
Applicants need a minimum undergraduate 3.0 GPA, plus prerequisite business training. Those with a business degree can pursue a one-year accelerated program option, although this pathway does not offer specializations. Prospective students can try out a course on Zoom before enrolling.
DeSales University is accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Belhaven's online MBA in project management requires 45 credits, including specialization courses in cost and scheduling and project management professional certification preparation. Classes run throughout seven-week terms, and degree-seekers enjoy multiple start dates.
Belhaven delivers most online coursework asynchronously, although most weeks include some form of group work. Applicants need a minimum undergraduate 2.8 GPA. Once admitted, all students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency.
Belhaven University is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Trevecca Nazarene University
Trevecca offers an online MBA in project management in which learners study topics, such as procurement and program management. The 36-credit curriculum features a traditional pathway that learners complete in approximately 22 months and an accelerated track that takes less than 15 months.
Trevecca delivers most online coursework asynchronously, and the program does not include any on-campus requirements. Applicants need a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75. Once admitted, all students pay the same standard tuition rate. Students can also connect with a professional mentor who provides them with practical advice and support.
Trevecca Nazarene University is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
UL Lafayette's MBA students can choose between eight specializations, including an online MBA in project management. This concentration requires 33 credits and features coursework in analytical methods and organizational behavior.
UL Lafayette's courses run throughout eight-week terms. Incoming students can choose from five start dates each year. Full-time students can graduate within 15 months. Applicants need a minimum undergraduate 2.5 GPA. All students pay the same tuition rate.
University of Louisiana at Lafayette is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Frequently Asked Questions About MBA in Project Management Programs
- Is an MBA in project management program hard to get into?
Requirements vary across MBA in project management programs, making some seem more rigorous than others in admission requirements. For example, more selective programs often require GPAs closer to 3.0 than 2.5. They also might seek applicants with higher GMAT or GRE scores.
- How long does it take to get an MBA in project management?
Most students need 2-3 years to complete an MBA. However, learners pursuing an accelerated online MBA in project management might graduate after about 12 months. The timeframe can also depend on students' work schedules and demands outside of school.
- Is project management a good career?
Graduates with an MBA in project management can build careers in various fields, such as health and medicine, construction, marketing, and IT. Job-seekers might find opportunities in construction and manufacturing, which will likely see an increase in new jobs in the U.S. and other countries.
- Are project managers in demand?
Many industries continue to require increasing numbers of project managers. The BLS projects a 5% growth in employment for managers between 2019 and 2029, which could result in about 505,000 new jobs.
- What are the highest-paying jobs I can get with an MBA in project management?