The Master of Business Administration, or MBA, is the most commonly conferred graduate degree in the United States. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), nearly 190,000 students earned MBAs in 2013-14; this number represents more than a quarter of all master's degrees received during that academic year. MBA programs follow a comprehensive, multidisciplinary curriculum that incorporates different topics related to business leadership. However, many programs allow students to focus their studies on a niche area of the industry as part of an MBA specialization pathway.
What are the best project management programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:
|1||University of Mary||Bismarck, ND|
|2||University of Texas at Dallas||Richardson, TX|
|3||Stevens Institute of Technology||Hoboken, NJ|
|4||Lewis University||Romeoville, IL|
|5||Liberty University||Lynchburg, VA|
|6||Saint Mary's University of Minnesota||Winona, MN|
|7||Bellevue University||Bellevue, NE|
|8||Central Michigan University||Mount Pleasant, MI|
|9||Missouri University of Science and Technology||Rolla, MO|
|10||Florida Institute of Technology||Melbourne, FL|
An MBA in project management will prepare you for a leadership role in the field of your choice.
One of the most popular specializations among current MBA students is project management. This multidisciplinary field delves into different tools, strategies and philosophies related to large-scale project leadership and coordination. Project managers are a growing presence in the modern workforce, and can be found in major corporations, small startups, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and the military. Many of today's students choose to earn their MBA in project management online. These online programs follow the same rigorous curriculum as brick-and-mortar counterparts, leading to the same number of job opportunities for successful graduates. The asynchronous (or self-paced) schedule and convenient study-from-home format are also ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare duties and other responsibilities that could possibly interfere with campus-based learning.
Learn more about what you can do with an online MBA in project management and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.
Choosing a Program
WILL AN ONLINE MBA IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?
An MBA in project management will prepare students to oversee and coordinate a project at every stage, from initial ideation and development to execution, presentation and post-project evaluation. The best MBA in project management programs cover a wide range of topics, integrating elements of leadership, communication, supply chain and resource management,
financial analysis and risk analysis. Most of these programs also include hands-on coursework, allowing student to hone their project management skills in a simulated environment that mirrors real-world workplaces.
WILL AN ONLINE MBA IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?
MBA online programs offer a flexible alternative to traditional classroom education. Students can download course lectures and readings, participate in virtual discussions with other students, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with their professors at their convenience from the comfort of their home computer. Current technology also enables them to complete their coursework using a laptop, tablet, smartphone and other portable devices with Wi-Fi capabilities.
WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY MBA IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT?
Students who graduate with an MBA in project management will be equipped with the skills and knowledge needed for many top-level positions and managerial roles. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the most common industries for project managers include business, construction, information systems and engineering. Many MBA in project management programs incorporate finance and accounting, marketing and other areas of business in order to provide students with a well-rounded approach to their career field
WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MBA IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS?
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 MBA in project management programs in the United States. If you are considering an online MBA in project management, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.
Accredited Online Project Management Programs
University of Mary
|Bismarck, ND||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 55%||
Based in Bismarck, North Dakota, the University of Mary delivers more than 50 flexible evening and remote programs. The school's catalog contains a fully online master of business administration with a project management concentration; this degree pathway is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education. Through accelerated classes, students can earn their MBA in 16 months.
Coursework covers topics like managerial accounting, marketing, and professional ethics. Students develop specialized skills in project initiation and planning. They also learn to execute complex business endeavours with respect to scope, scheduling, and quality assurance.
Mary accepts applications on a rolling basis and classes start every five weeks. To enroll in this MBA in project management program, applicants must possess a regionally accredited bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA. The university delivers distance education through Canvas platform.
University of Texas at Dallas
|Richardson, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 72%||
The University of Texas at Dallas provides career-focused academic programs through its School of Management. Options include an online master of business administration with a project management emphasis. Students can complete a fully remote curriculum or create a hybrid learning experience by taking some classes on campus.
Candidates learn about the entire project cycle, including initiation, planning, execution, and close-out. They take advanced courses in either a consulting or transformational leadership track. The latter option contains classes in strategic leadership and the neuropsychology of the leader-team dynamic.
Applicants undergo a competitive admissions process that requires three years of professional experience and three recommendation letters. Prospective students also need to complete an interview with the program director. This MBA in project management program holds specialized accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Stevens Institute of Technology
|Hoboken, NJ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 87%||
The Stevens Institute of Technology maintains a flagship campus in Hoboken, New Jersey, and serves about 7,300 students annually. Graduate candidates can enroll in the school's online master of business administration program, which offers a project management concentration. With full-time and part-time tracks — as well as the option to complete an entirely remote or hybrid curriculum — students can earn an MBA largely at their own pace.
Required coursework covers topics such as financial management, leader development, and discovering and exploiting entrepreneurial opportunities. As part of the concentration, students learn to lead projects in cross-national collaborations and highly-matrixed environments. MBA in project management candidates round out their training by completing one of three capstone experiences.
Applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA and adequate GRE/GMAT scores. While the program does not require professional experience, the admissions committee highly values candidates with a strong leadership record.
|Romeoville, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 64%||
Lewis University delivers 19 online program options, including a fully online master of business administration with a project management concentration. Through a curriculum that blends theory and practical applications, students gain the skills needed to occupy leadership positions in accounting, marketing, and data analytics.
The MBA in project management program operates eight-week classes that students can access through a fully online or blended format. Topics consist of managerial communication; financing the business enterprise; and legal, social, and ethical foundations of business. The project management concentration teaches students Six Sigma principles and strategic outsourcing techniques.
Applicants must possess a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit a professional resume and two recommendation letters. Business students can access scholarships, low-interest loans, deferred payment plans, and employer tuition assistance.
|Lynchburg, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 50%||
Headquartered in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University is an evangelical Christian institution. The school offers certificates and degrees through Blackboard, including an online MBA in project management. This 45-credit program emphasizes risk management and effective outsourcing at the national and global levels.
Courses cover topics like advanced IT project management, policy and strategy in global competition, and international business. Students also explore pertinent legal issues and develop applied research skills. Graduates may sit for the certified associate of project management exam offered by the Project Management Institute.
Admission requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants also need to complete designated prerequisite courses in areas like statistics and economics. Liberty's MBA in project management program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
|Winona, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 61%||
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota enrolls more than 5,500 students each year, many of whom earn their credentials remotely. The school's academic catalog contains an online master of business administration with a project management specialization. This 45-credit program helps candidates gain hands-on experience and cultivate a professional network.
Classes include operations management, corporate finance, and executive communication. Students take four advanced classes in the concentration, including project scope and scheduling. They also learn to manage uncertainties by identifying, analyzing, and responding to risks in traditional and adaptive project management environments.
To enroll in this online MBA in project management program, applicants need at least a 2.75 GPA. Saint Mary's does not require GMAT scores or relevant work experience. Students can complete a fully remote curriculum or take some classes at the Minneapolis or Rochester campus for a hybrid learning experience.
|Bellevue, NE||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 0%||
Bellevue University enrolls about 9,000 students in over 80 academic programs, including an online master of business administration with a project management concentration. Accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education, this 36-credit program prepares learners to achieve measurable results in their workplace.
Core classes include business performance management, operations and logistics in the value chain, and strategy innovation and integration. Candidates complete nine credits of coursework as part of the concentration, covering topics such as managing project risks and developing integrative communication strategies.
This MBA in project management program requires applicants to hold a regionally accredited bachelor's degree earned with a minimum 2.5 GPA. BU offers a variety of financial aid, including merit scholarships.
Central Michigan University
|Mount Pleasant, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 62%||
Central Michigan University provides over 35 remote certificates and degrees through its Global Campus platform. Program options include an online master of business administration with a project management emphasis; this program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. By completing this 36-credit degree track, students gain the analytical thinking and multitasking skills needed to work at all organizational levels.
The MBA in project management curriculum contains courses like data analysis and managing information systems in a global economy. Candidates also take a marketing-based management class to learn customer-centric theories and strategies. Additionally, the program includes three classes in the project management emphasis area, including applied Lean Six Sigma.
Applicants need a minimum 2.7 GPA and a GMAT score of at least 450. They must also send in a professional resume and a statement of purpose. CMU offers spring, fall, and summer entry dates.
Missouri University of Science and Technology
|Rolla, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 63%||
Based in Rolla, Missouri University of Science and Technology delivers remote learning opportunities through Blackboard. Graduate students can enroll in an online MBA program that offers business project management certificates. Participants prepare for leadership positions in fields like e-commerce, supply chain management, and business analytics. Missouri S&T's MBA program holds full accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Core classes include international marketing, teambuilding and leadership, and managerial accounting and control. Students also learn to integrate diverse business areas and implement information systems. They may use 15 elective credits to earn a graduate certificate in business project management or IT project management.
To enroll in this MBA program, applicants must submit GRE or GMAT scores and three recommendation letters. They can send in supplemental materials like a resume or CV, professional presentations, and published articles to strengthen their application.
Florida Institute of Technology
|Melbourne, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 0%||
The Florida Institute of Technology maintains a flagship campus in Melbourne, serving over 6,200 students annually. The school offers an array of remote programs, including a fully online MBA in project management. The 36-credit curriculum develops strategic communication and organizational leadership skills, preparing graduates to succeed in the global business environment.
Coursework covers topics like managerial economics, business development essentials, and cases in applied project management. Students also learn to determine which tools and techniques to use at each step of the project cycle. Participants round out their graduate training with a capstone course that focuses on the multifunctional nature of decision-making at the highest management levels.
Applicants do not need to submit GRE or GMAT scores. Florida Tech's MBA in project management program holds full accreditation from the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education and the Project Management Institute's Global Accreditation Center.
Financing Your Online MBA in Project Management
|How Long Is an Online MBA Program?||18 months to 2 years|
|Program Costs||$25,000 to $50,000|
|Concentrations||Management, Leadership, Human Resources, Finance, Data Analysis
Supply Chain Management
|Accreditation||Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)|
|Additional Considerations||Many MBA programs require candidates to sit for the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), and some require a minimum score. However, not all MBA programs require a GMAT score for admission.|
Employment Outlook for MBA in Project Management
Job Placement: MBA in Project Management
Project managers enjoy a strong employment outlook in today's workforce. The Project Management Institute is one of the leading organizations linked to this professional field. According to a recent PMI study, project management jobs are projected to grow by 2.3 million positions through 2020. In addition to domestic opportunities, many project managers find professional success in overseas sectors. PMI estimates that more than 6 million international project management jobs will also be created through 2020.
A 2014 survey by PM Solutions noted that project managers find work in many different industries. Using data from this survey, the following table features industries that employ the highest percentage of professional project managers.
|Industry||Percentage of Project Management Offices|
|Professional and Technical Services||20%|
|Market Research Analyst||13%|
|Business Operations Manager||6%|
|Operations Research Analyst||18%|
Earning a Living
Like most professionals, project managers tend to experience consistent salary growth throughout their careers. The 'Earning Power' survey by PMI looks at earnings expectations for project managers at six career benchmarks. The data from this survey is featured in the table below.
|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%|
As the table indicates, project managers experience roughly 66.9% salary growth after 20 years on the job. However, it's important to note that salary growth will also depend on an employee's specific job title. The next table looks at 20-year salary projections for five of the most common careers in project management.
|Occupation||Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years)||Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years)||Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 years)||Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)|
|Project Manager (General)||$58,971||$72,240||$81,169||$88,371|
|Project Manager (Construction)||$55,206||$72,074||$78,896||$81,824|
|Project Manager (IT)||$69,054||$85,153||$96,732||$103,904|
All five occupations listed experience at least 40% salary growth after 20 years. Project engineers reported the highest rate of career salary growth: a 51.2% increase between the entry-level and late career stages. IT project managers placed a close second with 50.5% growth, followed by general project managers with 49.9% growth.
Students who graduate with an MBA in project management will be qualified for dozens of top-level positions across many industries, although individual eligibility will depend on additional factors like company size and city/state of employment. Four of the most common careers in healthcare management are outlined below.
Architectural and Engineering Managers: These managers oversee construction and public works projects, such as buildings, residences, bridges and roadways. They draft blueprints and development plans, create a project budget, hire different personnel and coordinate supplies, equipment and other essential resources.
Computer and Information Systems Managers: Also known as IT managers or IT project managers, these individuals oversee technology departments at their company or organization. They test and evaluate software, hardware and computer networks to determine where improvement is needed, and then derive solutions that are efficient and cost-effective.
Construction Managers: These managers play a role in the development, building and evaluation stages of small- and large-scale construction projects. Working within a budget, they are responsible for allocating financial resources to different components of the project. They also oversee the hiring of laborers, contractors, machine operators and other qualified employees.
Human Resources Managers: These managers (HR managers for short) supervise the human resources departments at different companies and organizations. These departments handle recruitment and staffing, benefits and compensation, training, development and other employee programs. HR managers also serve as intermediaries between employees and company management, and may mediate disputes between members of these two parties.
|Profession||Median Annual Salary||Projected Growth (2014-24)|
|Architectural and Engineering Managers||$132,800||2% (+3,700 jobs)|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||$131,600||15% (+53,700 jobs)|
|Construction Managers||$87,400||5% (+17,800 jobs)|
|Human Resources Managers||$104,440||9% (+10,800 jobs)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
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 professional 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 U.S., and members qualify for free professional liability insurance.
- Society for Human Resource Management: Considered the world's largest HR-oriented professional organization, the SHRM boasts 285,000 members in 165 different countries. The website features a vast online resource library, as well as links to continuing education opportunities and an events calendar.
Financing Your Online MBA in Project Management Program
Despite the relative affordability of online 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 opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.
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