What is a Master’s in Project Management Degree?

Project Management is an exciting, blossoming field that takes a systematic, project-oriented approach to business and/or organizational success. A Master’s in Project Management degree is the gold standard in the field, and will open a number of doors for you immediately. If you want to take a look at some of the opportunities in the field, check out our piece, What Jobs Can I Get with a Master’s in Project Management? Project Management Master’s degrees typically encompass traditional graduate business curriculum, project management-specific courses, an internship, capstone project or some other immersive, practical component aimed at giving you real-world experience in project management, and at times a specialization in another sector that impacts project management, like a Project Management MBA or a Project Management Master’s with a concentration in Computer Science. If you know you’re interested in taking a Project Management MBA program, make sure to check out our ranking of The 25 Best Online Project Management MBA Degree Programs.

For a primer on Project Management, check out the following resources:

So what are you going to get out of a Project Management Master’s? Let’s get into it:

What are the Learning Outcomes of a Master’s in Project Management Degree?

No matter what your job title ends up being, what you’ll learn in a Project Management Master’s program will apply throughout your professional and personal life. Project Management teaches you how to work within constraints and the resources and personnel at your disposal to solve complex problems through structured plans. You’ll learn how to design programs that will accomplish organizational goals, measure their results, all while analyzing the project’s process itself to better prepare future efforts. Most importantly, you’ll learn to get a job done at all costs, and become intimately familiar with all that goes in to doing so. As our ranking of The 30 Best Online Master’s in Project Management Degree Programs notes:

For every $1 billion an organization invests, a $100 million is wasted due to poor project performance. According to Gallup Business Journal, only 2.5% of companies successfully complete all their projects, and the average cost overrun of all projects is 27%. Nearly 60% of projects fail because of poor communications; 40% fail because of bad planning, resources, and activities.

AND, perhaps most importantly:

In a 2015 study, PMI found that the average salary for master’s degree holders in the United States is $113,000 compared to a median salary of $105,000 for project managers with a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university. Both are higher than the median annual wage for management occupations overall ($100,790).

Still not convinced? There’s more:

Why Should I Get a Project Management Master’s?

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI) “15.7 million new project management roles will be added globally across seven project-intensive industries by 2020.” PMI is the world’s largest project management member association, and is made up of 600,000 project managers in over 185 countries. PMI research has also found that, “every year, the skills shortage will open an estimated 1.57 million jobs across the globe for workers new to project management.”

Now that we know a little more about the field, and what a Master’s in Project Management can do for your opportunities and earning potential, let’s delve into common coursework in these programs:

What is the Curriculum of a Project Management Master’s Degree

While each Master’s in Project Management degree program is different, there are some common components. Students will take graduate business courses, project management-specific courses, participate in an internship, capstone project or other practical assignment to develop real-world project management skills, and often a concentration or specialization that better tailors your project management degree towards your career goals. For a really comprehensive look at graduate Project Management programs, check out our mammoth ranking of the The 50 Most Affordable Graduate Project Management Degrees Online. Throughout all Project Management graduate programs, you’ll likely find courses including:

  • Practices in Project Management
  • Project Scheduling
  • Budgeting and Operations Management
  • Enterprise and Project Risk Management
  • Stakeholder Management and Organizational Behavior
  • Business Process Management and Systems
  • Sustainability in Project Management
  • Project Contracts
  • Organizational Leadership

Some specializations you’re likely to find in your search for a project management Master’s program include:

  • Accounting
  • Agile Project Management
  • Construction Management
  • Fraud Management
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Information Technology
  • Operations Planning and Control
  • Project Leadership and Management
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Project Risk Assessment and Control

Another excellent option for those interested in this discipline is a Project Management MBA. We’ve profiled 25 of the best in our ranking of The 25 Best Online Project Management MBA Degree Programs. These schools were ranked based on their affordability, flexibility, national prestige and unique features of each program. The Project Management MBA gives you the same high quality Project Management education that a Master’s in the field would, combining the tangible aspects of a Project Management Master’s with the more general, theoretical education of an MBA. If you’re trying to figure out whether a Master’s or MBA in Project Management is right for you, definitely read our blog, Should I get a Project Management Master’s or MBA?

Master’s in Project Management generally take two years to complete, give or take depending on the course load you choose, the delivery format, and whether the program is accelerated. If you’re looking to complete a Project Management Master’s as quickly as possible, check out our ranking of The 10 Fastest Masters in Project Management Degree Programs here.

Additional Project Management Resources

At Project Management Degrees, we’ve done exhaustive work to help you find the best program in the field for you. A great way to peruse all of our offerings is to visit our Project Management Degrees Sitemap. We’re constantly updating our content to give you the most up-to-date information on Project Management and the degrees that will prepare you for a career in it, so make sure to keep checking in as you explore the field.

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