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How to Get a Masters Degree in Project Management

If you’re considering a career in project management, the outlook is very promising, both from an opportunity and salary viewpoint. There is a high demand for skillful project managers and their accompanying salaries tend to be well over $70,000 a year. By the year 2020, this career field is expected to grow by 12 percent, resulting in 6.2 million new jobs across the globe for project managers to fill.

With a master’s in project management, you will learn the necessary skills it takes to manage diverse groups, communicate with team members and stakeholders, foresee project issues before they arise, and develop effective solutions to ensure projects are carried out efficiently and effectively.

For now, let’s take a close look at the steps you must take to earn a master’s in project management as well as your degree options.

Understanding Your Options

There are three basic types of master’s degrees you can earn that will set you up for a fulfilling career in project management:

  • Master of business administration in project management
  • Master of science in project management
  • Master of arts in project management

Earning a master of business administration (MBA) in project management is considered extremely prestigious, but it will also, most times, be your most expensive option. In addition, MBA programs tend to be fairly more competitive than your other two options. In order to be admitted into an MBA program, you will likely need a high standardized test score as well as a high GPA throughout the earning of your undergraduate degree. More so, you will need an undergraduate degree that directly relates to business, such as an actual bachelors in business, finance, or marketing. On the downside, however, an MBA program will not require you to focus on the completion of a project management project, which can be frowned upon in the eyes of employers.

With a master of science in project management (MSPM), you going to get the most bang for your buck. This type of program is usually far less expensive than an MBA program and requires you to complete a project management project in order to graduate, which is highly favored by employers and serves as a valuable asset on your resume. This type of degree is also beneficial in regard to helping you switch from one industry to another throughout your career since it isn’t industry specific.

Knowing How to Get a Masters Degree in Project Management

If you know from the get-go the industry in which you want to work as a project manager, then you should make sure your undergraduate degree is tailored to courses that teach you industry-specific practices. You will need a bachelor’s degree to enroll in master’s program, but you don’t necessarily have to have an associate’s degree to enroll in a bachelor’s curriculum. Instead, many bachelor programs will include associate-level courses, allowing you to fast track through the program. If you earn an associate’s degree and then go on to earn your bachelor’s, it will likely take you a total of four years. If, however, you enroll in a bachelor’s program that includes your associate-level courses, you may be able to graduate with your undergraduate degree in as little as 36 months.

What Topics Do Courses Cover in a Master’s in Project Management Degree Program?

The courses that you will take in your master’s program will depend on the school you go to. For example, if you attend the University of Texas Dallas to earn this degree, you will have two educational tracks to choose from:

  • Master’s of Science in Management and Administrative Sciences w/a concentration in Project Management
  • Master’s of Business Administration w/a concentration in Project Management

Both programs are accredited by the Project Management Institute’s Global Accreditation Center and require you to submit the following for enrollment:

  • GMAT/GRE scores
  • Letter of recommendation
  • College transcripts
  • Current resume
  • Possible interview

Both programs cover various topics, including:

  • Project planning
  • Advanced project management
  • Project execution
  • Strategic process management
  • Project management simulation
  • Project closeout
  • Project initiation

If you enroll in the master’s of project management program at the College of St. Scholastica School of Business and Technology, your courses will cover the following topics:

  • Strategic decision making
  • Organizational change leadership
  • Budget management
  • Leadership communications
  • Risk and quality management
  • Procurement

To apply to this school, you will need to submit:

  • 500-word essay explaining your experience in project management
  • Outline of your career plans
  • College transcripts
  • Two references

Should I Earn a Degree Online or Take Courses on Campus?

There is a lot to consider when deciding to earn your degree in project management online or on campus. First, you will need to carefully assess the amount of time you can dedicate daily to schoolwork. Are you busy? Do you have the time to attend college on a full-time basis? Or do you need a curriculum that is flexible regarding class attendance and homework due dates, such as an online program?

You will also need to take a truthful look at how self-motivated and self-disciplined you are. Taking courses online means you won’t have a set schedule to attend classes or finish your homework. Instead, you will need to develop unique strategies to stay up to date on your homework along with finding and creating a comfortable work space to do your work. With that being said, there are pros to earning your degree online, like the fact that it offers flexibility. You can mold your classes to fit your schedule as opposed to needing to be in class at a specific time.

Even with all of the technological advances these days, traditional education still proves to be the better option for those who need or prefer face-to-face communication. Earning your degree on-campus will provide you motivation and it also gives you the opportunity to ask your professor and fellow students questions when you are struggling. If you live a lifestyle that offers flexibility in your daily routine, attending classes on campus might be the best option for you. Even better is that many colleges offer evening and night classes, which is especially ideal for working professionals who can’t make it to school during the day.

Additional Tips for Getting  a Masters Degree in Project Management

When you enroll in a master’s program for project management, you should take into consideration if you intend to extend your studies even further and earn a doctoral-level credential. If so, then you should search for a school that offers both a master’s and Ph.D. program in project management, which can smoothen the transition from one program to the next. Also, earning both credentials at the same school can help ensure you have taken the appropriate courses to be accepted into the Ph.D. program.

"Management is, above all, a practice where art, science, and craft meet." ~ Henry Mintzberg