Talented leaders are needed by many businesses around the United States. With online project management degrees increasing in popularity, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that management occupations will experience a growth of 5% between 2019 and 2029. This is expected to result in 505,000 new jobs that offer a median annual salary of $109,760.
A master's degree isn't required for a successful career in project management, it is still an option to consider. Not only can the training and skills you'll gain during your program make you a desirable candidate to employers, it can make you a more effective and efficient project manager.
If you're interested in a career as a project manager or want to advance in your career, here's what you need to know about obtaining an affordable online MBA in project management.
Featured Online Programs
Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.
The Top 20 Most Affordable Online MBAs in Project Management for 2021
The accredited online master's degree in Grantham University sacrifices nothing to maintain its low cost. Despite being less than $4,000 a year, the program is nonetheless PMI-approved, closely following the reputable "Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge" (GPMBK) guidelines. For rock bottom tuition, students get a set of classes adhering to the same high quality standards that much more expensive schools boast. Required courses include "Organizational Behavior," "Project Management Essentials," "Emerging Technologies," "Project Management Integration," and much more. College Prowler survey respondents laud Grantham and its online master's degree in project management for its meaningful online courses, flexibility, and affordability.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Daytona Beach, FL
An master's degree in project management online from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University can do wonders for students' careers. Taking into consideration the complex nature of today's business environment, program faculty focus on how to maximize organizational efficiency within corporations - even in the face of looming deadlines or tight budgets. ERAU offers classes online and all over the world, and its global presence adds an important element of diversity to web-based classrooms. The curriculum boasts Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education approval, in addition to being acknowledged by U.S. News for its top online college status.
The cheap online MBA in project management from Grand Canyon University is an incredible bargain for what it provides. Although it's less than $7,500 a year in tuition dollars to attend, the program offers a comprehensive curriculum covering all aspects of project management. Classes are structured around the three main PMI certifications: the Certified Associate in Project Management, Project Management Professional, and the Agile Certified Professional. Students on College Prowler make plenty of positive reviews of GCU, and rate the knowledgeable professors, valuable education, and low-stress course load as major benefits.
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
Like many other programs on this list, Saint Mary's University's online master's degree in project management is accredited by the Global Accreditation Center for Project Management. A degree from SMU in Minnesota can help professionals advance their career in a big way, opening the door to high level project management positions. The principles and practices of the curriculum closely mirror the PMBKG guidelines, including human resource management, quality control, planning and estimating, and project evaluation. Princeton Review conducted a comprehensive review of SMU's affordability, academics, and resources, and named it one of the best schools in the Midwest.
Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University's affordable online master's degree in project management is practically a steal, coming in at less than $5,000 annually for in-state students. Department professionals designed the high caliber program to cater to the needs of current businessmen and women. They place emphasis on all aspects of the project life cycle, pushing students to face challenges head on and adapt to an ever-changing business environment. SHSU's commitment to education has launched it into the top 100 on U.S. News' list of best online business programs, landing at 69th.
The online MBA degree in project management from Saint Leo University is a great choice for students with a serious interest in business. It combines broad-based business principles with speciality training in project management, and thus is a great choice for professionals in construction, information technology, telecommunications, healthcare, entertainment, or even defense. The curriculum combines leading software resources with team training mechanisms, using collaborative learning to help students excel. All classes follow the guidelines set forth by the "Project Management Body of Knowledge" 5th Edition and can help members prepare for the PMP certification exam.
Granite State College offers a cheap online master's degree in project management with in-state and out-of-state tuition rates that are similarly low. Highly qualified instructors provide education on how to manage risk, make ethical decisions, employ effective strategies, evaluate processes, and lead teams. The program is a great choice for professionals currently working in project management, but is also suitable for working adults simply seeking a career change. Washington Monthly and U.S. News have both recognized GSC's academic excellence, and a recent study by the U.S. Department of Education named the school the cheapest four year college in New England.
Students of project management at Avila University go beyond numbers, focusing instead on the importance of people and relationships in business. They take all classes in the master's degree in project management online, gaining critical thinking and communication skills while also practicing how to motivate employees. The university is yet another Registered Education Provider through PMI, and awards 10 credits of graduate coursework to current PMP-certified individuals. This means that well-qualified individuals can acquire their master's degree in just 24 credits, or potentially just one year! Classes are flexible and are available in both 8-week long and weekend-intensive formats.
Liberty University's program differs somewhat from the other schools on this list, in that it offers an online MBA degree in project management, as opposed to a traditional master's of science. The MBA designation indicates that much of the program's focus is on general business principles. Students learn about marketing, finance, business law, human resources, economics, and organizational business as part of their core requirements, and only afterward take a few concentration classes in project management. Both Liberty's general graduate business and specialty MBA degrees are reocgnized by U.S. News as some of the best available, an indication that it truly provides a top online master's degree in project management.
Western Carolina University
Western Carolina University's affordable online master's degree in project management is yet another program with GAC approval. In fact, it was the first program to ever be accredited by the Project Management Institute, due to its high quality, international faculty and global focus. Students learn all the "soft skills" they need to become effective project management professionals, and work in virtual teams despite taking classes online. The department keeps the program small (between 20 and 30 total students over the past few years) to ensure that each individual gets the attention they need to succeed.
Missouri State University
This Global Accreditation Center (GAC)-accredited program is another of the best online master's degrees in project management in the nation. It prepares students to become accredited professionals in the field, offering such classes as "Product Design and Development," "Management of Innovations and Technology," "Project Risk Analysis," and "Project Leadership." Other topics of study include cost analysis, control systems, and management, while electives cover everything from communicaton to statistics. Forbes ranks Missouri State on its list of top 150 colleges in the Midwest, and in the top 600 in the nation.
Bellevue University's online master's degree in project management was created in response to the high demand for such professionals in the United States. The curriculum is aligned with the Project Management Institute's globally-recognized standards and covers all the core areas suggested in the "Project Management Body of Knowledge" Guide. Students first expand their theoretical understanding of project management before exercising their new-found knowledge in real-world situations. The fundamentals of team dynamics, multiculturalism, and virtual teams ground the curriculum and provide a solid launch pad for more advanced topics.
Colorado State University-Global Campus
Colorado State University-Global Campus is a well-established online college with degrees available in a multitude of areas. One of these is the online master's degree in project management, which also includesspecializations in information technology, healthcare administration, international management, criminal justice leadership, and more. The degree is designed to help professionals build on their past work experience, offering advanced education in strategy, planning and control, tracking, negotiation and conflict resolution, finance, and accounting. CSU-Global is currently ranked #53 for Best Online Graduate Business Programs by U.S. News & World Report.
This accredited online master's degree in project management is 100% online, offering students 24/7 access to classes via the web. The flexible program also offers new classes every 7 weeks, meaning there are a variety of start dates throughout the year. There is also no GRE, GMAT, or residency requirement. The curriculum covers technical tools, such as GANTT and PERT; offers quality analysis in ISO 9000, 9001, and 9002, and provides instruction in all the dynamics of facilitating projects, including costs, schedules, risks, manpower, workflow, and the supply chain. Students will also strengthen their understanding of ethics, strategic communication, accounting, finance, and transformational change.
Regis University has created an online master's degree in project management and leadership that encourages its members to "explore leadership from a strategic perspective." As a best regional university in the West (U.S. News), Regis is known for providing quality education to ambitious learners. The program is organized as a graduate degree in organizational leadership, augmented by a specialization in project management. It is also a Registered Education Provider, certified by the PMI, and is qualified to offer "professional development units" that can help maintain PMP certification. Students can also earn a related certificate in Executive Project Management, Executive Leadership, or Strategic Human Resource Integration.
Walden University boasts a top online master's degree in project management, as evidenced by its prestigious accreditation by the Global Accreditation Center for Project Management. Walden is also an approved provider of project management training and is considered a "PMI Registered Education Provider." The program can also help students become Project Management Professional certified, but only if they meet all experience requirements and sit for the exam. Potential classes include "Planning and Administering Project Contracts," "Business Process Management and Systems," and "Leading Vibrant and Diverse Teams," as well as a Capstone Course.
Brenau University understands that effective project managers are in high demand in the business world. That's why the administration created an affordable online master's degree in project management, which can help students learn how to define objectives, marshall resources, develop plans, and accomplish tasks on schedule. The 15-course, 45-credit program not only covers all the core aspects of project management, but also prepares graduates to sit for the professional certification exams offered by the Project Management Institute. Brenau has earned awards as a U.S. News "Best Regional College" and "Best for Vets," and has received additional recognition as a Military Friendly School.
University of Alaska Anchorage
Students who want to take advantage of the resources of the University of Alaska can do so without traveling all the way up to the frozen north. The school's online master's degree in project management is available entirely over the internet, with courses designed for the working professional. Students can also complete short training courses or even attend some classes for free! Classes cover everything from educating employees to improving productivity and financial performance. U.S. News and Forbes both place UAA on their lists of top colleges, and the former publication even included it as one of the best 20 public schools in the West.
The University of Saint Mary's online master's degree in project management prepares students to lead teams decisively and efficiently, completing projects on time and within budget. Students gain communication and leadership skills while taking most courses online, with satellite locations at a variety of sites around North Dakota. The curriculum also integrates Christian, Benedictine, and Catholic values into courses to help students develop the morals they need to succeed in both their professional and personal lives. Students on College Prowler give particularly high reviews of the knowledgeable professors and helpful career services department.
University of Wisconsin at Platteville
The University of Wisconsin at Platteville's online master's degree in project management is an internationally accredited program, with curriculum approval from the Global Accreditation Center for Project Management. Classes are designed to help students prepare to cultivate relationships between employees and customers, lead complex teams, and manage their time and money. Core courses include "Project Management Techniques," "Advanced Quality Management," "Organizational Communication," and "Interpersonal Skills for Project Teams." Due to the program's wealth of online resources and great academics, U.S. News & World Report rated it one of the best online master's degrees in project management, as a part of its selection of top 100 online graduate schools in business.
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An MBA in project management provides students with the leadership skills and training necessary to be a successful project manager, such as organizing, planning and managing.
Most master's programs take two years to complete; however, the length of the program depends on the program and enrollment status.
The cost of the MBA in project management will vary based on the institution.
An MBA in project management is a graduate degree that trains students for a career in a leadership or management position in nearly any industry. All businesses have leadership roles that need to be filled, from Fortune 500 companies to small mom-and-pop shops. These roles are best filled by someone with a clear idea of how to manage projects and people, which is what a master’s in project management will teach you.
With an MBA in project management, you can pursue a variety of roles, including project analyst, project manager, executive, director of operations, or even general manager of a store or business. While project management jobs will include a wide variety of tasks, you can expect to do everything from project planning, organizing, and tracking goal achievement to coordinating business activities and managing teams in this role.
The program admission requirements for online MBA in project management programs will vary based on the school you enroll in, but in general, you will need a bachelor’s degree, a high GPA (think 3.0 or higher for competitive schools), and a competitive GRE score for admission into any top program. You may also need copies of your transcripts, letters of recommendation, and other required documents based on the program’s admissions criteria.
The requirements for graduating with an online MBA in project management will also vary based on the college or university you enroll in. That said, most MBA programs are completed within one to two years. You will typically complete about 60 credit hours to graduate from a master’s in business program, and will likely need to complete a capstone project or a thesis to graduate.
Project Management MBA Courses
While enrolled in an MBA in project management program, you will take lots of business-centric courses that will help prepare you for your career. The classes you take will vary based on the program you enroll in. In general, though, you can expect to take classes that include:
- Strategic Project Management
- This class teaches students the role of project management as it pertains to the business world, from initiating, planning, and executing the project to setting budgets and giving updates.
- Leadership in Organizations
- In this course, you will learn the fundamentals of business and what tactics leaders use to drive productivity among staff. These tactics are based on organizational behavior theories, which are generally at the core of any leadership program.
- Data Analysis
- Data analysis courses teach you how to work with raw data as a project manager. This type of class is extremely important because data is what you will use to make business decisions.
After you graduate with your MBA in project management, you'll be equipped with additional skills and knowledge that will make you a desirable candidate. There are a number of different career paths you can pursue with a graduate degree in this field. These roles include:
- Project manager
- Project management consultant
- Project analyst
- Architecture or engineering management
- Construction management
The benefit of this degree is that it does not limit you to one field or career path. Any company or business that needs a manager or executive could be a good fit for your skills.
Job Outlook & Salary
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not classify project management as its own career field, it does offer some insight into the potential earning and job outlook for management occupations as a whole.
In terms of average salary, management positions typically earn a much higher wage than the national average. The median annual wage for all management occupations was $109,760 in May 2020, which was the highest wage of all the major occupational groups, according to the BLS.
The job outlook in this field is also above average. Employment in management occupations is projected to grow by about 5% from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is expected to result in about 505,000 new jobs in the management field.
Those looking to advance their project management career may find an MBA program is the ideal route to take. That said, the cost of the program can be relatively high.
Students in need of financial assistance can apply for the grants and scholarships below to help cover the costs of a degree in this field.
Requirements: At least two years of work experience, enrolled in degree program related to project management, chapter member in good standing,
Deadline: April 30th
This scholarship is open to undergraduate or graduate students attending an institution in the Baltimore area and pursuing a degree in project management, as well as PMI Boston members or children of a member.
Deadline: May 1st
This scholarship is open to Orange County residents, at least half-time enrollment, involvement in professional extracurricular activities.
Amount: $1,000 to $3,000
Deadline: June 1st
This scholarship is open to any D.C. Chapter member pursuing project management at any accredited institution in Maryland, Virginia, or the District of Columbia.
Amount: Up to $2,000
Deadline: June 1st
While an MBA in project management can prepare you for a successful career in management, there are other similar degrees that may be worth looking into as well. These include:
A master's in management program prepares you for a career in management by training you in multiple disciplines, including human resources or leadership and organization. With a master's in management, students can go on to secure a management role in multiple industries.
A master's in human resources trains you for a career focused on problem-solving, management, and decision-making. Unlike the MBA in project management, this degree allows students to build careers as HR managers or training and development managers who are equipped to handle a range of HR-related tasks.
A master's in healthcare administration allows students to acquire the skills necessary to lead in a healthcare setting, which includes workforce and financial management, marketing and communications, and leadership. After graduation, you can pursue jobs like hospital administrator, patient-care professional, and management professional.