Top 20 Master’s in Project Management Online Degree Programs for 2019

Do you like to make sure plans are running smoothly? Are you good at keeping people on schedule? Is following a budget one of your favorite things to do? Then you might just be an ideal candidate to pursue a master's in project management online.

Individuals who complete online master's in project management degrees are well-equipped to lead teams and communicate tasks and goals effectively. Those who obtain a master's in project management can combine the technical skills they have developed in their field with the more intangible skills of organization, planning, and execution of projects.

According to, employers look very favorably upon candidates with a master's in project management, versus those who don't have advanced training or certification. Because they manage a project from conception to completion, the additional skills are beneficial to work with various staff and company departments. Additionally, advanced training in project management can better prepare an individual for a variety of jobs within an organization, including work as a consultant, in business development, and even in business operations.

What Are the Top 20 Project Management Schools?

Online master's degree programs in project management provide individuals the opportunity to increase their earning potential and open the door for jobs in a high-growth market. Those wishing to advance their education or career can do so with the flexibility of obtaining a master's in project management online. Top institutions across the country offer high-quality programs to meet your needs.


George Washington University Washington, DC

The number one online project management degree program, George Washington University’s Master of Science in Project Management was established in 1998. Instructors bring field expertise from astrophysics, engineering, construction, and more. Students in the program become part of the university’s School of Business, and can take advantage of its alumni network and career center. While mostly conducted online, all students must attend an on-campus orientation at the beginning of the program, and then come back for a week-long stay while completing their capstone project at the end of the program.


Georgetown University Washington, DC

The Master of Professional Studies in Project Management at Georgetown is geared toward students with prior professional or educational experience, requiring at least a bachelor’s degree and two or more years of experience to apply. It combines coursework and real-life applications in the 30-credit-hour degree, and prepares students to be experts in managing a team, operating within a defined business structure, and analyzing projects to find areas of inefficiencies.


Boston University Boston, Massachusetts

Students can complete the Online Master of Science in Project Management in 18-24 months. The program focuses on the full project management cycle: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing. Internationally recognized project management practitioners teach the courses, offering expertise in project governance, agile project management, and earned value analysis.


Brandeis University Waltham, Massachusetts

Brandeis’ MS in project and program management combines the study of management, leadership, and technology. Instructors in the program are experienced practitioners of project management who come from diverse industries and backgrounds. Coursework includes management of virtual and global teams, the human side of project leadership, and social media and collaboration technology in organizations.


Regis University Denver, Colorado

The MS in project leadership and management at Regis University is an accelerated program encompassing 30 credit-hours, with each class lasting just eight weeks. Students work on learning how to communicate with stakeholders, the basics of risk management, and the important role ethics play in this line of work.


Drexel University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Drexel’s MS in project management is specifically tailored to mid-career professionals. In this program, students complete courses such as international project management, managing multiple projects, and project teamwork. The full program is broken down into four ten-week quarters per year.


Liberty University Lynchburg, Pennsylvania

Liberty University’s Master of Science in Marketing-- Project Management combines both theory and practice of project management for students. The program incorporates the added focus of leading a creative team, and appeals to students who want to increase their time management, critical thinking, and organizational skills. All courses are taught from a biblical perspective and therefore encompass how to incorporate faith into all aspects of the work.


Purdue Polytechnic West Lafayette, Indiana

The master’s of science in IT project management brings an added specialization to traditional coursework by focusing on information technology. Among the top online programs in project management, it is the only one with such a focus. Courses include IT policy, laws and ethics, IT economics, and portfolio management. Graduates of the program are prepared with essential project management skills, such as budgeting time, scope, and risk management. The enhanced focus on IT has garnered attention from professionals and potential employers in the fields of systems analysis, software engineers, and automation managers.


Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Winona, Minnesota

The 36-hour master’s in project management teaches students how to plan and manage complex projects, employ project management best practices, lead diverse groups, and address cross-cultural and social challenges. Students are able to choose between a final paper or project simulation to close the program, and may go on to work in a variety of occupations, including operations manager, risk manager, and information security analyst.


Pennsylvania State University State College, Pennsylvania

Penn State Online offers a master of project management degree with 30 credit-hours that can be completed in as little as two years. The master’s program also contains the four classes necessary to earn a graduate certificate in project management, allowing students to earn credentials to enhance their resume before they even complete the full master’s degree.


University of Wisconsin Platteville, Wisconsin

The master of science in project management program at UW-Platteville enables students to achieve success at the highest levels of management by preparing them to lead complex projects, cultivate relationships between project teams and customers, and manage the "triple constraint" of time, budget, and scope of project. The project management program is globally accredited by PMI and the curriculum is aligned with the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK).


Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne, Florida

The master’s in project management program covers both the fundamentals and advanced skills needed for project management, including statistics, cost, and economic analysis. Students can select from a variety of concentrations, such as operations research, information systems, or a specialization designed by the student themselves.


Southern New Hampshire University Hooksett, New Hampshire

The MS in operations and project management online degree from SNHU gives students access to renowned guest-lecturers and visits to high-profile companies, helping the program live up to the school’s motto: "the greatest and the best." The program focuses on analysis, design, implementation, and management of operations and projects for work in manufacturing and service industries.


Sam Houston State University Huntsville, Texas

The Master of Science in Project Management at Sam Houston is a 36-credit-hour program available for students who are hoping to advance their expertise in managing projects in rapidly-changing environments and businesses. Sam Houston awards $1,000 scholarships for first-time, completely online students, and offers around-the-clock support for participants.


Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide Daytona Beach, Florida

Embry-Riddle has more than 130 locations worldwide, and its Master of Science in Project Management can be completed at one of its many locations, or online. The program prepares students for project management in fields such as technology and renewable energy, in industries with growing needs such as aerospace and defense. The program also promotes continued personal development for students while they are enrolled, encouraging attendance at seminars and networking events and participation in professional organizations.


Missouri State University Springfield, Missouri

The Master of Science in Project Management at Missouri State will take students through coursework and training in technical, healthcare, business, and finance concentrations. The program is available entirely online and includes classes like product design & development, cost analysis for project management, and management of innovation and technology.


City University of Seattle Seattle, Washington

The Master of Science in Project Management at the City University of Seattle is the only of its kind in the Northwest that is accredited by the Project Management Institute and available solely online. Courses in the 45-credit-hour program include a focus on how to lead global teams, align the goals of the company and the project, and problem-solve.


New England College Henniker, New Hampshire

NEC’s Master of Science in Management – Project Management teaches online students the "art and science" of project management, providing advanced learning in project workflow, risk, and manpower. NEC offers increased flexibility by providing rolling admissions; students can begin coursework every seven weeks and there are no residency requirements for the 100% online program.


Bellevue University Bellevue, Nebraska

The Bellevue master’s in project management program helps students combine the technical with the personal, preparing them with skills in data collection, research, scheduling, and budgeting. The 36-hour program is modeled after the Project Management Institute’s standards for project management professionals. With a main campus in Bellevue, Nebraska, the university consistently ranks highly among national institutions for its accommodations for military students; helping active-duty and veteran military personnel obtain their degree has been a main tenant of the institution since its founding in 1966.


Colorado State University Fort Collins, Colorado

Students enrolled in the online master’s degree in project management are taught best practices of project management while integrating fundamental business skills with leadership training. The program focuses on advanced management skills, including managerial accounting, financial metrics, and contract negotiation.

All CSU-Global instructors have advanced degrees and have been trained in online teaching methods, further allowing students to apply what they have learned to real-life situations. Students can specialize in finance, human resources management, or information technology, among other options.

What Will I Learn in an Online Master's in Project Management Program?

Online master's degree programs in project management prepare students to effectively schedule, coordinate, and organize projects, programs, and portfolios across industries. Coursework emphasizes effective theories, practices, and techniques that successful team leaders use in various professional settings.

Fundamentals of Project Management

This course introduces students to project management terminology and the project life cycle. Students learn how to operate within each part of the project life cycle by studying and applying the tools, skills, and theories of project management.

Project Scheduling

Students learn to plan and implement project objectives in the most effective and efficient order, while considering costs, resources, and change. Coursework emphasizes task requirements, constraints, and duration as they relate to project phases.

Interpersonal and Group Behavior

Students explore how people work together in a project or program setting. Coursework examines communication techniques, workplace ethics, hiring practices, and risk factors for ineffective cooperation. Students learn strategies for achieving their goals and resolving conflicts.

Project Procurement and Contracting

Students learn how to acquire project resources from external sources and vendors. Coursework covers proposal requests and the steps necessary to develop, document, and complete a project, including negotiations and contracts.

Project Management Capstone

Students apply the theories, practices, and experiences from previous coursework while implementing a project. Students combine interpersonal, business, budgetary, and planning skills to coordinate a project, while handling internal and external factors and conflicts.

Master's in Project Management Specializations

Students may earn a master's in project management online through a business program or as a master of science degree. Online master's degree programs in project management often include available concentrations in technology driven industries and global corporations. Students learn how to cope with change and uncertainty in a project management context.

Master of Science in Agile Project Management

An online master's in project management with a specialization in agility covers methods of planning, implementing, and completing a project while considering the interests of all stakeholders. By emphasizing a forward-thinking approach, this degree prepares managers to lead using plan-driven and value-driven approaches.

Master's Degree in Project Management Based in the Needs of Multinational Corporations

Students earning this type of project management master's online tailor the program to the needs of their business through interdisciplinary coursework. Students prepare to advance their careers through coursework in enterprise architecture, enterprise resource planning, or engineering.

Master of Science in Computer Inforpmation Systems with a concentration in IT Project Management

This master's program focuses on IT project management and emphasizes software risk, quality, and cost management. The program provides students with the background needed to work in virtual project management.

Project Management Skills

Project managers work in all different types of fields, but many of the skills needed for this type of work are transferable across industries. In general, it's important for project managers to be organized and able to communicate effectively. It's also helpful for project managers to be adept at:

  • Budgeting/Accounting: An effective project manager produces results without overspending, and with a strong understanding of where (and during which phases of the project) money is being spent.
  • Conflict Resolution: A project will have many moving parts and people to manage them. Every person will consider their part to be the most important. It is critical for a project manager to be able to control and minimize conflict.
  • Time Management: What if the rollout of the project has been widely publicized? It's crucial that the work is completed on schedule, and the project manager is in charge of making sure each piece and team member is hitting their deadlines.
  • Technologically Savvy: Project management systems and software can be essential in organizing and managing all parts of the project. Project managers should be able to use these systems to keep track of data and collaborate with their team.
  • Leadership: A project manager will be leading a team of diverse talents and backgrounds. It's important for them to be able to balance the needs of their staff, the needs of the project, and the demands of the stakeholders they answer to.

Job Outlook and Salaries for Project Management

The Project Management Institute's Growth Forecast reported that there will be a 12% rise in demand for project managers, totaling more than six million available jobs by 2020. These staggering numbers are due in large part to global growth, and present a great opportunity for those trying to break into project management or advance their careers. Organizations are beginning to rely more heavily on strategic planning carried out by qualified professionals, rather than simply relying on existing staff members to take on the role of project manager.

"They actually have to build a capability so they invest in career paths and invest in projects and program managers, ultimately because they recognize it's distinct from a capability standpoint and it equates to delivering the strategy long-term," said Mark Langley, president of the Project Management Institute.

While salaries for project managers typically vary among desired specializations and years of experience, graduates with a degree in project management can expect a positive job outlook and competitive salary. As with many professions, advanced degrees in project management can boost one's potential median salary.

Salaries for Project Managers by Experience
  Entry Level Mid-Career Experienced Late-Career
Project Manager, Information Technology (IT) $70,000 $89,000 $100,000 $110,000
Project Manager (General) $60,000 $75,000 $85,000 $91,000
Project Manager, Construction $58,000 $73,000 $81,000 $84,000

Job Duties and Options for Project Managers

No matter the specific tasks at hand, the overarching daily objective of a project manager is to ensure all the pieces of the puzzle are fitting together seamlessly. If they do this correctly, then by the end of the project, the full picture will be complete.

For most project managers, daily work will fall into three main categories: planning, organizing, and implementing. In the planning phase, the project manager will define the goals and desired outcomes of the project. They will put together a statement of work that outlines benchmarks, timelines, and budgets. In the organization phase, the project manager will build the team, using both internal and external members, depending on the scope and available resources of the project. In implementing mode, the project manager is focused on executing the necessary components of the project and making sure team members are staying on top of deadlines and responsibilities. They will communicate with higher-ups and key stakeholders to make sure the mission of the project and ongoing process is accurately communicated.

Managers may find themselves in charge of teams built solely from within their organization, or with a team of external professionals brought in for a specific project.

While no two projects or days on the job are the same, project managers will often be in the office before the rest of the team to make sure daily tasks are running on time, and will usually leave after the team to review what's on deck for tomorrow. Managers may find themselves in charge of teams built solely from within their organization, or with a team of external professionals brought in for a specific project. Types of projects are wide-ranging, depending on the industry or field, but can include administrative or technology work, like implementing a new computer system, performing research or a feasibility study, or even overseeing a company relocation, like moving to a new building or space. Although project managers can be found in any organization, common industries for project managers include construction, engineering, architecture, information technology, and telecommunications.

Certification Requirements for Project Managers

Project Management Professional
Project Management International offers this certification for advanced project managers. Certificate holders receive access to networking opportunities, increased salary potential, and global insights into project management.
Master Project Manager
The American Academy of Project Management provides this certification to individuals with at least three years of project management experience. The organization also offers international and project-specific certifications.
Certified Associate in Project Management
This credential is available to project managers at all stages of their careers. The certificate demonstrates the holder's knowledge of global standards in project management and helps project managers advance their careers.

MBAs and Project Management

While there are many similarities and overlap between project management degrees and traditional MBA programs, the two programs also provide expertise in different areas of business. MBAs are a great fit for those with plans to take on a leadership role within an organization, while project management programs prepare students for more specialized roles leading large-scale projects. For MBA students, the focus is heavily applied on how decisions are made within a company, and each of its departments. Those who study project management focus more on decision making, but for the purpose of how to execute results.

There are also many MBA programs that include a project management focus, as much of the content is relevant to each type of specialization. These programs typically include fundamentals of business and leadership, with an increased emphasis on project management particulars including scope, time, and cost.

Advanced training in project management will provide a foundation for time management skills, setting and reaching goals and benchmarks, working with budgets, and leading a team to effective results. An MBA with a specialization prepares graduates for a broad range of skills in business, including communications, finance, and even data analysis.

Professional Organizations for Project Management Professionals

By joining a professional organization, project management professionals receive access to networking opportunities, continuing education, and job listings. Professional organizations provide resources to help members launch and advance their careers. These organizations create regional, national, and global communities for project managers and foster the exchange of information, resources, and training. Many professional organizations hold conferences and seminars.

Project Management International
PMI is a global organization of project managers that offers certifications to both members and non-members. Members have access to PMI events, online communities, and current information about global trends in project management. Members can join local PMI chapters.
International Project Management Association
The IPMA is a federation of member associations from countries around the world. In addition to providing access to individual associations, IPMA offers training and certifications for aspiring and advancing project managers. The association also supports project management coaches and consultants.
Association for Project Managers
The APM offers project management training and consulting to engineers, architects, and facility managers and to individual clients and business owners. The APM focuses on the design and construction industries and provides information and resources from large project management organizations.

Financing Your Master's in Project Management Online Program

Students pursuing a master's degree in project management online have a variety of funding options. Students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their eligibility for federal scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study programs. Students can also find financial resources available at the local, state, and regional levels. Professional organizations, corporations, organizations, and industry leaders also offer scholarships for project management students.

Scholarships for Project Management Students

Students earning an online master's in project management can apply to scholarships reserved for students in the field. Many professional project management organizations provide scholarships for new students and for individuals pursuing further education to advance in their careers. Industries, corporations, and private donors also provide funding opportunities.

Matthew H. Perry Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Project Management International established this scholarship program to honor Matthew H. Perry's contributions to the field of project management. Undergraduate and graduate students should apply to the PMI Education Foundation comprehensive scholarship program to be considered for the award. Amount: Up to $2,000

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Mary Keith Academic Scholarship For Women

Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students pursuing a degree in project management, a field related to project management, or a field that benefits from project management. One woman receives the scholarship each year. Amount: $3,000

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Ranzy Gammal Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is available to students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in project management or a field that benefits from project management, such as construction, science and engineering, or architecture. Applicants must reside in the mid-Atlantic region, but recipients can attend an accredited program in any state. Amount: Up to $1,500

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Wayne K. Latham Project Management Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is available to students attending a project management program or studying a field that benefits from project management. Texas residents receive preference, specifically applicants from the Dallas or Fort Worth areas. Amount: Up to $2,500

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Former PMI Information Systems Community of Practice Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Former PMI Information Systems Community of Practice offers this scholarship to students pursuing a degree in information systems, information technology, or project management. Applicants must be enrolled in accredited program at the undergraduate or graduate level. Amount: Up to $2,000

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The PMI Academic Scholarship for Quality

Who Can Apply: The Former PMI Quality Specific Interest Group sponsors this endowment fund to support students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs. Applicants must be studying project management or a field that benefits from project management. The organization awards one scholarship annually. Amount: Up to $1,500

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To determine the best online master's degrees in project management, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school's commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the top 20 master's degrees in project management. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school's ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category's ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.