Graduate Project Management Degree Online

While pursuing an online project management graduate degree, students examine how to develop and manage the complete lifecycle of a project. This includes understanding budgets, use of resources, and risk assessment, as well as the application of techniques and methods to various industries.

Why earn a graduate degree in Project Management Online?

In addition, many online project management graduate programs provide you with the option to pursue your degree on your terms. This may mean taking courses at your own pace, performing coursework at your convenience, avoiding a relocation and maintaining your career.

Fun Fact

Fewer than a third of all projects were successfully completed on time and on budget over the past year.

Online Project Management Graduate Degree: Basics

Many businesses, across nearly every industry, are using project-based methods in order to ensure that all aspects of a project flow seamlessly to completion. While earning an online project management graduate degree, you could study how to support this process to help meet organizational goals. Courses are focused on teaching how to oversee all of the different components of a project, including making sure that the timeline, scope, and budget are all met.

Online project management graduate programs may also examine various leadership and management philosophies. Students could analyze which types of leadership styles are best suited for certain organizations and situations, and may be prepared to pursue leadership roles upon earning their degree.

Typically, graduate degrees and certificates use a combination of research, analysis, writing, and group assignments in order to teach a broad knowledge of business and management principles and successful project-based strategies. Online degrees could also provide you an opportunity to enhance your online communication skills. This may be especially important as many companies have locations all around the world and oversee projects in multiple locations.

Different Online Project Management Graduate Degree Levels

In order to provide you with a number of options to fit your current academic standing, there are usually three types of project management online graduate programs. Each of the three degree levels increase demands placed on the student as they advance. This typically means more emphasis on researching and writing, as well as critical analysis. Consider your background, interests and goals to find a perfect online project management graduate degree for you.

Certificate in Project Management Online

A shorter, non-degree program, a certificate in project management online could provide a core framework and basic information on how to apply theories and tools to project management.

Typically, certificates only require four to six courses and are designed for part-time students who take two courses per semester. As a result, many students earn their certificate in one year. However, this depends on the specific makeup of each program. Some may be longer, or shorter, so it’s important to check with a number of different options, and their unique structure, before applying.

In addition to core courses, some certificates allow you to choose a course or two as electives. This option may allow you to examine how to apply the principles of project management to a specific field, such as supply chain management or international project management. In addition, some schools allow you to apply some credits you earn for your certificate to a masters degree. However, this isn’t available at every school. So if this is important to you, be sure to check with each school before applying.

Masters in Project Management Online

A masters in project managament online program may be great for those looking for a more comprehensive understanding of the various uses and techniques of project management. As an interdisciplinary degree, many online masters in project management programs teach how to apply the principles and theories of project management to different industries. Upon completing all required courses, students may also be asked to complete a capstone or thesis project. This is a way to show that you grasp all of the key concepts and are able to apply project management techniques to real world problems.

Full-time students usually earn an online project management masters degree in 18 to 24 months. However, many online programs are designed with the student in mind. Therefore, these programs may place more emphasis on freedom and flexibility. Many online students pursue their masters on a part-time basis. Though this may take longer, it could allow you the flexibility to perform coursework around your personal and professional responsibilities.

Online PhD in Project Management

An online PhD in project management is the terminal degree in the field, or the highest degree you can earn. Therefore, courses typically require more research, analysis, and writing than other degree levels. Most PhD programs are designed for students who have a number of years of professional experience and a masters degree.

Usually, programs help students integrate project management tools with management and leadership concepts. This approach is designed to teach how to manage the complete lifecycle of a product or program. They may also cover various research techniques to prepare students to contribute new ideas to the field. Many full-time students earn an online PhD in three to five years.

It is important to note that some online PhD programs ask that you come to campus to complete some assignments, as well as to attend workshops and seminars. Upon completing all course requirements, many programs require that you write, present, and defend a dissertation to a panel of faculty. This may also require a visit to campus, though some programs do allow students to defend their dissertation remotely. Check with a number of programs to find out specific requirements.

What Is a PMI GAC Accredited University Program?

The Global Accreditation Center (GAC) at the Project Management Institute (PMI) is the world’s leading specialized accrediting body for project management programs. The GAC is committed to rewarding programs that foster continuous improvement by accrediting programs at the following degree levels.

  • Bachelors
  • Postgraduate
  • Doctorate

In order to be accredited, programs must meet comprehensive, global standards, as well as having a deep commitment to ongoing evaluation. The GAC assesses programs based on their scale, scope, and quality.

Keep in mind that programs that aren’t accredited by the GAC aren’t necessarily bad schools. Often, it simply means that you need to perform more independent research about the program, faculty, and degree.

What You Could Study While Pursuing an Online Project Management Graduate Degree

An online project management graduate degree is designed to provide a complete understanding of the principles and aspects of effective project management. These may include the following.

  • Scheduling and planning
  • Cost and risk assessment
  • Budget management
  • Negotiation and conflict resolution
  • Communications
  • Securing resources

As a result, online graduate programs in project management focus on the entire lifecycle of a product or program. This may result in some of the outcomes listed below.

  • Proficiency in the latest project management technology
  • Ability to develop the project management lifecycle, from inception to completion
  • Advanced understanding of the five steps of the project management process
  • Knowledge of advanced tools for project cost estimation, schedule development and tracking, and communication
  • Ability to apply ethical leadership strategies to combine best practices and tools to the field of project management
  • Proficiency in communication, writing, and critical analysis of the theories, research, and techniques

Common Graduate Degree Project Management Courses Online

Online project management courses are designed to help students analyze the methods and techniques commonly used in project management by applying them to real world scenarios. Many programs use the software and tools commonly used in the workplace as well, so that you may have experience upon earning your graduate degree.

Plus, by choosing to pursue your project management graduate degree online, you could perform your coursework when it’s convenient for you. Also, you won’t have to relocate so that you can continue working and maintain the responsibilities you already have. Nor will you have to come to campus every day and search for parking. Instead, you can sit in your pajamas while examining various project management theories and applying key concepts to case study analyses.

Here are some of the common courses you could take while earning an online project management graduate degree.

  • Assessing and Mitigating Risk
  • Project Planning, Management, and Financial Control
  • Advanced Project Management Techniques
  • Data Analysis for Business Decisions
  • Operations Management and Technology
  • Ethics, Corporate Culture, and Social Responsibility
  • Sustainability in Project, Portfolio, and Program Management
  • Budgeting and Management of Operations
  • Project Scheduling
  • Planning and Administering Project Contracts

Keep in mind that all programs are designed differently. This is especially true between the different graduate degree levels. Therefore, course names, structures, and assignments will vary from school to school, and between degree levels.

What Are the Five Phases of a Project?

The five phases of a project are:

  1. Initiation
  2. Planning
  3. Executing
  4. Monitoring and Controlling
  5. Closing

By breaking complex projects into these distinct steps, teams may clearly identify their responsibilities. Plus, time, budget, and resources could be seen well in advance in order to catch any problems and to readjust strategies as needed. Each of these steps may be examined in detail during your project management online courses, as well as applied to various real world scenarios.

What Is the Project Management Framework?

Project management frameworks take into account the five phases listed above and put them into a basic structure. There are a number of frameworks available, some of which include the following.

  • PRINCE2
  • Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)
  • Scrum
  • Waterfall

Typically, organizations use multiple frameworks depending on the department or project. As a result, many online project management degree programs cover several different frameworks, as well as what type of projects each may be most appropriate for.

Common Careers in Project Management

Upon earning your online project management graduate degree, you may be able to enhance your career as a project manager. Plus, as organizations in many industries use the key aspects of project management for both internal and external projects, you could pursue a career in just about any industry.

Some of the careers in project management, and their 2016 median annual salary, are listed here.

  • Construction Managers: $89,300i
  • Operations Research Analysts: $79,200ii
  • Management Analysts: $81,330iii
  • Computer and Information Systems Managers: $135,800iv
  • Postsecondary Teachers, Engineering: $97,530v

Each of the management and analyst positions listed above usually only require that candidates have a bachelors degree.vi However, many companies prefer candidates with a graduate degree.vii This is especially true as projects become more complex and more integral to the success of businesses.

In order to become a postsecondary teacher, candidates usually are required to have a doctorates degree.viii According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of engineering postsecondary teaching positions will increase 13% during the ten years from 2014 to 2024.ix

Additional PMI Certifications

The PMI offers a number of project management certifications so that you may meet the demands of employers and projects around the world. Some of the most common are:

  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
  • PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)
  • PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)

These certifications are completely optional and are in addition to any graduate certificates. However, some programs may help you prepare to meet their requirements. By earning a certification from the PMI, you might show potential employers that you can manage projects in any field and anywhere in the world. This is because each of the PMI certifications are based on rigorous standards in order to meet the real world needs of organizations.

Find the Perfect Online Project Management Degree for You

Are you interested in a graduate degree to learn how to manage a project from initiation to completion? Then take the next step to find a perfect online project management graduate degree for you.

Click on any of the sponsored listings on this page to learn more about individual programs. This includes program descriptions, specific courses, and admissions requirements. Plus, you can even contact your favorite schools directly to request more information and learn how to apply today.


[i] bls.gov/ooh/management/construction-managers.htm#tab-5 [ii] bls.gov/ooh/math/operations-research-analysts.htm#tab-5 [iii] bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/management-analysts.htm#tab-5 [iv] bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm#tab-5 [v] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-5 [vi] bls.gov/ooh/management/construction-managers.htm#tab-4 [vii] bls.gov/ooh/math/operations-research-analysts.htm#tab-4 [viii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-4 [ix] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-6

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