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For organized, analytical individuals with a goal-oriented mindset seeking to elevate their careers, an MBA in project management may be precisely what you need to succeed. These degree programs are designed to prepare graduates for high-stakes roles, combining leadership skills with technical project management competencies.

Graduates often pursue careers as project management specialists, where the median salary stands at $95,370, with the top 10% earning more than $159,150 annually. Specialists in more niche areas may earn even more.

Programs typically span 18 months to two years for full-time students and three to four years for those opting for part-time enrollment. With the average cost of tuition at $19,749 for the 2020-2021 academic year, an MBA in project management is both a significant investment and a substantial step towards a lucrative and fulfilling career.

How to Choose an MBA in Project Management Program

Choose your area of study

Choosing a specialization within your MBA in project management will allow you to customize your education further to match your career goals, even though project management is a specialized field on its own.

Options will vary by institution, but popular concentrations include information technology, healthcare management, construction management, and supply chain management.

Information technology is ideal for those interested in tech projects, while healthcare management suits students aiming to lead projects in medical settings. Construction management is tailored for those overseeing building projects, and supply chain management is perfect for students focused on logistics and operations.

Research schools and programs

When you’ve decided on a potential specialization, you can use that information to narrow down your program options — focusing on those providing a curriculum supporting your career goals. To guide your research further, consider the following questions:

  • Does a recognized accrediting body accredit the program?
  • What are the faculty’s qualifications and industry experience?
  • How does the program support career development and job placement?
  • What opportunities are there for internships or practical experiences?
  • How does the curriculum align with your career goals?

You can find answers to these questions through open houses and information sessions, talking with an admissions counselor, and visiting the school’s website.

Prepare for tests and applications

Once you have shortlisted your preferred schools, thorough preparation for tests and applications is essential.

Start by collecting certain application materials early, such as transcripts and letters of recommendation. Consider enrolling in a test prep program to boost your scores on the GMAT or GRE, potentially giving your application a competitive edge. Additionally, dedicating ample time to writing your personal statement is crucial, as it provides a unique opportunity to convey your ambitions and suitability for the program.

Select your program

When acceptance letters arrive, be sure to revisit your initial research criteria to choose the right program for you. Reflect on what aspects are most important — be it specialization, faculty that you’re excited to learn from, or the program’s format. Crucially, analyze the overall cost of attendance alongside financial aid opportunities to ensure you make a wise financial decision.

Ultimately, selecting your program will be a personal decision. Still, it’s ideal to choose one that aligns closely with your aspirations and financial realities to set the foundation for a successful career.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

You’ll want to strategically utilize financial aid resources to finance your MBA in project management without accruing significant debt.

Prioritize funding options that don’t require repayment, like scholarships and grants, which are awarded based on merit or need. Assistantships offer tuition assistance in exchange for research or teaching duties, providing experience alongside financial support. You might also consider federal loans to bridge any remaining financial gaps, as they typically offer lower interest rates than private loans.

Additionally, it’s wise to ask your employer about tuition reimbursement programs, as many organizations offer this benefit to invest in their employees’ education.

The Top 50 MBA in Project Management Degree Programs

Best MBA in Project Management Degree Programs

Liberty University

Bellevue University

Central Michigan University

Lehigh University

City University of Seattle

Fayetteville State University

University of North Alabama

Brenau University

Regis University

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How we rank schools

We reviewed many Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees that focus on project management, and we included both online and on-campus programs to meet different students’ needs. Online programs might require a brief in-person component, such as a seminar or internship.

The programs listed include both regionally and nationally accredited graduate schools. Many of the programs also have business-specific accreditation through the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect From an MBA in Project Management Program?

An MBA in project management will give you the expertise to lead and manage complex projects across various industries. Throughout the program, which typically takes 18 months to two years to complete, learners delve into strategic planning, risk management, finance, and organizational behavior, all through the lens of effective project leadership.

Many curriculums go beyond traditional management theories, integrating practical skills with project management software tools, team leadership techniques, and decision-making strategies. In addition to project management-specific courses, students engage with the broader MBA curriculum, encompassing foundational business principles, ethics, and global business strategies.

A vital program component is experiential learning, often realized through capstone projects that simulate real-world project management challenges or internships that provide hands-on experience in leading projects. These elements ensure graduates are well-prepared to drive project success in business environments.

Potential courses you’ll take in an MBA in project management program

  • Strategic Project Management: Although its title may vary, a version of this course is required in most curriculums, focusing on aligning project objectives with a company’s goals. Students learn to evaluate project feasibility, perform risk assessments, and ensure that projects contribute to an organization’s overall vision. Techniques for effective communication and stakeholder engagement are also covered.
  • Agile Project Management: This course introduces Agile methodologies and their application in flexibly and iteratively managing projects. Students learn about Agile frameworks such as Scrum and Kanban, focusing on improving team productivity and responding to changes quickly and efficiently. Practical exercises often simulate Agile project environments to provide hands-on experience.
  • Leadership and Team Management: Students examine leadership theories and practices for managing diverse, cross-functional project teams. The course covers motivational strategies, conflict resolution, and practical communication skills, preparing students to lead teams toward successful project completion.
  • Project Finance and Budgeting: This course explores the financial aspects of project management, teaching students how to plan, allocate, and control finances throughout a project’s lifecycle. Key topics often include cost estimation, budgeting techniques, and financial reporting, enabling future managers to make informed decisions that keep projects within budget.

MBA in Project Management Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an MBA in project management degree program?

To apply for your MBA in project management, you’ll need to navigate a comprehensive admissions process, making sure you meet the following requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, preferably in a relevant field
  • Professional work experience, although the specific duration may vary by program
  • A minimum GPA, as stipulated by the institution
  • GMAT or GRE scores, though some programs may offer waivers
  • A personal statement outlining your career goals and reasons for choosing the program
  • Letters of recommendation from professional or academic references

It’s crucial to discuss your application with an admissions counselor beforehand. They can provide insights into program specifics, helping you tailor your application to highlight your strengths and fit for the program.

How much does an MBA in project management degree cost?

The costs of these degrees vary widely, with the average tuition for graduate programs calculated at $19,749 for the 2020-2021 academic year. However, if applicable, you’ll also want to budget for textbooks and course materials, library and campus facility fees, and potential commuting and housing expenses. These additional costs can significantly affect your overall financial commitment.

For a more precise estimate of the total cost of attendance and to explore financial aid options, consult a financial aid counselor at your chosen institution. This additional guidance can help you make a solid plan for managing the economic aspects of earning your degree.

How long does it take to earn an MBA in project management degree?

Earning this degree typically takes 18 months to two years for full-time students and three to four years for part-time learners. Full-time study offers a quicker path to graduation but demands a significant time commitment, making it challenging for those with work or family responsibilities. Part-time learning extends the completion time but provides flexibility for working professionals and those juggling other obligations.

It’s also important to consider the total number of required credits. While this figure can vary, programs that require more credits generally take longer to complete.

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