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An online MBA in project management can help you advance your career, creating job opportunities in senior-level positions as project and program managers. Individuals in this field benefit from high salaries, which may vary depending on your specialty. Operations project managers earned a median salary of $127,140 as of 2021, with those in manufacturing and construction earning $106,210. With a flexible timeline of 18 months to two years, these online programs allow you to balance your studies alongside a full-time job or family responsibilities.

While the average cost of these programs hovers around $20,000 for public and private institutions, the return on investment is immense as the demand for skilled project management professionals continues to rise.

How To Choose an Online MBA in Project Management Program

Choose your area of study

Project management is an exceptionally unique field due to its versatility. For these reasons, many students prefer to gear their studies toward a specific area of study or specialization that aligns closely with their career goals.

Specializations like IT, construction, or healthcare project management can offer focused knowledge and skill development in specific industries. Students with a background or interest in technology might find a specialization in IT project management beneficial. In contrast, those with a background in engineering or construction could excel in construction project management. Similarly, students passionate about the healthcare industry might choose healthcare project management.

Assessing your strengths, career aspirations, and industry trends can help you determine the most suitable study area for your MBA in project management.

Research schools and programs

Once you’ve decided on a specialization in project management, you can conduct focused research on the schools and programs you’re most interested in. Start by utilizing online resources, such as university websites, program brochures, and rankings. These sources can provide valuable information on the curriculum, program structure, and the faculty who teach there. It’s also essential to contact admissions counselors or program coordinators to gain insights into the program’s focus, industry connections, and job placement opportunities.

Prepare for tests and applications

Now that you have narrowed your college search to a shortlist, you can prepare for applications and standardized tests. To begin, carefully review the applications and deadlines for each school on your list. Then, you can effectively plan a timeline and gather the necessary documents, such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose.

Create a study schedule for standardized tests like the GMAT or GRE and utilize resources like practice tests, review books, and online tutorials. Consider signing up for a test preparation course to improve your readiness for the upcoming exam. These courses are designed to enhance your preparation and help you develop effective strategies for success.

Select your program

After conducting comprehensive research, completing applications, and achieving satisfactory test scores, you’ll be well-prepared to decide on the program that best aligns with your goals.

First, revisiting factors such as the program’s reputation, faculty, and curriculum relevance may be helpful. Additionally, you should review the program’s alum network, internship or job placement opportunities, and any specialized courses or concentrations offered.

It can also be valuable to consider the program’s flexibility, online resources and support, and overall fit with your learning style and preferences.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Paying for your degree can feel daunting, but with enough planning and preparation, you can alleviate a significant portion of the financial burden.

Start by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which determines your eligibility for federal loans and work-study programs. Additionally, research and apply for scholarships and grants specific to business or project management, including those offered by professional organizations, foundations, or your institution. Depending on your circumstances, employer tuition reimbursement programs, student loans, and part-time work or assistantship opportunities may also be available.

The Top 50 Accredited Online MBA in Project Management Programs

Best Online MBA in Project Management Degree Programs

University of Wisconsin at Whitewater

Fayetteville State University

DeSales University

Herzing University

Maryville University

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Wright State University

Florida Tech

Liberty University

University of the Southwest

Stevens Institute of Technology

Cornerstone University

University of North Alabama

Park University

Lamar University

Saint Leo University

Colorado Christian University

Trevecca Nazarene University

Norwich University

Montclair State University

Southern Wesleyan University

Ashland University

Bellevue University

Endicott College

Brenau University

Webster University

National University

Southern New Hampshire University

Discover More Options

How We Rank Schools

This list focuses on Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees with a concentration in project management. An MBA covers foundational and advanced business and management principles, combined with knowledge and skills tailored to a specific area of expertise.

We focused on programs that are delivered fully or primarily online to ensure the greatest accessibility for the highest number of students. In instances where programs are available both online and on-campus, students may be able to complete their degree as a hybrid program.

This list includes both regionally and nationally accredited schools. Many programs also have specialized accreditation through bodies like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

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

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

An online MBA in project management provides the versatile, comprehensive education needed to excel in project-based roles in various industries. Most curriculums include multiple topics, including project planning, risk management, budgeting, leadership, and stakeholder communication. Students can expect to learn about various project management methodologies, tools, and techniques to effectively initiate, plan, execute, monitor, and close projects. If studying full-time, most students complete degree requirements in one-and-a-half to two years.

Many students seek out online education because of the flexibility it offers. Students can access coursework and lectures from anywhere, allowing them to study independently while balancing personal and professional commitments. In most cases, these programs don’t have in-person obligations or residencies, making them ideal for people who cannot relocate or commit to full-time on-campus study. However, some online programs may require students to attend occasional on-campus or virtual residency sessions for collaborative projects, networking, or immersive experiences. Still, these are typically limited and not a major program component.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online MBA in Project Management program

  • Project Planning and Execution: A common core requirement, this course focuses on the fundamentals of project planning, scheduling, and execution. Students will learn to define project scope, create work breakdown structures, develop schedules, allocate resources, and manage project risks. They will comprehensively understand the critical processes involved in successfully initiating and executing projects.
  • Risk Management in Projects: This course explores the identification, analysis, and mitigation of risks in project management, therefore building a crucial skill set that employers respect. Students will learn various techniques to assess project risks, develop risk response strategies, and monitor risk throughout the project lifecycle. They develop practical skills to manage uncertainties and minimize potential project disruptions effectively.
  • Leadership and Team Management: Frequently an elective in most curriculums, this class delves into the essential principles of leadership and team management in project-based environments. Students will study leadership styles, team dynamics, conflict resolution, and motivation techniques. They will acquire the necessary skills to lead and manage diverse project teams, fostering collaboration and achieving project objectives.
  • Strategic Project Management: This class examines the strategic aspects of project management, integrating projects into organizational strategies. Students gain expertise in aligning project goals with business objectives, conducting feasibility analysis, prioritizing projects, and evaluating project success. They will develop the ability to think strategically and make informed decisions in managing projects within the broader organizational context.
  • Agile Project Management: A crucial cornerstone in project management, this course introduces students to agile methodologies and their application in the profession. Students will become proficient in agile principles, frameworks like Scrum and Kansan, and iterative project delivery. They will gain insights into adapting to changing project requirements, enhancing team productivity, and fostering customer collaboration for successful project outcomes in dynamic environments.

What Can You Do With an Online MBA in Project Management?

Career outlook

An MBA in project management opens the door to diverse IT, construction, healthcare, finance, engineering, and more opportunities. The field is anticipated to grow at a rate of about seven percent over the coming decade, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Project management specialists earn a median pay of $94,500 annually, with some specialists making well into the six figures. Your salary may be impacted by the sector you work in, however. For example, computer and information systems managers earn a median pay of $159,010 annually, while the median salary for construction managers is $98,890 annually.

Career paths

Since project managers work across most sectors of the business world, a person with an MBA in project management can choose to specialize in an area that interests them. You could focus on the healthcare industry, where project managers work in hospitals, clinics, and health systems, ensuring that operations run smoothly and projects are completed correctly, on time, and on budget.

Here are some common career paths for an individual with training in project management:

  • Project Manager — plans, executes, and oversees projects from start to finish
  • Program Manager — manages a portfolio of related projects aimed at achieving business objectives
  • Operations Manager — oversees the day-to-day operations of a department or organization
  • Product Manager — develops and manages a product through its life cycle
  • Marketing Manager — plans and executes marketing campaigns and initiatives
  • Quality Manager — ensures that projects meet high-quality standards

Construction Manager

Earning Potential: $60,050-$163,800

Education Required: bachelor’s degree in construction-related field; MBA in project management

Construction managers are responsible for construction projects from start to finish. They prepare cost estimates, gather prices from vendors and suppliers, and build budgets and work timetables. They collaborate with architects, engineers, and trade workers such as plumbers and electricians. A manager will monitor projects, report client progress, and troubleshoot problems. They need to understand building and safety codes and ensure that these are adhered to on the job. They generally spend most of their time in the field, overseeing their projects.

Computer and Information Systems Manager

Earning Potential: $95,220-$208,000+

Education Required: bachelor’s degree in business, management, or IT; MBA in project management or IT

These project managers plan, coordinate, and direct the technology activities of a business or organization. They work to determine the group’s needs, develop plans and a budget to ensure that the best-quality technology is purchased, and plan and direct the installation and maintenance of software and hardware. They may work on specific technology projects for their organization and help determine if new technology is necessary to answer a particular need. These managers may plan and direct the work of other IT professionals and negotiate with vendors for the products and services needed to run the company’s technology efficiently.

Natural Sciences Manager

Earning Potential: $75,040-$208,000+

Education Required: bachelor’s degree in business or a science field; MBA in project management or a science field

National sciences managers supervise the projects and work of chemists, physicists, and biologists. They generally have training in business and a particular area of science research. These professionals direct activities related to research or development, coordinating experiments, testing, and other scientific methodologies. Managers may work with their company’s or organization’s top executives to develop strategies, determine budgets for individual projects, and hire and supervise technicians, scientists, and other staff. They may be responsible for stocking labs as needed and making technical assistance available to the primary stakeholders.

Online MBA in Project Management Degree Frequently Asked Questions

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

While many colleges and universities share similar application criteria, such as transcripts from all previous institutions, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose, some schools may have additional, specific requirements. For example, some schools require standardized test scores like the GMAT or GRE, while others may have moved to a test-optional policy or provide waivers based on work experience. For these reasons, speaking with an admissions counselor while you’re in the initial phases of preparing your applications is essential. They can guide specific requirements, deadlines, and additional information you’ll need for a successful application.

How much does an online MBA in project management degree cost?

Tuition costs vary widely depending on the institution, making earning your MBA in project management on any budget possible. On average, tuition prices are $12,000 for public universities and $27,000 for private colleges. However, it’s essential to factor in additional expenses, like textbooks, learning materials, and technology, when determining how much a program will cost. You’ll also want to account for travel costs if your program’s curriculum requires any in-person workshops or residencies.

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

On average, most students take 18 months to two years to complete a full-time online MBA program. However, part-time options are often available, allowing students to extend the duration to suit their needs better. The number of required credits also impacts program length, with most online MBA programs typically ranging from 36 to 54 credits. It’s also important to note that online programs may have different completion times than their in-person counterparts, as they allow students to balance their studies with personal and professional commitments. This variance can shorten or extend the timeline depending on individual circumstances.

Is an online MBA in project management worth it?

An online MBA in project management can be a valuable investment for individuals seeking to advance their careers in industries from construction to banking. This MBA program offers a unique blend of business knowledge and specialized project management skills that can enhance a professional’s marketability and potential for career growth.

One of the key advantages of pursuing an online MBA in project management is the diverse job opportunities it opens up. Graduates can assume roles as project managers, program managers, consultants, and leaders in various sectors, including IT, construction, healthcare, finance, and more.

In addition, an MBA curriculum equips students with a comprehensive understanding of business principles, strategic planning, and financial management. This holistic approach to project management sets MBA holders apart from individuals with only technical project management skills.

An MBA in project management opens the door to a broad range of lucrative job opportunities, many of which pay six-figure salaries. An operations manager, for example, can expect to make a mean annual salary of $122,860.

Earning an MBA online can be an excellent choice for students who need flexibility and hope to save money on housing costs and travel expenses while attending school. Online courses are especially suited to adult learners with personal or professional commitments that limit their availability to attend classes on campus.