10 Best Master’s in Contract Management for 2021

masters degree in contract management online

An online master’s degree in acquisition and contract management is designed for students from different backgrounds who wish to pursue leadership positions in government, private, and public environments. Pursuing a contract management master’s degree gives elearners a chance to get the training they need to manage contracts from inception to end of life. An online master’s degree in acquisition and contract management includes courses on policies, procedures, purchasing techniques and finances related to contracts. Graduates work as project managers, purchase officers and analysts.

An online master’s degree in procurement and contract management prepares students for mid to advanced career roles in a variety of industries. Some contract management master degree programs incorporate MBA courses. Students who choose an online master’s degree in procurement and contract management learn valuable leadership skills. Classes include procurement principles and financial management, and an online master’s degree in procurement and contract management teaches graduates how to build business relationships and master strategic sourcing and customer analysis skills.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Master’s Degree in Contract Management Programs

Great Business Schools editors know a quality degree program can make a big impact on a student’s career. That’s why the GBS ranking of the best contract management master’s degrees focuses on reputable, accredited programs, ranked by tuition cost, salary potential, and reputation. Data comes from IPEDS and Niche. 

1. Arizona State University

Arizona State University offers a Master of Legal Studies in Contract Management that students can earn fully online, without ever attending on-campus. As an MLS degree, this master’s degree in contract management focuses on the writing and analysis of contracts. The program’s depth and breadth means that students with an MLS in Contract Management can take their skills to nearly any setting where contracts are integral. That includes private industry, government, real estate, insurance, and many other fields. 

Arizona State University is widely recognized as the nation’s most innovative institution, having developed an open-enrollment system and online presence that is widely imitated. ASU’s online programs are acclaimed by sources from U.S. News & World Report to the Princeton Review. 

Highlight ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is ranked as one of the top 10 public law schools in the nation by U.S. News. 
Degree MLS in Contract Management

Format: Online

2. Bellevue University

Bellevue University’s master’s degree in contract management is a multidisciplinary degree featuring courses in financial management, business, and procurement. Students develop their skills in a number of areas including strategic sourcing, business relationships, risk management, subcontracting, customer analysis, and supplier selection.

This above-average university accepts 100% of students who apply and is located in the Omaha area of Nebraska. The school has 4,200 undergraduate students and some of the majors available include business and legal studies.

Highlight Approximately 84% of students receive financial aid. The schools open admission policy and the high chances of financial aid make this an ideal choice for students who want to attend a university based in Nebraska.
Degree Master of Science in Acquisition and Contract Management

Format: Online

3. Florida Institute of Technology

Florida Institute of Technology has an Acquisition And Contract Management, MS. This master’s degree in contract management caters to professionals coming from different backgrounds. Graduates go on to seek leadership roles at government, private, military, and public venues. In this program, students learn to navigate a contract’s complete lifecycle. As prospective managers, graduates master the details of purchasing, procedures and policies, and financial operations. Job roles available to these graduates include project management and contact officer.

Florida Tech is recognized as a Tier 1 school by U.S. News and World Report. Graduates go on to work for Boeing, SpaceX, Northrop Grumman and NASA. Students located in the same area as the school have numerous opportunities for employment directly after graduation. Former students have become ocean engineers, astrobiologists and physicists.

Highlight The University accepts 66% of applicants and 93% of students receive financial aid. This is a good choice for students who performed well academically in their undergraduate studies and who want a degree from a school that specializes in technical disciplines.
Degree Acquisition And Contract Management, M.S.

Format: Campus

4. University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida hosts a masters degree in contract management. UCF online offers working students the ability to complete their studies online. Students learn how to conduct research and sponsor projects. Those who successfully complete the coursework graduate with an understanding of financial management, contract negotiation, organizational development and the proposal process. Additionally, graduates master the regulatory and ethical compliance environment impacting contracts.

Central Florida has 42,000 undergraduate students. This large public institution has high admission standards and accepts just 44% of those who apply. However, it graduates 72% of students, which is phenomenally high. Psychology liberal arts and similar majors are also available.

Highlight UCF ranks number four among the top universities in Florida. The University also has national name recognition, which may appeal to students who plan to move out of state and their job search.
Degree Online Research Administration Master’s Degree

Format: Online

5. University of Maryland Global Campus

Students who choose to pursue a master’s degree in contract management at the University of Maryland Global Campus can complete their coursework online. Digital learners master the art of applying legal structure to private and public acquisitions. The courses focus on the technology needed to sustain supply chains for efficient product and service delivery. Students also learn to manage contracts throughout the acquisition lifecycle. Those who successfully complete the coursework will know the ins and outs of supply chain management and how it’s expected to evolve throughout the next several years. Specific proficiencies studied include American Bar Association model procurement codes and the Federal Acquisitions Regulations Universal Commercial Code.

UMGC is located in the Washington, DC, area and is home to 10,000 undergraduate students. Every student who applies gets a chance to study at the university and popular majors include information science, business, liberal arts, and humanities.

Highlight Approximately 75% of students feel that professors put a lot of time into the classes and 73% of students feel they can get the classes they need.
Degree Management Master’s Degree with Acquisition and Supply Chain Management Specialization

Format: Online and Hybrid

6. University of West Florida

The University of West Florida offers a masters degree in contract management with a certificate option. This specialization concentrates in public administration. Graduates master leadership and management concepts and go on to accept jobs at private and public organizations.

University of West Florida Online has several majors including nursing, special education and health service studies. Its convenient online format makes it possible for students living in remote areas or with work and family obligations to attend a master’s program.

Highlight The program is offered completely online, making it easier for working students to complete their master’s degree.
Degree MSA + certificate

Format: Online

7. Norwich University

Norwich University has a master’s degree in contract management that focuses on government contract management. Graduates emerge ready to take leadership roles at nongovernmental organizations and nonprofits. A master’s of public administration can help students develop a deep knowledge of how local and state governments work.

Norwich University has been educating students for more than two centuries and has produced many graduates that serve their communities and countries. Students choose from 30 majors and there are 80 clubs that reinforce student interests. Those who complete this program emerge ready to handle leadership roles in their existing company or to pursue jobs that meet their career interests.

Highlight Three out of four students who apply are accepted into this university and all students receive some form of financial aid. This makes it one of the more accessible schools for students looking for a master’s in procurement and acquisitions.
Degree MPA in Procurement and Government Contract Management

Format: Online

8. Webster University

Webster University’s master’s degree in contract management teaches students the terminology needed to work in procurement and acquisitions. Graduates master principles and techniques needed to manage the procurement process. Available courses teach students to analyze complex contracts to seek advantages and disadvantages for their organization. Graduates master the multifaceted world of acquisitions and procurement including factual and theoretical knowledge.

Webster is located in the Saint Louis area and has a good reputation among employers and other universities. It has just 2,300 undergraduate students and a highly competitive admission atmosphere.

Highlight Although just 56% of students who apply receive an acceptance letter, 96% of students receive financial aid.
Degree MA in Procurement and Acquisitions Management

Format: Online

9. American Graduate University

American Graduate University has a master’s degree in contract management. This program helps students learn more about the complex world of federal government contracts. The courses cover the fundamentals of acquisition and procurement and students also learned the law, finance, marketing and technical management concepts related to government work.

GU’s programs provide a real-world approach to help students manage projects. The university has educated students for three decades and has contributed to staffing hundreds of industries.

Highlight American Graduate University focuses on providing practical skills for students seeking positions of responsibility in procurement and acquisitions.
Degree Master of Contract Management

Format: Campus

10. Naval Postgraduate School

The Naval Postgraduate School offers a master’s degree in contract management. This distance-based program gives students the tools needed to succeed in defense acquisitions. Students can attend this program part-time and complete the work in 24 months. Applicants do not need prior experience with DoD contracts. The distance learning format caters to active-duty military personnel and also welcomes federal employees. A limited number of contractors from the private sector may also obtain admittance. The MSCM degree prepares students for the DAU CON Levels I to III. The curriculum is frequently updated for any changes made to the DAU.

NPS students receive an excellent education that can be completed online. This is ideal for active military personnel who may move around from base to base. Programs feature innovative instructors and an opportunity for research experience. The school leverages exclusive opportunities available to naval students and focuses on efficiency and effectiveness.

Highlight NPS provides a unique opportunity for naval personnel to pursue their master’s degrees.
Degree Master of Science in Contract Management (MSCM)

Format: Distance

Why Should I Get My Contract Management Master’s Online?

Contracts manager education requirements vary per job description, but most require a bachelor’s degree and two to five years of experience as a starting point. Obtaining a contract management education at the master’s level can help job applicants stand out and meet the needs of advanced positions. The National Contract Management Association also recommends various programs to help licensed contract managers maintain their continuing contracts manager education requirements.

Contract management master degree programs may cover supplier selection, subcontracting considerations and similar topics. After finishing a contract management master’s degree, students are ready to take on advanced positions across all sectors.

Getting contract management education online allows students to work while finishing their master’s degree.

What Kinds of Contract Management Are There?

Types of contract management include government, public, military, and private sectors. With a degree in procurement and contract management, graduates can pursue the licensing requirements for their chosen career path, such as construction contract management. A government contract management degree in procurement or acquisitions can help graduates master the skills needed to negotiate with civilian contractors.

An acquisition and contract management degree prepares students for government contract management and covers the fundamentals of the federal procurement process. Some programs emphasize the Contract Management Body of Knowledge (CMBOK). A contract and acquisition management degree prepares students for positions in federal agencies as well as job opportunities working for civilian defense contractors.

There are many types of contract management degrees that target specific career paths. Private companies often hire candidates with a degree in procurement and contract management, for example. Students should review program descriptions for a government contract management degree versus an acquisition and contract management degree to see what job opportunities correspond with those programs.

A contract and acquisition management degree at the master’s level can help mid-career professionals prepare for leadership roles.

Is Government Contract Management a Good Career?

The government contract manager job description includes work specific to a variety of industries. Government contracts manager jobs include military, federal, state and local positions typically tied with lucrative salaries. These professionals liaise between their agency or department of private and public organizations contracted to provide services or products.

 One type of government contract manager job description includes purchasing managers, buyers and agents. Other government contracts manager job description types focus on administrative services and facilities.  

Although one government contracts manager job description may vary greatly from another, government contract manager jobs typically require specific educations requirements such as a bachelor’s or master’s in contract management.

The average government contract manager salary is about $126,000 per salary.com, which doesn’t separate government versus civilian positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a government contracts manager salary for administrative services averages $94,000. Meanwhile, government contract management jobs in purchase management trend lower at $78,000.

Government contract manager jobs vary depending on specialization and level of government. In general, federal government positions typically pay better than local and state government contracts manager jobs.

At the high end, government contract manager salary positions command $200,000 per year, according to salary.com. However, government contracts manager salary ranges vary greatly depending on the source consulted.

Government contract management jobs include a wide array of opportunities and getting a master’s degree in contract management helps students stand out in the crowd. Graduates who are willing to move in order to find better job opportunities can increase their salary potential dramatically.

In some cases, obtaining a master’s degree substitutes for up to two years of job experience. This can help graduates new to the field get their foot in the door in midlevel to advanced contract management jobs. There is a lot of potential for career advances in government contract management jobs. 

Carrie Morris

Warren Dahl