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Whatever the industry, whatever the field, no company can survive without the people who organize it all. A Master’s in Project Management can make you one of those people, even without a business bachelor’s degree. What is a project manager? What is a project manager responsible for? The majority of industries employ (and require) the skills and talents of a professional project manager. A project manager directs a large swath of moving parts required to complete a project in the time allotted, and within the budget allocated. The art of project management follows a traditional set of stages. These include planning, organizing, budgeting, and personnel management. 

A project manager must also possess exceptional communication skills as much of their professional responsibility requires the motivation of team members to act with synchronicity with regard to the delegated project management steps and schedule. Project managers are often rewardingly employed by organizations and companies found in the private sector, or the health care or education industry, and of course, the government sector. Additionally, any other industry generally requires professional services from a project manager. It is for this reason that earning a graduate degree in project management is a wise career decision. 

Methodology: Ranking the Best Project Management Programs

To rank the best on-campus master’s in project management programs, Great Business Schools researched accredited, reputable colleges and universities offering the Master’s in Project Management or an equivalent degree (Project Management MBA programs are excluded). From the initial pool, editors ranked programs according to four criteria: Affordability, Salary Potential, National Reputation, and Student Reviews. Data is drawn from College Scorecard, IPEDS, Niche, and U.S. News & World Report. 

1. Stevens Institute

stevens institute technology

Students choosing the Stevens Institute of Technology Masters in Enterprise Project Management program gain access to a curriculum equipped with skills for leadership and managing at the director level. This type of program offers skills that cover additional operations and responsibilities such as budgeting and strategies to maintain deadlines. Students at the Stevens Institute of Technology are able to pursue this program online or on campus, whichever fits their personal needs while having access to the same faculty members across the board. This is why this is one of the best project management programs available.

When pursuing the Masters in Enterprise Project Management from the Stevens Institute of Technology, students gain access to a program that is accredited by the Project Management Institute, which is the highest accreditation organization within this discipline. Managers with this education often see higher salaries when getting their promotion, which enhances their overall return on investment.

Highlight: The influence and connections Stevens has to tech and other industries make it one of the best choices for students looking for an entry to the job market. 

Degree: Master’s in Enterprise Project Management 

Accreditation: PMI-GAC

2. University of Maryland

u maryland

At the University of Maryland, the Master of Science in Civil Engineering Project Management is a program that cohesively brings together the two industries of management and civil engineering. This program prepares those looking to advance their careers from more than a civil engineer to a project manager, ready to build and lead projects in every aspect from the budget and details to overseeing the operations and ensuring deadlines. This is why students are choosing this program and the University of Maryland as one of the best universities for Masters in Project Management.

The MS in Civil Engineering Project Management is offered on the campus for students and gives them access to instructors who are also professionals in the industry. For those who plan to obtain a terminal degree in this field, they are set with the right curriculum and foundation to further their education.

Highlight: UMD has deep connections to the federal government and Washington, DC’s industries, making it a great option for career-bound graduates. 

Degree: MS in Civil Engineering Project Management

3. Georgetown University

georgetown

The Master of Professional Studies – Project Management at Georgetown University is available in either format, on-campus or online to fit the needs of the student. This program is one of the more affordable options for students pursuing a master’s degree and they have the option to enter this program at any point of the year. Because of this flexibility and affordability, many are finding this program to be one of the best project management programs available.

At Georgetown University, this campus program offers students the ability to learn hands-on experience and work in the scenarios in which they are preparing for and leaders in their industry. They are also able to collaborate with other professionals throughout the online format and gain perspectives that will enhance their education. Depending on their work schedule and other commitments, they are able to enroll either full-time or part-time.

Highlight: Georgetown is not just one of the best universities in the nation for business – it’s also one of the best politically-connected universities. 

Degree: Master of Professional Studies – Project Management

4. University of Texas at Dallas

ut dallas logo

At the University of Texas at Dallas, students who want to embrace one of the more affordable programs in project management are seeking out their MS in Project Management. The UT Dallas program includes courses such as Project Initiation and Project Planning, which teaches students how to direct and work a project even from the earliest stages. Students are also offered courses that include strategic leadership and organizational development to ensure that they are properly managing large projects and maintaining success. 

At the University of Texas at Dallas, the MS in Project Management has received accreditation from the AACSB and the Global Accreditation Center for Project Management. Because of their attention to detail, the University of Texas at Dallas is one of the best universities for Masters in project management.

Highlight: UT Dallas has also been ranked as one of the top 40 best business grad schools for 2019 by U.S. News.

Degree: MS in Project Management

5. University of Connecticut

u connecticut uconn

At the University of Connecticut, the MS in Business Analytics and Project Management offered to students on campus has been approved and recommended by graduates of the program across the Northeast. Students can choose to pursue the program at a full-time or part-time rate depending on their availability. The program is open to students both domestic and international to enhance the overall academic experience of their students. Because of the schedule flexibility and inclusion of diverse students, It is one of the best project management programs available.

At the University of Connecticut, the MS in Business Analytics and Project Management falls into the STEM category, elevating the status of the program. This program was ranked #14 by the TFE Times and #20 by Eduniveral Masters Ranking. It also holds accreditation from the Project Management Institute and by the SAS Institute.

Highlight: UConn is at the center of the New England Interstate Knowledge Corridor, offering project management graduates one of the best possible job markets for their skill. 

Degree: MS in Business Analytics and Project Management

6. University of Houston

u houston

Students pursuing the University of Houston MS in Technology Project Management experience an on-campus program with an in-depth experience for preparation and management skills. The curriculum consists of programs that include project management principles, team building, and risk assessment among other duties assigned to a project manager. Because of the rigorous curriculum offered, the University of Houston is one of the best universities for Masters in Project Management.

At the University of Houston, students gain an accredited education through the Project Management Institute and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.  Over 70 percent of graduates have a job or job offer at graduation. Starting salaries for these positions range around $76k for these graduates.

Highlight: University of Houston students are taking advantage of a program that gives them the experience and skills necessary to become employed in a STEM program at the management level.

Degree: MS in Technology Project Management

Accreditation: PMI-GAC

7. New York University

new york university

The MS in Project Management at New York University is one of the project management options that has an online feature for their students. This program has an online or onsite option, but each format allows a classroom experience where students can interact and work cohesively as a group to determine the best way to collaborate and achieve success during future projects. Because of this attention to detail, students are listing the MS in Project Management at New York University as one of the best project management programs.

At New York University, students receive a program that is broken into three stages;  core courses, capstone, and specialization courses. The New York University School of Professional Studies has students represented from over 90 countries and approximately 97 percent of graduates from their programs employed shortly after graduation.  

Highlight: New York University’s greatest asset is New York City, and its deep network of connections throughout the city. 

Degree: MS in Project Management

8. University of Kansas Edwards

u kansas edwards

At the University of Kansas – Edwards, students are able to enhance their career with the MS in Project Management that is offered on campus. This program was designed with innovation and globalization at the core of its curriculum, ensuring that students gain essential skills for management despite their industry and non-business related careers. Because of this unique insight to the curriculum, the University of Kansas is growing as one of the best universities for Masters in Project Management.

Students are able to attend courses on the weekends and during the evening so that they can maintain their employment curriculum while furthering their education. Students graduate from this program as managers in their industries and find that they have the confidence and skill set to set change and innovation in their environment.

Highlight: UKE’s project management program is designated in the Engineering department, as it works with professional engineers and professionals in the career.

Degree: MS in Project Management

9. Northern Arizona University

northern arizona u

The Master of Organizational Leadership – Project Management at Northern Arizona University is available for students who may need the traditional campus setting or for those who choose to study online.  By taking on the Project Management emphasis, they are able to gain valuable skills that are needed in areas such as planning and budgeting. Because of this, it is one of the best project management programs available.

At Northern Arizona University, the Master of Organizational Leadership – Project Management gives students the ability and access to a group of faculty members that have hands-on experience in the field and also are well-equipped in research. At Northern Arizona University, it is essential that the students gain an insight and a healthy experience component to their education as a way to collaborate the different skills that are taught throughout the program.

Highlight: NAU’s project management program is also much more affordable than its counterparts across the nation.

Degree: Master of Organizational Leadership – Project Management

10. Boston University

boston u

Professionals in STEM industries throughout New England are looking to Boston University’s MS in Project Management as the program they need to move forward with their career. From planning to communication, this program understands and includes all of the different skills that are embodies in project managers across all industries. Because of this flexibility, Boston University is one of the best universities for Masters in Project Management.

At Boston University, students have access to a program and institution that is covered with accreditations. The MS in Project Management holds accreditation from the Project Management Institute and the AACSB International association, which are two of the more reputable associations for project management.

Highlight: Students have the option to pursue BU’s project management program online for their convenience or take onsite classes for those who need that traditional instruction.

Degree: MS in Project Management Online or Campus

11. Rochester Institute of Technology

rochester institute rit

The MS in Professional Studies – Project Management from Rochester Institute of Technology is available to students on campus or online for their personal convenience. This program includes a total of 33 credit hours. Their online classroom available to students allows them to continue an in-depth connection with their peers and instructors. Because of this flexibility, students are able to study from across the country and the globe, enhancing the interaction experience for students in these classes. 

U.S News & World Report has been ranking Rochester Institute of Technology in their top 40 over the last decade. It has also been ranked as the top online college for the state of New York by TheBestSchools.org, as well as by Forbes magazine.

Highlight: Because of its diversity and commitment to quality online learning, Rochester Institute of Technology is one of the best universities for Masters in project management.

Degree: MS in Professional Studies – Project Management Online or Campus

12. Northwestern University

northwestern u

At Northwestern University, students at the McCormick School of Engineering are pursuing the MS in Project Management program that is available on their campus. This program gives students the hands-on experience that is necessary to be successful in project management. Because of this attention to detail, the MS in Project Management is one of the best project management programs available.

At Northwestern University, students have access to a curriculum that is filled with several specialization options to fit their personal career goals and career industry. Many of these graduates find themselves completing the program around 1-2 years depending on whether they choose to be full-time or part-time students. Students who are looking for a STEM OPT extension will find that this program qualifies for that program which can be beneficial and a deciding factor for many students enrolled.

Highlight: Some students who pursue Northwestern’s project management master’s degree continue to receive a doctoral-level degree based upon the solid foundation they received in this curriculum.

Degree: MS in Project Management Campus

13. Citadel Military College of South Carolina

citadel sc

At the Citadel, the Master of Science in Project Management gives students the curriculum and skills that are essential for growth and success in their future careers. Analytical procedures, ethical leadership, and principles are only a portion of the foundation provided by this program. Technical project management, principled leadership, and electives make up the different aspects of the degree program. Students can add an emphasis In different areas to accelerate their project management goals. Because of this diversity, The Citadel is one of the best universities for Masters in Project Management in the Southeast region.

This MS in Project Management consists of the Project Management Institute Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs, an accreditation that is highly sought after by employers. The Citadel itself holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Students who have graduated with this program praise the way the curriculum molded them precisely for their careers after graduation.

Highlight: The Citadel is one of the best possible choices for students who want a career in the military, government, or private-sector government contracting. 

Degree: MS in Project Management

Accreditation: PMI-GAC

14. Florida Institute of Technology

florida tech

The Florida Institute of Technology offers a Master of Science (MS) in Project Management degree program that must be completed on-campus. FIT is considered among the best universities for Masters in Project Management degree programs. Coursework includes economic analysis, cost analysis, and relevant statistics.  The Florida Institute of Technology’s MS in project management offers students five academic core areas within the project management field of study.  

The Florida Institute of Technology (also known as Florida’s STEM University) was established in 1958. FIT is a private institution of higher education that operates with four colleges/schools. FIT’s 125+-acre campus is home to more than 6,400 students; some studying for aviation degrees rarely available across the United States. 

Highlight: The Florida Institute of Technology is situated about 70 miles to the east of Orlando and about 50 miles to the renowned Kennedy Space Center. 

Degree: MS in Project Management

15. Golden Gate University

golden gate u

Golden Gate University offers a Master of Science (MS) in Project Management degree program that can either be completed on-campus or online. GGU’s project management faculty hold the Project Management Institute (PMI) credentials and possess significant real-world project management experience. Degree candidates for one of the best project management programs are required to complete a total of 33 credit units. GGU’s coursework prepares degree candidates to sit for a Project Management Professional (PMP) or PMI’s CAPM exam. 

Golden Gate University was established in 1901.GGU operates as a non-sectarian institution of higher learning with degrees offered in accounting, business, law, and taxation. GGU’s urban campus (it is located in San Francisco’s financial district) serves more than 5,275 students. Washington Monthly recognizes GGU as the top adult learner programs. 

Highlight: Golden Gate University’s humble beginnings began in a YMCA’s literary reading outreach programs.  

Degree: MS in Project Management

16. Sam Houston State University

sam houston state

Sam Houston State University offers a Master of Science (MS) in Project Management degree program that is available through a distance-learning format or in a traditional on-campus format. SHSU’s MS Project Management program requires degree candidates to complete 36 graduate credit units. Sam Houston State University’s graduate project management degree prepares students to sit for the Project Management Institute’s CAPM certification credential. SHSU’s allows enrollment in the Summer, Fall, and Spring.     

Sam Houston State University was established in 1879. Sam Houston State University is a public institution of higher learning and a member school of the Texas State University System. The school’s ‘college-town’ campus is home to more than 21,100 students. 

Highlight: Sam Houston State University holds the distinction of being Texas’ third oldest public college and the first member school to be classified as a research school. 

Degree: MS in Project Management

17. University of Michigan Dearborn

u michigan dearborn

The University of Michigan Dearborn’s College of Engineering & Computer Science offers an MS in Program and Project Management degree program that is delivered on-campus or online. Students graduate prepared to apply the tools and strategies required to deliver a project that is on time and under budget. Degree candidates are required to complete a minimum of 30 credit hours to graduate. Upon graduation, degree holders are eligible to sit for the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification credential. 

The University of Michigan Dearborn was established in 1959. Its parent institution is the University of Michigan. The schools’ suburban campus covers more than 190 acres and is home to nearly 9,500 students and more than 500 academic staff members. 

Highlight: The University of Michigan Dearborn, along with the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor combines to create a regional presence for the University of Michigan system.  

Degree: MS in Program and Project Management

18. Avila University

avila u

Avila University offers a Master of Arts (MA) in Management with a concentration in Project Manager degree program either online or on-campus. Coursework for Avila University’s best project management programs requires degree candidates to complete 37 credit units within a maximum of 7 years. Classes include Applied Research, Ethics, Organization Psychology, and Statistics, to name a few. Project management students must comply with the school’s professional conduct principles.    

Avila University was established in 1916. Avila University is affiliated with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, of the Roman Catholic Church. Avila University’s urban campus is home to more than 1,675 students studying from the many degree programs offered by Avila University’s seven colleges/schools. 

Highlight: Avila University’s fifty-acre campus is located in the heart of the city of Kansas City.

Degree: MA in Management – Project Management

Accreditation: PMI REP

19. Lewis University

lewis university

Lewis University’s College of Business offers a Master of Science (MS) in Project Management degree program that is available on-campus. Lewis University’s graduate project management program offers working learners great convenience as classes meet only one time per week and cover eight-week academic sessions. Additionally. Lew University’s best project management programs offer interested students a rolling admissions capability. Lewis University’s Master of Science in Project Management program is completed in five semesters — 1 semester in the summer, 2 semesters in the fall and s 2 semesters in the spring.    

Lewis University was established in 1932. The school operates as a Roman Catholic, private institution of higher learning. Lewis University’s suburban campus is home to more than 4,600 students studying for over 100-degree graduate and undergraduate programs offered by the university’s five colleges/schools. 

Highlight: Lewis University specializes in academic offerings specifically designed for working adults. 

Degree: MS in Project Management

20. University of Mary

university of mary

The University of Mary offers a Master of Science (MS) in Project Management degree program that is only available on-campus. The University of Mary’s graduate degree project management program offers seven graduate project management academic concentrations — Business Operations, Healthcare, Management Leadership, Virtuous Leadership, Human Resource Management, Catholic Philanthropy, and Public Administration.  The University of Mary is a Registered Education Provider (REP) for PMI — the Project Management Institute. The University of Mary’s graduate project management degree candidates must complete a graduate project management capstone project to graduate.  

The University of Mary was established in 1959. The school is affiliated with the Catholic Church Order of Saint Benedict. Mary’s 300+acre campus occupies both rural and suburban locations. The campuses serve more than 3,800 students. The University of Mary is recognized among the most cost-effective institutions of higher education in the country. The school’s nursing program is also often recognized among the best in the country. 

Highlight: The University of Mary operates with several North Dakota satellite facilities and two international facilities in Peru and Rome.  

Degree: Master of Project Management

21. DePaul University

depaul university

DePaul University’s College of Computing & Digital Media offers a Master of Science in IT Project Management degree program that is only available on-campus. Degree candidates of DePaul University’s MS in IT Project Management degree require the completion of 52 credit hours of graduate coursework.  Classes include IT and Financial Analysis, IT Leadership, Ethical Leadership, and Enterprise System Implementation, among others. In addition, all graduate project management degree candidates are required to complete to culminating graduate capstone project regarding Portfolio Management & Strategies.   

DePaul University was established in 1898. The Vincentian Order of the Catholic Church established DePaul University. Today, the school is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. The school operates with two Chicago campuses (The Loop & Lincoln Park) that serve more than 23,500 undergraduate and graduate students each semester. 

Highlight: DePaul University is recognized as the largest private institution of higher learning in the state of Illinois.  

Degree: MS in IT Project Management

22. University of Alaska Anchorage

u alaska anchorage

The University of Alaska Anchorage College of Engineering offers an MS in Project Management degree program that is available as an on-campus or as a hybrid delivered course. Students graduate prepared and eligible to sit for the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) and/or the Project Management Profession (PMP) certification. Coursework includes Project Planning, Project Management Fundamentals, and two capstone projects, to name a few. Degree graduates must complete 33 credit units to graduate.

The University of Alaska Anchorage was established in 1954. The University of Alaska Anchorage operates with four campuses in Kenai, Kodiak, Matanuska, and Prince William Sound. The main campus, in Anchorage, covers 375+ acres. All of UAA’s campuses serve nearly 18,000 students. 

Highlight: The Arbor Day Foundation recognizes UAA’s campus as a Tree Campus USA campus.  

Degree: MS in Project Management Hybrid or Campus

23. Morgan State University

moregan state

Morgan State University offers an interdisciplinary MS in Project Management degree program that can be completed online or on-campus.  Students are required to complete 30 graduate credit units in all areas of project management practice and theoretical knowledge. MSU applicants for the graduate project management program must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university, plus a minimum of a couple of years of relevant work experience. Additionally, each student must complete a graduate capstone project.  

Morgan State University was established in 1867 and is recognized as an HBCU institution of higher learning and a member school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Morgan State University’s 140+-acre campus is home to more than 7,600 students. 

Highlight: Morgan State University holds the distinction of being the largest HBCU School in the City of Baltimore.  

Degree: MS in Project Management

24. Elmhurst College

elmhurst college

Elmhurst College offers an MS in Project Management degree program that is available online and in traditional on-campus classrooms. Elmhurst College’s graduate MS Project Management degree program prepares degree candidates to become eligible to sit for the Project Management Institute’s PMP credential examination.  Students must complete ten courses for a total of 30 semester hours. Coursework includes financial management, data analysis, leadership, and an optional PMP review class. 

Elmhurst College was established in 1871 as a service-oriented, private liberal arts college. Elmhurst College is affiliated with the United Church of Christ. Elmhurst College is rich in social justice movements. US News recognizes Elmhurst College among the most elite ‘best value’ schools in the Midwest. 

Highlight: Elmhurst College is set to change to Elmhurst University at the end of June 2020. 

Degree: MS in Project Management

25. Harrisburg University

harrisburg u

Harrisburg University offers an MS in Project Management degree program that is available on-campus or online. Harrisburg University has received accreditation by the Project Management Institute. Degree candidates are required to complete 36 graduate credit hours to graduate. Students graduate prepared to apply and synthesize current projects with the strategies 

Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, which is often referred to as Harrisburg University, was established in 2001. Degrees offered by HU place significant and emphasis on technology, engineering, and applied science. The school’s campus is located in Harrisburg, the capital of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and home to nearly 6,000 students.

Highlight: Harrisburg University of Science and Technology recently opened a satellite campus in Philadelphia. 

Degree: MS in Project Management Online or Campus

Accreditation: PMI REP

What’s the Difference Between a Project Manager vs Project Coordinator?

A Project Coordinator vs Project Manager: Many individuals who are considering a career in the project management field ask themselves the following questions regarding the many facets of the project management industry :

What is a project coordinator?: What are the variations between a professional project manager vs project coordinator?

The difference between a project manager vs project coordinator is that a project manager possesses more authority and responsibility than that of a project coordinator.

A project coordinator vs project manager discussion must always include the fact that a project manager’s job responsibilities will require more extensive and advanced degrees to be eligible for the job, than that of a project coordinator. 

What are a Project Manager daily tasks?

  • Prepare and follow the overall budget for the project.  
  • Classify the required issues present in the project.
  • Determine staffing requirements for the project.
  • Maintain on an ongoing basis, the staff, and the project’s performance. 

What are a Project Coordinator’s daily tasks?

  • Monitor the project’s secondary budgets.  
  • Be an excellent communicator. 
  • Identify unexpected cash flow requirements for the project.
  • Disseminate updated information to all staff regarding the project’s status. 

How Do I Become a Project Manager?

Project management graduate programs are available as traditional on-campus programs as well as distance learning and hybrid formats. A master degree in project management often provides degree candidates a way in which to customize coursework to align with career objectives. Graduate project management education typically requires the completion of a capstone project related to the many facets of the project management industry. 

One you have completed your project management graduate programs and earned your Master Degree in Project Management, it is a prudent idea to reach for a project management certification. 

Should I Get a Project Management Certification?

The PMI Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs (GAC) is a global leader in the accreditation of project management degree programs through the United States and the world. The GAC is the project management industry’s primary accreditation oversight agency that accredits project management education programs from the bachelor’s level to a doctoral level. 

If you are looking to excel in the field of project management, the first step is to complete your project management education goals. For further credentials, it is a great idea to earn one of the two primary industry project management certification credentials. These project management certification credentials are as follows:

  • The Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. 
  • The Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) credential.

Many project management graduate programs align with the requirements denoted by the Project Management Institute prepare degree candidates to be eligible to sit for either the PMP examination or the CAPM examination. Each project management certification option will generally enhance one’s marketability due to the credibility established by earning a project management certification.    

How to Compare a Masters in Project Management vs MBA?

Generally speaking, those who have earned their Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree are prepared to identify and improve an organization or business’ fundamental dynamics by either streamlining processes or creating revised policies that will increase productivity and thus, profits.

On the other hand, while a Master of Science (MS) in Project Management follows a similar focus regarding management strategy and oversight, the professional project manager delves deeper into the ways in which to implement these well-thought-out business strategies. 

Fortunately, many Masters of Business Administration degree programs offer an academic concentration or degree pathway that emphasizes the effective strategies and tools of a professional project manager. In other words, an MBA that offers a Project Management concentration prepares degree graduates to pair and apply the sound theoretical principles of business/leadership using proven project management practices. 

Thus, a masters in project management vs MBA discussion can be revised from a comparison to two complementary degree programs that can help businesses reach for more productive and profitable strategies.    

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