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Program Overview: Graduate Certificate and Degree Programs in Project Management

Majors Overview June 10, 2015

This article talks about project management graduate certificate and degree programs and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, and job and wage outlook.

Information on Project Management Programs

Students interested in project management may earn a relevant graduate certificate. Alternatively, they may choose the Master of Science in Project Management (M.S.P.M.) or Master in Project Management (M.P.M.) degree program. The graduate certificate program is a short alternative comprising of at most five courses, focused on team building, communication strategies, and quality assurance. Some schools may also afford online learning opportunities.

The master’s degree program is a more comprehensive preparation for leadership roles in simultaneous multiple projects, and students enrolled therein may be allowed to conduct project management research. The curriculum may even include a research-based capstone project. Professional certifications such as the Project Management Professional may also be pursued by graduates, via the PMI.

Graduate Certificate Programs in Project Management

Working professionals in the field may benefit by completing graduate certificate and degree programs in project management that are often for such professionals. Those who seek a short-term choice and do not wish to enroll in a master’s degree program can pursue a graduate certificate in project management that comprises of 4-5 classes.

Students enrolled in the project management certificate course are imparted the basic skills necessary for effectively planning and executing a field-specific assignment. They will develop the leadership skills necessary for driving others towards the same goal. Some schools offer the graduate certificate programs in wholly online formats, in order to facilitate professional students.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) scores and complete a 4-year degree program. They may also have to submit reference letters, a resume, and a purpose statement.


Program coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Communication strategies for effective project management
•Ensuring project quality
•Techniques for building team efficiency
•Planning methods for project managers
•Approaches to managing project values and costs

Career Choices

Program graduates can seek occupations in both the private and public sectors. They may seek jobs in areas such as:

•Information technology

Master’s Programs in Project Management

Coursework in master’s degree programs is devised to develop general business skills of enrollees in managerial finance, organizational communications, and economics. Schools may offer specializations in information technology project management or technological project management. Alternatively, students may create their curriculum based on numerous elective courses offered. Faculty-supervised, independent research projects may also be available to enrolled students.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to have professional work experience of up to two years. Incoming students may also have to attend an interview and provide proof of a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0.


A capstone project is often completed by enrolled students, involving research on their current place of employment. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Project management software and online tools
•Business negotiation techniques
•Project management strategies for global businesses
•Techniques for leading multiple projects
•Laws affecting acquisitions

Job and Wage Outlook

In July 2012, 387,203 individuals – 6.7% more than in the previous year – were members of the PMI (Project Management Institute). In July 2014, information technology project managers brought in an average annual wage of $83,410. During the same period, construction project managers banked $67,883 per annum on average.

Continuing Education and Certification Choices

Program graduates may pursue a Ph.D. in Project Management that could lead to a career in academia or research. They may also seek voluntary certification, such as the PMI’s Project Management Professional credential after meeting minimum education requirements. They must also complete 3-5 years of professional experience including 4,500 – 7,500 hours of direct project leadership and passing a 200-question, multiple-choice examination.

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