MBA in Project Management

An online master’s of business administration (MBA) is a convenient alternative to on-campus learning, assisting students to become motivational leaders who create change and lead successful companies. These leaders can span across all facets of an organization from finance and engineering to marketing and human resources. One profession, in particular, is seeing a spike in demand: the project manager.

Project managers are becoming a growing presence in the workforce, found in a variety of organizations. They ensure the successful execution of a variety of projects by reducing the risk of failure and minimizing costs, inspiring and motivating employees, and building productive and efficient teams.

Common industries for project managers include construction, business, healthcare engineering, marketing and information systems. Small startups, major corporations, non-profit organizations and government agencies all need project management, and even the military needs useful organizational leadership experts. According to a recent report by the world’s largest project management member association, Project Management Institute (PMI), the project management field is expected to grow by 33 percent and employers will need nearly 88 million individuals in project management-oriented roles.

This type of position often attracts candidates due to their strategic responsibilities, specific expertise, and high salaries. For example, project managers in construction earn a median salary of $89,000 per year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Similarly, the BLS estimates that project managers in human resources can earn $107,000 and Salary.com notes that internet technology project managers can make close to $120,000.

Students in MBA programs that focus on project management will learn how to start, plan, control, and deliver a project that meets a company’s overall goals and success strategy. They will know how to oversee projects throughout all stages, from conceptualization and development to execution and post-project evaluation. Typical courses likely include those geared toward integration of leadership elements, effective communications, supply chain management, resource management, financial analysis and risk analysis. They will graduate with the skills and knowledge required for many top-level positions and managerial roles.

Generally requiring a commitment of 18 to 24 months, most MBAs in project management require some work experience, but not all. Most online MBAs can be completed entirely virtually, but some require one-week residencies on campus to augment their degree.

This guide will explore the advantages of a distance-based MBA project management program and feature three outstanding faculty members from schools offering these programs.

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Professors to Know in Online MBA Programs in Project Management

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    Craig Escamilla, MBA - Lamar University

    Craig Escamilla is a management professor in the marketing and management department at Lamar University. He was previously executive director of the Symphony of Southeast Texas (professional regional symphony orchestra) before coming to teach at the Lamar University College of Business. He was named an outstanding young professional under 40 in Southeast Texas. A self-proclaimed advocate for new technology, Mr. Escamilla is interested in the understanding how to create the best online educational experience possible for students. He earned his undergraduate and MBA degrees at Lamar University.

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    Pat Berry, MA Ashland University

    Pat Berry is a professional instructor for supply chain management and business management at Ashland University, where he started teaching in 2016. He leads both undergraduate- and graduate-level classes, including project management, operations management, organizational design, and the capstone courses. In his teaching, he draws from his extensive professional experience working for a Fortune 100 company and Lockheed Martin Corp., among others.

    He is an expert in international negotiations, business ethics, and strategy development. He also holds certifications in program and project management, as well as a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Malone University and a bachelor’s in business management from the American Graduate University.

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    Joan Wiggenhorn, PhD Florida Institute of Technology

    Dr. Joan Wiggenhorn is an associate professor at the Florida Tech Nathan M. Bisk College of Business, where she teaches courses on strategies in emerging markets, global macroeconomics, global financial management, corporate finance, and microeconomics. Before joining the Florida Tech faculty, she held various academic positions in finance and economics at Barry University, Broward University, and Florida Atlantic University. Her work has been published in many distinguished publications, such as the Journal of Economics and Finance and International Journal of Managerial Finance, among others. Dr. Wiggenhorn completed her undergraduate degree in mathematics from the University of Dayton, her master's in economics, her MBA in finance, and her doctorate in business administration and finance at Florida Atlantic University.

Featured Online MBA in Project Management Programs

Maryville University offers a 39-credit MBA program that does not require students to have previous work experience. The curriculum is designed to develop the business expertise necessary for graduates to stand out from the competition via a practical and hands-on curriculum. Students can choose from nine concentrations, including accounting, cybersecurity, health administration, IT, project management, general management, financial services, human resources management, and a general MBA.

Students complete 24 credit-hours in foundational topics like business ethics and corporate financial policies. Following those courses, they can then take electives that apply to their concentration of choice. For the project management track, students will complete 12 credits in project management, process and operations management, supply chain management, and enterprise planning and control. Students will complete the program with a three-credit capstone. This program does not require any campus visits, and applicants do not have to submit GMAT or GRE test scores.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
Format: Online
Tuition: $700 per credit
Program length: One year

SNHU’s online MBA in project management is a 36-credit program that students can complete in as little as 15 months with two courses per term. SNHU is a registered education provider (REP) of the Project Management Institute (PMI), and students must take a project management professional (PMP) certification course to take the PMP exam.

MBA students can also obtain an additional graduate certificate in project management where students will manage a project through its entire lifecycle—from initiation to completion. Concentration courses within the MBA program include a seminar in project management, economics for business, marketing and strategy, leading in an organization, and ethics, corporate culture, and responsibility. GMAT scores and prior work experience are not required for admission; however, a GPA of 2.7 or higher is necessary for entry into the program.

Location: Manchester, New Hampshire
Accreditation: ACBSP and PMI
Format: Online
Tuition: $627 per credit
Program length: 15 months

Six Sigma is one of the most common quality management approaches in the business world. It is designed to train students in production and operational efficiencies as well as customer service improvements. Earning an MBA in six sigma gives students the skills that businesses and supply chains required in a global economy and this program specifically, offers three courses to help them do so: applied statistics for managers, six sigma quality management, and project management. Outside of those three courses, the curriculum is almost identical to the project management MBA. Students learn about quality assurance, supply chain management, operations management procurement, and systems and process engineering logistics. This 36-credit program has no GMAT requirement, but a GPA of 2.75 or greater is necessary for admission.

Location: Manchester, New Hampshire
Accreditation: ACBSP
Format: Online
Tuition: $627 per credit
Program length: 15 months

Norwich University offers a 36-credit online MBA in project management program where students can choose to complete a general MBA degree or opt into one of six concentrations—project management, construction management, energy management, supply chain management and logistics, finance, or organizational leadership. The program is designed for full-time employees to complement their daily work schedule. It comprises six courses, delivered through an online classroom over an 11-week period.

Students complete an independent research project in their concentration of choice in collaboration with their employer or other approved multi-national organizations. The project management portion of the curriculum is accredited by the PMI and includes topics on project management techniques, tools, best practices, leadership, communication, teams, and strategy. A one-week on-campus residency is required to complete the course. To be accepted into the program, students must have two years of work experience and a GPA of 2.75 or higher. No GMAT is required.

Location: Northfield, Vermont
Accreditation: ACBSP and PMI
Format: Online with a one-week on-campus residency
Tuition: $729 per credit
Program length: 18 to 24 months

Florida Tech’s PMI-accredited project management MBA program gives students hands-on experience in planning and managing projects in a modern business environment. The 36-credit curriculum can be completed entirely online over six 14-week trimesters. The program is designed for students wishing to obtain positions as environmental project managers, senior program managers, quality assurance managers or project management consultants, among others. Throughout the program, students will learn how and when to use specific tools and techniques according to project stage, and they will deepen their knowledge in topics like scope, time, cost and quality management. Coursework prepares students to sit for the PMP certification examination. No GRE or GMAT required for admission.

Location: Melbourne, Florida
Accreditation: International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), PMI
Format: Online
Tuition: $896 per credit
Program length: Two years

Lamar University's project management MBA program focuses specifically on construction project management. In the 36-credit online program, students will learn how to manage time, cost, quality, sustainability, risk, safety, and employees for large-scale projects in the construction industry. They learn about legal and safety practices specific to the industry, as well as budgeting, sustainable design, marketing, strategy, and international business.

The curriculum for this online program includes five prerequisite courses for those with non-business undergraduate degrees, eight core MBA courses, and six construction project management courses. The latter include construction planning and scheduling, construction project management, legal practices in construction, construction safety management, construction cost estimating and analysis, and sustainable built environment.

Location: Beaumont, Texas
Accreditation: AACSB International
Format: Online
Tuition: $13,092
Program length: 14 to 16 months

Liberty's MBA project management program is a top-ranked program in its field by and comprises eight-week courses that focus on how to manage teams, develop project plans, measure performance, perform quality control, provide effective outsourcing and manage risk. The curriculum helps students meet the requirements to take PMI's Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) test. Students can complete the program entirely online and will take 33 hours of core courses—in strategic marketing management, managerial finance, international business, and others—and 12 hours of project management classes—in advanced project management, global project management, and policy and strategy in global competition.

Location: Lynchburg, Virginia
Accreditation: ACBSP, PMI
Format: Online
Tuition: $565 per credit
Program length: Two years

Admission Requirements for Online MBA Programs in Project Management

The programs featured above require several application conditions for students to be considered for admission. Some of those requirements include:

  • Between two and five years of professional work experience
  • A competitive GPA from a bachelor’s degree in business, management, or human resources
  • GMAT test scores, which may be waived under certain conditions
  • A personal statement of goals and objectives
  • Essays
  • Transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Application fee