The demand for experienced and talented project managers is growing. According to a recent gap analysis published by the Project Management Institute, the demand for roles in project-oriented industries like finance and construction is projected to grow by 33% over the next seven years. If you have a knack for leadership and strategy, have completed a master's degree in your current field, and are looking to advance your career, then a doctorate in project management online may be your next step.
Choosing a Program
Project management is a useful skill across industries. While your career path depends on your field and area of expertise, core coursework across doctorate programs can be applied to almost any project management position. Common course topics include strategic thinking and organizational alignment, management and ethics, and risk and quality management.
Doctorate in project management concentrations are uncommon, in part due to the cross-industry nature of the coursework. However, some programs offer concentration options, like information technology or construction, for a doctorate in project management degree. Project management is also commonly offered as a concentration in business and finance doctorate programs.
All doctorate programs require students to complete and present a research-based dissertation, but other aspects, like admissions requirements or program length, vary by school. For example, some online programs include a residency component where students can collaborate with faculty.
Some doctor of project management online programs allow students to begin classes at any time, while others only offer admission one or two times per year. When researching programs, it's helpful to consider these variables to determine which programs work with your schedule, learning style, and career goals.
For more information, skip down to:
- Online Doctorate in Project Management Concentrations and Curriculum
- Project Management Careers with a Doctorate
Online Doctorate in Project Management Concentrations and Curriculum
Concentrations for an online doctoral degree in project management are usually industry-specific (e.g., IT or construction). Most online Ph.D. programs in project management are aligned with business and professional services industries. A sampling of concentrations are provided below.
Concentrations Offered for an Online Doctoral Degree in Project Management
Agile Project Management: Agile project management is a methodology used across industries to handle transitions and hedge against uncertainties. The Agile project management life cycle can be applied on small and large scales, from specific projects to enterprise-level decisions.
Careers this concentration prepares for: Project managers with a background in Agile project management are prepared for a variety of leadership positions, including work as senior business analysts and IT project managers.
Information Technology: A concentration in IT project management focuses on specialized skills in software risk and quality management, and may also include project management strategies for overseeing geographically diverse teams.
Careers this concentration prepares for: A specialization in IT especially prepares you to lead software development projects in roles as a computer research scientist or an information systems manager.
Construction Management: Project management with a construction emphasis focuses on the management skills needed to handle construction projects, including creating energy efficient designs and managing projects internationally.
Careers this concentration prepares for: A construction emphasis is suitable for professionals with a background in construction, architecture, or urban planning who want to advance to project management roles.
Curriculum for an Online Doctoral Degree in Project Management
- Project Cost-Benefit Analysis: Understanding how to analyze the costs and benefits of a project, information which influences future business decisions, is a central component of effective project management. This course teaches students how to run cost-benefit analyses.
- Leadership Theory and Development: In leadership theory and development courses, students study models of leadership and applications of these concepts in real-world scenarios. A solid understanding of leadership development prepares you to be a more effective leader.
- Data-Driven Decision Making: Students in this course study the history and current developments in data analytics. They learn about effective frameworks for using data to make business decisions.
- Organization Innovation Thinking: Innovative or creative thinking at an organizational level involves finding solutions to complex challenges, which may include building an effective team culture or designing new processes. The skillset studied in this course prepares leaders in a variety of fields, from marketing to education.
Project Management Careers with a Doctorate
With a Ph.D. in project management online, you'll be highly qualified to serve in a project management role or as an executive leader in business, manufacturing, or other industries. Project management skills are particularly in demand in fields that involve complex projects which evolve over time, like IT and healthcare.
IT Project Manager: An IT project manager, also commonly called an information systems manager, is responsible for planning, organizing, and implementing technology-oriented projects within an organization. IT project managers are also influential in helping shape an organization's IT goals in the short- and long-term.
Median Annual Salary: $139,220
Projected Growth Rate: 12%
Construction Manager: Construction managers work on green energy construction and international construction projects. Construction managers are often employed by larger construction firms to coordinate budgets and supervise a project to completion. Managers regularly collaborate with engineers, architects, and other specialists.
Median Annual Salary: $91,370
Projected Growth Rate: 11%
Training and Development Manager: Training and development managers work across industries, directing and overseeing effective training and professional development programs for an organization's leadership team and its employees. In addition to managing logistics like training budgets and program implementation, this role usually requires a high level of interaction with people.
Median Annual Salary: $108,250
Projected Growth Rate: 10%