The Best Online Doctorates in Project Management Programs 2021

by TBS Staff
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If you have a knack for leadership and strategy, have completed a master’s degree in your current field, and have a desire to advance your career, then a doctorate in project management online may be what you are looking for.

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.

The Best Online Doctorates in Project Management Programs

Liberty University true View School Profile Lynchburg, VA 60% 90% Liberty University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

A private Christian university, Liberty offers an online doctor of business administration with a concentration in project management. Students take courses in convenient eight-week sessions.

Required courses include operations management, global project management, human resource development, and quality management and productivity. Learners can complete the 60-credit program in about three years.

The school allows students to transfer up to 50% of the credits required for the degree. Applicants need a master's degree with 30 business credits and a minimum GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. Students do not need to submit standardized test scores.

Northcentral University true View School Profile San Diego, CA Northcentral University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

A private university founded in 1996, Northcentral offers an online doctor of business administration with a specialization in project management. Students take 48 credits and can complete the coursework in about 39 months.

Students take required business courses before starting their specialization. Requirements in project management include project procurement management, project risk management, multiple project management, and managerial budgets and project management. Students must also complete a dissertation to complete the program.

Applicants need a master's degree to qualify for admission. The school allows students to transfer up to 12 credits toward their degree.

Best Online Doctorate

Online Doctorates in Project Management Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

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If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

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Featured Online Doctorates in Project Management Programs

Choosing a Program

Project management is a useful skill in many industries. While your career path depends on your field and area of expertise, the insights from core doctorate coursework apply 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 due to the cross-industry nature of the coursework. However, some programs offer concentration options, such as information technology or construction, for a doctorate in project management degree. Business and finance doctoral programs commonly offer project management as a concentration.

All doctoral programs require students to complete and present a research-based dissertation; other aspects, like admissions requirements or program length, vary by school. For example, some online programs include a residency component where students 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, you should consider these variables to determine which programs work with your schedule, learning style and career goals.

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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 align with business and professional services industries. A sampling of concentrations is provided below.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Doctoral Degree in Project Management

Agile Project Management

Many industries use the Agile project management methodology to handle transitions and hedge against uncertainties. The Agile project management life cycle can be applied on both small, specific projects and large, enterprise-level decisions.

  • Careers: project managers with a background in Agile project management are prepared for a variety of leadership positions, which include work as senior business analysts and IT project managers.
Information Technology

A concentration in IT project management focuses on specialized software-risk and quality-management skills; it may also include project management strategies that oversee geographically diverse teams.

  • Careers: with a specialization in IT, you are prepared to lead software development projects as a computer research scientist or an information systems manager.
Construction Management

Project management with a construction emphasis focuses on the management skills you need to handle construction projects; this includes creating energy efficient designs and managing international projects.

  • Careers: Professionals with a background in construction, architecture or urban planning should pursue a construction emphasis in their project management degree.

Curriculum for an Online Doctoral Degree in Project Management

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Careers With a Doctorate in Project Management

With a Ph.D. in project management online, you will be highly qualified to serve as a project manager or as an executive leader in business, manufacturing or other related industries. There is a particular demand for project management skills in fields that involve complex projects which evolve over time, like IT and healthcare.

true IT Project Manager $139,220 12%

An IT project manager, or information systems manager, is responsible for planning, organizing and implementing technological projects within an organization. IT project managers also help to both influence and shape an organization’s short-term and long-term IT goals.

true Construction Manager $91,370 11%

Construction Managers work on green energy construction or international construction projects. Construction managers are often employed by large construction firms to coordinate budgets and supervise projects. Managers regularly collaborate with engineers, architects and other specialists.

true Training and Development Managers $108,250 10%

Training and development managers are hired by organizations to both direct and oversee the effective training of employees and to run professional development programs. In addition to managing logistics, such as training budgets and program implementation, this role usually requires a high level of person-on-person interaction.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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