Affordable Online MBA in Project Management

TBS Staff Writers
by
Updated September 14, 2023
Project management degrees feature flexible schedules, allowing distance learners to earn a postsecondary degree while holding down full-time jobs.

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Emerging as a distinct professional field in the mid-20th century, project management remains a growing and vital arena. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 7% growth for general management occupations between 2018 and 2028, which is slightly faster than the average growth for all occupations in the U.S. Practitioners who master the Project Management Institute’s standard competencies often enjoy an edge over competitors in the job market.

Recognizing the need for knowledgeable and skilled project managers, many accredited colleges and universities have begun offering project managers master’s degrees online and on campus. Many MBA programs include a project management concentration, and students may be able to further specialize their studies by taking coursework related to niche topics like transportation management, sustainability, and real estate management.

Most online MBA in project management degrees feature flexible schedules, allowing distance learners to earn a postsecondary degree while holding down full-time jobs and/or upholding family obligations. Web-based programs also tend to be relatively affordable. Many schools charge one flat tuition rate for all online programs, and distance students avoid common costs associated with on-campus study, like transportation and housing. In this guide, we look at the benefits of earning an online MBA in project management, including potential jobs and salary potential for graduates. We also explore how accreditation, concentration areas, and coursework can influence your career prospects.

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The Most Affordable Online MBA in Project Management Degree Programs

Affordable Online MBA in Project Management Degree Program Ranking Guidelines:
We selected the following online project management programs based on the quality of the program, types of online project management classes offered, faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation — including the school’s reputation for effectively providing quality online degree programs.

Rankings Methodology

The Most Affordable Online MBA in Project Management Degree Programs

#1 Affordable Online MBA in Project Management

Lamar University

  • Location-markerBeaumont, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,032
  • Out-of-state$16,160
  • Retention Rate66%
  • Acceptance Rate84%
  • Students Enrolled15,460
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment73%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 Affordable Online MBA in Project Management

Montclair State University

  • Location-markerMontclair, NJ
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$12,082
  • Out-of-state$20,042
  • Retention Rate80%
  • Acceptance Rate76%
  • Students Enrolled21,007
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment31%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 Affordable Online MBA in Project Management

Fayetteville State University

  • Location-markerFayetteville, NC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,982
  • Out-of-state$14,590
  • Retention Rate74%
  • Acceptance Rate69%
  • Students Enrolled6,551
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment70%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 Affordable Online MBA in Project Management

University of Mary

  • Location-markerBismarck, ND
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$17,350
  • Out-of-state$17,350
  • Retention Rate80%
  • Acceptance Rate74%
  • Students Enrolled3,779
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment45%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 Affordable Online MBA in Project Management

Park University

  • Location-markerParkville, MO
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,999
  • Out-of-state$7,999
  • Retention Rate66%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled11,415
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment78%
  • AccreditationYes

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The Advantages of an Project Management Education

A project manager’s work responsibilities depend largely on their educational and professional background, along with their employer’s size and specialty. Project management is a complex discipline that requires extensive training and in-depth study, and few schools offer associate degrees in the field. However, candidates with an associate in applied science in an area like business information or construction management, sufficient professional experience, and specialized certifications may be able to secure entry-level or small-scale project management positions.

Due to the field’s intricate nature and the complex responsibilities associated with project management positions, most companies prefer to hire project managers with a relevant bachelor’s or master’s degree. An advanced degree can lead to high-level career opportunities in a wider variety of settings, along with increased earning potential and more job responsibilities.

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Project Management Degree Salary Information

Project managers work in a variety of industries, including construction, engineering, software development, and healthcare. Project managers’ daily activities and salaries often depend on their workplace, industry, and level of professional experience. However, all project managers must coordinate different variables within a project, such as resources, costs, schedules, logistics, procurement, and communication.

General Project Manager
Project managers participate in client meetings and contract negotiations to clarify and develop project specifications and requirements. They allocate resources such as finances, personnel, and materials; maintain communication channels; manage stakeholders’ expectations; and resolve conflicts or problems that arise as the project progresses.
Project Manager (Software Development)
Software development project managers often work for large companies, where they oversee teams of computer programmers and coding specialists. They ensure that teams meet project deliverables at every stage of the development process, uphold specifications, keep project costs within budget guidelines, and deliver products on time.
Senior Project Manager (IT)
Senior IT project managers work with organizations to develop, implement, and maintain information technology projects. They assist or supervise testing efforts for new products or processes, train personnel to use new technologies, assess and upgrade their organization’s existing IT systems, and document all implemented IT improvements or enhancements.
Senior Project Manager (Construction)
Senior construction project managers prepare the necessary documentation for building projects, including local permits, work contracts, supplier purchase orders, and budget reports. They ensure that construction sites adhere to required safety standards and that adequate insurance coverage is in place throughout the project’s duration.
Senior Project Manager (Engineering)
Senior engineering project managers must identify project risks and develop appropriate management or mitigation strategies. They oversee and coordinate team members and present stakeholders with progress reports. Many senior engineering project managers hold professional engineering certifications.

Salary by Experience Level for Project Management Careers
CareersEntry Level
(0-12 Months)
Early Career
(1-4 Years)
Midcareer
(5-9 Years)
Experienced
(10-19 Years)
General Project Manager$55,000$63,000$77,000$86,000
Project Manager (Software Development)$57,000$71,000$88,000$102,000
Senior Project Manager (IT)N/A$91,000$104,000$116,000
Senior Project Manager (Construction)N/A$85,000$100,000$110,000
Senior Project Manager (Engineering)N/A$94,000$102,000$112,000

Source: PayScale

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Choosing an Online Project Management Degree Program

Both online and on-campus degrees require considerable time and financial commitment, and there are many variables to explore before selecting where to earn your online MBA in project management. You may find it helpful to consider the following factors as you examine your options. Keep in mind that most online project management programs offer a fair amount of flexibility. Many feature asynchronous classes, accelerated delivery, and several program start dates throughout the year.

  • Program Cost: State colleges or universities typically charge lower tuition rates than private institutions. State schools often enjoy greater access to federal funding, which can further reduce costs. However, public universities may maintain strict residency requirements, charging much higher tuition rates for out-of-state students. A benefit of distance learning is that some state colleges and universities offer in-state tuition for all online students, regardless of their state of residence.
  • Transfer Policies: While many schools accept transfer credits earned at other schools, those that do often impose a limit on the number of credits they accept. At most institutions, eligible transfer credits must be earned at accredited schools within a specific time frame — usually within the last five years. Generous transfer policies may allow distance learners to enroll in fewer courses, which can result in substantial savings.
  • School Size and Type: Most large state universities feature bigger class sizes, both online and on campus. While many students prefer smaller, more intimate learning environments, smaller schools often charge more per credit. Choosing a program that supports your learning style can be crucial to your academic success.
  • Program Length: Many factors affect the amount of time it takes to complete an online MBA in project management. A student’s enrollment status, the total number of required credits, and the delivery format can all influence program length. Full-time learners graduate sooner than those enrolled part time, and candidates in programs that follow seven- or eight-week delivery schedules can often graduate more quickly than students who follow a regular semester schedule.
  • On-campus Requirements: In-person requirements may also affect completion time. Distance learners pursuing a project management master’s degree online are sometimes required to attend brief on-site meetings, such as orientation weekends or intensive summer sessions. Additionally, some required courses may not be available online every semester.

Featured Online Master’s in Project Management

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Accreditation for Online Project Management Degrees

In the United States, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) oversee accrediting agencies. Both organizations ensure that accrediting bodies maintain high standards and apply criteria consistently. There are two main kinds of accreditation at the institutional level: regional and national.

Nonprofit, academically focused colleges and universities typically seek regional accreditation. Alternatively,schools that receive national accreditation tend to be single-purpose, for-profit, vocational, and/or technical institutions. In addition, academic colleges, departments, and programs may receive programmatic accreditation from specialized agencies and professional organizations.

The Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education serves as the country’s main accrediting body for project management programs at all levels. Additionally, students pursuing an MBA in project management should seek out programs approved by a recognized accrediting body in the business arena, such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

While institutional accreditation ensures a school’s quality, it also allows students to apply for federal financial aid; only candidates enrolled at accredited institutions may apply for federal grants and scholarships, loan forgiveness programs, and government fellowship opportunities. Furthermore, most accredited schools exclusively accept transfer credits from other accredited colleges and universities.

Project Management Concentrations

Many project management programs allow candidates to focus on specialized areas that support their professional goals and reflect their personal interests. Concentrations also provide an excellent foundation for advanced studies, which may lead to careers in academia or research. You can explore five project management concentrations below.

  • Transportation Management:
    This concentration explores the factors and managerial functions involved in maintaining transportation facilities, including air, rail, and road sites. Students build familiarity with the organizational processes involved in efficient transportation system management. Concentration classes may include transportation finance and economics, infrastructure systems, and transportation operations.
    • Careers this concentration prepares for: Transportation and logistics manager
  • Real Estate Development:
    A real estate development track cultivates the managerial and collaborative skills needed to plan and implement commercial development projects. A well-designed real estate development curriculum typically includes coursework in project funding, site assessment and acquisition, asset management, feasibility studies, and commercial site management.
    • Careers this concentration prepares for: Commercial real estate developer
  • Sustainability:
    Students who select this concentration learn to develop and construct various types of built environments by incorporating sustainable design and practices. Candidates examine issues such as sustainability metrics, climate change regulations and policies, risk management, and long-term environmental planning and strategy. Students examine emerging sustainability issues and learn to address them in a responsible manner.
    • Careers this concentration prepares for: Building/site supervisor
  • Construction Management:
    Concentration coursework surveys a variety of factors that impact construction projects, including quality and cost control, safety procedures, building codes, and construction processes and procedures. Using industry standard construction project software, learners design, implement, and maintain a building schedule within time and budget constraints.
    • Careers this concentration prepares for: Construction manager
  • Architectural Management:
    This concentration usually includes classes in construction management, managerial finance, project accounting, and business development. Coursework emphasizes managerial skills that are commonly used in construction project development and execution. By studying the factors that impact project completion times, candidates learn to create realistic and enforceable timetables.
    • Careers this concentration prepares for: Construction manager

How Long Does It Take to Get a Degree in Project Management?

An online MBA in project management typically consists of 36-48 credits and takes around two years to complete. However, a variety of factors can influence an MBA program’s length. Some schools offer accelerated programs that allow students to graduate quickly — often within 16 months of continuous enrollment. Many online programs feature asynchronous or self-paced delivery formats, which can also reduce completion times.

School and program transfer policies may also impact the time to graduation. Some institutions grant academic credit for relevant military training or professional experience, reducing course requirements and tuition costs. In addition, student enrollment status directly affects program length. While many colleges and universities expect MBA candidates to complete their degrees within five years, most full-time students graduate in around 24 months.

Courses in an Online MBA in Project Management Program

  • Communication and Procurement
    Students learn how the processes involved in purchasing goods and contracting services affect project completion times. By studying leadership and communication styles, human resources policies, and ethical issues in the labor/management dynamic, candidates acquire strategies to maximize and attain project objectives.
  • Tools and Techniques of Project Management
    This course presents analog and digital techniques for managing time, human capital, costs, and other resources. Distance students learn to implement forecasting, estimating, and budgeting strategies to reach project objectives and address unexpected deviations.
  • Risk Management
    Using current business data and computational models, students analyze, assess, and address various risk elements affecting a project’s viability or completion. Candidates employ a variety of techniques to minimize, counterbalance, or eliminate risks and optimize other components.
  • Global Project Management
    This course exposes students to project management techniques used in diverse cultural, geographical, and political settings. Classes address topics such as functioning in multinational teams, global logistics processes, risk assessment in international projects, and managing virtual global projects. Students acquire effective leadership techniques that may be adopted in complex global settings.
  • Planning and Resource Management
    This class surveys the development process from start to finish, teaching the skills needed to develop and implement a project within budget and on time. Candidates learn to secure, allocate, and manage different types of resources, including human capital, finances, and materials.
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Paying for Your Online MBA in Project Management Degree Program

Earning an on-campus or online MBA in project management can greatly enhance your career options and employability. However, pursuing a master of project management online can have a hefty price tag. You should begin your search for financial assistance by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can also investigate scholarship or grant programs from your school, and you can explore the five funding options presented below.

Scholarships for Accounting Students


Dr. Harold Kezner Project Management Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The Project Management Institute Educational Foundation administers this program, which is endowed by the International Institute for Learning. The program accepts applications from both undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees at accredited colleges or universities. Students must show proof of enrollment prior to receiving the award.
Amount: $7,500


Gaylord Christle Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship program accepts applications from students pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in acquisition or project management. Applicants must be full-time students enrolled in a program at an accredited institution. The application process begins on January 1 and ends on May 1 of each year.
Amount: $3,000


Mary Elizabeth Lockwood Beneventi MBA Scholarship

Who Can Apply: One of several funding options administered by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), this scholarship program accepts applications from full-time MBA students enrolled at accredited colleges or universities. Applicants need a minimum 3.25 GPA to be considered for the award; however, they are not required to hold DAR membership.
Amount: $2,000


National Society of Professional Engineers/Professional Engineers in Government Management Fellowship

Who Can Apply: This program considers licensed professional engineers pursuing master’s degrees in engineering management, project management, or public administration. Applicants must hold an active NSPE membership, enroll in a program accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International, and show proof of significant community involvement.
Amount: $2,500


Project Management Academy Academic Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Project management students enrolled in an accredited master’s or doctoral program related to project management can apply for this scholarship opportunity. Applicants must demonstrate their intent to sit for either the Certified Associate in Project Management certification or the Project Management Professional certification after graduation. The program accepts both U.S. and international students.
Amount: $2,000-$3,000

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