Top Online PhD, Online PhD in Project Management, Project Management DegreesProject management is a fairly straightforward practice. It refers to planning, executing, and controlling the work of a team to meet specific goals or objectives. It is most often associated with business; however, almost every discipline calls for project managers. In this role, you could be tasked with overseeing budgets, providing leadership and feedback to a team of employees, evaluating problems to create solutions, and more. This is also one of the highest paying careers in the nation with an average salary of over $100,000 per year. In addition to that, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a healthy growth rate for management positions over the next decade.

This is a degree that you can apply almost universally because every field needs leaders. Another thing to consider is that there are very few options out there for advanced degrees in project management despite the fact that it is a rapidly growing field. There is certainly a demand for qualified management professionals and qualified instructors in the different areas of project management. There are few PhDs in Project Management but you do have other degree options at the doctorate level. These include a Doctor of Management, a Doctor of Business Administration, or even a Doctor of Project Management. There are various other degree fields that offer concentrations in project management as well.

Doctorate Degrees in Project Management

There is no better way to distinguish yourself as an expert in your field than to earn a doctorate degree. Project management is just the same. There is an increasing need for doctoral-prepared project managers nationwide as the field grows. Experts, executives, researchers, and professors are all in demand. Regardless of which of those roles you’d like to fill, a doctorate in project management will give you everything you need to make it happen.

These degree programs are offered in fields like business, information technology, engineering, construction, and more. Leaders will always be needed and you can put yourself ahead of other job candidates by having an advanced degree. In a doctoral program, you will encounter plenty of foundational courses. Some examples of these classes include Project Planning and Control, Project Financial Management, and Management Theory, as well as courses that prepare you to design and conduct research studies.

Once you’ve covered the basics, you will take more advanced courses. Some examples are Practice and Theory of Consulting and Intervention, Organization Innovation and Scenario Thinking, Leading Domestic and Global Teams, and Applying Advanced Project Management Tools and Methods. You will also have the opportunity to individualize your plan of study in a project management doctoral degree program. You can choose electives and research topics that align with the field you’d like to work in when you graduate.

Many doctorates in project management will include projects as part of their curriculum. These capstone projects are a more practical alternative to the traditional dissertation and you will complete a project that synthesizes the skills you’ve learned with the practical aspects of the job you’d like to have. Some programs will instead require a traditional dissertation. In that case, you would conduct research and create your dissertation based on that project. You can use this to focus your study in a particular area as well.

Earning an Online Doctorate in Project Management

If you are at the point in your career that you are considering such a high level of education, it is safe to assume that you already have a career and perhaps even a family. No matter what your obligations are, they can feel like obstacles to obtaining a doctorate in project management because you know that doctorate programs are rigorous and require a lot of dedication. We understand. We think there is a better way.

You can earn your degree without having to move away from home and sometimes without having to travel at all when you choose to study online. Online programs are flexible and most will allow you to log in and work on your classes whenever it is convenient for you. Even those that do require live sessions are scheduled so that they won’t disrupt the work schedule of most people. Other benefits of online programs include having more options because the program is accessible to you wherever you are, paying fewer costs associated with your degree, and even being able to graduate sooner in some cases.

There are very few online doctorates in project management. We still went ahead and ranked the best that we could find according to the following.

Methodology

To rank the best online PhDs in Project Management, we started by collecting a list of schools. In order to be part of our initial considerations, each school must offer at least one online or hybrid program in project management, must be based in the United States, hold proper accreditation, and can not operate as a for-profit institution. Due to the lack of relevant programs that met our initial criteria, we also included other doctoral programs in project management.

Once we had a list of potential schools, they were scored according to these factors.

  • Freshman Retention Rate (⅓ of final score)
  • Graduate Rate (⅓ of final score)
  • Affordability (⅓ of final score)

Each school could have scored as high as 300 points. Once we determined the schools’ scores in each area, they were added together to obtain the final score. Schools are presented in ascending order according to that score below.

The information we used to create this ranking was taken from the schools’ websites whenever possible. When insufficient information was present, we also use information from other reputable sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. News & World Report, Niche.com, and Collegedata.com. We would like to note that some schools that may have otherwise ranked are not featured here due to incomplete information.

No college or university is ever awarded preferential treatment by us for any reason. The clearly-outlined methodology could easily be repeated to obtain the same results.

  1. MERIT: 196
    View Profile Average Cost: $41,112

    Liberty University, Online Masters Degree, Online PhD, Online Degree

    Doctor of Business Administration in Project Management

    Liberty University’s online Doctor of Business Administration is a very flexible program. There are optional intensives on campus, but you are not actually required to attend campus at any point during the program. This is rare for doctorates and makes Liberty’s online offerings stand out amongst the crowd. This is a 60-credit program and takes the average student three years to complete. You can also transfer in as many as 15 credits from prior college experience into the program.

    There are several start dates throughout the year for you to choose from so you don’t have to wait and even more importantly, you don’t have to rush either. The classes are all asynchronous in nature though there may be some synchronous elements you encounter throughout the duration of the program. Classes last for just eight weeks each, which is what allows you to graduate at an accelerated pace at Liberty.

    This is a 100% online doctorate in project management that will prepare you for a range of careers. Online students are eligible for scholarships and financial aid as part of this program and will get a lot of student support services that traditional students do too. Liberty University makes sure that you don’t miss out on the quality academic experience you deserve even studying from home. You will take a lot of core courses that cover the fundamentals of business along with a Project Management cognate. This cognate includes courses like Operations Management, Advanced Project Management, and Global Project Management.

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  2. MERIT: 195
    View Profile Average Cost: $31,659

    2 City-logo

    Doctor of Business Administration with a Concentration in Project Management

    The City University of Seattle offers a very comprehensive online doctorate in Project Management. The university prides itself on the flexibility of the program. No traditional concentrations are offered; instead, you work with your academic advisor to design the concentration you need to advance your career and achieve your goals. The school offers plenty of courses in project management, allowing you to create this concentration.

    CityU has a high rate of student satisfaction at 92%. We’re sure that the flexibility of the online program is a huge part of that. You can take all of your courses online with once-weekly live meetings with your professors and classmates. This blend of synchronous and asynchronous study allows you to work on your classes when it fits into your schedule but assures that you won’t feel like you’re learning on an island.

    The program consists of 91 credits in total. There are three short residencies required throughout the entire program. The university doesn’t disclose when they take place, but you can be sure that they will be in your syllabus so you can fit them easily into your schedule. The curriculum consists of a business core, a research core, your specialization courses, and then it culminates in a dissertation.

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What is a Project Management Degree?


Project managers are higher in demand now in the changing landscape of business we have in America and, really, around the world as well. Managers are needed in every corner of industry, and people who are trained in those skills are going to find it easier to get jobs than those who aren’t. That is the purpose of a project management degree. It is a pretty broad area of study that covers the principles of business, management, and more.

Most project management degrees focus on the five processes of project management and those are:

  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Controlling
  • Closing

Degrees in project management are available at basically any level of education. There are project management certificates, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and even doctoral degrees.

Project management certificate programs do not go very in-depth into the field, and they are designed to introduce students to the concepts and skills that they’ll need to function as a manager in the most basic sense. Some example courses include Introduction to Project Management, Basic Risk Management, Introduction to Accounting, and other very foundational and broad courses. The courses in these programs are going to focus solely on management and not the true inner workings of business.

Undergraduate degrees like an associate or bachelor’s degree program are going to take that and expound upon it. The curriculum is going to feature courses like Introduction to Business, Foundations of Project Management, Introduction to Business Law, Fundamentals of Leadership, and more. This type of degree will prepare you for entry-level jobs in project management. You can also customize your curriculum at the undergraduate level with ease because you will have plenty of electives to choose from.

The master’s level is the place you can truly specialize your project management degree, and the same is true for the doctorate level if you want to take it a step further. More specializations are available when you get to more advanced levels. There are also capstone projects like a thesis or a dissertation that will allow you to focus even more on the particular area of project management that you’re interested in.

What Can I Do With a Degree in Project Management?


The good thing about a degree in project management is that it is actually very versatile. Any business that needs teams of people to be managed while they work on goal-specific projects. Teams like this do construction, computer and information systems, logistics, sales, and more.

By definition, a project manager is a leader. However, the actual tasks you may do in your day to day when on the job are varied. Some businesses may put a lot more responsibility on their project manager, including designing, planning, and executing a project. This would see you overseeing the project from start to finish, managing the team who are working on the project, and ensuring that it is completely done according to the objective of the project as a whole.

Some project management jobs would have you just overseeing the project that was designed and planned by someone else, or it could be evaluated by a third party once it was completed. It all depends on the way the company you work for functions. A very general list of the things you would be expected to do as a project manager is as follows.

  • Develop the big idea for the project
  • Organize the tasks required to complete the project
  • Assemble the team that will actually do the work
  • Ensure that stakeholders understand the results of the project
  • Budgeting for the project and managing that budget
  • Leading the team you put together and making sure targets are being met
  • Managing the handover, so that the whole of the company can effectively work with the output of the project upon completion

How Long Does it Take to Get a PhD in Project Management?


The amount of time it takes to earn a PhD is something that is extremely varied. The typical timeframe is four years, but there are some things that may decrease that time significantly. If your school has a great transfer policy and you have relevant college experience that you can use for credit, you could have less coursework to complete and graduate faster.

In addition, there are a lot of schools that offer accelerated study options. These tend to be more rigorous, and it may be hard to maintain a job while you are studying because the classes are much shorter and, for lack of a better word, action-packed. Sometimes classes are shortened down to eight weeks in length, packing in the same amount of material in a shorter amount of time. That is what an accelerated degree program does. It takes that program and increases the number of credits you earn each semester to make it shorter.

How long it takes you to complete a PhD in Project Management also depends on how long it takes you to complete your dissertation. Some students can finish in the allotted time, but others may need a little more, stretching it out over several extra semesters than was outlined in the general degree plan.

When you choose an online PhD in Project Management, you can expect your degree to be done in an average of three years.

Which Online Project Management Degree Can Be Completed in the Shortest Amount of Time?


Online education is something that we find amazing, which is no surprise. On top of the convenience and affordability, the programs can be completed much faster than traditional programs. This is thanks to a few things, like the asynchronous delivery format. You can access your classes 24 hours a day, so you are not confined to studying and working on your classes in a dedicated time frame. This also translates to you being able to take more classes in shorter amounts of time. Some classes are shortened all the way down to seven weeks each, like those offered through Colorado State University’s Global Campus.

The online accelerated bachelor’s programs at CSU Global can be completed in as little as one year because of the very generous transfer policy and short course format. The university offers Project Management as one of its accelerated majors.

Of course, there are quick degree options for those of you who want a graduate degree as well. Concordia University Chicago offers an MBA program that can be completed in as little as one year. This isn’t a traditional project management degree program; however, you can complete it online, and it covers a lot of the same principles. Albertus Magnus College offers a similar option. Eight-week courses could have you graduating from your MBA in Project Management in no time.

New England College offers an online Master of Science in Management in an accelerated format; Project Management is one of the available concentrations, and you could graduate from the program in one to two years depending on your choice of scheduling. Avila University and the University of North Texas also offer masters programs in the area of project management that you can complete in 12 months.

At the doctorate level, the fastest program you will be able to take in project management online is the DBA in Project Management offered at Liberty University, which takes an average of three years. There are also options like transfer credits and accelerated scheduling that may allow you to graduate even sooner.

What Jobs Can You Get With a Project Management Degree?


The most obvious career path with a Project Management degree is to work as a project manager. Even still, that is a job that you can hold in many fields. Just a few options include architecture, construction, engineering, information technology, and telecommunications. There are still other jobs that this type of degree will qualify you for.

You could work as a project scheduler. In this position, you would only handle the scheduling aspect of project management and ensure that things are getting completed in a timely manner according to the schedule that you set out.

You could find a career as a database administrator. In this job, you would be responsible for using database software at the company that you work for and managing the information stored within the system. Often, you would create the database systems and monitor them to make sure that they were functioning properly.

Social Media Management is another career path you could explore with a project management degree. You would create and implement social media strategies for the business you worked for. This could include promoting brand awareness, encouraging product adoption, and more. This is more of a marketing position.

Chief Operations Officers are high-level executives that look after the daily optimization of a business. This encompasses several departments within a company, and you would be responsible for making sure that the business as a whole is running smoothly, instead of just overseeing one particular project at a time. This career requires a lot of experience and education, but it is the highest career in project management that you can hold apart from being a CEO.

Lastly, we’ll touch on the obvious. You could use your project management degree to become a teacher. This usually requires a PhD in Project Management or another doctorate degree with some additional requirements to make sure you are able to teach. The licensing requirements for teachers are going to differ in every state, but you can absolutely use your education in project management to educate others who want to work in the field.

What is the Average Salary for a Project Manager?


According to Salary.com, the average annual base salary for a project manager is $133,933. With that said, project management is a very broad field. The industry that you work in )like IT, healthcare, marketing, or construction) is going to have an effect on your salary. Glassdoor, another reputable salary information source, reports that the average salary comes in much lower at around $75,474 per year.

The location you’re in, your level of education, and the amount of experience you have are all going to play a part in determining what your actual salary will be. In addition, many project managers also receive additional income through profit sharing, commissions, bonuses, and the like. The average additional compensation reported by Glassdoor is $6,473 per year; however, the range is between around $1,500 all the way up to roughly $20,000 per year.

Here are some of the average annual salaries for some different careers in project management. This information was pulled from Salary.com.

  • Chief Operations Officer: $369,646 to $601,069
  • Engineering Manager: $120,663 to $149,268
  • Marketing Manager: $88,417 to $119,467
  • Industrial Production Manager: $87,215 to $114,944
  • Database Administrator: $57,677 to $75,534
  • Information Technology Project Manager: $72,851 to $96,526
  • Health Project Manager: $108,620 to $161,230
  • Social Media Manager: $51,380 to $79,860
  • Construction Project Manager: $117,100 to $152,300
  • Cost Estimator: $76,319 to $92,689

What Certification Do I Need to Become a Project Manager?


You do not need a certification to be a project manager, but it is recommended. Currently, certified project managers report salaries almost 20% higher than those who do not hold the same certification but have a comparable level of experience and academic background.

The certification is offered through the Project Management Institute. It costs up to $555 to sit for the exam. There are a variety of certifications offered, but the most desirable is the Project Management Professional or PMP certification.

You can also earn the following certifications through the Project Management Institute.

  • Program Management Professional (PgMP)
  • Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP)
  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
  • PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)
  • PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)
  • PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)
  • PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)