What you need to know about Project Management Masters in the US
The Master’s degree in Project Management (MPM) program involves a comprehensive, theoretical, and practical project management education that equips project managers with the skills, tools and techniques they need to handle the complexities of managing modern projects no matter the type, size or industry. With this Master’s degree, project managers are capable of effectively completing programs and projects on schedule, within budget, and with high-quality results.
Most MPM program curriculums are aligned with the Project Management Institute's (PMI) globally recognized PMBOK standards, which are considered to be the industry standard for the Project Management field. Additionally, most MPM programs in the US are accredited by the Project Management Institute’s Global Accreditation Center (GAC), which promotes excellence by ensuring that programs demonstrate set standards of business education. Most of these programs are also instructed by instructors who have achieved the Project Management Professional (PMP) designation and are actively working in the field.
This program entails a broad, rigorous educational experience that focuses on the best practices, ideologies, and approaches associated with the project management science. It combines management and leadership skills with the business and technical know-how needed to manage projects across a number of industries. The curriculum includes such topics as project portfolio management, risk management, cost estimation, executive decision making, as well as project planning and scheduling. This degree gives a student the requisite skill set and knowledge base that allows them to advance in their current field or to launch their career in a different discipline. You’ll be transformed into a skilled project manager who is able to oversee all aspects of a project, ensuring a systematic and smooth flow of activities right from project initiation to completion.
Before you attain this Master’s degree, most programs require students to complete a capstone course, a thesis, or a comprehensive examination. Most programs require you to only undertake one and some allow you to substitute the traditional thesis for a capstone project. This is maybe because it can help create a more positive, less stressful experience for working adult students. It provides an opportunity for students to synthesize and evaluate processes for application within a project research study. It gives them an opportunity to put into practice the project management skills learned throughout the program on a real-world project.
The thesis course is an all-inclusive research paper covering the learning from the students’ coursework in the program. It helps students demonstrate their ability to integrate people, processes, and technology, as they prepare to become effective and practical hands-on project managers. The comprehensive examination requires students to provide answers that reflect a comprehensive understanding of the field of engineering and project management, command of course material, and ability to link the material presented in different courses.
Students who complete the Master’s degree in Project Management will be well informed in such areas as ethics, communication, global markets and data analytics. They will be able to demonstrate: proficiency in developing a project management lifecycle for projects relevant to their professional domain; knowledge of advanced project management tools, techniques, and processes; an in-depth knowledge of strategic planning and governance applicable to large projects and programs.
With many companies, nonprofits, and government agencies continuing or beginning to incorporate project-based methods to accomplish their particular goals and objectives, MSPM graduates are assured of a ready job market. There are endless career opportunities in public, private and military organizations, all which are in constant need of the expertise of project managers.
Requirements for admission
The process of getting admission to a Master‘s degree in Project Management is highly selective, and applicants are evaluated individually, based on their ability to benefit from, and contribute to, the challenging learning environment that comes with studying the program. Applicants must therefore meet most, if not all, of these requirements, which are somewhat universal in all universities.
Here is a list of some of these requirements.
i) Academic Transcripts: Applicants are required to submit transcripts from each college and graduate school attended, which highlight any academic work they have completed at the undergraduate level and beyond.
ii) Passing an admission test: Most universities will ask applicants to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE) while others will create their own entry exams. The purpose of these tests is to test whether the applicant’s academic aptitude is in align the program’s objectives and expected outcomes.
iii) Admission Essay: Almost all universities require applicants to submit an admissions essay together with their application. These essays will help the Admissions Committee to know the applicants more on both a professional and personal level. The essay also gives the applicant the opportunity to present their expectations and aspirations that comes with studying the particular program.
iv) Letter of recommendation: Applicants may also be required to submit an optional letter(s) of recommendation written by individuals who are well acquainted with their performance in a work setting, especially from a current or former supervisor. These letters provide further insight into an applicant’s personality, character, and potential for success in the program and beyond.
v) Resume: A resume provides a snapshot of your professional and academic career and also showcases your extracurricular and community engagements.
vi) English Language Tests: All non-native English speakers are required to sit for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE). However, the test may be waived for those applicants who earned their bachelor’s or master’s degree from an institution at which English is the language of instruction.
vii) Professional experience: To be enrolled in a MPM program, most universities require applicants to have at least two years of professional experience working on a project or a project-related position. However, applicants can still get their application accepted but will have to take on foundational courses in Project Management, which are specially designed for those who are not familiar with professional project work.
viii)An in-person interview: This interview, which may be conducted on-campus and/or online enables the admissions committee to best evaluate whether you fit for the program. The on-campus interview will give applicants the opportunity to meet the admissions and career management teams, discuss financial aid, and tour the campus.
ix) Application fee: Almost all university will require you to pay a non-refundable application fee when submitting your application. This fee will cater for the admissions logistics and can be paid by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express).
Most universities also provide admissions counselors or enrollment advisors in case you have any questions about their admission process and requirements, so you can always call provided hotlines or visit them at the campus. You can also attend information sessions mostly held during semester breaks to learn more on the requirements for admission, program of study, and even meet the faculty.
Types of Masters of Science in Project Management Programs
There is not much distinguishing the different Master’s degree in Project Management programs being offered in the US except the mode of delivery. Most Universities in the US offer the Project Management Master’s degree as a regular in-class program, and as an online or blended format. Both the online and blended formats see students study evenings on campus or off-campus sites, or entirely online. They provide a high level of flexibility to working professionals, who can also complete the degree program within two years while still working.
i) On-campus: Classes meet the entire or part of the day, Monday through Friday. This model gives students the advantage of networking with classmates and engaging with instructors on a face to face basis.
ii) Online: Online delivery is mostly offered through a virtual classroom where students can log-in to check assignments as well as discussion topics and videos. Students are able to collaborate and discuss topics with one another through the online tools available. Classes meet evenings on specific days of the week, mostly weekends, which is highly convenient for working professionals.
iii) Blended: The blended format combines both online study and face-to-face learning to provide a flexible learning option for those with demanding schedules.
Specializations available for the Master’s degree in Project Management
Most MPM programs offer specialization and concentration areas that enable students to align their program of study based on their professional interests and experience.
Some of these specialization areas are:
- Construction Management
- Real Estate Development
- Transportation Management
- Energy Management
- Healthcare Informatics
- Human Resource Management
- Public Administration
- Virtuous Leadership
- Agile project management,
- Program and portfolio management
- Information security management, and
- Operations research
Factors to consider before enrolling Master’s degree in Project Management
The Master’s degree in Project Management (MPM) degree is an advanced professional program designed for professionals who wish to develop or expand their project management skills for interdisciplinary application. It turns average professionals into versatile and technically oriented professionals capable of directing major public and private infrastructure projects in today's increasingly complicated managerial environment.
The program is therefore recommended for anyone with an undergraduate degree who wishes to aid organizations in harnessing opportunities through project initiation and management to grow their business. This program is also a perfect route to earning your Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. It helps students prepare adequately for the certification with courses that count as PMP continuing education credits.
Corporates can also sponsor their employees to study this program so they can be able to identify the major elements of the Project Management Framework (PMF) and the significance of aligning projects with organizational strategic plans.
Top Project Management Masters Programs Online 2018
Top Project Management Masters Programs 2018
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