Businesses rely on skilled project managers to usher projects through from conception to development to completion. From development of new candy bars or video games to deploying new satellites in space, project managers oversee all aspects of these and other projects.
Project managers keep team members on track by providing direction and feedback and coordinating the activities of team members to ensure project goals are met. The core of the job entails balancing three core elements of time, money and understanding the scope of the project.
Project managers typically have at least a bachelor's degree, although some large organizations may require project managers to have a master's degree or an M.B.A. with a concentration in project management. Students interested in careers as project managers can pursue either on-campus or online degrees in project management from one the featured colleges below.
All institutions in this list have curriculum developed with standards established by the Project Management Institute. Keep reading to learn more about these five best colleges for project management degrees, financial aid information, career expectations, and common career paths for graduates of project management degree programs.
Best Colleges for Project Management Degree Programs
Choosing the right college can be difficult - especially when students have hundreds of different degrees programs from which to choose. The list below represents the five of the best colleges for project management degrees. We created a unique methodology that combines different data points provided by the National Center for Education Statistics to generate a snapshot of the top colleges for project management degrees at U.S. colleges and universities.
With campus locations in Pasco and Richland, Columbia Basin College primarily serves residents of Benton and Franklin counties. The college offers three pathways for study in project management:
- One-year certificate
- Associate of Applied Science degree
- Bachelor of Applied Science degree
The B.A.S. pathway requires 180 total credits to satisfy degree requirements and includes 56 credits in core project management coursework. The associate degree requires between 90 and 92 credits, and the certificate requires 45. Depending upon a student's professional background, he or she may receive credit for prior learning experience. The programs are structured to accept new students during any academic quarter.
Columbia Basin College heads our list of best colleges for project management based on a combination of factors. It's low cost of tuition -- $4,194 -- is best among these five top colleges. CBC also has an open admissions policy and flexible course scheduling with night and weekend classes.
Bellevue University offers both bachelor's and master's degrees in project management. The B.A.S. degree is offered as either an on-campus or online cohort -- once students complete 60 credits or an associate degree they can begin an undergraduate cohort. The program requires 127 total credits to complete. The Master of Project Management degree is an online program that requires 36 credits to complete.
The university also offers graduate-level certifications in IT project management, as well as an M.B.A. with a concentration option in project management, and a Master of Science in management degree program. Bellevue was second in our ranking of top universities for project management degrees for cost of tuition, and it was the leader for its high number of students enrolled in distance education classes.
This private nonprofit university has a flagship campus in Seattle and 27 additional locations throughout the Pacific Northwest and worldwide.
Students interested in project management careers have many different programs from which to choose, including:
- Bachelor of Science in project management
- Bachelor of Arts in management
- Bachelor of Science in business administration with a project management concentration
- Master of Science in business administration with a project management concentration
All programs can be completed online. The B.A.S. degree programs requires 180 credits to complete, while the master's degree pathway requires between 48 and 51 credits.
City University of Seattle had the second-highest graduation rate among the five institutions in our rankings of best online degree programs for project management, and also had a low 12:1 student-faculty ratio. The university also was the leader for total number of project management degrees awarded to students in 2015.
In addition to its campus at Fort Lauderdale, City College has campus locations in Miami, Gainesville, Hollywood and Orlando; however, the Bachelor of Science in project management degree is only offered at the Fort Lauderdale campus. The degree requires 16 quarters, or approximately 176 weeks, to complete.
Students also can pursue a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in project management. The degree requires 180 credits for graduation, with 16 credits in core project management classes.
City College had the highest graduation rate among our featured institutions, and it also has a favorable open admissions policy. Students also can expect greater interaction with their professors due to the college's low 10:1 student-faculty ratio.
Rounding out our top 5 is this private for-profit university with campus locations at Colorado Springs and Aurora. The university offers a Bachelor of Science degree that can be completed at either campus location or through the university's online Virtual Campus. The program has multiple start dates each year to better accommodate new students.
Students must complete 180 credits to satisfy degree requirements, including 82 credits of core business and project management courses and an additional 32 credits in project management concentration coursework. Study culminates in a four-credit project management capstone project.
Colorado Technical University lands in the No. 5 spot in these rankings based on cost of tuition, graduation rate, low 11:1 class size, and high number of students enrolled in online classes.
Project Management Degree Programs and Common Career Paths
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most project managers have earned at least a bachelor's degree in project management or related degree path. Depending upon the industry in which they work, project managers may require additional education as well. Here's a few of the most common career paths and typical educational obtainment for project managers.
Financial Aid and Scholarships in Project Managers
Students enrolled in on-campus or online project management degree programs can apply for federal financial aid to help pay for college. They also can pursue scholarships dedicated to helping aspiring project managers pay for tuition. There are many different scholarships available for students studying project management.