Since the inception of modern management principles in the middle of last century, project managers have held a front-and-center seat for many of the most important scientific and industrial developments of our time. You’ll find project managers in every Fortune 500 company, as well as as in city through Federal governments and non profits. For those who already excel in their given trade, and are looking to take a step up into management of others with similar skill sets, continuing education in project management can often be a just the ticket to getting ahead. Besides taking on a leadership role in your present or future organization, project managers are also well compensated. The median salary for project managers nationwide is over $100,000. So if you’re looking to take on more integral roles to projects you love or to boost your paycheck, graduate level work in project management can be a great fit.
- Affordability (1/3): an institution’s cost per credit hour for out-of-state residents provided by the degree program or institutional website.
- Flexibility (1/3): the number of options—including acceptance of prior college credits, self-paced learning initiatives, accelerated courses, and number of specializations—that allow students to complete a program at a pace of their choosing.
- Student Support Services (1/3): an institution’s rank for providing student support service such as digital library assistance, virtual office hours, and access to career services.
1.) Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is a non-profit, independent school with campuses located in Daytona Beach, FL, Prescott, AZ, and online. Home to over 30,000 students, the university has embedded itself in the aerospace and research regions of Florida’s “Space Coast” as well as the high research state of Arizona. As the name should give away, the university is particularly geared towards practical learning in aeronautical fields, which include many opportunities for project managers. “The Harvard of the Sky” is the only entity in the United States to fully specialize in aviation and aerospace academics, and offers programming at the associates through doctoral levels. The university is regionally accredited, and ranked highly for veterans and service members (at least partially due to their massive outreach and educational presence on military bases). The student faculty ratio of the university as a whole is 13:1.
The fully online Master of Science in Project Management offered by Embry-Riddle ranks as the number one program in our ranking due to its high student services and flexibility ranks (two program areas of tantamount importance to online learners). Small class sizes and numerous support services bolster the student services score. Not least of the student services is the university’s commitment to providing quality education and support to military service members. The relationship between Embry-Riddle and the military extends back to 1920, when John Riddle (namesake of the University) was taught to fly by the military. Twenty years later Riddle taught thousands of pilots to fly during WWII. All professors of the program have PMP (Project Management Professional) certifications, and the entire program was developed with PMP standards in mind. This focus ensures that students will primarily practice skills already found to be very valuable by employers seeking project managers. Furthermore, students are required to complete a capstone project. The capstone project involves the creation of an e-portfolio of project management projects, a great boon for future employment. Many specializations are available
- Estimated Tuition Per Credit Hour: $620
2.) Florida Institute of Technology
Florida Institute of Technology (Florida Tech) is a private doctoral university located in Melbourne, FL. The second university on our list located in the opportunity-rich region of Florida’s “Space Coast,” students at the university enjoy a long history of connection to aviation, aerospace, and research institutions that are some of the best employers for project managers. In fact, Florida Tech was actually formed at the dawn of the Space Race with the Soviet Union to aid NASA with preparing engineers and managers. Currently the university is the only independent technological university in the Southeast United States, and is ranked as a tier one research university. Particularly with the university’s focus on technology and engineering, it’s a great place to gain interdisciplinary insights that will certainly be valuable in project management roles.
The fully online Master of Science in Project Management offered by Florida Tech places highly in our ranking due to its flexibility, relative affordability, and student services score. On the flexibility front, the program may be customized through pursuing a general masters in project management, or project management degrees focused on information systems or operations research. All three programming options include a solid base in statistics, cost and economic analysis, and five core areas of project management learning. Much like our top ranked program, Florida Tech is also one of the most military friendly schools we’ve surveyed. Tuition for service members and veterans is capped at $250 per credit hour, a great deal for a private graduate-level degree.
- Estimated Tuition Per Credit Hour: $600
3.) Colorado State University – Global Campus
Colorado State University – Global Campus (CSU – Global) is the nation’s first fully online state university focusing primarily on non-traditional and adult professional students. With a headquarters in Greenwood Village, CO, the university was founded in 2007, and already has some 12,000+ students taking courses entirely online. The university is primarily known for adult degree completion programs as well as professional degrees. 11 masters and 20 specializations for these masters-level degrees are available fully online. The university also offers discounts and incentives for students who work for a large number of affiliates, including those who work for the states of Colorado, Utah, and Nevada, AT&T, and a number of other large corporations. Many courses at the university are known for being hands on and project based, and require the completion of portfolio projects.
The fully online Masters in Project Management offered by CSU – Global places highly in our ranking due to its flexibility and affordability. Students of the program may choose from a uniquely high number of concentrations (20 in total) from a wide range of fields, somewhat mirroring the process of choosing a minor in an undergraduate major. For students who know what field they would like to enter or continue their project management careers in, the specialization options are a great way to further buckle down on necessary skills for their specific industry. Courses are offered year around, allowing for greater flexibility and the ability to mold schoolwork to each student’s schedule. The degree also helps to prepare students for their PMP certification exam. At $500 per out-of-state credit hour, the program is the second most affordable of those surveyed for our ranking.
- Estimated Tuition Per Credit Hour: $500
4.) Granite State College
Granite State College is a public member of the University of New Hampshire system founded with the aim of increasing access to education in the state and nationwide. The college is particularly known for their online, flexible, and nontraditional options centered around helping busy adults with continuing and finishing their education. Unique flexibility-granting options at the college include the ability to garner credit for prior learning or experience, as well as the ability to take most courses in-person, as hybrid courses, as intensives, or online. In line with the college’s aim to provide for non-traditional students, the university is a top ranked provider for military students, and even offers four credit hours for students who have completed basic training. The university is known as one of the 20 best schools in the nation when ranked for the lowest median federal debt at graduation.
The fully online Master of Science in Project Management offered by Granite State College places highly in our ranking due to its low price point and high student support services ranking. For students open to pursuing project management goals through other educational tracks, related programs in management and leadership are also available. Students of the program will receive a broad and thorough education in project management, preparing students for all competency areas required for PMP certification. Career counselling is also available to all students and alumni, as well as those who are just considering what their next step might be (potential students). This top ranked program is also one of the most affordable of those we surveyed, clocking in at $545 per out-of-state tuition per credit hour. This makes Granite State’s project management program the third most affordable of those surveyed.
- Estimated Tuition Per Credit Hour: $545
5.) Liberty University
Liberty University is a private, non-profit, Christian university with a main campus located in Lynchburg, VA. The university is home to some 15,000 students on campus, and a whopping 100,000+ online students. This makes Liberty University the largest Christian Evangelical institution of higher education in the world. Classified as a doctoral research university, course offerings are available in a huge range of disciplines (522 total) and at the associates through doctoral levels. For students looking for a massive network of alumni connections, flexibility of online study, and a Christian education, Liberty is a great choice for continuing your education. Though the university is massive, emphasis is still placed on instruction, with all class sizes capped at 25 students. The university has received many accolades over the years, but particularly access on rankings of the best schools for military members, the most conservative student bodies, and best online programs.
The fully online Master of Science in Project Management offered by Liberty University places highly in our ranking due to its flexibility and affordability. Flexibility-enhancing components of the program include a generous transfer policy as well as life and work experience credits. Together, these elements can greatly reduce the price of the program as well as the student’s time until degree. Intensives are also available for students who can spend some brief amounts of time on campus to greatly accelerate their coursework. A number of support services are also available, including an online library, writing resources, study aids, and IT support. The program is the 5th most affordable of those surveyed, clocking in at $565 per credit hour.
- Estimated Tuition Per Credit Hour: $565
6.) Penn State World Campus
Penn State World Campus is the online branch of the Pennsylvania State University system. The university was founded with an aim of providing access to the Penn State system’s acclaimed education to those who cannot be physically present at a Penn State University campus. Though founded in 1998, the university system has a long history of distance education, dating back to 1892. Currently over 13,000 students pursue degrees through PSU’s World Campus. Like the university’s brick and mortar cousins admissions standards are high, with students required to gain acceptance to the brick and mortar program of study after gaining acceptance to the world campus program. This helps to ensure all students are up to snuff, so that the university can offer identical programming to the university system’s brick and mortar programs online.
The fully online Master of Project Management offered by Penn State World Campus places highly in our ranking due to its flexibility and high student services score. Flexibility-enhancing components of the program include the ability to tailor your course of study through a “career track” including the likes of enterprise architecture, enterprise resource planning with SAP software, an independent study, work that augments a current project management issue in your organization, or supply chain management. Students will devote two courses of study to their “career track” and can come up with their topic with the help of student advisers. Graduate certificates are also available in project management-related disciplines. A GMAT waiver for the program is available to applicants who display substantial experience in project management (5 plus years on the job).
- Estimated Tuition Per Credit Hour: $975
7.) Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University is a private non-profit university located between Manchester and Hooksett, New Hampshire. The school is home to some 3,000+ students on campus, but is primarily known for its online programming. Currently over 60,000 online students call SNHU home. Online degrees are offered the undergraduate, graduate, and certificate levels, with the university particularly noted for its innovative 3-year bachelors programs. Voted as one of the 12 most innovative organizations in the world by Fast Company, SNHU boasts innovative support and flexibility-granting components to all online students. Support services for all online students include wellness support, an online library, online tutoring services, a disability resource center, career services, and a writing center. With many yearly start dates as well as accelerated courses, the university is a great fit for nontraditional and adult learners.
The fully online Master of Science in Operations and Project Management offered by Southern New Hampshire University places highly in our ranking due to success in all three of our metrics. Flexibility-enhancing components of the program include the ability to take two accelerated, 10-week courses at a time and finish the degree program in as few as 15 months. Additional flexibility is enabled through the lack of GRE or GMAT requirements for entry to the program. Students may also tailor their degree through the choice of five electives in their course of study. The course of study is rigorous as well as comprehensive, helping to prepare students for a number of top industry certifications including PMP, Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® and Six Sigma Green Belt. The program is the 9th most affordable of those surveyed, coming in at $627 per credit hour.
- Estimated Tuition Per Credit Hour: $627
8.) Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University is a public research university that is a member of the Texas State University System. Home to some 20,000+ students, the university is the third oldest public university in the state of Texas. The university has a main campus in Huntsville, Texas, but is also known for its wide range of online offerings (over 40 online degrees total). The university is the first in the Texas State University system to be recognized as a doctoral research university. As with a number of state schools in Texas, the University’s main campus is home to a number of innovative programs in agribusiness and agriculture. Sam Houston’s online degree programs are routinely ranked as some of the best in the nation by the likes of publications such as US News in a variety of disciplines. It is also one of the most affordable online degree providers we’ve surveyed.
The fully online Master of Science in Project Management offered by Sam Houston State University places highly in our ranking due to its affordability and support services metrics. The curriculum for the program required 36 targeted credit hours taken from courses in the management and management information systems departments of the the university. All students are required to complete a capstone project as part of their course of study. Flexibility-enhancing components of the program involve the ability of select students to circumvent GMAT requirements for admission. Students with a 3.5 or above undergraduate GPA or 7+ years of project manager experience may be eligible for this waiver. On top of the quality of the program, Sam Houston’s project management program is also the most affordable of those surveyed for our ranking, coming in at $286 per credit hour. This translates to Sam Houston’s Project Management program being roughly half the price of the next most affordable program surveyed, what a deal!
- Estimated Tuition Per Credit Hour: $286
9.) Bellevue University
Bellevue University is a private, non-profit university with a main campus located in Bellevue, Nebraska. The university is currently home to over 10,000 students. For those who can’t make it that deep into the great plains, however, around 80% of the student body are currently nontraditional students largely taking courses online. Founded in 1966, the university was founded with just this audience in mind. Even their motto is tailored to working adults and nontraditional students: “Real Learning for Real Life.” Bachelors through doctoral level programming is available. With many programs offering accelerated, cohort-based, in-person, and online course delivery methods. The university is regionally accredited (the highest form of accreditation) and regularly ranked as a top online provider by the likes of publications such as US News.
The fully online Masters in Project Management offered by Bellevue University ranks highly in all three metrics surveyed. Flexibility-enhancing components of the program include a generous transfer policy, as well as asynchronous course work that allows students to work through their courses when it is most convenient for them. Support services are good at Bellevue University, which is particularly noted for their Military Friendly programs and support such as the Military Veterans Service Center. The degree program requires 36 credit hours, all of which are aligned with the Project Management Institute’s 5 core competency areas that are tested on the PMP exam. The degree program is also one of the most affordable surveyed for our ranking, coming in at $545 per credit hour.
- Estimated Tuition Per Credit Hour: $545
10.) Georgetown University
Georgetown University is a private, research university located in Washington, D.C. Founded in the 1700’s, the university has a long lineage as one of the premier centers of scholarship in America. Today degree programs are offered in 48 disciplines at the bachelors through doctoral levels. 17,000+ students call the university home from 130 countries. The university is particularly well regarded for preparing leaders for careers in government and international affairs. One of the strongest alumni networks up the eastern seaboard and in the D.C. area also make this a great university for potential project managers hoping to work in the region. The university is also a hub of business innovation as home too the nation’s largest student-run business and student-run financial institution.
The fully online Master of Professional Studies in Project Management offered by Georgetown University places highly in our ranking due to its high marks for flexibility and student support services. The program of study, comprised of some 30 credit hours, may be taken on a part-time, full-time, or accelerated basis. Though the average time until completion is 2 years, some students have completed the program in as few as 16 months. All students are required to complete a capstone project as part of their course of study. Capstone projects are completed in conjunction with industry leaders, and may be tailored towards advancing the student’s career or interest area of choice. Though the program is one of the more expensive surveyed in our ranking, Georgetown is also perhaps the most academically lauded of institutions surveyed. For students willing to shell out for the education, benefits through world class faculty, class mates, and Georgetown’s alumni network may well be worth the additional cost.
- Estimated Tuition Per Credit Hour: $2235