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How do I get a Project Management Master's Degree?

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  • Written By: Anna Clark
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2018
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There are a number of ways to obtain a project management master's degree. A variety of programs are offered around the world, including a great many that are based online. While specifics vary among the programs, they are all designed to further professional careers by providing training and validation of an individual's skill in leading multi-faceted projects.

At its most basic level, project management focuses on managing the resources, time, money, and scope of a project. The term is used in a wide range of industries, and can include everything from software development to construction planning. Advanced education in this discipline, including earning a project management master's degree, prepares an individual to better understand and handle the complexities required in organizing and running a major project. While many project management master's degree programs are designed broadly, there are also targeted programs that focus on specific industries, such as information technology (IT) or business.

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To be accepted into a project management master's degree program, you will likely need an undergraduate degree. In most cases, a graduate school does not require that degree in a specific field, although good test scores and grade point average (GPA) are often required. In some cases, previous experience in project management is also necessary; even when not required, previous experience can be a positive factor on your application. At the graduate level, coursework in project management often includes classes on financing and budgets, quality control, risk management, and human resources.

Many graduate programs are accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI), a nonprofit institute for professionals that was founded in 1969. Another option for those interested in management credentials is the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, offered directly by PMI. It represents at least five years of work experience in project managements, as well as 35 hours of related training and a passing score on a written examination.

To be eligible for the PMP program, individuals must meet one of two categories of criteria. In one category, students must have an associate's degree, at least five years of project management experience, and 35 hours of training. Alternately, students can have a bachelor's degree, at least three years of project management experience, and 35 hours of training. All experience must have been in the previous eight years.

Individuals can apply to the PMP program online. The application will require the individual to verify his or her experience. The applicant will have one year upon proceeding with the project management certification to take the 200-question test, which should take about four hours of time, and receive a passing score. The PMP credential stays current for three-year cycles.

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