Well worth the name of the project manager

Is It Worth Getting a Masters Degree in Project Management?

If you do a Google search for "Masters in Project Management" you will get more than 3 million results for schools worldwide. Granted, these results are not just offers from schools that offer teaching programs, but still - that's impressive.

If you try to narrow your search results by visiting a website like gradschools.com and filtering for “Business & MBA” and “Project Management” you will still get 327 results. Better, but still a jungle of offers.

Finding the right course of study is no easy feat. There aretwo questions to ask yourself before you start your search:

(1) Is a Masters in Project Management (MPM) really what you want? Would you prefer an alternative route, like an MBA or PMP certification?
(2) And if you decide on an MPM, what are your personal requirements when choosing a program?

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The big debate about a degree in project management

There are conflicting views as to whether a Masters Degree in Project Management is worth the time and money. A US news article reports that 43% of project managers in the US only have a bachelor's degree.

If you follow the project management degree debate, you will know it toodifferent opinions about the value of this degree gives. Some people say, "Get a Masters in Project Management," others say, "A general MBA is important," some people recommend alternative certificates (e.g. PMP) instead - and then there are others who say, "It's not about the degrees, but the experience ".

With so many opinions you can get lost ...

We scoured various forums and articles trying to find consensus among professionals on whether or not to get a Masters in Project Management:

The pros and cons of a Masters in Project Management


1. Employability

“Having taught an MPM program at a local university for the past five years, I firmly believe that students who complete this program will are much more employable with a degree.“
- JD McKenna, project manager, USA

“I have a Masters in Project Management and this qualification stands out on my résumé when applying for great jobs. I know a lot of people with MBAs who are still in lower management positions. A master’s degree in this special field is definitely sought-after and stands out more than an MBA degree. "
- Anonymous, USA

“My recommendation is somewhere in the middle. I would recommend that you obtain a Masters Degree in Project Management with a focus onYour area of ​​experience or area of ​​interest.“
- Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo, Project Manager, Indonesia

2. Better informed execution

“I am now in the role of a PM (with certification) and I definitely think that through the MPM understand with greater clarity why we do things the way we do them and it certainly helped convey decisions.... The MPM course is really interesting because you get to know other students with other PM experiences from whom you can learn. It's a challenge, but it's worth it. "

“I have both an MBA and an MPM. I don't think these two degrees are essentially the same. My conclusion is: It never hurts to educate yourself, so get the degree. Maybe it won't get you straight to your next job. But he should definitely help when it comes to getting the job done. "
- Dave Violette, Program Manager, USA

“For those who are currently completing a master’s degree and already have more than a few years of work experience, a PMP certification and certain large or complex project management experience, The Masters in Project Management will likely be of more importance to your employer and to your own ROI - not only financially, but also through the possibility of getting the most out of the curriculum. A master's in project management would then be an excellent additional training. "
- Mark Price Perry, VP of Customer Care, USA


1. Experience and achievements count more

“Good project managers come from Exercise and continuous self improvement. Of course, they need to know and understand the theory, but professionalism comes through application, adaptation and improvement. That is why I do not believe that a long, one-time theoretical study will take you to the next level. "
- Stan Yanakiev, IT project manager, Bulgaria

"The qualification alone did not really help me to get a job, it only works in connection with experience (which you have to get first) or a certification. Does an MPM promote a career? No, I don't think it will generate the positive responses we would like in recognition of our efforts. "
- Anonymous

“I would have doubts about a PM candidate if they have a master's degree in PM but no experience. Advanced degrees make more sense after having had practical experience.“
- Mark Price Perry, VP of Customer Care, USA

“I compare project management to cycling: you can read as many books on the subject as you want, but by the time you step up and really ride, you only know the theory and not the practice. As the person responsible for hiring project managers I go first after experience, then certification and finally qualifications. Even with trainees I don't necessarily expect experience in project management, but they should at least have worked as team members in a project environment, as this environment is completely different from a normal operating environment. "
- Julie Goff, Australia

2. An MBA has broader recognition

Experience and achievements count more than a degree in project management. That is why I would recommend that you complete your MBA first. Project management as a course module would be good, but my main subject would be finance, marketing, supply chain management or IT management. "
- Satnam Bansal, Business Manager, USA

“I've found that university project management courses are usually geared towards the construction industry. All of the working examples had something to do with the construction industry. An MBA is generally more widely recognized than a PM Master and gives business people the assurance that you understand where they are from. "
- Julie Goff, Australia (again)

3. More important is a positive, strong character

“Let me add one more attribute that I believe is more important than experience or certification. The work of a project manager is very dynamic and requires that he be able to deal with all kinds of situations; in other words, a project manager is inherently a problem solver. Because of thata project manager must have a positive and strong character to be able to endure the pressures of his work.“
- Wai Mun Koo, PMO Director, Singapore

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Other factors to consider when choosing a program

If you had to go through a long, arduous, detailed process applying for a bachelor's degree, keep the following in mind: A master’s degree is usually even more competitive.

Before deciding which program to choose, you need to determinewhat potential ROI your master’s degree offers. Do long-term planning and set a career roadmap for the next 5 to 10 years. Will a Masters degree help you reach the end of your 10 year plan? What are you hoping for the degree? Would you be better off with an MBA or PMP certificate to help you hit your 10 year plan?

Now that we've gathered advice and tips from forums and articles, here are a few factors to consider when applying for a program:


Scouring various discussion forums around the topic of whether to get a Masters in Project Management, we saw that many strong leaders recommend getting an MBA or PMP certificate instead. Take into account all of your options; in fact, a combination of two or even all three has been recommended by most.

MPM or MBA?- Both degrees have lasting value and show your commitment. MPM is a great choice for people who want to dig deep into the details and nuances of the project manager; MBA, on the other hand, is the route you should take if you want to climb the higher levels of management. These require a greater degree of business knowledge, a mentality for the big picture and the language of the executives.

MPM or PMP?- Both are great for people who want to be better project managers. MPM is a good choice for those looking to stay in project management positions over the long term. If you don't plan on sticking to project management forever, or if you just want to refrain from getting a full degree, PMP certification may be enough to give you the knowledge you need for the next 3-5 years Your career.

Online or on site
With the advent of the Internet, more and more universities are offering online programs. If you want access to a particular university's courses without having to travel across the country or even the world, how about an online degree? But keep in mind that you will then miss the large libraries and cafeteria food.

General or specialized
Some Masters programs impart general knowledge about project management and everything that it entails. Other programs are industry-specific: construction, IT, etc. If you know which area you will eventually work in and want to stay there long-term, then a specialized Masters program may be the better option. Another tip: some degree programs offer general MPM programs, but many of their teaching offerings are industry-related. Check the course offerings before committing to a program.

Theory or practice
With the wide range of MPM offers, some universities are theory-based (with term papers or term papers), while others offer practical programs (e.g. creating project plans, developing project schedules, learning how to track budgets). Don't settle for the first program you find - or the first program ready to take you on - check that you are being offered the training that fits your goals.

Is Higher Education Right For You?

A Masters in Project Management can be a huge win - or a huge waste of time and money. Do research, read curriculum reviews, and get feedback from your peers before committing to a new degree. Ultimately, the decision is in your hands, but you don't have to make the decision alone.

What was decisive for you in deciding for or against an MPM degree? Give us your feedback and help other project managers with your personal recommendations.