Doctorate in Project Management

A Doctorate in Project Management is ideal for students who intend to go for advanced level careers in fields such as engineering, marketing, architecture, pharmaceuticals or software development, among others. The job market for these professionals is vast and growing in multiple fields. As per a report from the Project Management Institute (PMI), 87.7 million people will be needed to fill project management related posts all around the world by 2027. This huge demand is a result of the creation of new business projects, along with continuous expansion of old ones.


If you want to learn about this lucrative field, along with how a Doctorate in Project Management can help you advance in it, the following guide will be of great use to you. Continue reading to find out all you need to know about a Doctorate in Project Management and the opportunities you can get with it.

Opportunities with a Doctorate in Project Management

After completing a Doctorate in Project Management, graduates can go on to take up advanced roles in the field. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), a job growth of 33% is predicted for project management related roles in the 33 countries studied, including the US. PMI also deduced that individuals employed in project management-oriented positions earned an impressive 82% more than professionals who were not in project-oriented positions.

Graduates of this program can go for job opportunities in a vast variety of career fields, such as healthcare management, marketing, human resources, pharmaceuticals and engineering, among others. The high demand for project managers can be associated with an increase in entrepreneurship in new business pop-ups. This increase in business activity has given rise to the need of good and capable project managers.

How long does it take to earn a Doctorate in Project Management degree?

Full-time students enrolled in a Doctorate in Project Management can complete the program in around 2 to 4 years, with approximately 60 credit hours. The length of the program may vary if it is a part-time plan or an accelerated degree plan. The time taken to complete the degree might also depend on the institute you choose a program at and their exact requirements.

How much does a Doctorate in Project Management cost?

The cost of a Doctorate in Project Management would depend on a number of factors. For instance, if you are an out-of-state student, the overall fee structure would be higher. Similarly, if you intend to get your PhD in a private institute, as opposed to a public university, the cost of the degree would be substantially higher. Another factor that adds to the cost is the technology fee, which often applies only to online students. Other considerations that might need to be taken into account are the cost of supplies, books and accommodation. Therefore, if you plan on enrolling in a Doctorate in Project Management program, it is highly recommended that you analyze the cost structure thoroughly beforehand.

Please note that in most cases, students enrolling in a Doctorate in Project Management might be able to get financial aid, scholarships or a federal grant, varying on a case to case basis. Per-credit cost for an online doctorate in project management is typically between $595 and $980, as per US News. Students can expect to pay around $36,000 to $59,000 in total tuition fees for this degree.

Should I get a Doctorate in Project Management degree?

A Doctorate in Project Management degree is the highest educational credential available for aspiring project managers. With the completion of this degree students will inculcate in themselves skills such as a strong business sense, masterful business communication skills and unmatched leadership abilities. They will be exposed to advanced level topics required in the understanding of a project from its initiation to its completion. With such high level skills developed, graduates of this program can go for the best and highest paying jobs in the field. Students can go on to take up careers in fields such as logistics, healthcare, operations, human resources and marketing.

However, please note that in order to become a project manager, you do not need a Doctorate in Project Management. Most professionals in this field either have a bachelor’s or a master’s degree.

What can I expect from a Doctorate in Project Management program?

A Doctorate in Project Management degree would take around 2 to 4 years of time to complete, which roughly translates to nearly 60 credit hours. Students enrolled in this program can expect to study courses in management theory, leadership styles and marketing strategies, among others. The coursework of a Doctorate in Project Management is designed to build competence in strategic management, while also cultivating PhD-level writing and research skills.

In addition to coursework, students might be expected to take up a concentration. Examples of potential concentrations include Program and Portfolio Management, Project-based Strategic Leadership, Life-Cycle and Performance Management, Risk and Quality Management and Project Portfolio Performance and Organizational Effectiveness. Students in a PhD program would also have to complete a research project, such as a dissertation.

How to choose a Doctorate in Project Management program?

Students who wish to enroll in a Doctorate in Project Management need to do thorough research before finalizing on a program. There are several considerations that must be taken into account, such as the total cost of the program, format of the program (online or on-campus), faculty credentials, notable alumni, job placement cell etc. Students must also consider the financial aid options and facilities such as labs and libraries that the university has before making a final decision.

One of the most important factors to consider when selecting a Doctorate in Project Management program is its accreditation status. The next section covers the importance of accreditation in more detail.

Accreditation for a Doctorate in Project Management programs

Colleges and universities in the US receive accreditation status from agencies recognized by the US Department of Education after an extensive review of the program’s quality. A program that is accredited by a credible organization would offer quality education recognized across the country. In addition to that, a school’s accreditation status also impacts the credit transferability and student eligibility for federal financial aid. Therefore, students should only opt for programs that are accredited at the regional or national levels.

Admission Requirements for a Doctorate in Project Management

Most Doctorate in Project Management programs would require students to have a master’s degree from an accredited college. Some universities might require the master’s degree to be in a relevant field, while most would allow a master’s in any business related field. In addition to that, students would be required to submit letters of recommendation, a resume and statement of purpose, with official transcripts.

What can I do with a Doctorate in Project Management?

A Doctorate in Project Management can open up numerous career paths for students who wish to go for top-level positions in this field. Graduates of this program usually find employment in different industries such as information technology, education and finance. Some project managers are self-employed or have their own businesses to develop and run. There are several popular career paths that a PhD degree in Project Management can lead to. Let’s have a look at some of them

Popular Careers with a Doctorate in Project Management

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Potential career options that graduates of a Doctorate in Project Management can go for include:

  • Project Manager in the field of Architecture.
  • Project Manager in the field of Engineering.
  • Project Manager in the field of Marketing.
  • Project Manager in the field of Healthcare.
  • Project Manager in the field of Software Development.

How much money can I make with a Doctorate in Project Management?

The salary outlook with a Doctorate in Project Management would depend largely on the kind of job you get and the field you end up working in. According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Project Management Specialists and Business Operations Specialists made an annual median income of $77,420 in May 2020. The top paying industry for this occupational category was Independent Artists, Writers and Performers, which paid an annual mean wage of $120,000 in 2020. The top paying state for this occupation category was District of Columbia, which paid an annual mean wage of $105,730, followed by Maryland, which paid $99,170 and Virginia, which paid $97,570 in 2020.

Salary potential would also vary in accordance with the industry of employment. For instance, Industrial Production Managers made an annual median income of $108,790 in 2020, whereas Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Managers made an annual median income of $141,490 in 2020.

Certifications and Licenses to Get After a Doctorate in Project Management

Getting a project management professional certification can improve the earning potential of an individual substantially. Students who invested their time and effort in a Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate typically earned $20,000 more than those without a certificate, according to PayScale. Students who want to go for a specialized certificate can choose from the options available through the Project Management Institute (PMI).