Affordable online PhD in project management degree programs that are also accredited and reputable can be challenging to find. While some schools offer online doctorate options, few are accredited. We looked at a number of online PhD in project management or closely related degree programs that were accredited and ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. We selected ten schools and ranked them in order of affordability with the goal of offering high quality project management PhD online programs with a strong return on investment.

Project managers work in various fields of business. Project managers also manage different sizes of projects, from small in-house jobs to multi-organization mergers. You might find project managers on construction sites or developing teams that create software for medical organizations. But with much variance, most project managers have a certain level of experience and acumen. To become eligible for a career as a project manager, education is critical. This ranking will help you determine which PhD project management online program best suits your career goals.

Ranking Low Cost Online Project Management PhD Programs

We looked at approximately 20 project management PhD online programs, or closely related degrees, from regionally and nationally accredited colleges and universities. We verified accreditation and determined if the institution had received at least one ranking from a major publication like U.S. News and World Report. We gave value to schools or programs that had received recognition. Then, we gathered in-state graduate tuition/fees from the National Center for Education Statistics (College Navigator) and ranked the top 10 schools according to raw affordability.

The sources we used to determine our list of schools included:

The National Center for Education Statistics – College Navigator, for in-state graduate tuition information.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the United States Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics, for earnings potential and projected job outlook.

U.S. News and World Report for school and/or program rankings.

Sources were used to verify information, compile data, and examine tuition costs. The most affordable online education PhD in program management degrees are listed below:

#10 – Northcentral University

Online PhD in Project Management

San Diego, California

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,781

Northcentral University offers an accredited online PhD in project management program designed to enhance your knowledge and skills in the concepts and tools that improve project performance in any organization. Students earn a PhD in business administration with a specialization in project management. The online project management PhD consists of 60 credit hours and 20 courses, and takes approximately 45 months to complete. Courses are taught by Northcentral faculty and include developing high performing teams in a project management environment, enterprise project management, managerial budgets and project management, and project procurement management. A PhD dissertation is also required. Northcentral is accredited and ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top national university.

#9 – George Fox University

Online DBA in Management

Newberg, Oregon

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,504

George Fox University offers a project management PhD online program type that consists of earning a DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) with a management concentration. All courses are delivered online and include a series of management classes. These management courses include human resources development, organizational theory and behavior, and strategic management. While courses are delivered online, two in-person sessions in Newberg, Oregon are required each year. These on-campus residency sessions allow students to meet in person and connect with their cohort and professors. The online project management PhD program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Also, U.S. News ranks George Fox as the 23rd best regional university in the West and the 17th best value school.

#8 – Capella University

Online PhD in Project Management

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,003

Capella University’s PhD project management online degree program prepares students to lead strategically within business settings. Classes are delivered online and taught by distinguished faculty members who hold top credentials in their field of study. These courses include business principles and practices, ethics and leadership in global environments, management theory creation, and strategic management and practice. A dissertation is also required and must be developed, researched, and defended. Capella is ranked and accredited. In fact, major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank the school as a top national university. Capella offers a cheap online project management PhD program that is specifically designed for working professionals on a budget.

#7 – Walden University

Online DBA in Project Management

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,555

Walden University offers one of the most affordable project management PhD online degree programs on our list. The online DBA has an option to specialize in project management, and the program has been reviewed and earned approval from the Project Management Institute (PMI). Courses are delivered online and taught by Walden professors. These courses include business strategy, contemporary challenges in business, fiscal leadership in a global environment, strategic innovation in globally diverse markets, and systems perspectives in global organizations. The program also requires the completion of a scholarly research writing assignment. Walden has earned accreditation and is ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a best national university. The school offers one of the most affordable online PhD in project management programs on our list.

#6 – Colorado Technical University

Online Doctor of Management – Project Management

Aurora, Colorado

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,439

Colorado Technical University’s online PhD in project management degree program consists of 96 credits and can be completed entirely online. Courses are taught by university professors and include application of action research, leadership theory and development, management and ethics, practice and theory of consulting and intervention, and strategic thinking and organizational alignment. A doctoral research project and dissertation are required for successful completion of the online project management PhD program. The institution is accredited to issue doctorate degrees. Also, major publications like U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as a top regional university in the West, and several online graduate programs have received top 100 and top 50 recognition.

#5 – Grand Canyon University

Online DBA in Management

Phoenix, Arizona

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,612

Grand Canyon University’s project management PhD online degree program consists of a Doctor of Business Administration with an emphasis in management. The program consists of 60 credits, with classes delivered entirely online and in eight-week sessions. Some of the courses include analysis of existing research, contemporary business law, designing organizational structures, emerging issues in financial management, and management theory in a global economy. A dissertation is also required, and the completion process is integrated throughout the program. Students receive frequent feedback and mentoring from faculty throughout the completion of the dissertation. Grand Canyon is an accredited institution. Also, major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank the school as a top national university. The school offers one of the most affordable online PhD in program management degrees on our list.

#4 – Bellevue University

Online PhD in Human Capital Management

Bellevue, Nebraska

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,335

One of the most affordable PhD project management online programs on our list is the human capital management doctorate from Bellevue University. This uniquely designed degree is for students interested in a project management PhD online program and can be completed entirely online. Coursework and assignments provide current human capital models related to leadership, management, and organizational performance within various business organizations. Classes consist of 58 total credits, which also include a PhD dissertation. Some of the classes covered in the program include economics of human capital valuation issues, human learning and decision-making, and research in organizations. Bellevue is an accredited institution, which has also received recognition from major publications like U.S. News and World Report. U.S. News ranks the school as a top regional university in the Midwest.

#3 – Saint Leo University

Online DBA

Saint Leo, Florida

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,630

While Saint Leo University does not offer a project management PhD online degree, students interested in business administration may earn an online DBA and take courses related to project management. Saint Leo’s Donald R. Tapia School of Business is committed to fostering leaders and experts in the field of business. Graduate students gain real-world experiences and a world-class education that includes a broad academic business and management background. Some of the courses you will take include global leadership and ethics, history of applied management theory, management learning seminar, management of financial resources, and strategic management in global organizations. The school offers accreditation and rankings with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school #61 among best regional universities in the South and #23 among best value schools. Saint Leo offers one of the most affordable online project management PhD programs on our list.

#2 – University of Maryland University College

Online Doctor of Management

Adelphi, Maryland

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,514

University of Maryland University College offers one of the cheapest online PhD in project management degree programs on our list. This 48-credit hour program does not accept transfer credit but can be completed entirely online. Courses are taught by experienced professors with real world experience and doctorate degrees. Classes include data analytics in practice, designing evidence-based management solutions, producing original management ideas that influence, and research as a tool for management decision making. All courses must be taken in a particular order of sequence, and students must earn a grade of B or better to be eligible to advance to the next course. The school and its PhD programs are accredited. Also, the university has earned rankings from major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top national university and best value school. University of Maryland offers a cheap online project management PhD degree designed with the working student in mind.

#1 – Liberty University

Online DBA in Project Management

Lynchburg, Virginia

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,430

Liberty University’s PhD project management online degree program is a DBA in business management with a project management emphasis. The 60-credit hour degree can be completed 100% online with courses taught by university professors. Admission is competitive, and applicants must submit proof of an earned MBA or closely related degree from an accredited college or university. Students must also have earned a GPA of 3.00 or above on all graduate work to be considered for admission. Some of the classes students can expect to take while earning their cheap online project management PhD or DBA in project management include advanced business research methods, advanced project management, organizational management and productivity, quantitative research methods, and strategic allocation of financial resources. Liberty is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top national university. Also, several of the school’s online graduate business programs have earned top rankings. Liberty offers the most affordable project management PhD online degree program on our list.

Other schools we looked at in determining our list included:

California Southern University

Online Doctor of Business Administration

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $29,700

Anaheim University

Online Doctor of Business Administration in Management

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $22,125

Creighton University

Online Doctoral Program in Interdisciplinary Leadership

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,424

Franklin University

Online Doctor of Business Administration

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,528

Regent University

Online PhD in Organizational Leadership

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,226

Baker College

Online Doctor of Business Administration

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,150

Colorado State University

Online PhD in Education and Human Resource Studies – Organizational Learning, Performance, and Change

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,716

Hampton University

Online PhD in Business Administration

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,811

Trident University

Online PhD in Business Administration

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,120

 

How to Find a Quality Online PhD in Project Management

Not all online PhD programs are reputable. Some may offer quick completion times, but few are accredited and ranked with major publications. Thankfully, we have conducted research in finding the most affordable online PhD in project management programs that offer regional or national accreditation, rigorous curriculum, and quality. The most important aspect of any online PhD program is accreditation. We will discuss the importance of finding an accredited program later in this article, but employers value accreditation, and earning a degree from a non-accredited program or institution may lead to trouble finding a job.

We reviewed multiple online PhD in program management degree programs from colleges and universities. The most important factor we used to determine if the school and program fit on our list was accreditation. Accreditation is the difference between a quality and non-quality program. As discussed below, accreditation helps determine if a college or university meets, exceeds, or falls below the minimum standards of quality. To achieve accreditation, schools must comply with rigorous standards, develop and implement effectiveness plans, undergo annual reviews regarding financial stability, placement rates, and retention, and undergo site visits by the governing or accrediting body. These campus visits may be announced or unannounced.

Project Management Career Outlook

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not collect data and classify project management as an individual occupation, it does evaluate management positions in fields like construction, computer and information systems, sales, and other subsets of project management. Since we are providing information related to online PhD in project management degree programs and delving into project management careers, we looked at a wide range of management fields to determine the career outlook.

Overall, project managers can expect growth in the field as businesses expand and grow in a thriving economy. The BLS reports employment of construction managers is expected to grow 11 percent through the year 2026, four percent faster on average than for other occupations. Also, sales managers can expect a growth of 7 percent over the next nine years thanks to the growth and contraction in various sales industries. Top executives in a wide range of industries anticipate an eight percent growth in upcoming years.

When looking at the Project Management Institute’s industry reports and surveys, we see that membership has steadily increased over the years, which translates to a growing and thriving industry. With continued growth comes competition for jobs. Individuals who have earned a PhD project management online degree could have greater luck finding a project management position than those with a lesser degree.

The Importance of Finding an Accredited Program

Even when searching for cheap online project management PhD programs, accreditation should be the most important factor–even above price. Thankfully, you can find both an affordable and accredited project management PhD online program. If you are planning to seek employment as a project manager in any field, earning an accredited degree is essential. Employers value accredited schools and programs. A degree earned from a non-accredited institution will raise a red flag with most reputable employers.

So why is accreditation so important? Accrediting agencies authorized by the U.S. Department of Education enforce strict guidelines and standards for curricula. Accreditation is important to employers because it helps them validate the programs of study and determine whether a candidate is qualified for the job. Earning a project management PhD online degree that is accredited will help you navigate the job market much easier and with better results.

What Do Project Managers Earn?

The most common question asked of those considering a project management PhD online degree is How much can I make as a project manager? The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not collect data on project managers, but industry sources suggest that earnings for project managers are contingent on experience, level of education, and organization type. Geographic location may also factor, as project managers working in urban areas generally earn more than project mangers working in rural locations.

We looked at the most recent (2015) Project Management Salary Survey published by the Project Management Institute, reflecting the earning power of project managers. In the United States, the median salary for individuals working in project management professions was $108,200. There is a direct correlation between the numbers of years of experience and earning potential, as project managers with less than three years of experience earned $74,900 annually and those with 15-20 years of experience earned $120,000 annually. Also, entry-level jobs required less education than senior level project management positions. This means that individuals with a higher degree level will earn more starting out than those with a lower level degree.

Industry also plays a factor in the earning potential of project managers. Some fields pay more than others. For example, a project manager in construction might earn less than a project manger in finance or advertising. But no matter the field, education is essential for career advancement as a project manager.

GSH Staff
January 2018

This concludes our ranking of the top 10 most affordable online doctorate in project management degree programs of 2018.