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Project Management Bachelor's Degree Guide

project manager pointing to white board
project manager pointing to white board

A bachelor's degree is a great way to start your project management career. It can open the door to project management roles across industries and prepare you to lead teams and deliver outcomes.   Aspiring project managers can choose from three bachelor's degree path options. Any path will allow you to work as a project manager in any industry.

In this Article

Types of Bachelor's Degrees for Project Managers 

Earning a bachelor's degree in project management can give you a strong career foundation. It's a great way to gain in-depth knowledge of the fundamental aspects of project management.

 "At a bachelor-level, project management programs will focus on the core principles of project organization and strategy," says Morgan Martin, the CEO and founder of CoApt Projects, LLC. "You'll walk through the phases of a project, understand their importance to a project's success, and have the opportunity to see how project management could apply to various industries."

At a bachelor-level, project management programs will focus on the core principles of project organization and strategy.

Aspiring project managers can choose from three different bachelor's level degree paths:

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Business Administration

You can become a project manager and gain certification with any of these degrees. You can pursue them once you have a high school diploma, a solid GPA, strong SAT or ACT scores, letters of recommendation, and admissions essays in place. Choosing one path won't limit you to only certain project management roles for the rest of your career. However, your degree path will influence the courses you'll take during your education and can impact the skills and knowledge you'll bring into your project management career.

Degree paths in detail:

Bachelor of Arts in Project Management


Curriculum: You'll take business and project management courses such as communications, team management, project budgeting, project planning, crisis resolution, and risk management. You'll also take broad liberal arts courses in a variety of subjects. 

Time to complete: Four years

Capstone/internship: You'll likely complete a capstone course that will ask you to manage a hypothetical project from start to finish. An optional internship might be offered at some schools.

Who it's best for: Aspiring project managers who want to go into less technical project management industries such as healthcare, marketing, and training and development.

Bachelor of Science in Project Management


Curriculum: You'll take business and project management courses that cover essentials such as project planning, project budgeting, communications, team building, and crisis resolution. You'll also take math, science, and technical courses.

Time to complete: Four years.

Capstone/internship: Many programs end with a capstone course in which students complete a supervised hypothetical or sample project. You might have also have the opportunity to complete an internship.

Who it's best for: Aspiring project managers who want to go into an industry such as software development or information technology.

Bachelor of Business Administration in Project Management


Curriculum: You'll take project management courses such as project fundamentals, project planning, crisis resolution, and team building. You'll also take business classes such as accounting, statistics, economics, marketing, financial analysis, and business law.

Time to complete: Three to four years.

Capstone/internship: A capstone project is often one of the final parts of your degree program and is designed to give you hands-on experience. During your capstone course, you'll manage a simulated project from creation to conclusion under the guidance of program faculty.

Who it's best for: Aspiring project managers who want to go into an industry such as construction or manufacturing.

Typical Concentrations

Project managers can be found in every industry and career field. However, there are some fields where project managers are more common. The structure of these fields often relies on project managers to play a large role in daily operations. Project managers are in high demand in these fields, and it's common for bachelor's degree programs to offer concentrations in them so that graduates are prepared to take on these roles.

The exact offerings will depend on your school. Standard concentrations include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Project Management with a concentration in IT management
  • Bachelor of Science in Project Management with a concentration in construction management
  • Bachelor of Science in Project Management with a concentration in healthcare management
  • Bachelor of Science in Project Management with a concentration in production and procurement

These concentrations are generally also available with Bachelor of Arts in Project Management and Bachelor of Business Administration in Project Management degrees. 

Other Project Management Degree Programs

Project managers who want to jump into their career quickly can look into earning an associate degree in business administration or another related field. There aren't associate degrees available specifically in project management, but you can take on an entry-level project management role once you've earned an associate degree in a related area. If you're looking to advance your project management career, a master's degree is a great option. Master's degrees in project management can allow you to take on very large-scale projects or even concurrently manage multiple projects for different companies.

Earning Certification

There are certifications available for project managers at every educational and career level. There are no state or national certification requirements for project managers, but earning one is a smart career move. And, certifications are often required by employers. Earning your bachelor's degree doesn't automatically qualify you for any major certification, but it will put you on track for certification after you gain some experience.

Are Online Programs Available?

Many programs allow you to earn your entire degree online. This is a great option for aspiring project managers who need flexible school hours or to work at their own pace. Some programs do require you to complete some work-study or capstone courses in person, but there are many 100% online options available.

What to Look For in a School and Program

One of the most important things to look for in any school is accreditation. When it comes to choosing a school for your project management bachelor's degree, there are two types of accreditation to look for. The first is school accreditation. An accredited school is one that has met all quality standards set by an accrediting body and has proven it can deliver a quality education. Plus, school accreditation is vital for two very important things:

  • You can only receive federal student aid if you attend an accredited school. So, if you're planning on filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and using loans or grants to pay for school, your school needs to be accredited.
  • Only credits from accredited schools will transfer to other colleges and universities. So, if you want to switch schools or go back to school later for your master's degree, your credits will need to be earned at an accredited school. 

Secondly, look for program accreditation. The PMI's accrediting agency, the Global Accreditation Center (GAC), ensures global accreditation standards in project management education. That means that programs that are accredited by GAC are programs with courses that are in line with industry standards.

Additionally, attending a program that is accredited by PMI's GAC will count toward the educational hours you'll need if you want to earn the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. The PMP is the project management field's primary certification and is generally considered the most highly regarded. You don't have to go to a PMI-accredited school to earn this certification, but it's the best way to ensure your project management education will meet the education requirements for certification. It can save you from possibly having to take additional courses later in your career.

Salary and Job Outlook

Project management is a well-paying career field. The exact salary you can earn depends on your education level, experience, certification, industry, and location. For instance, project managers in information technology and software development roles tend to earn average higher salaries than project managers in healthcare or construction roles. No matter what, you'll be part of an in-demand field that's expected to see growth in both job opportunities and salaries over the next several years.


Written and reported by:

Stephanie Behring
Contributing Writer

With professional insight from:

Morgan Martin, PMP, MPA, CEBS
CEO and Founder, CoApt Projects, LLC