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Project Management at WGU

Are You Looking to Get a Project Management Degree?

Although WGU doesn’t currently offer a degree in project management, students who are looking to pursue a project management career can get the education and skills they need from other degrees at WGU. A Master of Business Administration or Master of Science in Management and Leadership are similar to other project management programs and can prepare you for senior-level or more advanced project management positions or certifications. If you’re curious about entering or advancing in the world of project management, you can learn more about your degree options below.

Pathways to a Project Management Career

Project managers often have an undergraduate degree in management, and some have a master's degree. Internships, on-the-job training, or experience in other areas of business management are also helpful.

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), about 46% of project managers hold a master’s degree and 43% hold a bachelor’s.

While a bachelor’s degree can certainly help you get your foot in the door for entry-level project management positions, many employers will require a master’s degree, like a Master of Business Administration or Master of Science in Management and Leadership, as the minimum qualification for senior-level jobs. 

Both programs have their benefits, and weighing these benefits is important when choosing a program.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

One of the perks of an MBA is its versatility. It’s designed to give students a big picture understanding of how a business functions while teaching basic management skills that can be useful in a multitude of industries or fields. This program includes courses in management, accounting, finance, marketing, organizational behavior, and business ethics.  

While an MBA helps students build technical, managerial, and leadership skills, it can also develop skills that employers may consider important for project managers, such as:

  • Managing organizations and people
  • Communication
  • Operations management
  • Ethical leadership
  • Financial management
  • Decision-making
  • Risk management 
  • Problem-solving
  • Collaboration 

The skills learned in an MBA program, like the ones listed above, are especially relevant to project managers as they play a major role in guiding project success and increasing organizational efficiencies.

Master of Science in Management and Leadership (MSML)

In this degree program, you'll develop the comprehensive managerial and leadership skills needed to drive large-scale projects, solve complex business problems, and guide high-performance teams—the qualifications many employers are looking for in a project manager. 


Compared to an MBA, an MSML dives deeper into management, helping students to develop strong leadership skills and problem-solving strategies. Much of the knowledge gained in an MSML program can be applied to the role of a project manager, including:


  • Decision-making 
  • Planning
  • Information management 
  • Managing organizations
  • Strategic management 
  • Managing human capital
  • Management communication
  • Guiding and leading teams


Bachelor of Science in Online Supply Chain and Operations Management

Our supply chain and operations management degree program focuses on the core functions of supply chain management, including planning, sourcing, manufacturing, delivering, and returning goods and services. It also goes above and beyond, teaching students to analyze data, manage finances, think strategically, and lead teams. Graduates of this program will be equipped to help businesses run more efficiently and effectively, reducing waste, cost, and risk while improving customer satisfaction and profitability.

By earning this degree, students will become highly qualified candidates for various supply chain management, logistics, and operations careers, making them valuable assets to any company. Whether students are starting their careers or looking to take their skills to the next level, WGU's supply chain and operations management degree program can help get them there.

Some of the courses in this degree program include:

  • Transportation, Logistics, and Distribution
  • Global Supply Chain Management
  • Finance Skills for Managers
  • Principles of Economics
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Business Ethics


is the average annual salary for a bachelor's-level project manager.


is the average annual salary for a master's-level project manager.

Project Manager Career Path

The project manager career path can open doors to jobs in a variety of industries, like technology, healthcare, government, and more. But to truly succeed in this role requires more than simply knowing how to manage abstract tasks and projects. You’ll also need strong leadership and management skills to successfully rally a team around common goals. 

Earning an undergraduate degree in management is generally the place to start on the path to becoming a project manager. This degree will give you an educational foundation to build on and skills that directly relate to a project management position.

Project managers who are interested in taking their careers to the next level can pursue higher education, like a Master of Business Administration or Master of Science in Management and Leadership. These advanced degrees can help you gain a deeper understanding of project management principles and practices, and provide a stronger competitive advantage when applying for jobs.

Once you’ve become an established project manager, you may want to seek out higher-level positions along the project management career path, such as a senior or executive project manager or COO.

What does a project manager do?

Project managers make sure projects are completed on time, on budget, and within scope. They have their hands in every part of the project lifecycle—from creating a timeline and budget to managing risks and communicating with all parties involved throughout the process.

How can I become a project manager?

Education, internships, on-the-job training, certifications, or experience in other areas of business management can get you there. As with any job, some of the requirements for this position will depend on the employer. For more senior-level positions, companies might require a person with certain certifications or a master’s degree to be considered.

Do I need a degree to become a project manager?

No, but it’s worth considering if you’re really serious about stepping up your project management skills and want to be more marketable to potential employers.

Are project managers in demand?

As demand for project-based work grows, the PMI predicts that employers will need to fill 2.2 million new project-oriented roles each year through 2027.

How much money do project managers make?

According to the PMI, a bachelor’s-level project manager can expect to earn an average salary of $111,000 while those with a master’s degree typically earn around $119,000. Of these, professionals in the top 25% average $140,000 per year.

Is project management fulfilling?

While there’s currently no research to provide insight on project manager job satisfaction, project management can be a highly rewarding career full of opportunity and potential for growth. Project managers can, however, work in high pressure situations. So, without a doubt, this position requires the ability to handle stress. 

1.5 Million

project management jobs are expected to open up due to a global shortage of qualified project managers.

How Else Can I Prepare to Be a Project Manager?

For anyone considering this career path, here’s the good news: there are multiple ways to prepare for or gain additional expertise in project management that don’t require a project management degree. 

Earning project management certifications is definitely something to consider if you want to hone your knowledge and skills. Not only can certifications give you higher earning power, but they can also make you more marketable to future employers.

One of the most well known is the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, which is given by the Project Management Institute (PMI). Recognized by organizations worldwide, the PMP validates your competence to perform in the role of a project manager, as well as your ability to lead and direct projects and teams. An advanced degree isn’t necessary to qualify to sit for the PMP, but an MBA or MSML can certainly prepare you for it.

To apply to take the exam and earn your certification, you’ll need: 

  • A four-year degree
  • 36 months leading projects
  • 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM Certification


  • A high school diploma or associate degree
  • 60 months leading projects
  • 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM Certification  

While the PMP certification isn’t geared toward beginners, it’s definitely one to consider as you build out your project management portfolio. 

If you don’t meet the requirements to take the PMP exam, you can try going for a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification. This is an option for people with less project management experience who want to pursue a PM career down the road.

In addition to the PMP, there are also PMI certifications, which are designed to be more specific to the kind of project management you want to pursue. Below are some of the most common PMI certifications:

PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) - A PMI-ACP can help you become well versed in agile practices of project management and teach you how to use appropriate tools and techniques efficiently. 

PMI Risk Management (PMI-RMP) - The PMI-RMP recognizes individuals who plan and manage project risk strategy and processes, monitor and report on risk, and analyze special issues. 

PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP) - Some projects are so complex they require a person who focuses solely on creating and maintaining the schedule, ensuring resources are available. That's where a  PMI-SP may be a good fit.

PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-BA) - A PMI-BA focuses on the contributing factors to project failure and teaches the tools to ensure more accurate requirement definitions for all project stakeholders. 

Many project management certifications—like the PMP and PMI—expire after a few years. This means you’ll need to retake the exam every few years to show you’re still up-to-date with project management best practices and standards.

Why Choose WGU?

Why should you choose a WGU accounting or business management degree over a finance degree somewhere else? There are several reasons a WGU degree is a great fit for students.

  • Low, flat-rate tuition means that you're charged the same amount per six-month term, regardless of how many classes you take. 
  • Competency-based education means you can use your knowledge to your advantage, accelerating your program and graduating faster. Graduating faster also saves you money. 
  • We offer scholarships and financial aid to help with our already affordable tuition, making college education accessible for even more students.
  • The coursework in our business programs is career-focused, meaning the skills you learn are meaningful and will translate directly to your work post graduation. But you don't have to take our word for it.

Prepared for Success on the Job

*From a 2022 Harris Poll of 300 employers of WGU graduates.

97% of employers said that WGU graduates were prepared for their jobs.*

95% of employers said that they would hire another WGU grad.*

99% of employers said WGU graduates met or exceeded expectations.*

Which Degree Should You Choose?

Both an MBA and M.S. in Management & Leadership at WGU can prepare you for a future career in project management. Choosing either degree is a great alternative to a project management degree program and can make sure you have training and credentials that will help you succeed.

Master of Business Administration

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management,...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management, strategy, and leading teams:

  • Time: Graduates can finish in 12 months.
  • Tuition: $4,755 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 11 total courses in this program.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President and CEO
  • Vice president
  • Executive director
  • Chief strategic officer

Our competency-based model gives you an innovative learning experience you won't find anywhere else—and our MBA grads tell us they loved accelerating their program to see a faster ROI.

Management and Leadership – M.S.

An online master's degree focused on change management, innovation, and...

An online master's degree focused on change management, innovation, and leading teams:

  • Time: 70% of graduates can finish in 20 months.
  • Tuition: $4,755 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 10 total courses in this program

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President
  • Vice president
  • Director of operations
  • Executive director

Develop a comprehensive suite of leadership skills and your confidence to navigate changing business structures.