Online PhD in Project Management

In order to be a successful Online PhD Project Management candidate, prospective students must have a sound understanding of business principles and practice. The successful candidate will be ambitious, hard working and able to perform well under the pressures that will inevitably be a part of this very demanding industry. Most Online Project Management PhD candidates already have a master’s degree in either Business Administration, Master of Business Administration in Project Management, Master of Science: Project Management, Master of Science in Management with an emphasis in Project Management or Master of Business in Applied Computer Science. Completing an online doctorate in Project Management will typically take three to four years. At the end of the program, most will require a dissertation and doctoral paper or journal publication that contributes to improving specific aspects of the industry. Throughout the program, students should prepare to produce several original writings during an academic year while also conducting research for their final dissertation. Upon completion, online Project Management PhD holders may work as administrators charged with the reporting, tracking, budgeting and other administrative components of a project, as specialists in specific industries or project management models, or as technologists responsible for the design and implementation of a particular technology throughout a project.

About Online PhD in Project Management Programs in Project Management

Online PhD programs in Project Management are designed to explore the research and development of principles, concepts, tools and techniques to improve project performance and organizational effectiveness. Students must develop ways to improve all aspects of managing and overseeing business projects, including cost estimates, budget management, cost control, risk assessment, bid negotiation and contracts. Another import aspect is to learn to improve performance reporting, which is critical to the success of any enterprise. Students will learn by developing theories to improve research, management, leadership and team building and how to apply them in today’s project management work place. Below, is a list of courses offered at Northcentral University that will be similar to what can be expected with other online programs.

Year One:

  • Project Procurement Management. In this course, students will examine strategies and materials necessary for the project team to perform their mission. This final assessment will incorporate contract management and the change control processes required to administer contracts or purchase orders.
  • Project Risk Management. This doctoral course examines project risk management planning strategies. Learners will identify, analyze, and suggest responses to processes regarding monitoring and control.
  • Project Monitoring and Control. In this course the doctoral Learner will explore the components of project monitoring and control measures to identify variances from the project plan. Corrective actions will be formulated in a final assessment project.

Year Two:

  • Multiple Project Management. In this course, students will utilize multi-project management tools, techniques and methods needed to successfully manage allocated resources across various projects.
  • Quantitative Methods. This course offers the learner skills essential for the interpretation and application of psychometrics, sampling techniques, and data analyses appropriate for project management professionals.
  • Managerial Budgets and Project Management. This course presents the Earned Value technique which has been around for decades. It is discussed in this course as an effective technique to manage a project’s earned value and it is the accurate measurement of the authorized work physically accomplished plus management's budget for the completed work.

Year Three:

  • Qualitative Methods. The purpose of this course is to provide the learner with skills essential for the interpretation and application of qualitative research, data collection and data analyses appropriate for qualitative inquiry.
  • Research Methods and Designs. This course examines the formal research process carefully, with an emphasis on practical applications and skill development. Critical concepts and principles intrinsic to research paradigms, study designs, and methods of inquiry are presented to help formulate and respond to research questions.
  • Advanced Business and Statistics. Doctoral Learners in this advanced course will address statistical techniques that may be useful for analyzing quantitative data needed in a dissertation.

Year Four:

  • Research Topic, Problem, Purpose and Questions. This course is designed to assist the student in identifying and developing a research topic, defining a research problem, describing the purpose of the research study, and establishing associated research question for the final thesis.
  • Developing High Performing Teams in a Project Management Environment. This course focuses on developing high performing teams to mitigate people problems in the project management environment.
  • Doctoral Thesis. The final year of an online project management program will predominately focus on developing and completing the student’s doctoral thesis.

While the topic of dissertation is practically wide open and to be determined by the student and his or her advisor, the University of California Los Angeles’ Anderson School of Management has database of doctoral thesis that can give any management student a basis of ideas for a doctoral thesis. For example, UCLA Ph.D holder Leiv Bjorn Aasen penned a doctoral thesis entitled "A New Approach to Project Management Models."

Value and Criticisms of a PhD in Project Managment

Like most online programs, the biggest value in pursuing an online Ph.D in Project Management is that it allows students the ability to continue to pursue their careers while furthering their education. It also allows current working professionals the ability to become educators in a rapidly growing field where more and more project management professionals are needed. It allows the student to complete the program more quickly when compared to a traditional program. A traditional program can take six to eight years as opposed to the three or four it will take to complete an online program. Disadvantages to pursuing a doctorate in Project Management online are that very few programs currently available. Also, as the field continues to grow, specialty fields within project management continue to pop up, which are not available online at this time. In fact, prospective students may be better off seeking more specific doctoral studies in a specific industry such as information technology, construction or financial management. Those considering either an online or traditional project management doctoral program may also want to consider the fact that in many cases it may be more valuable to gain actual experience in the field in order to advance rather than through education.

Application&Admission Requirements

When applying for an online doctorate in Project Management, all applicants will need to send in a completed application, a current resume, all undergraduate and graduate transcripts, any applicable test scores (including the GMAT), and, in most cases, a personal mission statement or essay. The mission statement, or essay depending on the program, outlines the applicant’s professional goals and any applicable research, work, or academic experience that applies to the program. Schools will use the mission statement or essay to determine an applicant’s strengths and interest in the program. Most applicants enter Project Management doctoral programs with master’s degree in Project Management or from other more specific areas of project management such as business administration, construction or information technology. Many will enter the field with extensive work experience in project management as well.

Career Options&Job Market

Graduates with an online doctorate in Project Management will find that there is a diverse career field waiting in several different industries. In short, regardless of what industry they may work in, project managers oversee all elements of a project. They lead and motivate a team of workers and coordinate efforts in order to make sure work flows steadily throughout a specific project in spite of setbacks and changing circumstances. The direction they provide often determines the project’s success. According to a 2006 survey commissioned by the Project Management institute, full-time project managers in the United States earned a median annual income of more than $96,000, including salary and bonuses. There are many different specialty areas that can be performed with an online PhD in Project management such as Construction Project Management, Retail Project Management and Information Technology Project Management. Construction managers direct and budget various projects including all types of residential, commercial, and industrial structures, roads, bridges, wastewater treatment plants, and schools and hospitals. Retail or purchasing managers are responsible for the purchase of a vast array of goods and services, while trying to get the lowest possible cost for their companies. Information technology project mangers implement and provide administration of technology within their organizations by planning, coordinating and directing research on all technology related activities of their companies. The doctorate also provides graduates the ability to teach at the college or university.

Where to Find Information

How to Get Funding

The online Project Management doctorate program offered by Capella University costs $4,485 per quarter for course based learning. One important step to consider when applying to any doctoral program, apply for Federal Student Aide through the <a href="">FAFSA website</a>. FAFSA can help provide low-interest loans and grants that can be a tremendous help when trying to pay for a doctoral studies. Prospective students can also look into the following scholarship opportunities as well.

  • U.S. Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship. Offered by Cappella University, students are eligible for this one year full scholarship because Capella is one of the select institutions to earn the Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAEIAE) designation from the National Security Agency (NSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Current master's and doctoral learners, and undergraduate learners who have earned at least 90 credits. Applicants must be enrolled in a program related to computer and network security.
  • Robert C. Ford Scholarship. Named after former Capella University dean, the Robert C. Ford Scholarship is offered four times a year to any Capella student who demonstrates academic and professional objectives reflective of Dr. Ford's mission to help people help themselves.
  • David Palmer Military Scholarship. This scholarship is offered through Walden University to enrolled doctoral students who have been on active duty with a branch of the U.S. armed forces for at least a year.

Essential Advice

  • Weigh your options and do the research. You'll need to know for sure whether an additional degree will increase your earning potential more than a bachelor's or master's degree in a similar field would.
  • Try to obtain a scholarship, fellowship or grant. Studying at a PhD level is costly, and you may not be able to predict how many years it will take you to complete it.
  • Be prepared for competition when entering any management position in business. While careers in general business continue to expand in the United States, executive and top level management positions are actually shrinking. This means that a graduate may have to enter the work force at a lower position and prove themselves first.
  • Talk to current PhD candidates and graduates about course load, time management, what admission materials they submitted, and so on. This is the best way to learn if the program is right for you.