Posted July 26, 2012 by

Defining the Masters in Project Management

Master's in Project ManagementWhen considering a master’s degree in the field of project management, it can be difficult to decide which path is truly right for you. Without doing the proper research, a master’s degree in project management can easily be confused with a master’s degree in human resources or a master’s in business administration. What is the difference between these programs? Which one is better? Let’s find out the truth behind these degree’s and their titles, as well as how they can help you reach your professional goals.

Masters in Project Management

A master’s degree in project management, as the name suggests, is a specialized degree focused on skills necessary for project managers, such as project control. This itself can consist of planning, cost and value management, human and strategic issues and the area of law. The project management field is made up of those who manage projects across all industries and sectors, commonly business and information technology. When choosing your field of study, you should be aware that, although not necessarily poorly regarded, the Master’s in Project Management is a relatively new program. It’s not yet as easily recognizable as a Master’s of Business Administration (or MBA,) though this program can signal to an employer that you have a specific interest in mind and appears to have the promise of taking off in the future.

Asking yourself whether you’d prefer to learn project management, specifically, or whether you’d be open to learning general management and business practices may help you decide between a master’s in that or, instead, business administration.

Masters in Human Resources

When it comes to this, a master’s degree in human resources focuses on aspects of human resource development and management; the degree provides the skills necessary to recruit, manage and assist the people who work for the organization. Human Resources typically exists as its own department within organizations, though positions can exist from assistants to upper management. A master’s degree provides the additional training that is often necessary for management positions within this field. A degree in human resources is very specialized, yet has been well-established.

Over the years, the degree has evolved to meet the constantly fluctuating needs of today’s organizations. Coursework for a Master’s in Human Resources typically focuses on the relationship between people and the workplace, often including some form of organizational structure, employee engagement, training and development, corporate social responsibilities, etc.

Master’s in Business Administration

A master’s degree in business administration has been around since the late 1900s; today, it’s is a globally recognized and broadly applicable business degree. The coursework in a Master’s of Business Administration covers all functional areas of running a business, such as accounting, finance, marketing, ethics, law, human resources, operations management and much more. Because the coursework involved in MBA is so broad, the degree itself is rather flexible and can be used to enter a number of areas of business, such as analytical, administrative and managerial roles, including the realm of project management.

Specializations are often offered to complement the general coursework of a master’s degree in business administration. Specializations or concentrations, can help provide a focus for this program and tailor it to your specific area of interest, such as international business, accounting, even project management or human resources management. Opting for a MBA with a specialization can be a nice way to incorporate both general business-management coursework and coursework practical for a specific industry, into one overall degree program.

Ultimately, choosing which degree path is right for you will lie in determining what your own goals are. The Master’s of Business Administration is a versatile degree that can provide a wider variety of employment opportunities. Diversifying yours skills is often an advantage, but isn’t necessarily required if you have a very specific interest, such as project management.

This article was written by Taylor Sharp. Taylor just received his MBA in 2011 and has found it be incredibly useful in pursuing his career goals, but he does however find himself drawn to the field of project management due to his individual interests and specific way of thinking. He currently works for a Fortune 500 company and contributes to various blogs when his busy schedule permits.

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