If you're a project manager, or want to become one, Australian universities offer online programs to further your career. You can do a bachelor degree in your occupational domain. Postgraduate study options include a graduate certificate, graduate diploma, or master's degree in project management.
Dedicated project management courses are ideal if you have professional experience. They're designed for people ready to lead projects in some capacity. You'll learn how to best define the scope of a project, make plans, allocate resources, monitor progress, communicate with stakeholders, and close out.
If you're going to do something, you might as well do it right. That's the point of studying for a PM degree or postgraduate qualification at university.
Studying project management is a sound way to extend your management capabilities and communication skills. You'll learn principles and practices relevant to any complex project. Students build expertise broadly, strengthening any areas that might be weak. You may also become eligible for professional certifications.
Your university credentials may help you clinch jobs and senior roles that you may have otherwise missed. Becoming more competitive in the job market can easily add hundreds of thousands of dollars to lifetime earnings.
You can major in Project Management as part of an online Bachelor of Business degree. If you're looking for a Bachelor of Project Management specifically, the best information we have is that fully online courses of this type are currently unavailable in Australia.
Few professional project managers actually hold a bachelor degree in the discipline. More commonly, a project manager will hold an undergraduate degree in their domain of expertise. Some examples are finance, engineering and computer science. If a project manager has a degree in project management, most likely it's a master's degree.
Deakin Bachelor of Business (Project Management)
Deakin University offers a Project Management major as part of the business school's Bachelor of Business program. Courses are available in the cloud (online) format. Students learn how to develop project plans, allocate resources, monitor progress, and deliver projects within budget and on schedule. In addition, you'll explore topics such as risk management, stakeholder engagement, and communication. The program includes real-world projects and case studies. Graduates work as project managers in industries such as construction, manufacturing, IT, and consulting.
The main way to study project management at university is to participate in a master's program. Whether you complete the degree is optional. You can go for a graduate certificate (4 subjects), graduate diploma (8 subjects) or a master's degree (12 or more subjects). Online learning allows you to complete 6 subjects per year as a part-time student and full-time working professional.
RMIT Graduate Diploma in Project Management
RMIT offers a fully online PM program that's ideal for busy professionals. You can earn a Graduate Certificate (4 subjects) or Graduate Diploma (8 subjects). Each subject is individually completed part-time from start to finish over 7 weeks. Even while working, you can complete the GradCert in 8 months and the GradDip in 16 months. The general course explores, among other subjects, project management techniques, designing for quality, evaluating and managing risk, information and technology management, and managing teams. Graduates come away with flexible skills that they can immediately apply in any industry.
RMIT Graduate Diploma in Project Management (IT)
Develop specialised skills for a rapidly changing industry as an IT Project Manager. Due to the dynamic nature of the field, IT Project Managers have to navigate changes to project scope brought about by technological advancements, shifting stakeholder expectations, and evolving functionalities. RMIT University's IT specialist pathway will provide you with flexible skills needed to manage complex IT and IS projects. Students develop expertise in agile project management, with the opportunity to plan and execute agile projects in a simulated IT industry setting. You'll also learn how to adapt to current and emerging digital trends in the ICT field.
SCU Master of Project Management
SCU Online offers a 100% online masters degree in project management. Accelerated delivery allows you to study part-time and still gain a masters in around two years, or earlier with advanced standing. Students choose electives in areas such as accounting, engineering, health services, information technology and leadership. The modern course is PMBOK® Guide industry aligned, priced competitively, and ideal for full-time workers. Graduate certificates and diplomas are also available. The University's online learning platform has been designed to provide the optimal study experience for busy professionals.
Coursework in any PM degree includes a mix of business and management subjects, including specialised training in professional strategies, methods, and software. Common subjects include:
- Cost estimation and budgeting
- Leadership and communication
- Performance measurement
- Project planning and scheduling
- Procurement and vendor management
- Quality control
- Resource management
- Risk management
- Stakeholder engagement
Master's degrees usually offer a capstone project as well, which is an opportunity to apply what you've learned in a realistic or real-world setting.
Here are example subject outlines for the master's degree from SCU Online.
This unit covers the basics of Agile, including history, principles, and values. We compare Agile and traditional PM approaches, exploring different frameworks within the Agile umbrella. Students learn how to implement and manage projects, resource and measure Agile, and use Agile in hybrid project management situations. The unit discusses the appropriate situations for employing these practices, benefits and challenges, and the growing use of hybrid forms.
This subject helps students assess their leadership, management, communication, and ethical decision-making skills in the context of managing projects. You'll explore theories and practices behind effective management of projects. Students will analyse contemporary literature to understand the role of leaders and managers in affecting projects and achieving goals. You gain the ability to reflect on and acknowledge the effectiveness of different management styles.
This unit helps students analyse management theories that underlie the success of projects and programs. It covers skills such as negotiating, designing systems, and evaluating PM processes, including integration, portfolio management, systems mapping, flexibility, and adaptability. Students will apply these skills through structured and problem-based scenario learning, converting theory into practical application for managing complex portfolios.
This unit guides students through evaluating a project from selection to planning and development. It covers the first process of the PM lifecycle and helps students build skills in managing budgets, assumptions, and resource constraints against stakeholder needs. Through structured and problem-based scenario learning, students will develop the expertise to create sustainable and agile project plans for various businesses and demands.
This unit covers the basics of managing business projects, including planning, communication, and closure. You'll learn time management, risk management, and procurement. We'll also cover common problems and how to solve them. You'll learn how to work efficiently with project timelines and use pracitiioner tools to improve your employability.
In this course, students learn how to critically understand different types of contracts and their impact on project performance. You will apply PM principles through scenario-based learning to maximise benefits. You'll also develop the ability to evaluate the processes involved in developing, negotiating, and incentivising contracts. Upon completion, students have a thorough understanding of the legal, financial, and technical aspects of project contracts.
This course teaches how to manage projects effectively in agile environments. You'll learn how to create project plans that minimise risk, maintain quality, and establish controls. The course also covers systems design and performance analysis. Through structured scenario-based learning, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of how to implement high-quality projects with minimal risk and strong control.
This course is designed to help you improve your leadership skills within an engineering setting. Students learn about industry processes and apply them to case studies. You will also study various frameworks, strategies, and plans and analyse them in context. Upon completion, you'll have a deeper understanding of stakeholder engagement in an engineering leadership role, which will enhance your employability in the field.
Holding a project management degree looks good on a professional resume and can open up numerous job opportunities. Employers usually value an advanced education. The opportunities aren't just limited to being a "project manager". Here's a non-exhaustive list of prospective roles.
- Account Manager
- Agile IT Project Manager
- Construction Administrator
- General Business Manager
- Healthcare Manager
- IoT Technology Project Manager
- IT Project Management Manager
- Logistics Manager
- Managing Director
- Project Business Analyst
- Project Coordinator
- Project Manager
You can generally qualify for postgraduate courses in project management with either: (a) a bachelor degree of any kind or (b) five years of relevant experience.
To see the minimum entry requirements for a masters program, you can just see what they are for a graduate certificate course. A grad cert is a pathway to a masters, with any completed subjects counting towards the degree. Here are examples admission standards for Australian courses.
To be eligible for this course, you must either have a completed an Australian bachelor degree (or equivalent overseas qualification) or have at least five years of work experience in a related industry. If you have senior-level professional experience of less than 5 years, you may still be considered if you provide a CV and a statement detailing your experience in your application.
English language requirements
Applicants must meet the University's minimum English language requirements. If you're a local student, please refer to the English requirements for postgraduate coursework programs. If you are an international student, please refer to the English requirements and equivalency information. The program requires a minimum overall score of 6.5 with no band below 6.0 in the IELTS (Academic) test.
Information for international students
Fully online courses such as this one do not qualify you for an Australian student visa. To be eligible for a student visa in Australia, you must be enrolled in an on-campus program of study.
Key dates: Intakes are available in Jan, Mar, May, July, Aug, Oct.
Tuition fees are $3,840 per subject (as at 6 January 2023). FEE-HELP loans are available plus a capped Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) based on credit point enrolment load.
To be eligible, you must have either a bachelor's degree in any discipline or more than five years of work experience/professional standing that is considered equivalent to an undergraduate degree by the Academic Board. In either case, you must also be proficient in English.
If you have previous education, qualifications, or work experience, you may be eligible for advanced standing. This can reduce the number of units you need to complete and the time and cost of your degree. Advanced standing is a process that recognises and grants credit for your previous experiences. If you're eligible for advanced standing, it will affect the number of units you need to study to earn your qualification.
Intakes: Jan, Mar, May, July, Aug, Oct
Tuition fees are $2,990 per unit (as at 6 January 2023). FEE-HELP Australian Government loans are available.
Anyone with suitable skills and knowledge can become a project manager. If you work on projects and observe how they're managed, there is potential for you to use this knowledge take on supervision and organisational roles. That could lead to you becoming a manager.
Some project managers have a background in a particular field such as engineering or information technology. Others may come from a more general business or management background. Numerous paths are available.
You may need to have a degree and/or certification to compete for the kinds of jobs you want however. Examples are a Master of Project Management (MPM) degree and PMP certification.
My MPM was a deep dive into project management. It was not industry-specific (e.g. construction or IT) but took a broad view. The MPM gives a deeper understanding of the issues faced in projects and helps me formulate approaches and apply different techniques. – Dave Violette
To be successful, you'll need strong organisational, communication, and problem-solving skills. You should also have a good understanding of PM methods. Handling budgets and resources well is also part of the job.
Talk to any group of project managers and probably each one will have a unique story about how they arrived at their professional role. To do the job, you need a combination of industry experience, a track record of managing teams, and project management skills. You also need to gain the confidence of people commissioning projects.
Whether you're just starting out or are already on your way to potentially become a project manager, here are some options to consider.
- Education: Employers may prefer to hire project managers with a bachelor's or master's degree in a related field, such as business administration, engineering, or computer science.
- Certification: Obtaining a professional certification can demonstrate that you have requisite knowledge and skills.
- Experience: Gaining practical experience can be valuable in securing a project manager position. This can include internships, part-time or freelance work, or volunteering on projects.
- Skills development: Developing strong project management skills, such as communication, leadership, and problem-solving, can make you more competitive in the job market. This can be achieved through coursework, training programs, or on-the-job experience.
- Networking: Building connections within the industry and attending job fairs and industry events can help you learn about job openings and make connections that may lead to job opportunities.
Leverage from a project management degree
Earning a PM degree can help propel your career. It provides a solid foundation in the principles and best practices of the craft. As well, you discover and explore the tools and techniques used in the field.
Degree programs may also offer practical experience to help students develop the skills and knowledge needed for success.
Having a degree behind you can help you stand out in the job market, making your more competitive for desirable jobs.
A degree also provides a path to obtaining professional certifications, such as the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential from the PMI.
Deciding between a Master of Project Management (MPM) and an MBA (Master of Business Administration) depends on your career goals and interests.
There is significant overlap between the two study areas. PM courses are often run by business schools. An MBA can be a variation of an MPM, with many common subjects.
MPM programs focus more on managing projects, covering topics such as project planning, execution, and control. An MBA program is broader, exploring business topics such as business finance, marketing, and leadership.
If you're interested in a career as a project manager specifically, an MPM may be a better fit. You'll train to work on discrete projects with distinct stages, such as planning and development, and closing.
For a more general business career, an MBA may be a better choice. You training will be more corporate focused, studying how to manage parts of an organisation and team performance.
Both an MPM and MBA can be beneficial for career advancement. However, the types of career opportunities they lead to may differ. An MPM may lead to specific project manager roles, while an MBA opens up more general management and leadership roles.
To be a good project manager, you need a high level of industry knowledge and well-rounded skillset. There are many aspects to the job and you can't afford to do any one of them badly.
Managing risk well is one of the keys. You need to identify what they are and take measures to reduce or eliminate them. Since not every risk can be anticipated, you also need to do contingency planning and maintain flexibility.
Soft skills are also important. You're leading a team of people. Getting the best out of them takes more than technically efficient planning.
Good project managers take care of scheduling, production and communication. Great project managers are deeply involved in building team skills and in tactical execution of strategic vision. – Amanda Kelly
Overall, eight important qualities to look for in a good project manager are:
- Risk management skills: Able to identify and mitigate potential risks.
- Time management skills: Manages their own time effectively, as well as the time of the team.
- Strong communication skills: Clearly communicates goals, tasks, and expectations to team members and stakeholders.
- Organisational skills: Keeps track of multiple tasks and responsibilities, and prioritises them effectively.
- Leadership abilities: Motivates and leads a team towards a common goal.
- Adaptability: Adapts to changing circumstances and pivots as needed to ensure success.
- Problem-solving skills: When issues arise, is able to identify the root cause and come up with a solution.
- Attention to detail: Detail-oriented and able to catch mistakes before they become issues.
In Australia, the two main certifications for project managers are the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the Certified Practising Project Director (CPPD) certification offered by the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM).
The PMP certification is a globally recognised credential. To qualify for PMP certification, you need to meet certain education and experience requirements and pass a certification exam.
The CPPD certification is specifically for project directors and senior project managers in Australia. To qualify for the CPPD certification, you need to have a certain level of education and experience and pass an assessment process.
Both the PMP and CPPD certifications are designed to demonstrate your knowledge and skills, and can be beneficial for career advancement and professional development.
To get PMP (Project Management Professional) certified in Australia, you must meet the eligibility requirements set by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and follow the steps outlined by PMI to apply for certification.
To be eligible, you must have a secondary degree (high school diploma, associate's degree, or the global equivalent) and at least five years of project management experience, with 7,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.
Alternatively, you can qualify with a bachelor's degree or the equivalent level of education and at least three years of experience, with 4,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of education.
To apply for PMP certification, you'll need to create an account on the PMI website and complete the online application form. You'll need to provide documentation to verify your education and experience, and you will also need to agree to adhere to the PMI Code of Ethics. Once your application has been approved, you can register to take the PMP examination. The examination is offered at testing centers around the world, including in Australia.
It's worth noting that the PMP certification process can be quite involved and may take some time to complete. It's a good idea to start preparing for certification well in advance, so you have time to gather the necessary documentation and study for the examination.
PMI offers a number of resources to help candidates prepare for the PMP examination, including study materials and review courses. You may also want to consider seeking out a mentor or tutor to help you study and prepare for the exam.