What can you do with master's in project management?

Updated 17 November 2022

An ideal way of differentiating yourself in a field of candidates is receiving a high level of qualifications such as a master's degree. This is an important part of demonstrating that you have expert levels of skill in your field and are an excellent candidate for a range of roles. This is especially true in the staunchly competitive field of project management. In this article, we answer, ' What can you do with a master's in project management?', and answer more of the most common questions people ask when considering a Master's in Project Management.

What is a master's in project management?

Before answering, 'What can you do with a master's in project management?', knowing what it's beneficial to learn more about this degree track. A master's in project management is a postgraduate degree that emphasises project management at a range of different scales and includes a significant spectrum of specialisation. For example, some choose a focus on project management in the mechanical and engineering sectors, where others focus on finance. This degree is more about learning the skills and process, and you can then apply it across various industries.

As with most master's degrees, a project management master's degree focuses on adding research to the field rather than learning from the existing base of knowledge. This results as a dissertation, experiment or extended report. Students receive support from their tutors throughout a Master's in Project Management, so they have a better understanding of how they write research proposals and execute research methods. A Master's in Project Management ultimately provides more insight into the details of managing projects and the theory behind management practice.

What can you do with a master's in project management?

Here are some roles a graduate can take with a master's in Project Management:

1. Business teacher

National average salary: £33,947 per year

Primary duties: A business teacher ensures a high standard of classroom discipline whilst delivering prepared lesson plans for their students. Teachers prepare their students for impending exams and protect the welfare of their students in a classroom environment. Business teachers typically work at GCSE level and above, with some finding work as a lecturer for higher education institutions such as universities. They develop and deliver a curriculum based on business knowledge.

2. Project consultant

National average salary: £37,421 per year

Primary duties: A project consultant is a third-party member of staff entering the project and supporting the internal staff in the design and delivery of a project. This involves entering a company, understanding the brief of the project and supporting the organisation in achieving these outcomes by advising project managers on the ideal next steps. Project consultants work for either agencies or freelance, developing a base of clients on their own.

3. Project manager

National average salary: £44,373 per year

Primary duties: A project manager is a member of staff in an organisation responsible for the delivery of a project. They receive a brief from the executive level of the company for the project, with set budgets and time frames for delivery. The project manager then creates a team for the project and works towards producing the best possible outcome for the organisation. This includes managing members of staff, ordering resources and creating workflows that members of staff follow. Project managers also provide reports for executives at the end of the process.

4. Product owner

National average salary: £54,596 per year

Primary duties: A product owner is a member of staff responsible for a single product line that a company provides. This includes supporting the product from the initial brief, creating a team for developing the design of the product and supervising the manufacture of the product. Product managers also focus on maximising the sales of the product, working closely with a marketing team. Product managers deliver reports for company management, conveying the successes of the products clearly.

Is there an academic route forward?

After completing a master's degree in project management, there's potential for continuing academic study. You can pursue this as a PhD. A doctorate is a qualification only the highest levels of academics in a field achieve through completing a thesis. This is a document of up to 90,000 words discussing one key concept in project management at significant levels of detail. Receiving a PhD relies on a major contribution to the field of project management through this unique thesis.

Following the completion of a PhD, someone with an interest in working in education can work as a lecturer. PhD candidates work in universities teaching undergraduate students throughout their work. Upon completing a PhD, candidates can apply for roles as a lecturer or professor at the university of their choice, as they have a lot of knowledge in the area that students benefit from.

Related: PhD vs doctorate: differences and types of doctorate degrees

What industries hire project management graduates?

There's a range of different industries that hire people with a Master's in Project Management, including:

  • IT: Companies hire project managers in the IT industry for major transition periods, such as launching new software or completing a hardware change across the business. Project managers implement strategies that ensure consistent service throughout the period of change.

  • Manufacturing: Manufacturing companies hire project managers to track project timelines and ensuring high levels of output and quality. This involves some specialist knowledge regarding the machinery in question and the processes in use.

  • Construction: Construction companies hire project managers to track budgets and keep within tight deadlines. Project management tasks in construction include hiring contractors and supplying resources for the project.

  • Software development: Software development companies hire project managers to refine briefs and control spending. Project management, in this case, involves taking some burdens away from those creating the software.

  • Health care: Healthcare providers hire project managers to provide high-quality service whilst working within public sector budget requirements. Project managers stay away from the provision of care in these instances, focusing on the business aspect of the projects.

Related: What is project management for construction? (Plus types)

What skills do project management master's graduates have?

Some skills a graduate with a Master's in Project Management have include:


Organisation is a core skill for someone with a project management role in a company. Project management roles entail a lot of different aspects, so a superb level of organisation means that keeping track of changes in these aspects and responding in the right way is relatively simple. Improve organisational skills by trying a range of techniques and seeing which works best for how you think and work.

Related: Productivity tools for effective work and organisation


When working as a project manager, especially freelance, the capacity to adapt is a fundamental part of succeeding in the role. Transitioning between different companies is a unique challenge for a project manager, with movements from industry to industry also a common factor. Adapting effectively means keeping a high standard of work regardless of your work environment. Improve your agility by finding similarities between seemingly opposing roles. This builds more consistency in your work between locations and industries.

Related: Develop your career with adaptability training: a guide

Attention to detail

Attention to detail is someone's capacity for noticing minor nuances amongst a significant amount of information and acting accordingly. Project managers receive a lot of information from employees, such as the production rate on a manufacturing line and the financial situation of the project. Strong attention to detail means that project managers find concerning information and act on it quickly, keeping the project running more effectively. Improve attention to detail by limiting the amount of multitasking you do in the workplace and focusing on one thing at a time.

Related: How to improve your attention to detail


Communicating effectively with every member of staff in a project is ideal for achieving the best outcomes. As members of staff communicate with one another, they develop a better understanding of their tasks and their goals for the day. A project manager doing so, both verbally and in writing, is ideal for conveying important information to key staff members. Improve communication with a focus on sub-skills such as non-verbal communication and active listening in conversations.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌‌ experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌


  • What is a project management degree? (With skills and roles)


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