Top 5 Affordable Online PhD in Project Management

While career options in the field are already plentiful and stable for those in the field with only an undergraduate or master’s degree, having a Ph.D. in Project Management sets candidates apart from the competition. Earning one of the Top 5 Affordable Online Ph.D.’s in Project Management ensures that one enters the field with an impressive combination of advanced knowledge of theory and research and within the field. 

Project managers work in a variety of different fields, as the skills necessary for success are demanded across industries and is only growing. While career options in the field are already plentiful and stable for those in the field with only an undergraduate or master’s degree, having a Ph.D. sets candidates apart from the competition and often increases annual pay. Not only that, but the demands of a doctorate program familiarize students with skills and aspects of the field that non-Ph. D. degrees often lack: students who are dedicated to cultivating new ideas and applying them to current, global issues. 


Doctoral degrees in Project Management are still a relatively fresh offering of universities. Before the emergence of Ph.D. programs dedicated solely to Project Management, students had the option of earning a Ph.D. in Business Administration with a concentration in Project Management. But with the demand for project managers growing at a rapid pace, students now have more options than before to continue engaging with the field from a critical and rigorous standpoint. 

All of the following programs have curricula reliant on online courses to ensure maximum flexibility for students, who are assumed to be and often are already working professionals. However, these online courses are often supplemented with on-campus residencies, which may last four days and occur three times a year. As required of nearly all doctoral programs, students who pursue a Ph.D. in Project Management will also have to complete a dissertation and potential exams. The combination of the professional skills earned through classwork and discussion with the experience one gains by completing a dissertation guarantees that candidates who have a Ph.D. in Project Management are well-equipped for the ever-changing and growing field.


While you’re on your way to earning your Ph.D. or Doctorate within your field, the editors at Online PhD Programs are already practicing doctors of their craft: ranking the best online Ph.D. programs. To be featured on our annual rankings online doctorates must satisfy four coinciding requirements: accreditation, research and scholarship doctorate certification, NSF recognition, and institutional association with peer-reviewed academia. 

Each degree is then ranked using information provided — primarily — through the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. The data collected is scored through a series of weighted categories to represent seven crucial aspects of what makes an online doctorate valuable to future students. Online program quality and presence are joined by industry salaries, student reviews, degree exclusivity, costs, and completion rates to determine the best online doctorates available. For a comprehensive breakdown of how we categorize and source data, please visit our methodology page.


The Ph.D. in Human Capital Management from Bellevue University utilizes extant literature, original research, and advanced field experience of the faculty to prepare its graduates for thriving careers in human capital development programs. The curriculum is focused on current global business practices of fields dedicated to the development of human capital. Courses will cover all aspects of the field from multifaceted and overlapping industries, such as finance, accounting, learning, leadership, and business strategy. Graduates are prepared for careers as higher-up managers in operations, analysis, human resources, and even organizational psychologists. 

The Ph.D. in Human Capital Management is a 58 credit hour program, with courses like Human Capital Development and Productivity, Human Learning and Decision Making, Research in Organizations, and more. An emphasis is placed on the importance of research in the field. Prior to graduation, students complete not only a dissertation but also take comprehensive exams. Applicants to the program must already have a graduate degree and earned at least a 30 GPA from prior graduate institutions. They must also have at least five years of relevant professional experience, but GMAT and GRE scores are not required. 

Format: Online/Residency


Northcentral University’s Ph.D. in Business Administration with a specialization in Project Management prepares students with competitive skills in the principles, concepts, tools, and techniques necessary to succeed in the field. The skills and strategies emphasized in the curriculum are designed for the real-life scenarios in managing multiple projects, whether they be cost estimates, budget management, cost control, risk assessment, and more. The 60 credit degree consists of twenty courses and can take only four years to complete, although many can pace their coursework schedule over seven years. The curriculum is research-based, as there is an emphasis on the importance of methodological rigor and drive around the pursuit of original ideas.

Graduates from the Ph.D.-BA with a specialization in Project Management are equipped with knowledge based on current theories relevant to the field, and the communication skills necessary to appeal to a variety of audiences. Course topics in the specialization include Project Risk Management, Multiple Project Management, and Developing High Performing Teams. Applicants are directly entered into the program if they have a master’s degree in business management or administration, or if they have a master’s degree in a different field but still have an undergraduate in business. 

Format: Online 


The Ph.D. in Business Management from Capella University offers students a Project Management Specialization. The curriculum is centered around cultivating solid research skills through becoming focused business leaders. Graduates may go onto careers as business researchers, consultants, directors of project management, program managers, and more. Students in the program should expect to learn new ways of initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, and closing the project, all through a lens informed by multidisciplinary theories. The skills and advanced knowledge of the field prepare students for successful careers in growing the project management field due to innovative research and practicing ethical strategies in business. 

The 90-credit program is made up of courses covering business, accounting, economics, globalization, business literature, and more. Students will be well-versed in quantitative research techniques and ready to apply these techniques to their own dissertation projects. Work towards the final dissertation project begins early in the program so as to keep the student’s momentum until graduation. All students complete a comprehensive examination prior to graduation. Residencies are required for the Project Management specialization, made up of three four-day sessions on campus. Courses utilize readings, discussions, and other internet activities that are always due on Sundays, although there may not be assignments every week. 

Format: Online/Residency


City University of Seattle’s Doctor of Business Administration is housed within their School of Management and prepares students with skills in organization, business practice, leadership, and critical thinking. The 91-credit program is designed to take approximately three to four years to complete, consisting of online live chats, interactive learning models, and online coursework. There are also one-hour live interaction sessions every other week between professors and classmates. Courses are divided into categories: Business Administration Core, Research Core, Specialized Study Concentration, Dissertation, and Residencies. The Business Admin core covers theories in decision making, organizational culture, technology implementation, and more, while the Research Core focuses on different research methods and advanced topics. The Specialized Study Concentration could be focused on Project Management, as students take four courses in their desired focus area. 

Graduates from the Doctor of Business Administration program from CityU have the ability to analyze and assess the current state of the organization and develop consequent and responsive business strategies for that organization. Their evaluation and designing abilities are informed by theory and research and enable them to contribute important knowledge to the field post-graduation. Dissertations are the start of this contribution, as students review and draw from scholarly research to create their own proposed methodology or research design. 

Format: Online/Residency


Atlantic International University’s Doctor of Project Management is designed to advance the credentials, knowledge, and experience of those already in the professional field. The curriculum will not only build off of their knowledge but extend it into the breadth of the field, including important areas of research and management. The program also allows students to study and research many areas of computer science, giving them a unique amount of interdisciplinary knowledge that makes them especially qualified for greater career opportunities. The program is completed online, and all students have flexibility and autonomy in creating their course of study. These course topics may include Organizational Theory, Project Law, Risk Management, Statistical Analysis, and Ethics. 

Online Ph.D. students can access to over 10 million full-text sources through AIU’s online library. AIU emphasizes that their online curricula are no different than those courses that would be taken online, and students should be prepared for rigorous and self-paced study. All doctoral programs at Atlantic International require that applicants have earned a master’s degree, and have at least five years of relevant professional, field, or life experience. The average student at AIU, however, typically has at least 14 years of experience. 

Format: Online/Residency