Why an MSPM from USC? A Q&A with our faculty & curriculum developers

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We developed USC Bovard College’s MS in Project Management curriculum in partnership with leaders in the project management field. To ensure our content aligns with industry standards, we interviewed current employers from multiple specializations and industries, many of whom are hiring managers for their organizations. As such, our curriculum not only teaches fundamental and advanced topics in project management, but also addresses gaps that employers noted, such as communication and leadership skills.

How does this program help to prepare leaders in project management?

Our curriculum combines instruction on best practices with practical tools students can use on the job. The program is designed for individuals to work in a team environment and gain leadership experience. The program also teaches project management professionals how to provide useful and insightful updates for senior management, such as providing project status updates related to budget, resources and timing. We use case study examples from multiple industries to illustrate the processes and frameworks defined in the classroom.

What benefit(s) could experienced PM professionals get from this program?

Students in the MSPM program will benefit from class interactions with faculty who are also working as professionals and leaders in the field of project management. Additionally, students can benefit greatly from the diverse perspectives of their peers, who may come from the private or public sector, government, or military. Students will have the opportunity to discuss workplace projects within the context of other topics covered in class. For example, in the Project Management Capstone, PJMT 555, students have the option to apply their course knowledge to a project from work (from start to finish), benefiting from the insight of their faculty and peers.

Does the program address different specializations within project management?

Students will be introduced to specialized and advanced topics within project management, such as risk management and program and portfolio management. Each of our faculty members has demonstrated expertise in the technical areas present in at least one industry and many of our faculty are certified in their respective areas in addition to their university education. By exploring these specializations in their coursework, students might even be inspired to pursue one of these specializations in their career. For example, after taking the Quality and Process Improvement course, students could pursue a Six Sigma certification. Or, after taking the Portfolio Management course, students might wish to pursue the Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP) certification.

Is the program aligned with certain industries?

Our curriculum is not centered on one industry, like construction or IT, to ensure that students graduate with knowledge that is easily transferable throughout their career. The program’s goal is to examine trends across multiple industries that impact the profession. Project practitioners need to be knowledgeable and empowered to address challenges and embed solutions within project delivery.

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