Designed to fit your schedule

Earn your degree in one year from a top 25 university

No GRE required

Designed to fit your schedule

Earn your degree in as little as one year from a top 25 university

No GRE required

Master of Science in Project Management

Master of Science in Project Management

USC Bovard College Choir Icon

The Master of Science in Project Management (MSPM) program is designed to prepare professionals to advance their careers in the field of project management (PM). Our program emphasizes the strategic role that project management plays in the performance of global organizations, providing students with the knowledge and skills needed to be effective leaders.

In addition to learning core PM principles, students will explore the full spectrum of project management concepts and methodologies, including portfolio and program management, technical project delivery, Agile, and change management. Students will also build business relationship skills, including effective communication, negotiation and conflict resolution, to better understand organizational culture. Students will examine essential management processes such as performance, quality, risk, cost, and budget and apply them to real-world projects. By working with and learning from experienced project professionals, the program encourages immediate application of key concepts to address workplace challenges and opportunities.

Finally, students will explore practical topics that are increasingly important to PM, including managing in a global context, ethical and principled leadership, and social responsibility.

Learning Outcomes

Demonstrate and apply proficiencies in project management lifecycle, tools, and techniques.

Model effective organizational leadership, communication, and change skills for managing projects, high-performing teams, executive level sponsors, and stakeholders.

Design high consequence, high reward strategic projects from ideation to analysis through execution.

Prioritize projects and programs through portfolio management methods.

Explore effective project execution, governance, and control processes that result in successful projects.

Establish an individual code of ethics to navigate organizational structure and relationships.


A Master of Science degree in Project Management requires 24 units of coursework offered in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. The program may be completed on a 1- or 2-year track. Students attending the program on the 1-year track can earn the degree within 12 months and those on the 2-year track can complete the program in less than two years.

Our curriculum was designed by acknowledged experts who are at the forefront of the future direction of the field. Our engaging faculty will prepare you to be leaders of the profession and will give you increased confidence in your skills and knowledge that will serve you throughout the rest of your career.

Please note, all of our courses are accepted as PDUs and education contact hours towards your PMP® certification and other Project Management Institute (PMI®) credentials. USC Bovard College has been approved by PMI® as an Authorized Training Partner (ATP) and as such, we have exceeded rigorous standards for quality and effectiveness as defined by PMI.

The Project Management Professional (PMP) is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Principles of Project Management (2 units)

Concepts including delivering project scope within cost, schedule, and resource constraints and the exploration of the traditional or waterfall project management methodology will be explored.

  • Recognize project characteristics within corporate, non-profit, commercial and government organizational structures.
  • Create a project plan by identifying the project scope and building a work breakdown structure.
  • Utilize scope and risk information to develop a project schedule.
  • Assess risks, utilizing quantitative and qualitative measures.
  • Design a project budget by defining and allocating resources, and adhering to the project procurement process.

Requirements Elicitation and Business Analysis (2 units)

Tasks, techniques, and perspectives on how to approach business analysis along with method for developing requirement process tools and techniques and best practices are addressed.

  • Discuss fundamental business analysis concepts.
  • Distinguish between the roles and responsibilities of a business analyst and a project manager.
  • Select appropriate techniques to identify stakeholders and elicit their requirements.
  • Recognize business analysis tasks necessary to complete a business analysis effort.
  • Analyze clear requirements statements, using key modeling techniques.
  • Examine the value of documenting requirements to aid project stakeholders in structuring requirements for use and validating requirements to determine when a project can proceed to design.

Schedule Management (2 units)

This course provides a structured approach to project schedule management, demonstrating how to be proactive and in control of projects by implementing effective schedule management.

  • Discuss key project scope, schedule, and cost interdependencies.
  • Evaluate a deliverable-based work breakdown structure (WBS) and how to convert this into a viable project schedule.
  • Assess early warning indicators of potential risk areas to be able to take the necessary corrective action to keep the project schedule under control.
  • Validate a project schedule and demonstrate schedule compression techniques.
  • Analyze project performance and necessary corrective action.
  • Apply scheduling techniques to accelerate delivery and minimize risk.

Cost Estimation and Forecasting (2 units)

Approaches to project cost estimating costs and the tools and methodologies best suited for estimates and forecasts that need to be prepared will be addressed.

  • Explain general cost estimating terms and concepts.
  • Create cost estimates using formal estimating techniques.
  • Illustrate the use of the independent cost estimate.
  • Indicate work progress in an objective way within and across projects.
  • Analyze the use of Earned Value Management (EVM) in a project.

Risk Management (2 units)

Coursework will enable students to prepare a comprehensive risk management plan and discover different approaches to identify, assess, and quantify risks and their impacts.

  • Identify project risks by using multiple techniques and identification tools.
  • Integrate risk management techniques and results into a balanced project management approach.
  • Prepare a comprehensive risk management plan, utilizing scalable planning methods to prepare for project risks and opportunities.
  • Develop risk response strategies through quantitative and qualitative means.
  • Estimate the impact and timing of risks on a project.
  • Develop mechanisms to monitor and control identified and emerging risks based on risk plan and project execution results.
  • Communicate risks and their response plans to project sponsors and stakeholders.

Agile Project Management Methodologies (2 units)

This course explains agile project management concepts and offers a set of frameworks that covers the people, products, and techniques required to successfully implement projects.

  • Identify ways to improve operational efficiencies, increase visibility and adaptability, and decrease operational and project risk.
  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of agile project management techniques, frameworks, and tools.
  • Manage project and product requirements while focusing on collaboration and continuous improvement.
  • Utilize the best mix of agile, traditional, and hybrid techniques to meet specific project requirements, while recognizing and avoiding pitfalls to improve quality.
  • Differentiate between frameworks such as Scrum, Kanban, Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), and Extreme Programming (XP) to select the most suitable framework for the specific domain and project.

Quality and Process Improvement (2 units)

Course looks at quality and performance improvement projects and methodologies used to implement them with a focus on Six Sigma, Lean, and Total Quality Management.

  • Discuss the interdependence of people, processes, and systems and how this relates to the effective introduction of process changes.
  • Develop a control plan to assure the continued effectiveness of processes.
  • Discover appropriate metrics for analyzing business processes that provide sufficient insights into process effectiveness.
  • Employ industry-standard techniques to perform root cause analysis.
  • Design new processes and optimize existing process designs by using techniques to eliminate waste and maximize business value.

Specialized Project Management (2 units)

Class explores several industries and entities and their developed project management methodologies to meet industry-specific needs through traditional approaches and partnerships in various sectors.

  • Recognize changes and trends that are reshaping project work in the commercial, government, and non-profit environments.
  • Iterate the best practices, benefits, and risks of public-private partnerships.
  • Analyze the complexities associated with managing projects in a multi-organizational context.
  • Evaluate appropriate project procurement and contract delivery methods based on desired project outcomes.

Organizational Change Management and Business Relationships (2 units)

Students learn to cultivate the necessary components for stakeholder management on nearly any change within an organization through change management and business relationship management.

  • Acknowledge the foundational aspects of change management and the critical role managers play in the change process.
  • Assess the impact of change management on organizational results.
  • Recognize what it means to perform as a strategic partner, contributing to business strategy formulation and shaping business demand for the provider’s services.
  • Determine how to project, program, and portfolio management (PPPM) disciplines and techniques maximize realized business value.
  • Evaluate business transition management and the conditions for successful change programs to minimize value leakage.

Program Management (2 units)

This course addresses managing and coordinating multiple organizational projects with a focus on project alignment, organizational goals, performance maximization, risk minimization, and program success.

  • Utilize strategies for the synchronized management of related projects that span roles, organizations, regions, and cultures.
  • Maintain continuous alignment of program scope with strategic objectives.
  • Explore the program life cycle and identify success factors at each step in the process.
  • Describe how to define, realize, measure, and sustain planned program benefits.
  • Differentiate aspects of program governance and compliance within organizational, industry, and legal requirements.
  • Evaluate the relationship between program requirements and overall success criteria.
  • Analyze differences between program and project risks.

Portfolio Management (2 units)

The course provides a structured approach to design, build, and manage a project portfolio, focusing on strategic implementation and operational initiatives to create sustainable value.

  • Examine the benefits of project portfolio management to the organization.
  • Apply selection criteria to project portfolio components to meet the strategic and operational needs of the organization through project prioritization.
  • Assess how project portfolio management contributes to strategic delivery and organizational success.
  • Recognize how to managing resources – such as time, cost, and internal and external staff members across the portfolio – can make the difference between portfolio success and failure.
  • Link organizational strategy, resources, and practices to portfolio performance outcomes.

Project Management Capstone (2 units)

The Capstone allows students to utilize skills gained throughout the program to demonstrate the ability to plan and implement a project from conception to conclusion.

  • Evaluate defined components of the project management life cycle.
  • Analyze project management practices in diverse corporate and cultural contexts.
  • Apply sound principles of project management through real-world project engagement.
  • Make comparative assessments of project needs and effectiveness.
  • Allow students to extend their academic experience into areas of professional interest, working with new ideas, issues, organizations, and individuals.
More Info