Management is a multifaceted discipline, which means that degrees in management can come with a variety of titles and subject concentrations. Here are a few of the names under which management degrees might be offered at colleges and universities:

In general, most master's degrees in management are designed to provide students with a solid business background, touching on aspects such as strategy, finance, personnel and ethics. Many programs are likely to focus on leadership skills, preparing graduates to motivate employees, foster teamwork and train workers to drive success in an organization, while others may focus on the budgeting, planning and decision-making skills needed to manage a project from start to finish.

When picking a management degree program, it's important to closely look at each program's curriculum and focus of study to determine if it lines up with your career and educational goals. In the sections below, you can find a ranking of the top schools that offer online master's degrees in management, details about the typical management program and information about the types of careers that may be available to you once you graduate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Since management programs do not typically require on-campus components such as labs or internships, many programs can be completed entirely online. Some colleges and universities may also offer hybrid study plans, which combine courses in the virtual classroom with traditional in-person instruction.

Taking on a business or management major during your undergraduate work can open a lot of doors to employment, and a master's degree can help with climbing the ranks once you've got your career underway. Not all advanced business careers require a master's degree, but many employers prefer them.
When a program is accredited, you can count on receiving an education that's up to the standards expected by employers and college administrators. Master's degrees in management are mainly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ABCSP) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).


Master's in Management Program Overview

Master's degrees in management are commonly offered through Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Arts (M.A.) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs. Programs have a range of titles, as well, so check into the descriptions of the plans you're considering if you're looking for a master's in management science or a master's in project management. Online options can be found for a range of specialized programs.

There are a variety of key concepts that students can expect to learn in a master's in management program. Here's a list of a few that you can expect to study:

  • Conflict resolution: Students learn how to act as a mediator and consensus-builder to reach agreements with a variety of stakeholders who might not always have the same goals.
  • Communication skills: Effective communication across cultures, genders and language barriers is a key skill of management, especially in international business.
  • Ethics: Today's students understand the importance of maximizing profit a way that's both legal and ethical, and those guidelines are taught using in-depth case studies and discussions.
  • Management skills: The practical side of management must, of course, be learned on the job, but the theory and foundations for management success are studied in management programs.

Earning an Online Master's Degree in Management

How long does an online master's in management program take?

The curriculum required to graduate with an online master's degree can vary quite a bit from one institution to another, but most programs can be completed in two years or less with the right schedule. Some schools offer accelerated plans can trim several months off of your time to completion, including 4+1 bachelor's/master's plans that take just five years total to award both an undergraduate and a graduate degree.

Dual-degree programs may also be available, allowing you to supplement your business management major with graduate-level study in another discipline. These programs typically require additional credits and may take more than two years to complete.

What are the requirements to start an online master's degree in management?

Unless you're a first-time undergraduate enrolling in a program that leads to both a bachelor's and a master's, your admissions office can probably ask for the following materials when you apply:

  • An official copy of your undergraduate transcript
  • Official copies of your scores on any relevant standardized tests (GMAT, GRE, etc.)
  • Your curriculum vitae (CV) or professional resume
  • Letters of recommendation and an application essay

Many programs consider your undergraduate GPA when determining your eligibility, often using a benchmark of 2.5 or 3.0, but your other materials may be able to make up for any setbacks with your GPA.

Why earn a master's in management online?

If you're an entry-level manager who wants to move up, being able to learn organizational design or master project management online can help you meet your goals without taking too much of your time away from work. When an online master's in business or management is offered asynchronously, it doesn't require you meet for classes at any specific time, which allows you to attend lectures and hand in assignments at times that work for you.

Some online degree plans even offer class terms as short as six weeks, giving you the opportunity to potentially cover more ground than you would have in a traditional program.

Degree Timeline

Choose a specialization

Master's degrees in management often introduce you to your chosen specialization during the first year of your program, so it's important to know what you want to study right out of the gate.

Take core courses and electives

Most graduate-level management programs consist of a business core, your specialization requirements and a few elective courses. Electives can help you further dial in your education to suit your career goals.

Thesis/capstone project

At the end of your program, you'll either compose an extensively researched thesis or participate in a more experiential capstone project. A thesis is usually preferred by students planning to continue into a doctoral program, while capstones are common among those headed for the workforce.


You may have access to an internship in the final semesters of your master's program. Internships offered in online programs typically must be attended in person.

Master's in Management Concentrations

  • Project management. Many organizations operate on a project-to-project basis, and managing those projects efficiently and effectively can mean the difference between success and failure. Earning a degree in project management can teach you how to supervise complex, multi-team projects and provide the leadership necessary to unite your staff behind a common goal.
  • Human resources management. The larger a company gets, the more important it is that their human resources department be overseen by a manager with specific expertise in the field. Graduate-level training in human resource management can teach you how to source talent, design training programs and comply with relevant employment laws and regulations.
  • Entrepreneurial studies. If you've always dreamed of starting your own business, earning a master's degree in management with a concentration in entrepreneurial studies can give you the foundation you need to build a strong enterprise. Learn how small businesses can gain advantages in the marketplace and properly manage their resources.
  • Sports and recreation management. This concentration may not be a common choice among people looking to make it big in the business world, but the teams who staff resorts, sports venues, practice facilities, outdoor adventure parks and more need managers who understand their business and know how to run a tight ship.

MBA in Management

The MBA is often held up as a gold standard of educational attainment in the business workforce, and management is a longstanding concentration available in many MBA programs. Earning an MBA provides you with a solid core of business administration classes, often including introductions to concepts like finance and information technology (IT), as well as high-level instruction in the art and science of management, leadership and supervision.

MBA programs are often available online, and they can take anywhere from one to three years to complete. If you're planning on earning a generalized management degree rather than choosing a specific concentration, an MBA might be just what you're looking for.

Career Outlook

What Can You Do with a Master's in Management?

Human resources manager. All businesses are made up of people, so human resources managers are needed in just about every industry. These professionals typically focus on recruiting, hiring, training and retention of staff and the ability to lead, inspire and communicate with others is an essential skill of the profession.

Compensation and benefits manager. These professionals develop and implement compensation and benefits plans, analyzing existing plans for areas of improvement and working with outside vendors to arrange the programs' implementation. Compensation and benefits managers are in charge of communicating pay and benefits to employees, as well as making sure programs stay within a company's budget.

Training and development manager. Training and development managers develop and oversee training programs. They assess a company's training needs, then evaluate and choose educational programs from outside vendors and set the programs in motion within the company. Some training and development managers may develop training materials in-house, in coordination with other members of management.

Information technology manager. IT infrastructure is vital to a well-run business, and information technology managers work to ensure that a company's IT solutions are meeting the needs of its employees. IT managers typically have to stay on top of trends in business technology and application security to keep the company a step ahead of potential threats.

Management analyst. Also called management consultants, these professionals work with management and executives to determine roadblocks to efficiency and find ways to alter processes, procedures or policies to eliminate them. They gather information about the issues to be addressed, conduct on-site observations, develop actionable solutions and monitor their implementation.

Management Salaries by State

Financial Aid for a Master's in Management

If you're not sure whether or not you can afford your master's in management, looking into financial aid should be on your to-do list. Check out this list of options that might work for you:

Source: Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of CollegeXpress, a division of Carnegie Dartlet. Copyright © 2020 by CollegeXpress.

Master's in Management Certifications

Earning a professional certification can further strengthen your employment chances after you finish your master's degree program. Here are the details of a few certifications you might pursue:

Certified Manager (CM)

Provided by the Institute of Certified Professional Managers (ICPM), the standards for this credential are based on a comprehensive analysis of the knowledge, skills and abilities required in the management profession.

Requirements: Applicants earn eligibility based on a point system that allocates specific point totals to certain levels of experience and education.

Exam Format: 100 multiple-choice questions with a 2-hour time limit.

How long does the certification last?: Three years, with a requirement of 45 professional development units (PDUs) per three-year period.

Project Management Professional (PMP)

Earning this credential, offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), serves to demonstrate to employers that you have what it takes to effectively bring projects of all sizes from creation to completion.

Requirements: At least 35 hours of professional project management training, as well as 3 years of project management experience with a bachelor's degree or 5 years without a bachelor's.

Exam Format: 200 multiple-choice questions with a four-hour time limit.

How long does the certification last?: Three years, with a requirement of 60 PDUs per renewal period.

Certified Business Process Professional (CBPP)

The Association of Business Process Management Professionals International (ABPMP) provides this credential, which serves to show that you understand the concepts and techniques of business process management.

Requirements: At least 42 months of business process management experience with a master's degree or 4 years with a bachelor's. Certain other management certifications can shorten the work experience requirement as well.

Exam Format: 130 multiple-choice questions with a 3-hour time limit.

How long does the certification last?: Three years, with a 60-unit continuing education requirement.

CompTIA Project+

Known primarily for its IT certifications, CompTIA also offers a project management credential for management professionals who may or may not work in the IT sphere.

Requirements: There are no formal requirements for this credential, but 12 or more months of project management experience is recommended.

Exam Format: 95 multiple-choice questions with a 90-minute time limit.

How long does the certification last?: Project+ certification is valid for life.

Professional Associations for Master's in Management

A range of career and lifestyle benefits can come with membership in a professional organization. Here's some detail on a select few organizations that might help take your career to the next level.

Individual members of this management organization get subscriptions to members-only publications, preferred pricing on training seminars and access to proprietary online events and webinars.
If you got your master's in management to help you run your own business, joining this organization can connect you with like-minded professionals around the world and provide mentorship opportunities.
Supplementing your healthcare management career with a master's in management is a great way to advance, and the member resources provided by AAHAM can help you stay at the top of your game.
Benefits for human resources (HR) managers who join SHRM include on-call HR advisors, thousands of templates for essential forms and state and local compliance information.