Project Management Degrees, Courses, and Certifications

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Understand the importance of a project management degrees, certifications, and experience when looking to build a career as a Project Manager with this guide from Coursera.

[Featured Image]:  A candidate for a project management degree works on coursework.

A project management degree can help to fulfill the educational requirements needed to obtain job roles in the project management world. But there are plenty of project managers with little or no formal education who pursued project management certifications or were able to land a job through relevant experience.

Project management is a popular career choice for those seeking a job that is rewarding, challenging, and full of opportunities. To really shine as a project manager, you'll need leadership abilities and expert-level knowledge in your industry—but you can get there by working your way up. You don't need a degree or master's degree in project management to break into a career in project management. Having said that, a project management degree is an indication that you have the technical knowledge to lead projects and businesses and can put you on the fast track to managing complex projects.

Project Management Degrees

A project management degree will prepare you for a career in one of the UK's fastest-growing and most exciting sectors, with the growth of project management jobs in all industries. You will also develop key employability skills such as communication, leadership, and problem-solving alongside studying project management techniques and software. 

Employers in many different industries including IT, engineering, manufacturing, constructio,n and nuclear are interested in graduates from project management courses, as they will have developed the knowledge and skills for a career in project management.

There are still relatively few full project management degrees offered by UK universities. Most of the degree options are a combined course, such as Business and Project Management, Construction Project Management, and Civil Engineering and Project Management. Degrees in marketing, finance, and a host of other business disciplines, often have modules in project management too. 

Modules in a project management degree

Here are some of the modules you might expect to study in a project management degree:

  • Foundations of Project Management

  • Planning and Control of Projects

  • Managing Stakeholders

  • Project Team Performance Management

  • Project Methodologies

  • Ensuring Project Quality

  • Project Leadership Skills

  • Governance and Risk Management

MSc in project management

An MSc in project management from a good university is a globally recognised postgraduate qualification that can help you achieve a world-class education. It will provide you with access to the knowledge and skills to lead large and complex projects on time, within budget, and to the highest standards of quality.

In a project management MSc, you will cover much of the same material as in a project management degree, with additional depth and strategic emphasis : 

  • Managerial Reporting

  • Corporate Governance and Sustainability

  • Financial Analysis and Strategic Decision Making

  • Leading and Managing Project Teams

  • Marketing Strategy

  • Project Management Techniques and Tools

You'll develop consultancy skills for collaboration with industry experts, and acquire a detailed understanding of project management office processes. With the support of expert tutors who come from different industries, you'll examine real-world case studies to link theory with practice, resulting in high-quality learning that will set you up for success from day one on the job. To qualify for postgraduate courses in project management you normally need a business-related graduate degree.

Placements when studying project management degrees

As a student on a project management degree programme, you may be able to take up a placement in the industry. This additional opportunity gives you the chance to put theory into practice and help you earn practical experience for your CV.

How can you become a project manager without a degree?

If you’re looking to become a project manager without a degree, there are a few approaches you can take. 

Work your way up 

Project management is a fast-growing career field that's always in need of new talent. To become a project manager, it's important to gain experience and certification. By working your way up within a company, you can learn how projects are initiated, planned, executed, and closed. Many budding project managers get their start in more junior positions on a team, where they can develop their skills and demonstrate them to their superiors.

Get skills through certifications

Project manager certifications like the Google Project Management Professional Certificate and CAPM are designed to help you gain experience in project management and earn a professional-level certification at the same time.

Build your skills

Project managers have to have the skills to get a complex job done. These include motivating others and communicating issues; controlling projects, especially over those inevitable unexpected developments (the "scope creep" that comes with most projects); communicating progress and issues; negotiating scope changes, and team leadership.

Whether you learn the knowledge and skills in a project management degree, or through getting certified in Prince2, Agile, Scrum, and so on, or both, you need to be committed to your learning and education. 

Certifications are key in project management

Industry certification can help you become a project manager. Certifications give you recognition, improve your job prospects, and prove your proficiency to employers. 

You can get the added credential you need to further your career with certifications from PRINCE2, the Association of Project Managers (APM) or broaden your opportunities through Project Management Institute (PMI) certifications.

Let’s take a look at the main project management qualifications in the UK.

Here are some of the certifications you may want to consider:


PRINCE2 is an internationally recognised project management methodology, available through two levels of certification: Foundation, and Practitioner. PRINCE2 offers those who use it a proven framework for delivering successful projects in the real world.

PRINCE2 Foundation

Designed to provide a solid understanding of the fundamentals required to assess, plan and manage a project, this foundation level certification introduces the key processes and terminology used within PRINCE2. In addition, it will enable you to adopt the right mindset and gain experience when it comes to project management. 

PRINCE2 Foundation is a course that prepares you for the Practitioner course. 

PRINCE2 Practitioner

The PRINCE2 Practitioner is the UK’s leading Project management qualification and is designed to provide you with a proven approach to project management, whether you are new to the field or have years of experience.


The PMP certification is widely considered to be one of the top-tier designations in the project management industry. The exam blueprint covers valuable insights on how to effectively lead, direct, and manage a project within a business environment. 

Project managers who earn this certification are not just certified but are also formally endorsed by PMI (Project Management Institute) as qualified to work on larger projects within their organisation.


The two levels of Agile training include the "Agile Foundation" and the "Agile Practitioner" certifications.

Agile Foundation

The Agile Foundation course will provide you with the tools and knowledge needed to understand the history of Agile, the roles and responsibilities of each individual involved in a project, the concepts of Project Management, Risk Management, and the Planning and Control of Quality. It is necessary in order to be eligible to embark on the Agile Practitioner course.

Agile Practitioner

The Agile Practitioner course further expands on the Agile Framework discussed in the Foundation course. After taking this course you will be able to apply Agile in your own projects with a thorough understanding of context, techniques, and objectives.


The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) provides essential learning for anyone who is looking to succeed in their project management career. It enables you to learn the fundamentals of project management and the project lifecycle, as well as identify the crucial skill set required to manage projects effectively. Achieving this certification will provide you with the edge and set you on your way to success.


Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of best practices for IT service management (ITSM) detailed by the United Kingdom government. ITIL is designed to assist with implementation by providing step-by-step guidelines and recommendations for various IT processes, including service strategy, service design, service transition, service operation, and continual improvement.

Getting started in project management

Project management professionals are expected to be proficient in various project management approaches and methodologies. If you’re interested in project management, take a course on the fundamentals of project management. Once you have the basics covered, you can move on to more advanced project management skills.

The Google Project Management: Professional Certificate curriculum covers learning on all of the key areas of project management, from defining a project’s objectives to the different approaches and methodologies that project managers use in their work. It may be a good place for you to start to get a grounding in what it takes to be a project manager.

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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.