In this online MS in Agile Project Management Virtual Open House, American University Assistant Dean of Online Learning, Stephanie Brookstein, discussed the program outcomes, courses, career opportunities, and more.
The following is a partial transcript of the archived presentation, which can be viewed in full here.
The online MS in Agile Project Management is a 30-credit program, so there are 10 courses that are 3 credits each. Also, since this is a graduate level program, you do need an undergraduate degree in order to pursue this program. This program is exciting for us, because it is specifically geared toward those students interested in agile project management, which is a specific methodology to manage complex projects. It's really important right now in many different industries because it allows a team of people to work together on a project, even though there might be changes developing and different people involved throughout the project lifecycle.
The Advisory Council
To develop this program, we worked with a group of esteemed colleagues that represent different organizations who are agile experts. These people played a critical role in our curriculum in a different ways. When we develop degree programs within our school, it's really important to us that the learners are the focus of the program, and our learners want to succeed in their careers and go to that next level. The people on this advisory council are those who would typically be supervisors of a mid-level career manager using agile.
When we got our experts together, we asked them what they wanted skills they wanted to see in their employees. This group of people has a lot of experience with agile; a some have written books on agile project management, some are Scrum masters, as well as different project managers who have a lot of experience both working with agile in different industries, and also managing agility teams.
When we met with the advisory council, we developed a set of program outcomes that were representative of the field, and again, that got at what our learners need to know in order to be successful agile project managers. These program outcomes included developing a project management lifecycle for enterprises, programs and projects relevant to risk and volatility, and engaging multiple stakeholders across the enterprise.
Students will be able to execute adaptive project management, including planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing using a blend of methodologies and integrated approaches.
These courses will also allow learners to assess and create their strategic planning and governance applicable to larger and smaller projects and programs, and students should also be able to demonstrate a strong working knowledge and practice of ethics and professional responsibility as a result of completing the program. We also have a set of courses that will allow graduates to demonstrate effective leadership communication and change skills for managing projects, project teams, and stakeholders.
The capstone is really going to be an opportunity for students to work with an organization that they're already at, or an organization that they aspire to be employed by to demonstrate the skills they've learned throughout the courses.
One thing that we pride ourselves on as the School of Professional and Extended Studies is that all of the courses, from the introductory course all the way through the capstone, are applicable. All of these courses are very hands on. They require students to not only learn new concepts and skills, but apply them. So every course is project based, where students will be completing a project to demonstrate certain outcomes that are specific to each of these courses.
For people who are either in an IT career or will be switching over to an IT career that's going to use agile project management, these are some different types of jobs that we've found are available that will really benefit from having this degree.
- Computer and Information Systems Manager
Average Salary: $135,000
- Marketing Managers
Average Salary: $127,000
- IT Senior Project Manager
Average Salary: $110,000
- Software Developer, IT Project Manager, and Senior Business Analyst
Average Salary Range: $80,000 to $100,000.
These are middle to upper management level positions that are imperative in a lot of different industries, and our advisory council really spoke to this type of audience when we were talking about the degree and who needed these programs and these courses.
Why American University?
One thing that we pride ourselves on at American University is the ability for our graduate students to find a job once they complete the degree program. 92 percent of our students with graduate degrees find jobs or go on to another degree program within six months of graduation. We keep our students’ success at the center and the core of everything that we do.
The Online Learning Experience
This program is completely online. It's offered in an asynchronous format, which is really great for students looking for a flexible schedule. We do focus on a social learning component within all of our courses, where we encourage the students and the instructors to share their experiences, and think about how they can apply those best practices that they're learning to their careers. We have a lot of interactive discussion forums and collaborative work spaces where students are working with each other. Even though this is online and students might be in different countries, it's a really great space to brainstorm and share.
We use a lot of different tools, including tools with learning management system where the course is housed, as well as outside tools, including social media tools and different types of software, depending on the course that we're using. Each of the courses is project-based, so the idea behind each of these projects is that when students complete the degree program, they're going to come out with this toolbox of projects where they implemented everything that they learned, and it's not just for the course. It's for them as professionals. They're going to be able to build their portfolio and showcase their projects for prospective employers, or maybe even their current employer.
From the Q&A
Sandhya Choksi: Do I need experience in project management to participate in the program?
Stephanie Brookstein: That's a great question. If you have experience in project management, that's definitely going to help, but it's not required. What is important in this graduate program is that you do have a few years of experience in a professional environment, because we want to make sure that these courses are applicable to your career.
Sandhya Choksi: How is this program different from other project management programs out there?
Stephanie Brookstein: The biggest difference with this degree program versus a general project management degree program is its focus on agile. Agile is a very specific methodology that's used commonly in the IT industry, as well as other industries, to manage changing projects that have different moving targets. Our focus is specifically on that in this program is methodology that is applicable to various fields. Another unique factor about this program as well as our other graduate programs, is the collaborative nature of those professional courses and those electives, and the fact that students will get to interact with people from different industries who might be working on a different degree program, but are at the same level and at the same mindset that these students are.
To learn more about American University’s online MS in Agile Project Management program, contact an admissions advisor at 855.725.7614 or request more information.