Accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI) in 1983, the Master of Project Management Degree Program at Western Carolina University was the first such master’s degree in the United States at a nationally accredited institution.
The MPM Program was initiated with the active sponsorship, cooperation, and support of the Project Management Institute, the premiere, world-wide, non-profit professional organization for professional project managers.
The program is part of the global management and stategy department within the College of Business. The first students graduated from the program in 1987.
The program was initially taught as a full-time, campus-based degree program. From the very beginning, the MPM Program established an international focus. Cooperative agreements were established with the Hogeschool-West Brabant, The Netherlands; the Euro American Institute (EAI) in Sophia-Antipolis Cedex, France; and with Ecole Superieure des Sciences et Technologies de L’Ingenieur de Nancy (ESSTIN) in Nice-Sophia-Antipolis, France. These agreements provided study grants to highly qualified Dutch and French students to pursue the M.P.M. and M.B.A. degrees at Western.
Over the next six years both the MPM Program and the project management profession grew steadily. There was a growing unmet need for advanced training for project managers with five to ten years of experience who wanted to advance and become professional project managers.
At the same time, the Internet and Web-based technology had reached the level where it looked possible to offer a high quality, rigorous, project management master’s degree program online, one designed specifically for those pursuing a career in project management. After much discussion with individuals across the University, and conducting a survey of 450 project managers from across the state of North Carolina, the University decided to pursue an online approach for delivering the MPM Program. The actual transition to a Web-based program occurred during 1998. The first cohort of MPM students who earned their degrees totally online graduated in August 2000. Students complete a six-credit course in each 15-week trimester. Three trimester courses are completed each year. The M.P.M. degree can be completed in two years of part-time study.