Master of Science in Program Management

Master’s Degree #836

Est.imated Completion Time: 24 months

Starts: Summer

Subspecialty Code: 6502P

Program Area: Defense Systems Management

POC: Program Support

Modality: Distance Learning


The Master of Science in Program Management (MSPM) degree is an advanced education in the concepts, methodologies and analytical techniques necessary for successful management of programs/projects within complex organizations. The MSPM degree is a 24-month, part-time distance learning program open to qualified DoD uniformed personnel, federal employees, international students, and a limited number of DoD contractor personnel. Students that complete the degree program for Program Management earn numerous DAU equivalencies in other functional areas. Navy officers also awarded subspecialty code 6502P Systems Acquisition Management. The curriculum focuses on leadership, problem solving and decision making within the acquisition environment utilizing case studies, teaming exercises, hands-on applications, active participation and integrative exercises. Lecture and laboratory tasks require the application of critical thinking to problem solving within notional and actual situations. The curriculum is designed to provide graduates with the knowledge, skills and abilities to manage and lead effectively in the federal government acquisition environment.

Courses Required

Quarter Course
Quarter 1
  • MN3301
  • MN3302
Quarter 2
  • MN3303
  • MN3070
Quarter 3
  • MN3309
  • SE4011
Quarter 4
  • MN3384
  • MN3172
Quarter 5
  • MN4602
  • MN4474
Quarter 6
  • MN4044
  • MN4470
Quarter 7
  • MN4105
  • MN4090
Quarter 8
  • MN4307
  • MN4090

Requirements for Entry

  • Baccalaureate degree with a minimum undergraduate quality point rating (QPR) of 2.20
  • Completion of at least one semester of college algebra or trigonometry
  • Academic Profile Code (APC) of 355
  • Applicants without previous program management experience are eligible for admission

Learning Outcomes


Our graduates will be:

  1. Effective managers within DoD and the federal government environment, and
  2. Effective program managers.

Educational Skills Requirements (ESR)

  1. Management Fundamentals: The graduate will understand the theory of and have an ability to apply accounting, economic, mathematical, statistical, managerial and other state-of-the-art management techniques and concepts to problem solving and decision-making responsibilities as Department of Defense managers. The graduate will have the ability to think creatively, addressing issues and problems in a dynamic, challenging environment.
  2. Advanced Leadership and Management Concepts: The graduate will have the ability to apply advanced leadership, management and operations research techniques to defense problems. This includes policy formulation and execution, strategic planning, defense resource allocation, project leadership, cost benefit and cost effectiveness analysis, federal fiscal policy, computer-based information and decision support systems, and complex managerial situations requiring comprehensive integrated leadership abilities.
  3. Program Leadership and Management Principles: The graduate will have an understanding of and will be able to apply the principles, concepts, and techniques of Program Leadership and Program Management to the acquisition of major defense weapon systems. This includes the principles of risk management and tradeoff decision analysis using Total Ownership Cost, schedule and performance dynamics from a total life cycle management perspective.
  4. Program Management Policies: The graduate will have an ability to formulate and execute Defense acquisition policies, strategies, plans and procedures; an understanding of the policy-making roles of various federal agencies of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the Government, particularly the Department of Defense (DoD), the General Accounting Office (GAO), Congressional committees, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB); and an understanding of the strategies necessary to influence policy development and implementation.
  5. Systems Acquisition Process: The graduate will understand the theory of and have an ability to lead program teams and manage the systems acquisition process. This involves the system life cycle process for requirements determination, research and development, funding and budgeting, procurement, systems engineering, including systems of systems, test and evaluation, manufacturing and quality control, integrated logistics support, ownership and disposal; the interrelationship between reliability, maintainability and logistics support as an element of system effectiveness in Defense system/equipment design; and embedded weapon system software, particularly related to current policies and standards, software metrics, risk management, inspections, testing, integration, and post-deployment software support.
  6. Contract Management: The graduate will understand the role of the contracting process within the acquisition environment including financial, legal, statutory, technical and managerial constraints in the process.
  7. Business Theory and Practices: The graduate will have an understanding of the business and operating philosophies, concepts, practices and methodologies of the defense industry with regard to major weapon systems acquisition, particularly the application of sound business practices.
  8. Government and Industry Budgeting and Financial Management: The graduate will have an understanding of and an ability to apply the principles of government and private organizational financing including corporate financial structures, cost and financial accounting, capital budgeting techniques, financial analysis, and Defense financial management and budgeting processes to include the Planning, Programming, Budgeting Execution System (PPBES).
  9. Acquisition Workforce: The graduate will have a mastery of the acquisition management, program management and leadership fundamentals required for Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) acquisition professionals.
  10. Ethics and Standards of Conduct: The graduate will have an ability to manage and provide leadership in the ethical considerations of defense acquisition, including the provisions of procurement integrity, and to appropriately apply defense acquisition standards of conduct.
  11. Analysis, Problem Solving and Critical Thinking: The graduate will demonstrate the ability to conduct research and analysis, and proficiency in presenting the results in writing and orally by means of an applied project and a command-oriented briefing appropriate to this curriculum.

Application Information

Applications are handled by the NPS Admissions Office. Please visit the admissions website or contact them at

Tuition & Service Obligation

For specific tuition information for this offering, please visit this offering’s More Information page.

For information regarding service obligation, please visit the Admissions Office’s Eligibility/Service Obligation page.

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Application Deadlines

  •  08 Jan 2024

    Spring Quarter applications due

  •  01 Apr 2024

    Summer Quarter applications due

  •  08 Jul 2024

    Fall Quarter applications due

Asset Publisher

Academic Calendar

  •  08 Dec 2023

    Last day of classes

  •  12 Dec 2023 – 14 Dec 2023

    Fall Quarter final examinations

  •  15 Dec 2023

    Fall Quarter graduation

See NPS Academic Calendar for more dates.