Knowledge Areas Delivered in Project Management Programs: Exploratory Study

Long D. Nguyen, Ying Yi Chih, Borja García De Soto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Knowledge of project management (PM) concepts plays an important role in today's engineering education. It needs to equip future engineers and managers with required knowledge and skills to deal with increasingly complex project challenges. However, very little is known about how different PM-related knowledge areas (KAs) were taught in PM degree programs and whether their levels of teaching emphasis align with their perceived extents of practical use. As the first step toward addressing this gap, the authors conducted a survey on the academic offerings in PM degree programs globally. Findings highlighted that project risk, cost, and time management tended to receive the highest teaching emphasis within and across the surveyed programs. This is particularly true in the construction PM programs. KAs related to human aspects (e.g., communications and human resource management) also received significant attention. However, this is more evident in general PM programs. The teaching emphasis for KAs such as project cost, time, risk, quality, integration, communications, and procurement management was found to be consistent with their perceived extent of practical use. Nonetheless, scope management, despite its practical importance, received little teaching emphasis. These findings extend the current PM education literature by providing a comparative understanding of PM educational offerings, laying a solid background for PM educators to develop and/or refine their curricula.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04016025
JournalJournal of Management in Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Construction project management
  • Education-industry gap
  • Knowledge areas
  • Project management body of knowledge
  • Project management professionals training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • General Engineering
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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