Strategic Planning Degrees: Bachelor's, Certificate & Online Class Info

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What kind of job can you get with a bachelor's degree in strategic planning? Find out about degree requirements, online options and info on courses and strategic planning certificate programs.
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Studying Strategic Planning: Degrees at a Glance

A strategic plan is a set of guidelines, goals and objectives which serves to direct an organization into the future. The purpose of a strategic plan is to help the organization understand its mission and to excel in its operations. As an academic field, these programs are also referred to as strategic management programs.

In a degree or certificate program in strategic planning you'll study how to define, articulate and reach the objectives and goals of an organization. Graduates of these programs go on to pursue business careers in leadership positions, such as strategic planning executives, analysts or consultants.

Bachelor's Certificate
Who is this degree for? Individuals interested in entry-level business careers Working professionals or college graduates interested in pursuing strategic planning management careers
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean or median annual salary) - Human resources specialist ($59,000)*
- Purchasing agent ($61,000)*
- Strategic planning analyst ($48,000)**
- Strategic planning manager ($116,000 This salary is more common for people with several years of experience.)**
Time to Completion 4 years full time 1-2 years full time
Common Graduation Requirements Programs may require internship and/or capstone project as degree requirement 5-6 graduate level courses
Prerequisites High school diploma Most programs require you to have a bachelor's degree in business or a related field
Online Availability No Yes

Source: *Salary.com (2012 stats, median annual salaries), **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 stats, mean annual salaries).

Bachelor's Degree in Strategic Planning

Bachelor's degree programs in strategic planning do exist but they are rare. It is more common to find institutions that feature business or management degree programs that offer a strategic planning concentration. Regardless of the exact name of the program, you'll study financing and financial analysis, strategic decision making, organizational theory, market research and more. Dual degree bachelor's and master's programs are also available.

Some programs feature an internship as a degree requirement. Your program may also feature a senior capstone project, in which you develop a business plan and model, assess its feasibility and devise a strategic plan to ensure its success.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • You'll be finished with your degree in 4 years
  • Upon graduating, you'll be well-poised to pursue a graduate degree or certificate in strategic planning or management
  • If your program features an internship, you'll receive valuable professional experience while completing your degree

Cons

  • Because there are so few bachelor's degree programs in strategic planning, admissions may be competitive
  • You may end up competing for jobs with candidates who have advanced degrees
  • This degree may not prepare you for all strategic planning career opportunities

Courses and Requirements

In addition to your core planning and management courses, you'll also enroll in math courses, such as statistics and algebra, along with English courses such as composition and professional writing. Humanities and general education courses will round out your coursework. Below are listed a few sample course titles you're likely to encounter in a strategic planning degree program.

  • Business ethics
  • Principles of leadership
  • Managing negotiations and disputes
  • Business law

Online Degree Options

As stated earlier, there are a small number of schools offering programs specifically in strategic planning or strategic management. This field of study is more common at the graduate level. There are currently no strategic planning programs offered exclusively online. However, it is possible to find online programs in business administration. These programs often offer coursework in strategic management and related topics.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

If you are looking for a way to stand out from the herd with your strategic planning degree, you may want to consider joining a student organization. Most institutions offer a range of student organizations specifically designed for business majors. These organizations offer members the chance to network with working business professionals in their area. Many groups also feature other benefits, such as study groups, tutoring programs and information on relevant scholarships.

Certificate in Strategic Planning

These certificate programs are designed for working professionals or students who already have their bachelor's degree in strategic planning or a related field. In these programs you will learn how to make critical strategic decisions, how to understand and evaluate risk and how to turn this knowledge into a cohesive and successful plan for your business or organization. The coursework is often inter-disciplinary, involving courses from departments such as business, engineering and design.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Many certificate programs can be completed with one year of full time study
  • You'll be eligible to pursue more careers than individuals with only a bachelor's degree
  • Depending on the program, you may be able to concentrate on a specific field, such as strategic planning for international business

Cons

  • You may be in school for up to 6 years (including your bachelor's degree)
  • Graduate level courses are generally more expensive than undergraduate courses
  • This certificate will not prepare you to teach business planning at the university level

Courses and Requirements

The curriculum of these programs generally consists of between 5-6 graduate level courses. This type of certificate program usually features no other academic requirements other than the core strategic planning courses. Listed here are some examples of the type of course topics you will encounter.

  • Conflict and cooperation
  • Sustainability strategies
  • Digital marketing
  • Decision-making biases

Online Degree Options

It is possible to pursue a post-baccalaureate certificate in strategic planning entirely online. Programs are also available that offer courses in both online and classroom formats. As long as you select a program from an accredited college or university, there should be no difference in educational or vocational outcomes between an online and a campus-based program.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

As a leader in your business field, you'll want to be as well-versed in the latest technology as you can. You'll most likely receive instruction in some relevant software programs as part of your coursework. However, it is unlikely you'll be familiar with all the technological tools that can be used in formulating a successful strategy for your organization. You may want to consider exploring short courses and tutorials in the planning and metric software you are unfamiliar with.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Benedictine University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelors in Management
      • Bachelors in Management
  • Online Programs Available
    2. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Management
      • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Operations Management
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Project Management
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Administration - Management
      • Bachelor: Project Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Organizational Behavior
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Business Development
      • BS - Business Administration - General
      • BS - Business Administration - Project Management
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Management
      • Business Administration, BA - Management
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Marketing
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Finance
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Saint Joseph's University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BLS in General Studies - Professional Studies Concentration
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Southern New Hampshire University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Business Studies Operations & Project Management
      • BS in Operations Management
      • BS in Business Studies - Small Business Mgt
      • BS in Operations Management / Project Management concentration
      • BS Business Administration w/conc in Nonprofit Mgt
      • BS in Sports Management
  • Campus Locations:
    8. Virginia College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Human Resource Management
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Excelsior College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Business (General Business)
      • BS in Business (Operations Management)
  • Campus and Online Programs
    10. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Music Business
      • B.S. - Sports Marketing and Media

Featured Schools

Benedictine University

  • Bachelors in Management

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American InterContinental University

  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Management
  • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Operations Management

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Colorado Technical University

  • BS - Business Administration - Management
  • Bachelor: Project Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Organizational Behavior

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Keiser University

  • B.A. - Business Admin: Management
  • Business Administration, BA - Management
  • B.A. - Business Admin: Marketing

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Herzing University

  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration

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Saint Joseph's University

  • BLS in General Studies - Professional Studies Concentration

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Southern New Hampshire University

  • BS in Business Studies Operations & Project Management
  • BS in Operations Management
  • BS in Business Studies - Small Business Mgt

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Virginia College

  • Bachelor: Human Resource Management

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