This article compares the differences between PRINCE2 and PMP® from the Project Management Institute. Read on to find out more about how PMP® differs from PRINCE2.


PRINCE2 vs PMP - what is the difference between PRINCE2 and PMP

Project Management Professional (PMP)® is the most popular accreditation from the Project Management Institute (PMI) whereas PRINCE2 is offered by PeopleCert. People often get confused between PMP and PRINCE2 so this article will explain the key differences between PMP and PRINCE2.

Please note that this article was updated in October 2023 to reflect the latest changes in the latest edition of the PMBOK® Guide published in 2021, and the latest 7th edition of PRINCE2.

PMP vs PRINCE2 difficulty

When comparing the difficulty of PMP and PRINCE2, the most difficult one to get is PMP. That’s because it requires a minimum of 4,500 hours and a 4-year degree. Alternatively, 7,500 hours plus a secondary degree would suffice.

PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner can be obtained just by passing an exam. No experience or degree is required for either the Foundation or Practitioner levels. Several prerequisites can qualify you to sit the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam.

PMP/PRINCE2 Degree Hours of project experience Previous qualifications
PMP Minimum of secondary degree Minimum of 4,500 None
PRINCE2 Foundation None 0 None
PRINCE2 Practitioner None 0 Any of: PRINCE2 Foundation or Practitioner (6th edition), or PMI CAPM®, or PMI PMP®, or IPMA® Levels A to D.

IPMA® is a registered trademark of IPMA in Switzerland and other countries.

PMP and PRINCE2 exam format

Comparing the PMP and PRINCE2 exams, the PMP exam is the longest and has the most questions. The pass mark is not published by PMI.

PMP/PRINCE2 Duration (minutes) Questions Pass mark Style Exam format
PMP 240 200 multiple-choice Unknown Closed book Exam centre
PRINCE2 Foundation 60 60 multiple-choice 60% Closed book Exam centre or online using remote proctor
PRINCE2 Practitioner 150 70 objective style 60% Open book Exam centre or online using remote proctor

PMP and PRINCE2 syllabi

The PMP exam is based primarily upon the content of the PMBOK® Guide (7th edition), but not exclusively. The PRINCE2 exams are based upon the official manual Managing Successful Projects Using PRINCE2® (7th edition).

You can read how PRINCE2 compares with the PMBOK® Guide in this PRINCE2 and PMBOK Guide comparison article.

PMP/PRINCE2 What is examined? Pages of guidance
PMP People, Process, Environment from the PMBOK Guide 250 (for PMBOK Guide, but other reading is recommended)
PRINCE2 Foundation PRINCE2 methodology and terminology 342 (Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 7)
PRINCE2 Practitioner Application of the methodology to a fictional scenario 342 (Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 7)

PMP and PRINCE2 cost

PMP exams can be purchased directly from the Project Management Institute. The cost is cheaper if you are a PMI member.

The price of PRINCE2 exams is usually included in either a classroom PRINCE2 course or PRINCE2 course online. PRINCE2 exams can also be purchased without training.

Popularity of PRINCE2 and PMP

Which is the most popular of PRINCE2 and PMP? Like all PMI certifications, PMP is popular in the USA, Canada, South America, Africa and Asia. PRINCE2 is popular in the UK, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

PMP/PRINCE2 When did it start? Countries/regions where popular Number of exams taken
PMP 1984 USA, Americas, Africa, Asia 1,000,000*
PRINCE2 1996 UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand 2,000,000* (Foundation) and/or (Practitioner)

*Neither PMI nor AXELOS publish the number of exams undertaken but reasonable estimates can be given based upon information in the public domain. This article provides details of the popularity of PRINCE2.

PRINCE2 vs PMP trainer accreditation

The quality of PMP training and trainers is variable. This is because there is no accreditation for either PMP courses or trainers. Anyone can set themselves up as a PMP trainer.

All PRINCE2 courses and PRINCE2 trainers however must be accredited by PeopleCert. This means that there is a minimum level of quality if you take an accredited PRINCE2 course.

Of course, there is a lot of ‘grey market’ training provided by people or companies with no accreditation in PRINCE2. The quality of such training is likely to be poor.

PMP/PRINCE2 Accreditation body Accreditation of trainers Accreditation of courses
PRINCE2 PeopleCert Yes Yes

Maintaining PRINCE2 and PMP

PMI requires a candidate to maintain professional development units (PDUs). These can be obtained in a variety of ways including attending classroom, online or virtual training, reading relevant materials or attending relevant events.

Similarly, AXELOS has Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points. These can be obtained in similar ways to those of PMI’s PDUs. PRINCE2 Foundation never expires, so there is no requirement for renewal.

PMP/PRINCE2 Ways to renew
PMP 60 PDUs every 3 years
PRINCE2 Foundation N/A
PRINCE2 Practitioner 20 CPDs per year for 3 years; OR, pass Practitioner exam within 3 years.

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