Construction Project Management - MSc

Attendance:
Full Time, Part Time
Starting:
September 2016, January 2017
Campus:
Fees:
£5,500 for UK/EU Full Time 2016 entry (view all fees)

The complexity of construction projects in a constantly changing industry calls for skilled professionals who can deal with the challenges ahead.

Construction services need professional management and demand for dynamic individuals to take on senior roles is high. Our Construction Project Management postgraduates are highly sought-after and have secured positions with Birmingham Mailbox Ltd, Miller Construction, the Sweett Group Plc and the University itself, as well as setting up their own consultancies.

What's covered in the course?

This MSc Construction Project Management course will enable graduates with degrees in surveying, construction, architecture, civil engineering and real estate to enter construction management in the future. Practitioners with extensive construction work experience but without a first degree will also be considered, subject to entrance exam and interview.

The course gives you a broad knowledge of the challenges of a changing construction industry. Rather than just traditional technical skills, it focuses on the management side. You’ll cover law and contract, sustainability, business management, project management and innovation.

A global perspective will be gained with an international construction module, examining construction practice case studies from the USA, China and other countries. This will be enhanced by a trip overseas which is an exciting opportunity to look at construction project management in a different environment.

Study is interactive - you’re encouraged to develop your own ideas and come up with solutions to problems. You’ll also be expected to complete reading and assignments outside of class hours.

Professional staff with industry experience will offer support and guidance. They are constantly reviewing and researching the most up-to-date construction developments to enable them to pass on the latest industry knowledge. This is supported by guest speakers such as Andrew Hornby, one of our graduates who now works for EC Harris. We also have excellent links with companies in the region, including Mott MacDonald and Birmingham City Council.

This course is located in the prestigious £114m Millennium Point building – part of our City Centre Campus – with technology and facilities that reflect advanced professional practice.

Our City Centre Campus location really is an inspirational place to learn. Birmingham’s Big City Plan, regenerating and developing the city, means there are plenty of opportunities within the built environment. And you’ll have the added advantage of being based near construction sites, including our developing Conservatoire and the new high speed rail track, HS2, where you can gain invaluable insight.

Why Choose Us?

  • The course is fully accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB). Successful completion of the course will lead to Professional Membership after the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC).
  • On completion of the course you’ll have covered both the ‘core’ and ‘areas of specialism’ needed for the opportunity to register for the membership of RICS and CIOB.
  • You’ll take part in workshops with students from other built environment postgraduate courses. This leads to a genuinely multi-professional learning and develops your understanding of all aspects of this exciting industry.
  • You’ll have an exciting opportunity to take part in an overseas trip, enhancing your global perspective and awareness of social, cultural, economic and technical aspects of construction.
  • Strong industry links help you make vital contacts and gain practical experience to back up theory.
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Postgraduate Open Day

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be on Wednesday 23 November. Registration will open shortly.

In the meantime, register your details and we'll contact you when more information is available.

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This course is open to International students

School of Engineering and the Built Environment

Discover the School of Engineering and the Built Environment

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

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Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Miller Construction
  • Parkwood Consultancy Services

And in jobs such as:

  • Assistant Design Manager
  • Assistant Project Manager

New £10,000 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,000 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

Entry Requirements

UK students
Essential

A good UK honours degree at 2:2 or above/equivalent in surveying, construction, civil engineering, real estate or any other construction subjects.

In exceptional circumstances, students who have relevant professional experience maybe invited to an interview and take a test, at which they will be required to demonstrate the necessary knowledge and understanding for entry onto the course.

International/EU students
Essential

An equivalent overseas qualification; in surveying, construction, civil engineering, real estate or any other construction subjects.

Students who do not possess the above qualifications may,Overseas students need to demonstrate a good command of English. IELTS 6.0 or equivalent is needed before they can enrol in this programme.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MSc Sep 2016 FT 1 year £5,500
PT 2 years £2,750 per year
Jan 2017 FT 17 months £5,500
PT 2 years £2,750 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MSc Sep 2016 FT 1 year £12,000
Jan 2017 FT 1 year £12,000

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

There are no compulsory additional costs or charges associated with studying on this course. While you may choose to purchase personal copies of text books, all our key text books are available from our library or online (subject to normal library loan and online access arrangements). If your course includes a residential study session, the accommodation costs for this are already included in your course fee.

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

This course is available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans

Stage 1: Postgraduate Certificate

Construction Law and Contract
15 credits

You’ll examine the legal and contractual issues which influence the way construction projects are managed. This module covers the English legal system, contract and tort law and supply chain management. You’ll also look at dispute resolution and mediation practices.

It will cover the following topics:

  • The English Legal System, including the courts, other tribunals, and Alternative Dispute Resolution;
  • Contract Law - including the formation of contracts, terms and vitiating factors, discharge of contracts and remedies, warranties and novation agreements, the Bribery and Corruption Act;
  • Tort law, including negligence, vicarious liability, defences and remedies, nuisance, trespass and occupiers liability; Selection of a construction contract; The administration of construction contracts;
  • Supply chain management - Contractual requirements and responsibilities will be examined throughout the supply chain;
  • The legal role in establishing collaboration and the resolution of different interests;
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution and mediation practices.
International Construction
15 credits

The aim of the module is to help you develop an understanding of the problems, issues and opportunities for the construction industry in a national and global economy. You’ll look at cultural issues and competitive advantages. Case studies from the USA, China and other countries will give context and insight.

This module will cover:

  • The definition of international construction;
  • The role of the construction industry in the national and global economy;
  • The cultural issues in construction projects;
  • The international construction market and competitive advantages;
  • Construction process analysis and evaluation in different countries;
  • International construction projects and its implications;
  • Construction practice case studies: USA, UK, Japan, China/Hong Kong, etc;
  • The future of international construction.
Sustainable Construction
15 credits

This module examines how construction activities can have a long-lasting effect on the environment. It encourages you to think about sustainable and environmentally sound construction methods and innovative management. It helps you to understand the construction industry’s response to climate change and sustainability and develop creative solutions to challenges faced. You’ll cover issues such as wellbeing, waste management and environmental assessment.

It will cover the following topics:

  • Context and philosophy of sustainability including its relationship to climate change
  • Adapation and mitigation in response to climate change and resource depletion
  • Policies/government response to sustainability/climate change agenda
  • Sustainable assessment
  • Sustainable design and construction
  • Comparative analysis of national/international projects
  • Waste management/water management
  • Various environmental assessment methods
  • Consideration of wellbeing/social aspect of delivering sustainability
  • Role of the project manager in delivering sustainability in the built environment
Business Management
15 credits

Using business management techniques and contemporary case studies, you’ll explore strategic and operational business issues in the construction environment. The module covers economics, accounting and finance, market development, corporate social responsibility, resource and knowledge management.

This module will cover:

  • Business organisation appraisal
  • Strategic development and implementation
  • Marketing and business development partnering
  • Bidding
  • Financial decisions and market trends
  • Accounting information and record keeping
  • Knowledge and resource management
  • Corporate social responsibility

Stage 2: Postgraduate Diploma

People and Organisation
15 credits

This module aims to give you the skills to help organisations work more effectively. The practical nature of management will be explored in relation to the way people work. Underlying theories of management will be viewed critically and you’ll look at case studies to back up theory. You’ll look at organisational behaviour, self-awareness and reflection, and different notions of teams and leadership.

Topics covered in this module include:

  • Collaboration Integration and teams
  • Change and resistance
  • Culture, behaviour and difference
  • Organisational structures
  • Power Trust
  • Delegation Learning: personal and organisational
Project Management Methods
15 credits

This module looks at the practical side of construction. You’ll cover project briefs and evaluation, programme planning and budgeting. You’ll also look at quality and risk management, stakeholder involvement, health and safety, project control and administration.

The module will deliver the relevant aspects of the following subjects:

  • Development/project briefs/specifications
  • Development appraisal/project evaluation
  • Project programming/planning
  • Cost advice and budgeting · Stakeholder analysis
  • Quality management · Risk management
  • Health and safety management · Project control and administration
  • Project audit
  • Quality management
  • Risk management
  • Health and safety management
  • Project control and administration
Innovation in Construction
15 credits

You’ll explore the creative and implementation processes involved in innovation as well as developing critiques of new approaches in the industry. The module looks at theories of innovation, trends influencing the construction process, change and Building Information Modelling (BIM).

  • Theories of innovation
  • Innovation issues and trends influencing the construction process
  • Managing innovation and change: product, process and people perspectives
  • Risk management in construction innovation
  • Building Information Modelling (BIM)
Critical Evaluation of Practice
15 credits

This focuses on case study research and analysis. It aims to develop your critical thinking to cope with the complex, uncertain, and dynamic construction world and to respond to change. You’ll undertake critical enquiries into aspects of the industry and share this with colleagues. The module considers the way parts (organisational, technological and human) fit into the wholes of projects.

Students will be provided with methodological tools and theories which will aid them in this task. The module considers the way parts (organisational, technological and human) fit into the wholes of projects. This will present and adopt a systems thinking approach but challenge the way participants know in their practice. In particular, it will look at the way objectivist knowledge relates to perceptual and experiential knowledge, the latter being constructed by the positions of the participants.

During the module, students will explore the different pre-understanding that different actors have and the consequences of this for the operation of projects. The study of pre-understanding is assisted by the theories of Personal Constructs and of Sensemaking.

Stage 3: Masters

Dissertation
60 credits

The aim of the dissertation is to develop your skills of carrying out research into a practice-based problem and your ability to theorise and conceptualise. This is a major piece of individual work that allows you to demonstrate your understanding and expertise in a selected area of specialised study within the area of construction project management.

This is a major piece of individual work that allows you to demonstrate your understanding and expertise in a selected area of specialised study within the area of construction project management. The work will be a research project which is based upon investigation of empirical event(s) or organisation(s) in which you are required to compare practice with relevant aspects of theory.

You should aim to achieve identification of the elements of practice that are good or capable of improvement. With respect to the latter, you will provide logical solutions that analyse the potential for improvement.

There are eight taught Level 7 modules with 15 credits each and one Dissertation worth of 60 credits in this programme. Students who successfully complete four taught modules will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate, and another four taught modules for a Postgraduate Diploma. The final award of the Master’s degree follows successful completion of a dissertation.

Teaching is student-led, encouraging you to develop your ideas, critical thinking and problem solving. Assessments include individual and group presentation, portfolio, patchwork, written assignments, and exams. You will also work towards a dissertation.

Through a rigorous and coherent programme of study, the course seeks to:

  • Produce capable, creative, reflective and critical professionals for the construction industry who can deal with complex issues systematically and creatively in order to make sound judgements and reach conclusions that are clearly and concisely communicated
  • Develop a systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of the problems, issues and opportunities for the construction industry
  • Develop you rapidly as an independent and critical learner with personal and social awareness
  • Enable you to consider, and critically comment on, the range of conflicting interests within a political, social, economic, technological, environmental and legal context
  • Enable you to undertake a critical evaluation of the knowledge base and operation of the industry and to create new knowledge and practice

The course will achieve these aims through the development of four main areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Intellectual skills
  • Practical skills
  • Transferable skills

Teaching methods are based on interaction with you, where you are encouraged to develop your own approaches to problems rather than being presented with standard solutions. Outside of the formal class hours, you are expected to complete reading and assignments.

Course breakdown

Semester 1

This semester sees students establish a group to manage a virtual company in the Business Management module. It’s the perfect way to gain insight and experience, with weekly company information presenting new challenges and problems to reflect real life.  You’ll look at the key areas of construction law and contract. You’ll also look at construction from an international perspective. There’s a module covering sustainability, which is increasingly important.

Semester 2

This semester examines the way people work within an organisation and the roles they play. You’ll also examine innovation and the latest developments in construction technology and management. You’ll gain the skills to critically evaluate in a professional setting and take an in-depth look at project management methods and practice.

Semester 3

In your final semester you’ll develop an area of specialism, working towards a Masters dissertation in your chosen topic.Completing this enables you to gain the final award of your Masters degree.

 

Trips and visits

An overseas study trip is incorporated into this course so that the students can experience the social, cultural, economic and technological impacts on construction project management in an international context. This leads to a lively and challenging approach to teaching which you will experience within an exciting and stimulating group of fellow students from diverse backgrounds.

Further Study

The University has a range of research (MPhil and PhD) postgraduate programmes, including our Built Environment research degrees.

Student stories Sarah Brookbank

Urban Design for Excellence Award

Sarah Brookbank is no stranger to the University. Working full-time in our busy Estates Department, she knew just how much the University had to offer. So where better to study for her part-time, RICS accredited postgraduate qualification?

Enhancing your employability skills

You’ll emerge as a capable, creative professional who can deal with complex issues and take on a senior role within construction. The high standard of education in this growing industry enables you to move into a new career with real expectations of progression. You’ll be able to identify problems in construction management and come up with innovative solutions.

The course will give you a thorough understanding of legal, political, social, technical and environmental aspects.

These skills are highly valued by employers. Recent research conducted by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) indicates that the UK’s construction industry needs 36,000 new recruits each year to cope with increased demand.

You’ll have proved you’re a committed, independent learner who can meet tight deadlines. Your research project will show specialist knowledge and self-discipline.

The opportunity to enter awards can prove beneficial, enabling you to get noticed by industry. Sarah Brookbank received an impressive Urban Design for Excellence Award in ‘Issues and Culture in Design and Construction Management'. She was familiar with the University, working full-time in the Estates Department, and was keen to undertake a postgraduate qualification to develop her skills.  She is now hoping to work towards her professional accreditation with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Like Sarah, you’ll develop a range of transferable skills, such as communication and problem solving skills, as well as developing negotiation and planning skills. And because of the unique nature of the course, you’ll learn how to work effectively and efficiently either on your own or as part of a team.

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

Students from this course have worked with lecturers on two SAP (Student Academic Partnership) projects. They have used audio and video recordings to capture alumni’s learning experience and have engaged overseas alumni in the internationalisation of the curriculum through the collection of project case studies.

There is also an e-mentoring system in place: we can assign a previous student who has successfully completed this course with a similar background to mentor another student electronically (by email, telephone and social media).

Student stories

Neil Edginton

Recognised in Insider Media’s ‘42 under 42’ list, and Property Week’s ‘Hot 50’ and ‘Who’s Who in Britain’,

Neil has played an integral role shaping the skyline of Birmingham as part of the team behind such iconic developments as Fort Dunlop, The Mailbox and The Cube. He is also a Trustee for Birmingham Children’s Hospital and a guest speaker for the West Midlands Centre for Constructing Excellence (WMCCE).

He went on to set up and subsequently lead the team’s in-house construction company in 2007, which at its peak employed over 500 people and turned over £1 million per week, to deliver the £86 million build for The Cube. Neil then started his own company, EDG Property – a development and consultancy firm – in 2010.

Eamonn Kerr

Having studied Construction Project Management at Birmingham City University and graduating in 1997, Eamonn Kerr has gone on to build a successful career in the field, which has taken him to the UK, USA, South America and Middle East.

After leaving Sweett Group he set up his own consultancy firm, Eamonn Kerr Consulting Ltd, to provide help and advice to companies operating in the construction sector.

Graduate jobs

Nearly all our graduates go straight into well-paid and challenging jobs. Roles such as project manager, construction manager or surveyor are likely careers for you as a graduate. You could be employed in professional practice (individual firm), contracting and subcontracting organisations, commercial organisations, local authority and central government, insurance companies and utility companies.

Graduates have roles such as assistant design manager and project manager with companies like Miller Construction and Parkwood Consultancy Services.

Peter Cochrane’s MSc enabled him to develop his career here at the University. He is the project director for our exciting new City Centre Campus development – a prestigious role he really relishes.

Neil Edginton is recognised in Insider Media’s ‘42 under 42’ list, and Property Week’s ‘Hot 50’ and ‘Who’s Who in Britain’. He has played an integral role shaping the skyline of Birmingham as part of the team behind such iconic developments as Fort Dunlop, The Mailbox and The Cube. He started his own company, EDG Property – a development and consultancy firm – in 2010.

Another graduate success story is Eamonn Kerr who has worked all over the world in senior positions on major developments. He drove the international development of the Sweett Group before setting up his own consultancy firm, Eamonn Kerr Consulting Ltd, to provide help and advice to companies operating in the construction sector.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

The programme has two intakes, in September and January, and may be studied in full or part-time mode. The full time duration is 17 months for January starts.

The international reputation, high standards and location of our course attracts students from all over the world. More than half of our students are from overseas, including India, China, Nigeria, Thailand, Ghana and Malaysia.

Student stories

Indian graduate Sahib Nazir believes the course helped him gain his career success. He took an entrance examination for the government of Jammu and Kashmir (roads and buildings works).  Almost 8,000 students applied and Sahib was one of 300 engineers accepted.

He said course leader Dr Hong Xiao had a major role to play in the encouragement and support of each and every student.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our construction project management course is most popular with international students from:

Burma Flag

Burma

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities. This course will be taught at Millennium Point at the City Centre Campus.

Building work on our new Conservatoire began in the summer of 2015 – and is scheduled for completion in summer 2017. This, along with the construction of a new city centre accommodation block, means our students have access to their very own building sites.

We couple this with the more traditional, office-based facilities:

Computer Assisted Taking Off

Here at Birmingham City University you will make use of commercial software as part of your assessment. Work is carried out in well-equipped and air-conditioned laboratories.

Computer Assisted Design (CAD)

You will be provided with the latest CAD software – free of charge – to enable you to acquire the skills you need in a modern design office.

Surveying equipment

Part of your learning activity will be hands-on, including carrying out survey work using a range of equipment, such as levels, theodolites, measuring tapes.

A computer-generated virtual site

The use of a virtual building site will help you to appreciate the surroundings of a typical construction site and experience some of the challenges you will face in practice.

Learning from industry experts

Discover more about the industry experts you can meet on our Engineering degree courses.

Laura Layland is one of our lecturers, watch this video to find out more.

Dr Hong Xiao

Senior Lecturer

Hong obtained his BEng in Industrial and Civil Buildings in 1985, and MSc in Construction Management in 1988 from Hunan University, China. He lectured there until 1998.  He came to Britain in 1998 as an academic visitor sponsored by the Chinese Government, and then began his PhD study at the University of Wolverhampton. His PhD research project was ‘A Comparative Study of Contractor Performance Based on Japanese, UK and US Construction Practice’, and he obtained his PhD in 2002.

On June 2003, Hong joined the Birmingham City University as a Research Assistant to conduct a DTI sponsored research project, ‘An approach to knowledge management for SMEs’. Upon the successful completion of the research project, he moved to a lecturing post and has been teaching and researching since.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295