Thursday, April 24, 2014

Our new MSc Construction Project Management

This year, the Department of Real Estate and Construction is pleased to announce the introduction of an MSc in Construction Project Management with the first entry in September 2014. There are two modes of programme delivery: a one year full-time programme and our open-learning mode, which is normally taken over two years. Entry points in September and January each year. This new MSc will run alongside and complement our existing MSc Project Management in the Built Environment.

Our MSc Construction Project Management has been specifically designed to meet the needs of the cognate student* with a background in the Construction Industry through a previous qualification and/or industrial experience. Through an intense course of study of subject-specific material, the programme will provide our students with the knowledge and professional skills that have been identified by both RICS and CIOB as essential to take on the lead role of Construction Project Manager. Completion of the full MSc Construction Project Management carries professional accreditation by RICS and CIOB.

*in this case, the 'cognate student' means a student with a first degree in a subject such as Civil Engineering, Construction Management, Architecture or Quantity Surveying.

OK, so what's (really) different about our MSc Construction Project Management?

Our use of Applied or Problem Based Learning (PBL)
We have responded to requests from industry to make our postgraduate education more practical by using an ‘applied’ approach to learning, sometimes called 'Problem Based Learning'. This approach encourages learning by allowing students to actively puzzle through problems that are adapted from complex real situations. As real problems cross discipline boundaries and require research and collaboration, we use our links with industrial practitioners to help devise the problems we use in class. This leads to a more exciting and relevant student experience. Evidence shows that students who are taught using PBL may be better able to transfer concepts to new problems, and have better long-term recall.

Image courtesy of Penn State University

This type of learning (PBL) is very popular with our students as it facilitates long-lasting and practically relevant learning. In the words of one of our current students (on the MSc Project Management in the Built Environment which also uses problem based learning):

“… the course makes you think, it does not spoon feed you answers. It makes you consider the appropriateness of concepts to other areas and challenges you to build and implement solutions.”

The Study Periods on Campus
The 'intensive' study periods, of which there will be four each year (two each year for open-learning students), are normally 3 or 4 days long and bring together the full-time and open-learning students on campus. Students and staff (on our existing MSc PMBE) enjoy these intensive sessions as they are able to share experiences and knowledge as well as renew friendships and make connections within the industry. The full-time students feel that they benefit greatly from being able to interact with the open-learning students who are already working in industry (UK and overseas). For the open-learners, there is the opportunity to meet the teaching staff and other students face-to-face which contributes greatly to the feeling of belonging to the programme.

The organisation and the concentrated nature of these intensive study periods has been praised by our students who particularly like the site visits, workshops and guest lectures from industry experts that are a major feature of the study periods. Find out more about previous study periods on the blog here.

Scaffolding and spires - a site visit to the new Weston Library in Oxford during a recent 'Study Period' 

As mentioned earlier, the Department of Real Estate and Construction also runs an MSc in Project Management in the Built Environment - this MSc attracts students from a wide variety of backgrounds (otherwise known as non-cognate students) and will run alongside the new MSc Construction Project Management, sharing some of the modules and enhancing the student experience through interaction and sharing of experience and knowledge during the 'Intensive Study Periods'.

Interested? Take a look at the more detailed information available on our website: MSc Construction Project Management. For information on the programme structure for each entry point, take a look here: Programme Structure.

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