Construction Business and Leadership (with management specialisms) - PgCert/PgDip/MSc
Developing the construction industry leadersand managers of the future.Take a look
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Developing the construction industry leadersand managers of the future.
MSc Construction, Business and Leadership (with specialist management pathways) at Ulster University gives you the unique opportunity to master the twin tracks of managing the construction process and leading a business organisation.
Construction professionals must perform well as leaders and managers in all sectors of the industry. This programme provides a vehicle for you to further your construction knowledge as well as hone your management and leadership skills to enhance your ability to deliver both project and business objectives.
Construction firms and Consultants are increasingly seeking highly qualified employees who can respond to client demands in a diverse range of areas from seeking out commercial opportunities, managing and delivering the project to operation and maintenance of the built asset. This programme provides you with the opportunity to specialise in one of three management areas to meet your career objectives:
Specialist Option 1: Construction Project Management
Specialist Option 2: Commercial Management
Specialist Option 3: Built-Asset Management
The programme is suitable for both graduates and working professionals from a range of fields including architecture, building, engineering, quantity surveying, structural engineering, facilities maintenance and town planning, amongst others.
Given the increasing demand for suitably qualified and skilled professionals in the industry, career opportunities are extensive within the public, private and voluntary sectors and previous graduates have been successful at local, national and international levels.
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About this course
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The programme is designed to:
• Develop graduates and professionals with the knowledge to critically engage within the construction business and implement strategic leadership to deliver business and corporate objectives.
• Develop graduates and professionals with the competencies to think differently within the construction environment through innovative learning and best practice.
• Develop graduates and professionals with the skills to apply and integrate the specialist knowledge of their selected pathway to manage their chosen sector.
Employability is fully embedded throughout the course and the syllabus has been designed to ensure that it meets the current needs of industry.
SPECIAL PROGRAMME FEATURES
You will study a range of topics including the 6 core themes namely:
• Project Management
• Organisation and Management Studies
• Construction Financial Management
• Project Leadership
• Construction Procurement
• Construction Legal Studies
In addition, the programme offers you the option to study a chosen suite of management modules in one of three specialist industry areas namely:
1. Construction Project Management
2. Commercial Management
3. Built-Asset Management
Through these modules, you will enhance your intellectual skills to explore new theories, concepts and methods in unfamiliar situations and adapt them to meet future challenges.
In addition, you will develop key transferable skills such as communication, teamwork, problem solving and organisation, and critically reflect on your existing management and leadership styles.
PROGRAMME MISSION STATEMENT
TO OFFER a linked postgraduate course which is intellectually coherent, academically challenging, progressive in nature (with appropriate exit points) and has vocational relevance.
TO CONTRIBUTE to the development of management in the construction industry generally but, more specifically, in the context of devolution, integration and globalisation.
TO MAXIMISE the multi- and interdisciplinary teaching and professional strengths of the Faculty's staff in the modules offered on the course.
TO BE INNOVATIVE in teaching, learning and assessment strategies and build on existing good practice identified on current postgraduate certificate/diploma and masters courses from which this programme derives.
TO ENCOURAGE professional integration within the construction industry.
TO DEVELOP the leaders of the construction industry of the future.
For the award of Master of Science in Construction Business and Leadership (with specialist management pathways) you will have:
….GAINED a general understanding of the fundamental tenets of management through the study of core disciplines (organisation and management, business management and finance, leadership, procurement, legal studies) and an in-depth comprehension of your chosen specialist pathway;
….ACQUIRED the necessary skills to undertake both independent and peer group learning; in the case of the former this will demand a review of literature, data collection and the integration of theory and practice necessary for managerial reports, academic assignments and student presentations; in the case of the latter this will require working as part of a group to undertake the same tasks and possible assessment by peers;
….DEVELOPED skills in communication, teamwork, problem-solving, organisation (time management and task management), personal (self-awareness and self-appraisal) skills and information technology which will allow you to engage in interactive learning and the dissemination of information based on the acquisition and application of knowledge in your specialist area;
….APPLIED and integrated your knowledge of the core disciplines and option choices to a better understanding of the issues arising in the construction sector generally and in the sector or service in which they are employed. Specifically, this will involve you developing new theoretical and empirical perspectives and “testing” ideas for validity and robustness of peers and module tutors;
….CRITICALLY REFLECTED on existing management practice and suggest change in your areas of expertise; real-life topical managerial problems will provide the substance for case-study material in which analytical and conceptual skills acquired during the course will be utilised to improve practice.
The master's programme in Construction Business and Leadership (with specialist management pathways) is a series of linked postgraduate awards (PgCERT/PgDIP/MSc) offered both full (one calendar year) and part-time (three years), within the Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment.
The Learning Outcomes of the Postgraduate Certificate/Diploma are that, on completion, you should:
…………have increased capacity for understanding the concepts, complexities and issues relevant to construction business, management and leadership through a rigorous study of selected topics;
…………have an enhanced ability to apply knowledge and skills in identifying, analysing and solving management problems within the construction firm, projects and the construction process;
…………improve your professional performance by encouraging the development of professional judgement, skills, attitudes and personal attributes such as leadership, assertiveness and creativity.
The additional Learning Outcomes of the Master of Science Degree are that, on completion, you should have:
………….gained experience of a supervised independent investigation of a problem of current leadership and management concern, using relevant research methodology:
………….the capacity to carry out a comprehensive literature search, to design a suitable methodology to investigate a problem, to describe it, to analyse data, to evaluate the results of your investigation and to produce reasoned conclusions.
………….developed the ability to present, through your dissertation, arguments in support of your conclusions.
Your course is professionally accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
In addition, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), Association for Project Management (APM), the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), and Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineering (CIBSE) have considered the award to be of significant assistance for individuals in gaining professional qualifications on a case by case basis.
The Belfast School of Architecture the Built Environment is a research-led, informed and inspired centre for excellence in the built environment nationally and is ranked as having significant international standing in research impact.
The School is active with respect to academic enterprise and knowledge transfer in the built environment. Academic enterprise projects support research in substantive and scholarly activities and expand the portfolio of students learning in work-based environments.
The course is offered in both full-time and part-time mode in block learning format and
each has a specific attendance pattern:
• MSc Full-time – 1 calendar year
• MSc Part-time – 3 years
• PG Dip Full-time – 2 semesters
• PG Dip Part-time – 2 years
The full-time mode requires all modules to be taken within one academic year (50 weeks) including the dissertation which is taken in Semester 3 (between May and September). In full-time block mode students attend 4 blocks of 5 consecutive days at approx. 3 week intervals across semesters 1 and 2 with attendance required for oral presentations and/or coursework submissions during the examinations period between semesters.
The periods between blocks are used to undertake assignments and coursework during which the student is encouraged to maintain contact with the Module Coordinator and classmates via on-line discussion forums such as Blackboard Collaborate.
- September 2019
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
A student-centred learning approach is adopted on the programme which encourages and rewards logical and lateral thinking, whilst developing lifelong learning competencies.
A range of learning and teaching methods are used to encourage the acquisition of knowledge and in-depth understanding of the principles and practice relevant to the programme. We strive to incorporate teaching methods that encourage individual reading, an investigative spirit, promotes synthesis of the many interrelated subjects, allows for critical reflection and provides an opportunity to make reasoned judgements based on available evidence.
The methods used are designed to offer academic and subject progression from semester 1 through to semester 3 and encompass the interdisciplinary teaching and professional strengths of the resident academic staff.
Teaching is delivered through a range of formats including but not limited to:
• Didactic lectures
• Case study investigation
• Simulation studies
• Computer laboratory workshops
• Group work and assignments
Teaching methods are continuously evolving to meet the needs of the Industry. It is delivered by both academic and industrial practitioners to ensure content is theoretically robust and current for the global construction industry and meets the needs of students.
Students work is 100% coursework-based and includes written essays, presentations and problem-based/simulation exercises which are assessed on a continuous basis across the year. Assessment methods chosen at programme and module level will enable you to demonstrate your achievement of learning outcomes, and enable you to be marked against specified assessment criteria. Assessment will mainly focus on the learning outcomes.
A wide and flexible repertoire of assessment methods is utilised to match and underpin the knowledge, understanding and skills required in the Programme. These include:
• Investigative Reports
• Reflective writing
• Case studies
• Seminar presentations
• Role Play and Simulations
• Oral Presentations
• Poster Presentations
The method of assessment is influenced by various factors including, level of study, subject, and learning methods.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
- the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
- the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
- the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.
Attendance and Independent Study
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
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Construction Financial Management
Construction financial management is of prime importance because many construction firms tend to fail, not because of lack of cash but because of poor financial management.
This module provides a sound foundation for financial management for profitable construction contracting. It encapsulates the process of development appraisal, sources of project finance and innovative financing, capital project budgeting, cost management and control as well as fundamentals of management accounting.
Organisation & Management: Thinking Differently
This module has been designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of modern construction business organisation and management, including investigating key business management components such as Business formation, Marketing, Research & Development, Recruitment; Management - functions, roles, skills and competencies. Problem-solving and decision-making; Organisational culture, behavioural influences, motivation, and performance; Conflict and creativity; Individual development, group dynamics and leadership. Practical applications and case studies of relevant practice are used to enhance the learning experience and students are challenged to view, reflect and think differently about themselves, their work, their profession and the construction industry.
This module has been designed to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of
procurement strategies and processes. This will enable you to identity the appropriate best
practice procurement for clients based on their organisational objectives and project
requirements. Furthermore through the identification of the inherent challenges of
implementing best practice procurement you will gain a robust appreciation of the strategic
importance of construction procurement.
Construction Legal Studies
This module examines underpinning legal principles and concepts that impact upon and influence the way that construction projects are managed and delivered. Express contractual provisions of construction contracts are evaluated to understand how risk is managed and apportioned between the respective parties. The roles and responsibilities of those involved in the execution and administration of construction projects are considered with respect to the selected contract strategy.
The module is designed to provide a postgraduate multi disciplinary learning experience on the subject of Project Management. It introduces the concepts of Project Management, examines the recognised practices and accepted principles involved in the project management function, and combines these with an understanding of the increasingly demanding multi-dimensional aspects of the discipline. It provides an overall project orientated management framework (theoretical tempered with world best practice) with local, national and international dimensions within which you can develop your knowledge / understanding and key professional competencies.
Project Leadership for Construction Professionals
This module is designed for students who wish to gain an understanding of key leadership tools and skills in order to develop their own personal leadership capabilities to deliver project and company objectives within the Construction industry.
Research Design and Dissertation
This module enables the student to undertake an independent in-depth study of a particular aspect of their course of study. This research methods and associated dissertation module gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in problem solving and decision making whilst also refining other skills including investigative and evaluative skills. Students are required to demonstrate their knowledge of the subject researched, skills in critical analysis and use of investigative methods. Students are required to display these skills in written and oral format that will clearly display analysis of the principal arguments and conclusions of their work.
Built Asset Management
This module is optional
This module is designed to consider how property assets should be managed to support organisational objectives. The strategic interaction between the organisation and the alignment of their property requirements is analysed, as is the process of planning and managing property resources to maximise organisational requirements. Finally, the operational aspects of built assets are studied to consider life cycle, maintenance and facilities management.
Development Appraisal and Regeneration
This module is optional
This module is designed to provide students with an understanding of the planning and property development process in context of sustainable urban regeneration, a contemporary and priority agenda in cities. The module provides the students with knowledge of key issues related to mixed use developments and the deliverability of sustainability principles within an urban regeneration context. This module addresses the policy objectives related to sustainable communities and low carbon growth in cities.
Construction Project Management
This module is optional
This module develops the students' comprehension of the project management processes in construction and development, from procurement methods through to post-completion audits. It closely follows the structured approach of the CIOB Code of Practice, and develops the skills of students in applying modern project management principles at every stage of a construction development. It also addresses the primary issues currently facing the construction industry, presenting an up to date review of best practice.
Green Building, passive/low energy design and energy efficiency
This module is optional
This module will allow students to understand and critically appraise the factors affecting energy consumption in buildings enabling them to explore a wide range of low energy options in both domestic and non-domestic buildings. This will enable them to reduce the auxiliary energy load of any renewable energy solutions that may be considered while appreciating the main hazards to health in modern building designs.
Commercial Management and Bidding Strategy
This module is optional
The module is designed to develop an understanding of the role of Commercial Management within construction businesses at both pre and post contract stages. The module will examine and develop a comprehensive understanding of the key concepts required for the effective management of the commercial bidding process for construction projects and associated risks. The module will also examine the evolving importance of BIM in Commercial Management and Commercial Bidding Strategy.
Contract Communication and Dispute Management
This module is optional
This module provides students with an insight into the myriad of issues associated with contractor's claims. From the administration of the construction contract to the eventual resolution of the disputed matters, students obtain a comprehensive understanding of the entire process. The practical application of the construction contract provisions, together with the applicable legal principles provides for a positive learning experience that is transferable to professional practice.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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Applicants must hold a degree or equivalent, or demonstrate their ability to undertake the course through the accreditation of prior experiential learning. The specific requirements for admission are detailed below:
Applicants should normally possess:
An Honours or non-Honours degree in an appropriate science, engineering or built environment discipline from a recognised educational institution from a University of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, from the Council for National Academic Awards, the National Council for Educational Awards, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council, or from an institution of another country which is recognised as being of an equivalent standard.
an equivalent standard in a Postgraduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate in an appropriate science, engineering or built environment discipline from a recognised educational institution or an approved alternative qualification
satisfy the University’s general entry requirements including evidence of the required level of numeracy (GCSE grade C or equivalent);
Exceptionally, we will admit students with non-construction related qualifications provided they have significant industry / professional experience.
In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant experiential learning, a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of the graduate qualities (including subject-specific outcomes, specified by the Course Committee) may be considered as an alternative entrance route. Evidence used to demonstrate graduate qualities may not be used for an exemption against modules within the programme.
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Exemptions and transferability
Studies pursued and examinations passed in respect of other qualifications awarded by the University or by another university or other educational institution, or from the accreditation of prior experiential or certificated learning may be accepted as exempting candidates from part of the programme of study provided that;
(a) they shall register as a student of the University for modules amounting to at least the final third of the credit value of a Master’s award, and at least 50% of the credit value of the award in respect of a Postgraduate Diploma or Certificate award.
(b) no exemption shall be permitted from the Dissertation.
Transfer between other MSc/MBA programmes within the University is also permissible, with appropriate exemptions for relevant modules completed successfully.
Upon completion of the PgC/PgD/MSc there are ample opportunities for further study both within the Built Environment and beyond. In recent years, several graduates have progressed on to PhD studies, with some achieving employment as post-doctoral lecturing or research staff within our School.
Careers & opportunities
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Students who successfully complete this demanding programme will enhance their business leadership and management skills and competencies, and in doing so, will offer employers what they, and their clients, require.
Whilst most of our postgraduates find employment at local and national levels (Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland), increasingly opportunities are arising with international construction, consulting and client organisations.
Alumini of the programme are working as far afield as Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, China, Australia, New Zealand, Butan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, the Caribbean, Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Peru, Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Nigeria, Botswana, Kenya, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Estonia, Azerbaijan, Canada and the United States of America.
Others have opted to pursue a research path and have successfully obtained doctorates before embarking on an academic career.
ApplyHow to apply Request a prospectus
Applications to our postgraduate courses are made through the University’s online application system.
When completing your application please ensure that you give full details of all your qualifications to date. It is also important that your personal statement fully reflects your commitment to the career path to which the programme relates.
Applicants must satisfy the general entry requirements above.
In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant experiential learning (APEL), a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of the learning outcomes of the entry requirements may be considered as an alternative entrance route.
- September 2019
Fees and funding
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Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees
- Northern Ireland & EU:
- £14,060.00 Scholarships available
Where the postgraduate course selected offers multiple awards (e.g. PG Cert, PG Dip, Master’s), please note that the price displayed is for the complete master’s programme. Postgraduate certificates and diplomas are charged at a pro-rata basis. Find out more
Scholarships, awards and prizes
The Association for Project Management (APM) presents an annual prize for the Best Overall Student on the MSc Programme.
Quigg Golden present an annual prize for the Best Construction Law & Practice related MSc Dissertation.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) presents a prize for the best student on a post graduate course to a current member of the Institute.
Additional mandatory costs
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
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‘The course was invaluable in developing my business and project management knowledge and skills, and has contributed significantly to my career development’
Francis Marsh: Principal Project Manager - Health Estates
‘Since starting this MSc I have been promoted four times from graduate to a senior position – this course has been invaluable in progressing my career.’
Karen Crilly: Client Sponsor – Department of Justice
The decision to start the course was driven mainly by the economic situation at the time. I felt that getting further qualifications would help make me more employable in the type of site management role I was already in. In reality, completing the programme opened up a whole new sphere of employment to me. The course enabled me to apply for jobs at the commercial and contractual end of construction. Within 18 months of leaving the course, my salary was double what it was when I left employment to start the course. A very demanding but equally rewarding course of study, the Master's course at Ulster University is one that I am sure will continue to serve me well for the rest of my career.
Michael Yohanis - Project Manager
“Having a career within the construction industry has been a long established personal and career goal. I felt that getting higher qualifications would enhance my employability within the sector. The course was invaluable in developing my construction business and management knowledge and skills and has contributed significantly to my career development. Following the course, I progressed to a Project Manager position working on projects in excess of £100m.”
Robert McAuley - Project Manager