2022/23 Full-time Postgraduate course
Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, Master of Science
Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment
Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment
Upskilling construction managers and industry leaders to excel in a rapidly evolving sector
The construction industry is evolving dramatically in terms of how complex projects are planned, procured, financed and delivered. Competent construction managers are in high demand and must be at the forefront of this change. This course will develop the core competencies required for you to take a lead in the delivery of built assets that will help shape future resilient, healthy and sustainable communities. You will explore a range of topical issues centred around the core themes of project, financial and dispute management; construction procurement; organisation and leadership; legal studies; and built asset management.
Ranked 5th in the UK for courses related to ‘Building’ (The Sunday Times, 2019; Complete University Guide 2020) and with 100% of our built environment-linked impact and research ranked as world leading and internationally excellent (REF 2014), Ulster University is one of the top choices for studying construction management. Your studies will be centred around challenging real-life case studies and delivered by academic staff with considerable hands on experience and prominent guest lectures from industry. The course is practically focussed, overseen by a panel of experts from leading construction companies and is aimed wholly at boosting your managerial-level career prospects.
This course is suitable for both recent graduates and working professionals from a range of fields including architecture, building, engineering, quantity surveying, structural engineering, facilities maintenance and town planning.
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In conventional full-time study mode (commencing in September), you will complete all modules within one academic year to graduate with an MSc degree. This will include four taught modules in Semesters 1 (Sep-Jan), four taught modules in Semester 2 (Jan-May) and a dissertation module in Semester 3 (May-Sep).
If you commence the course in January, completion will take approximately a year and a half to graduate with an MSc degree. This will include four taught modules in Semester 2 (Jan-May), four taught modules in Semester 1 (Sep-Jan) and a dissertation module in Semester 2 (January-May/June).
Irrespective of when you commence, you can alternatively graduate with a Postgraduate Diploma (eight taught modules across Semesters 1 and 2) or a Postgraduate Certificate (four taught modules in Semester 1 and/or 2).
Attendance in Semesters 1 and 2 will be largely classroom-based in four blocks of 5 consecutive days (Mon-Fri, 09.15-17.15), with approximately three-week intervals between each block.
You will use the periods between teaching blocks for self-directed study and to undertake assignments and coursework. You will also be required to maintain contact with the course team and classmates via on-line discussion forums during this time, particularly for assigned group-work.
Attendance in Semester 3 is more flexible, typically involving regular scheduled meetings with your assigned dissertation supervisor to discuss your progress.
Teaching is delivered primarily through lectures, case study investigations, simulations, tutorials, computer laboratory workshops, group work assignments and seminars, as well as presentations from industry professionals.
Course materials will be available online, offering you flexibility to study at your own pace, place and time. One-to-one sessions with tutors will also be provided to support your learning.
We strive to incorporate teaching methods that encourage and reward logical and lateral thinking, individual reading, an investigative spirit, synthesis of interrelated topics, critical reflection and reasoned judgements based on available evidence.
Your work will be 100% coursework based allowing continual feedback on your progress. Examlpes of coursework submissions include written essays, oral/poster presentations and contributions to problem-based simulation exercises.
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:
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 teaching staff on this course collectively bring decades of industry experience to the classroom, ensuring a challenging, practically-focused and rewarding learning experience.
Students on the course consistently feedback that the teaching staff are well-informed, entheusiastic and approachable.
Core teaching staff on the course includes:
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.
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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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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.
Infrastructure investment is critical to the vibrant functioning of society. Ergo every citizen is impacted by the investment made into infrastructure projects. Despite the prime importance of infrastructure investment, nationally governments cannot fund all of society's infrastructure requirements.
This module explores the key models on financing major projects and infrastructure works whilst critically acknowledging the inherent challenges in successfully securing the necessary funding.
Fundamentally this module delivers robust, innovative, and contemporary solutions to the financing and investment in major and infrastructure projects.
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 robust appreciation of the importance of infrastructure to all in society. In doing so, you will be able to discern the key stakeholders involved in procuring infrastructure and acknowledge the inherent challenges facing stakeholders in successfully procuring infrastructure.
You will be given the opportunity to appraise the innovative and best practice methods of procuring infrastructure, both nationally and regionally. Furthermore, this module, will provide you the opportunity to discuss the challenges of governance, funding and Brexit, on the long term procurement and delivery of essential infrastructure and major projects.
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 in a sustainable manner taking into consideration 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.
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.
This module enables the student to undertake an independent in-depth study of a particular aspect of Construction Management. It facilitates development of 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.
This module provides students with an insight into the myriad of issues associated with contractors' 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);
Please note that for purposes of entry to this course the Level 2 Certificate in Essential Skills - Application of Number is NOT regarded as an acceptable alternative to GCSE Maths.
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 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.
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Our graduates find employment locally, nationally and internationally with construction, consulting and client organisations.
In addition to the UK and Ireland, alumini of the course 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.
There is no formal opportunity for work placement or study abroad when studying in full-time mode.
If more appropriate, you can complete the course in part-time study mode over a three-year period; an approach enabling a more flexible combination of work and study.
Accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) for the purpose of graduate membership.
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For additional information on the breakdown of Postgraduate fees, please visit;
The course is well supported by local industry and student performance is recognised each year at a high-profile awards cermony attended by supporting companies, organisations and alumni.
Examples of annual prizes include:
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.
"This 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
"Completing this course 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 graduating, my salary was double what it was when I left employment to start the course."
Michael Yohanis - Project Manager
“This course was invaluable in developing my construction leadership and management knowledge 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