MSc Project Management

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The School of Construction Management and Engineering at the University of Reading has a world class reputation in construction project management education. The Reading MSc programme draws its authority from the international standing of its tutors. The academic excellence of their research is enhanced by up-to-date practical experience gained through consultancy commissions. The programme content is continually refined and updated to reflect best practice in a changing and increasingly international industry.

Project management is traditionally described in terms of the overall planning, control and co-ordination of a project from inception to completion aimed at meeting a client's requirements and ensuring completion within specified constraints of time, cost and quality. Whilst this accepted definition continues to provide a good starting point, the reality of modern project management is becoming increasingly complex. Client organisations are often extremely complex, comprising multiple stakeholders with different, sometimes conflicting, objectives. Projects rarely unfold in conditions of certainty. Modern clients demand a more integrated and effective approach to the management of their construction projects. Traditional techniques such as planning and cost control must be combined with an ability to manage key interfaces throughout the project supply chain. The process of project definition is frequently an iterative process requiring project managers to work closely with designers and client representatives. New procurement methods bring new opportunities and new challenges. Capital projects are often of strategic importance to business success and require advanced levels of project management knowledge and skills.

The Reading MSc in Project Management has been specifically designed to develop tomorrow's leaders in the construction industry. The well-established practitioners who are most likely to benefit from an advanced university course are usually least able to contemplate interrupting their careers for full-time study or frequent day release. The immensely popular modular MSc programme at the School of Construction Management and Engineering of the University of Reading provides a practical block release format. Eight module weeks at the University of Reading spread over one year for full-time students and two years for part-time students are supplemented by practice-related assignments and a research-based dissertation.

The MSc in Project Management is accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Chartered Institute of Building.

Programme modules

MSc candidates must complete five core modules and four elective modules. Flexibility in the choice of elective modules enables candidates to tailor the programme to their own learning requirements.

Compulsory core modules

  • Principles of Project Management
  • Design Management
  • Human Resources Management
  • Construction Contract Law
  • Dissertation

Elective modules

  • Building Information Modelling
  • Construction Cost Engineering
  • International Construction
  • Innovative Developments in Construction
  • Construction Economics
  • Sustainable Design, Construction and Operation
  • Strategic Management
  • Real Estate Development: Analysis and Appraisal
  • Risk and Value Management
  • Construction Economics

Programme organisation

The MSc Project Management is available on full-time and part-time basis.

  • Full-time study mode: starts in October each year
  • Part-time study mode: two starting points each year; one in October and one in January

During this period of time, eight one-week periods of full-time attendance at the University are required. The modules are timetabled to start on Monday morning and continue to Friday afternoon. Each day will usually start with formal lectures, becoming more participative in the afternoon.


The dissertation is a major individual research project which must be completed by:

  • September of the first year for the one year full-time programme.
  • September of the second year for the two year part-time programme.

Guidance will be given on choosing a research topic, research techniques and the style and presentation of the finished document. In many cases, the topic is orientated towards a major problem or opportunity within a candidate's organisation.

Candidates will have their own carefully selected dissertation supervisor whose role is to help them plan and successfully execute this key part of the course. Recent dissertation titles include:

Integrated collaborative design (ICD) process: a case study of team communication in a building project in practice

The implementation of Build-Own/Operate-Transfer (BOT) projects: a case study from the Sultanate of Oman

The development and impact of long-term construction frameworks agreements within local government

The use of private finance in the National Health Service (NHS): long term partners or destined for separation?

Do standard forms of contract influence the effectiveness of incorporating change in construction contracts?

Pre-contract tender pricing considerations of supply chains in the UK construction industry

Learning from projects: an empirical study of project-based learning in a large UK building sector construction client

Entry requirements

The Reading MSc in Project Management is for men and women of proven competence who are seeking to reach beyond the limits of their own particular discipline towards a senior management role.

The course is highly regarded within the industry in the UK and internationally; many organisations sponsor candidates on a regular basis.

Candidates must possess a good degree or be a member of a relevant professional body. They will need the ability and commitment to sustain a rigorous programme of study.

MSc Project Management Programme is available on a one year full-time programme and two year part-time programme basis.

Download the MSc Project Management Brochure here (pdf-1mb)

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