MSc Project Management

Developing tomorrow's project leaders in construction

RICS small logoCIOB smallProject 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. While this definition continues to provide a good starting point, the reality of modern project management is extremely complex. Client organisations are often pluralistic, comprising multiple stakeholders with different objectives. The complexity of the construction process thus leads to inherent uncertainty. The role of the project manager is to integrate the various sectors of the industry in order to manage key interfaces throughout the project supply chain. Therefore, the successful project manager must have the ability to integrate and lead a multi-disciplinary team in uncertainty. Effective leadership and sensitivity to human issues are vital. Modern clients demand an integrated and effective approach to the management of their construction projects. The discipline of project management continues to evolve and the Reading MSc in Project Management is at the forefront of these developments.

The distinctive focus is on the strategic management of projects, programmes and portfolios.

The aim of the programme is to provide a coherent framework for the discipline and practice of project management. Each module includes a number of sessions delivered by leading practitioners. The programme is continually informed not only by the latest developments in industry, but also by on-going international research.

A recurring theme throughout the programme concerns the dynamic nature of construction projects. Not only is it necessary to set clear objectives at the beginning of a project, it is also important to update them continually as the project unfolds.

A further theme is provided by the need for project managers to provide leadership. This requires a high level of interpersonal skills to motivate diverse team members towards the realisation of project success. Effective project management requires a sound knowledge of tools and techniques. It also requires an ability to think strategically. Traditionally, notions of command and control have to be matched with an ability to manage 'soft' issues. People management is central to the art of project management

A particular emphasis is given to the early stages of construction projects and the interface with complex clients; projects are rarely carried out in isolation.

A career in construction project management

The programme is intended for those who wish to progress to a project management role, or acquire a broader understanding of the project management process. The programme will appeal to professionals from a variety of backgrounds:

  • Client representatives
  • Project sponsors
  • Architects
  • Civil engineers
  • Structural engineers
  • Quantity surveyors
  • Management consultants
  • Construction managers
  • Specialist contractors
  • Facilities managers

The programme will benefit anyone who wishes to improve their understanding of project management and underpin their practical experience with a robust conceptual framework.

Graduates will typically find employment as a project manager with public and private sector clients, consultants, architectural practices or contractors in the building, civil engineering or oil & gas sectors.

Programme modules

Core Modules

  • Dissertation and Research Skills
  • Principles and Practice of Project Management
  • An Introduction to Project Management
  • Human Resources Management
  • Construction Contract Law
  • Design Management

Optional: Four from the list of optional modules

  • Financial and Management Accounting
  • International Construction
  • Information Systems in Construction
  • Urban Sustainable Development in Emerging Economies
  • Building Information Modelling
  • Construction Economics
  • Construction Cost Engineering
  • Advanced Visualisation
  • New Technology, Management and Change
  • Analysing Construction Processes
  • Strategic Management
  • Sustainable Design, Construction and Operation
  • Innovative Developments in Construction
  • Real Estate Development: Analysis and Appraisal


The dissertation is a major individual research project. Guidance will be given on choosing a research topic, research techniques and the style and presentation of the finished document. Classes in research skills are provided as part of the dissertation module. Students will have their own carefully selected dissertation tutor whose role is to help them plan and successfully execute this key part of the programme.

Previously completed titles

  • Integrated collaborative design process: a case study of team communication in a building project in practice
  • The implementation of build-own-operate-transfer projects: a case study from the Sultanate of Oman
  • The development and impact of long-term construction framework agreements within local government
  • The use of private finance in the National Health Service: 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

Programme organisation

The programme is a one-year, full-time modular programme. It is taught with ten, one-week attendance periods at the University. The full-time programme starts in October each year.

Flexible part-time
The programme is a two-year, part-time modular programme. It is taught with ten, one-week attendance periods at the University. The duration of the flexible route is strongly recommended as two years, but this is not fixed. The flexible programme starts in October or January each year.

Entry requirements

Applicants are normally required to have a good undergraduate honours degree in any subject. Candidates with a lesser degree and relevant professional qualifications (e.g. MRICS, MCIOB, MICE) will also be considered.

The programme is available on a flexible part-time and full-time basis.

Download the MSc Project Management Brochure here 


The University of Reading offers a limited number of scholarships and bursaries to UK and EU students. Please note that there is considerable competition for all these sources of funds.

For information on all forms of funding and scholarships, see:

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