There are two modes of delivery for the MSc QSCM: full time on campus or distance learning, and there are two entry points - September or January.
Extensive online learning material is provided to all students via the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) - our own intranet site to which students have access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Module leaders can be contacted via the VLE, e mail, telephone and Skype.
Intensive Study Periods - all students attend four intensive study periods during their programme each being around three days long. Students and staff enjoy these intensive sessions as they are able to share experiences and knowledge as well as renew friendships and make connections within the industry and the distance earning students get the opportunity to meet face-to-face with staff.
The organisation and the collaborative nature of these intensive study periods is always praised by our students who particularly like the site visits, workshops and guest lectures from industry experts.
European Field trip -To expose our students to the international nature of the construction industries, we also run a week long subsidised fieldtrip to Europe (usually Holland) every year in January. Feedback shows our students highly value this opportunity get to know how construction in other countries works to different management cultures.
Applied or Problem-Based Learning - We have responded to requests from industry to make our postgraduate education more practical and industry focused by using an ‘applied’ approach to learning, sometimes called “Problem-Based Learning” or PBL. This approach encourages learning by allowing you to actively puzzle through problems that are adapted from complex real-life situations. We use our links with industrial practitioners to help devise these problems and, as construction problems often cross discipline boundaries, they require research and collaboration to find their solutions. This leads to a more exciting and relevant student experience.
People, Leadership and Organisations: aims to develop your knowledge and understanding of how behavioural and organisational issues influence project performance.
It includes an overview of management approaches, an exploration of the issues around understanding self and understanding others, team theory and leadership, communication, conflict theory and resolution, conflict resolution strategies and learning from experience in project environments and also conflict and negotiation in the context of personal and cultural differences.
To a large extent the module adopts a problem based learning (PBL) approach. Here, PBL is facilitated through problem solving exercises that are based on prominent case studies and game play exercises.
Project Planning, Control and Risk: prepares you to manage projects within the built environment through the use of advanced planning and control techniques. You will learn and apply a range of skills in project planning, scheduling, monitoring and control that includes cash flow and capital expenditure analysis, value management, risk and opportunity management and the use of software-based decision support tools as used in industry.
Managing Technology for Sustainable Environments: Technological innovations and how they are managed are key elements in the development of our built environment. This module introduces these as considerations that should be made at the inception and briefing stages of a project, not as afterthoughts. It also recognises that construction is not devoid of the human dimension - the contexts within which a construction project is situated, including influences of climate, culture, and surrounding and supporting infrastructures are also important. Thus you don’t study developments of technology in isolation, but as part of a continuously innovating industry. In this respect, managing Building Information Modelling (BIM), developments in off-site construction and Low Carbon Construction are covered as part of the module.
Quantity Surveying Practice: The financial management of project design and construction, whether for client or contractor, is an essential skill in the construction industry. This module helps you to develop this skill. It is designed to initially develop your understanding of the fundamental principles for building and civil engineering measurement. You will gain a good understanding of the standard methods of measurement such as NRM2 and CESMM4, develop quantity take-off skills and understand the key roles and responsibilities of a professional quantity surveyor with particular reference to the construction tendering process and use of BIM.
Examination and production of costs associated with a range of construction operations and projects are covered in the latter part of the module. You study the principles and methodology in the computation of construction costs throughout a project’s life cycle, including relevant commercial factors and risk. This involves identifying and assessing all direct and indirect costs related to construction works as well as developing an understanding of the factors to be considered at tender adjudication.
The module also equips you to administer and manage building contracts. A wide range of contractual issues are discussed including: payment valuation, variation assessment and claims evaluation. You learn and apply a range of skills in basic contract law and tort, identifying and choosing alternative procurement methods, dispute resolution techniques used in construction and supply chain and commercial management. Professional ethics and employers’ protection mechanisms such as performance bond, guarantee and insurance provisions under common contract conditions are also explored.
Applied Research Methods provides you with the fundamentals of research design highlighting the difference between qualitative and quantitative research paradigms and demonstrates how data can be both gathered and analysed and how deductive arguments can be used to produce valid generalisations from data. It also provides you with an overview of particular research techniques such that they can choose and develop those tools most appropriate to their particular research project.
The dissertation follows on from Applied Research Methods and aims not only to generate new knowledge or insights but also to develop your capacity to undertake rigorous research, to plan and execute an extended project and to communicate complex ideas effectively in words and graphically. By conducting your own primary research, you work with a supervisor from within the department to produce an original piece of work of publishable quality.
Please note: as our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, modules available may differ from those shown here.
Teaching and learning
Teaching, learning and assessment methods are to a considerable degree shaped by the use of the applied learning approach. This leads to a more challenging and industrially relevant course than the traditional lecture approach.
Learning takes place through groups of students puzzling through problems, often adapted from real situations with much of the complexity and context intact, using published resources, or reference to experts who are available to offer advice.
In full-time mode, the delivery of new material is weekly with intermediate tutorial or seminar sessions. The intensive study weeks and a European field-trip, wherein students in both modes of study come together, complement this delivery pattern.
For the distance learner, the virtual learning environment is the primary mode of delivery. Communication with distance learning students will be supplemented by email, Skype and telephone.
Approach to assessment Assessment is 100% coursework, which includes a great variety of types of work, including quizzes taken remotely on Moodle (Brookes online learning environment). Material can be downloaded from our virtual learning environment and closed discussions can take place. It also enables on campus and distance learning students to remain in contact with each other.
Field trips There are a number of field trips and site visits which take place mainly during the intensive study periods.
The European field trip is compulsory and organised by the School. Students pay £100 towards the costs. Fees for the study periods are inclusive, but distance learners would need to budget for travelling to the University, and for accommodation and food.
The programme attracts students from diverse backgrounds and locations. Our students hail from as far afield as Nigeria, Russia and India, with backgrounds ranging from the recently graduated, to employees of small local companies, to fully established managers in large international construction companies. This diverse group brings a plethora of individual responses to the applied learning approach that is at the core of our course delivery.
Typically distance learning students are employed in many different countries by a range of organisations from both the private and public sectors. By coming together in the intensive study periods, they have the opportunity to share their experiences in order to gain a broader understanding of the industry and the range of challenges that Construction Project Managers face. Correspondingly our full time students benefit from contact with the distance learning students, whilst our distance learning students benefit from the inclusion in a learning culture that the full time students bring.