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Construction Project Management

MSc / PGDip / PGCert

School of the Built Environment

Accredited by Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).

The MSc in Construction Project Management (CPM) uses an innovative structure and integrative use of the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to deliver a flexible and exciting programme of study. It is designed to meet the challenging demands of the modern learner and the rapidly evolving needs of built environment professionals.

We continuously and extensively consult with construction companies and organisations in order to make sure that the course content remains practically relevant for the modern construction manager. 

The MSc is available both as a one year full-time programme (16 months if starting in January), and in open-learning mode normally taken over two years (27 Months if starting in January) and is extendable up to a maximum of 5 years.

You may choose to exit at the PGCert or PGDip stage, but please note that these exit awards are not accredited by RICS or CIOB. 

Available start dates

September 2019 / January 2020 / September 2020

Teaching location

Headington Campus / Distance learning

Course length

  • Full time: 13 months (Sept start), 17 months (Jan start)
  • Part time: Distance learning only - 25 months (Sept start), 29 months (Jan start)

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • Accreditation by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) demonstrates professional recognition of the quality of our programme.
  • Strong links with prominent companies in the sector, such as Mace, Willmott Dixon and BAM Construction who are all represented in our Professional Liaison Group (PLG), which exists to provide advice on existing and proposed courses of study, on research activities and consultancy work.
  • The programme adopts an applied learning approach to ensure that it is real-world focused and holistic. Not only is this more effective, it is more fun than the traditional study and examination approach.
  • Students develop a broad range of management skills and knowledge including Building Information Modelling (BIM), project finance, technology, and procurement by working on real-life or realistic problems as experienced by the construction industry, consultants and clients. 
  • The course is directly tailored to students with a background in the construction industries who want to develop their careers as Construction Managers - and our graduates go on to further their careers locally, nationally and globally.
  • Our staff have strong links with local companies and sit on professional committees including CIOB and Constructing Excellence.

There are two modes of delivery for the MSc CPM: 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, email, telephone and Skype.

Intensive Study Periods - all students attend four intensive study periods during their programme and these are normally around 3 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 open-learning 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 that are some of the major features.

Applied or Problem Based Learning - We have responded to requests from industry to make our postgraduate education more practical by using an ‘applied’ approach to learning, sometimes called “Problem Based Learning” or PBL. This approach encourages learning by allowing students to actively puzzle through problems that are adapted from complex real situations. 

As real problems cross discipline boundaries and require research and collaboration, we use our links with industrial practitioners to help devise the problems we use in class. This leads to a more exciting and relevant student experience. 

Module Outlines

People, Leadership and Organisations aims to develop the students’ knowledge and understanding of how behavioural and organisational issues influence project performance and how they can be harnessed to effectively deliver projects. 

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 students to manage projects within the built environment through the use of advanced planning and control techniques. Students 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.  

Process Management develops the necessary skills for managing procurement effectively and efficiently; the key processes which ultimately dictate project success. Starting with critical evaluation of the project life cycle, the module explores a number of alternative procurement methods whilst placing significant emphasis on supply chain collaboration and integration. Moreover, an examination of the contractual arrangements between the parties of the supply chain as well as sources of disputes and conflict management is also made. 

The module also investigates further key aspects of construction project management such as Health and Safety, Quality and Environmental Management. Project success and team performance criteria are also considered while a more efficient project delivery system is suggested by exploring supply chain development and lean thinking.

Advanced Technology and BIM recognises that the current challenge of The UK construction industry is to find innovative solutions to meet the demands of a rapidly changing world. Sustainable Construction, Off-Site Construction and Smart Technologies are some of the methods being developed to deliver a high quality, productive and more sustainable built environment for our future generations. 

Though yet to be fully incorporated into standard practice, Building Information Modelling (BIM) is the emergent technology that is becoming the fundamental vehicle in driving and delivering these innovations. This module therefore explores both advanced construction technologies and innovations and the use of BIM in managing and organising construction project information

Applied Research Methods provides students 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 students with an overview of particular research techniques such that they can choose and develop those tools most appropriate to their particular research project. 

Your dissertation follows on from Applied Research Methods and aims not only to generate new knowledge or insights but also to develop students’ capacities to undertake rigorous research, to plan and execute an extended project and to communicate complex ideas effectively in words and graphically. You will work with a supervisor from within the department to produce an original piece of work of publishable quality through conducting their own primary research and presenting their findings in a professional manner.

Please note: as our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those listed here.

Teaching and learning

Teaching, learning and assessment methods are to a considerable degree determined by the use of the applied learning approach which 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, when students in both modes of study come together, complement this delivery pattern.  

For the open-learner, the virtual learning environment is the primary mode of delivery. Communication with open-learning students will be supplemented by email and telephone during the periods off-campus.

Student Body

The programme attracts students from diverse backgrounds and locations. Students will normally hold degrees in fields within the realm of the built environment including Civil Engineering, Construction, Architecture and Building, and have decided to contribute to the development of the built environment around us by effectively managing construction projects. 

Our students hail from as far afield as Nigeria, Russia and India, with backgrounds ranging from recently graduated at undergraduate level, to working with small local companies, to fully established managers in large international construction companies. This diverse group of students bring with them individual responses to the applied learning approach that is at the core of our course delivery.

Typically the open-learning students are employed by a number of different organisations from the private and public sectors in different countries. They have the opportunity to share their experiences in order to gain better understanding of the industry, the range of challenges that Construction Project Managers face, and therefore the breadth of skills that they need to develop in order to perform successfully. 

Our full-time students benefit from contact with the open-learning students engaged in construction project management roles in a variety of built environment projects across many countries.

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. 

There is one compulsory European field trip which takes place at the end of January - usually to the Netherlands. This is heavily subsidised by the department.

As well as bringing together full-time and distance learning students, the aim of this field trip is to integrate knowledge gained in the early part of the programme, to develop team skills and to build relationships. 

You will gain exposure to project management practices outside of the UK, and be assessed on your ability to observe and report on the different approaches to project management in the UK and overseas. 

The field trip normally consists of visits to prominent construction/engineering projects and sites, plus architectural attractions, both en route and at the destination. You are introduced to the development and planning practices at the destination, as well as having the opportunity to visit major complex projects.

Additional costs

The European Field Trip

The European Field Trip takes place at the end of January for the duration of five days and four nights. Heavily subsidised by the School, a coach is also provided to transport students and staff from Oxford Brookes to the field trip destination. Students are asked to cover the following expenses:

  • A contribution towards accommodation (around £100)
  • Travel expenses if student chooses to fly direct to the destination or to join the coach at Oxford Brookes
  • Lunches and evening meals
  • Any other personal expenditures

Study Periods

Twice a year distance learners are invited to join the full time students on campus for a three day intensive study period. Distance learners must find their own accommodation and are asked to cover expenses for:

  • Travel
  • Accommodation
  • Food

Protective Clothing

In order to attend site visits as part of the programme of study, we ask that students provide their own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

  • Safety boots
  • Hard hat
  • High visibility vest
  • Eye protection
  • Gloves


There are no specific course texts that we require students to buy. Since the programme can be studied in the distance learning mode, we ensure that there is a comprehensive list of ebooks and ejournals available addressing module content.

 Printing and Binding

All coursework must be submitted online via the Virtual Learning Environment. Therefore there are no required printing costs for the core modules. We do however ask for two printed copies of the final dissertation, one soft and one hard bound. Dissertation hard binding costs around £35.00.

Programme changes

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2019/20: £7,270 2020/21: £9,000

Home/EU - distance learning fee: 2019/20: £3,710 2020/21: £4,500

International - full time: 2019/20: £14,000 2020/21: £14,700

International - distance learning fee: 2019/20: £6,080 2020/21: £7,350

Where part time fees are quoted this is for the first year only. Fees will increase by up to 4% each year.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

Entry requirements

The course is open to applicants who hold a 2.1 undergraduate honours degree (or international equivalent) in a construction-related discipline.
We will actively consider applications from candidates with lower degrees, who can evidence substantiated & relevant experience in construction.
Industry professionals with suitable practice qualifications (e.g MRICS, MCIOB) - demonstrating ability to study at master's level, are also encouraged to apply.
For Distance-Learning study, it is recommended that applicants have at least six months work experience in the construction sector.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English you will require a minimum academic IELTS score of 6.5 overall with 6.0 in all components.


An equivalent English language qualification acceptable to the University.

Please also see the university's standard English language requirements

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the university's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

International applications

Preparation courses for International and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.

  • Take our Pre-Master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course.
  • If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.

How to apply

There is no formal application deadline (recruitment closes when teaching capacity is reached). However, we advise applying in good advance to secure places, and allow sufficient time for applications to be reviewed. 
Applicants should also factor any time needed to meet offer conditions, arrange accommodation, and obtain a UK Tier 4 visa (if applicable).

Distance-Learning study requires additional Faculty preparation - therefore this mode can sometimes close sooner than on-campus study.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

How this course helps you develop

Many construction and development companies visit the department annually to meet students for graduate positions. Our graduates are recognised as having an excellent level of communication, presentation and problem-solving skills.


All of our distance learning students are employed full time by prominent companies in the sector. 

Full time students find similar employment shortly after graduation. They typically hold (Assistant) Project Manager positions. However, the breadth of knowledge that our students gain gives them the flexibility to function effectively in a number of different roles.

Local and national construction companies, developers, project managers, house-builders, surveyors and housing associations regularly recruit our graduates.

Many graduates are employed globally - including in India, Pakistan, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Peru, the Middle East and China.

How Brookes supports postgraduate students

We work closely with our International Centre to help students whose first language is not English. All international students are registered on appropriate courses during the first semester so that they can develop their academic writing skills. They then take extra classes on dissertation writing in the second semester. 

Continuous assessment and feedback are other means through which we support our students. The PGCert modules in particular are designed so that our students have the opportunity to learn from the feedback that they receive in order to improve their academic performance.

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Research highlights

Many of our academic staff are involved in academic research and/or professional/commercial consultancy work. In the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), our Unit of Assessment (UoA 16) ranked 4th within the University in terms of its Grade Point Average (GPA). We hold the 11th position in terms of Research Impact and Power Rating (GPA x number of full time equivalent staff submitted) among the 45 institutions that submitted to our unit of assessment.

Many members of staff are part of the Oxford Institute of Sustainable Development (OISD). This research and promotional organisation is noted for its work on sustainable technology in buildings and sustainable urban form among many ongoing projects. 

A recent HEFCE report into sustainable development in higher education in England suggests that the OISD is one of the key players in sustainable development research.

Research areas and clusters

Areas of interest include:
  • sustainability, adaptation and resilience to climate change
  • Building Information Modelling (BIM)     
  • collaborative supply networks for procurement and delivery of project
  • building economics
  • forecasting techniques
  • risk management
  • social networks in project environments
  • managing complex projects
  • management of knowledge and innovation as a source of competitive advantage
  • adaptive re-use of existing buildings
  • facilities management
  • health and safety.