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Project Management in the Built Environment

PGDip or PGCert or MSc

Key facts


Start dates

January 2020 / September 2020

Location

Headington

Course length

Full time: Sept start (13 months), Jan start (17 months – including summer break)

Part time: Sept start (25 months), Jan start (29 months – including summer break)

Department

School of the Built Environment

Accreditation(s)

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors; Chartered Institute of Building

  • Chartered Institute of Building
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

Overview


Our MSc in Project Management in the Built Environment is ideal for anyone with ambitions to manage projects within the sector. The course is designed to meet the growing demand for project managers in the industry who can oversee the entire life cycle of any project, including unique and specialist developments.

We consult with companies and organisations to ensure our course content retains practical relevance. Our Professional Liaison Group (PLG) is made up of practitioners in the field. They provide advice on existing and proposed courses of study, on research activities and consultancy work.

We have strong links with prominent companies in the sector, such as Mace, Willmott Dixon and BAM Construction. Our alumni network spans the globe, working in countries including:

  • Malaysia
  • South Africa
  • Russia
  • Turkey
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • USA.

The MSc is available as a one-year, full-time (FT) programme. Or as a distance-learning (DL) programme, which is normally taken over two years and is extendable up to five years.

Male students talking

How to apply


Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

The course is open to applicants who hold a 2.1 undergraduate honours degree (or international equivalent) in any 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.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

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.

OR

An equivalent English language qualification acceptable to the University.

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences

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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.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.

Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.

If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.

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.

Application process

We advise applying in advance to secure places, and allow sufficient time for applications to be reviewed.

There is no formal application deadline (recruitment closes when teaching capacity is reached). 

Applicants should also factor any time needed to meet offer conditions, arrange accommodation, and obtain a UK Tier 4 visa (if applicable).

Apply now

Tuition fees


Please see the fees note
Home/EU full time
£7,270

Home/EU distance learning
£3,710

International full time
£14,000

International distance learning
£6,080

Home/EU full time
£9,000

Home/EU distance learning
£4,500

International full time
£14,700

International distance learning
£7,350

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees


2019/20
Home/EU full time
£7,270

Home/EU distance learning
£3,710

International full time
£14,000

International distance learning
£6,080

2020/21
Home/EU full time
£9,000

Home/EU distance learning
£4,500

International full time
£14,700

International distance learning
£7,350

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year your fees will increase 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 below.

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

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 below.

This course includes an optional field trip. The majority of the costs are subsidised by the School. A coach is also provided to transport students and staff from Oxford Brookes to the field trip destination. You will need to pay for the following expenses:

  • a contribution towards accommodation (around £150)
  • travel expenses if you choose to fly direct to the destination or to join the coach at Oxford Brookes
  • lunches and evening meals
  • any other personal expenditures.

Intensive study periods: for distance learners, there is the option to attend a three-day Intensive Study
Period on campus each semester. Students to arrange own travel, accommodation and food.

Students are required to provide the following Personal Protection Equipment (PPE):

  • Safety shoes/boots
  • Hard hat
  • Hi-visibility vest/jacket.

Learning and assessment


Modes of study
There are two modes of delivery for this course:

  • full-time on campus
  • distance learning.

There are two entry points - September and January.

The PGCert and PGDip are offered as 'exit' awards. If you would like to graduate with one of these awards, you should also apply for a MSc place in the first instance. Please note that these awards are not accredited by RICS or CIOB.

For full-time students lectures are held on two set days every week.

For distance learners, the virtual learning environment (VLE) is the primary mode of delivery. Students are supported by email, Skype, on-line lectures and telephone, and are welcome to attend all lectures on campus. Distance learners are advised to spend two evenings per week and one whole day per weekend on their studies. 

There are also intensive study periods and a European field trip, when students in both modes of study come together (optional for distance learners). 

Male student working in class

Study modules

The modules listed below are for the master's award. For the PGDip and PGCert awards your module choices may be different. Please contact us for more details.

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

People, Leadership and Organisations

This module 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 resolution strategies and negotiation; and learning from experience in project environments. These themes are studied 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

This module 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.

Construction Law and Procurement

This module starts with the consideration of project procedure and participants and their roles in different types of projects in the built environment. Through the aspects of law needed to understand construction procurement and contracts, to the various forms of building contracts and procurement procedures, the module covers alternative procurement routes and current trends in procurement in both the public and private sectors, placing a particular emphasis on collaboration and best practice. Furthermore, it covers the basics of planning law and building regulations and looks at specific issues related to contract terms, professional liability and property torts.

Managing Technology for Sustainable Environments

Design techniques and technological innovations and how they are used and 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 later in the process. It also recognises that design and construction are 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. There is also an examination of the design and building processes, and the end-product-buildings, as continuously changing entities. Students should not study developments in design and 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.

Applied Research Methods

This module 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 Dissertation.

Final project

Compulsory modules

Dissertation

This 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. Each student will work with a supervisor from within the School to produce an original piece of work of publishable quality, generally, 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 that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

Working in response to the industry we have made our courses more practical by using an 'applied' approach to learning. This is sometimes called 'problem based learning' or PBL. With this approach you learn by working through problems that are adapted from complex, real situations. 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.

Field trips

An optional field trip to Europe takes place over a five-day period towards the end of January.

The field trip exposes you to European project management practices, allowing you to:

  • consolidate the knowledge gained in the early part of the course
  • develop team and other relationships
  • assess your ability to observe and report on the different approaches to project management in the UK and in a European country.

The trip normally consists of visits to prominent construction/engineering projects and sites. Plus architectural attractions, both en route and at the destination. You will be introduced to the development and planning practices at the destination. And you will have the opportunity to visit major complex projects.

The majority of the costs are subsidised by the School but there are some additional costs. Please see the Additional costs section of this page for details.

Assessment

Assessment methods used on this course

Assessment is designed to equip students with the skills required for employment in
the Construction Industries and includes:

  • Presentations
  • Report writing
  • Briefing documents
  • BIM modelling
  • Spreadsheets
  • Online quizzes

All assessment is 100% coursework, there are no exams.

Research


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. Areas of research expertise include:

  • Climate change and sustainable construction
  • Carbon foot printing and waste management
  • Collaborative planning and supply network management
  • Procurement, Project and Process management
  • Whole-life cost and value modelling
  • Risk analysis and management
  • Lean construction and applied operations research
  • Sustainable building maintenance
  • Emerging technologies and innovations for sustainable buildings
  • Social networks and innovation diffusion
  • Information and knowledge management
  • Advanced ICT and applied artificial intelligence
  • Knowledge-based decision support systems
  • Building Information Modelling (BIM)
  • Virtual prototyping
  • Building informatics.

After you graduate


Career prospects

Graduates of the School of the Built Environment have an outstanding employment record. Usually, 100% of the graduates of MSc PMBE are in employment within six months after graduation. 

Local, national and international construction  companies, developers, project management consultancies, house builders, surveyors and housing associations regularly recruit our graduates.

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

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.

Many graduates are employed globally, including in:

  • India
  • Pakistan
  • South Africa
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Peru
  • The Middle East
  • China.

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.