Design and construction project management, MSc

120 credits (2 years)

Sign up for information
The construction industry is facing numerous changes. The pressing agenda towards a more sustainable society means that new materials, technology, methods and community needs are emerging. The complexity of these changes has created an increasing demand for knowledge and competences on top of basic construction project management skills. The overall goal of the programme is to train you as a student to analyse these changes and develop the necessary skills to solve the new challenges they create in a responsible and efficient manner.

Design and construction project management master's programme at Chalmers

The Design and construction project management master's programme aims at preparing technically qualified engineer students to the integrated management of the construction processes. It gives the students an advanced understanding of construction management by providing necessary tools, methods and theories relevant for the discipline and the practitioners as well as their application across the various phases of a project. The programme is designed to cover the entire construction process, such as early stages, design, construction production and facilities management. It presents an understanding of the sector complexity and the diversity of participating actors and stakeholders as well as their role in the process within the unique project-based environment of the industry.
The master's programme is intended to bridge between different worldviews, to exercise the ability to perceive and understand diverse perspectives and to support a reciprocal, mutual, understanding between actors in the construction sector such as user, client, architect, engineer, consultant, planner, or an economist.

To work as a manager in the built environment sector means having knowledge of construction-specific elements like technical, environmental, legal, and contractual demands. You as a student will also be trained in skills involving knowledge on project management, financial accounting, research methods, Building Information Modeling (BIM), logistics, productivity, and, real estate and facility management. The strong collaborative characteristics of the construction industry, where projects are carried out in a temporary and interdisciplinary environment also implies training and knowledge related to organizational culture, leadership, communication, teamwork, and decision making.
 

As a complement to your engineering degree, this programme offers a possibility to learn the competencies needed to perform on a high professional level in the construction and built environment sector. The programme is open to both engineers and architects, however, please observe that the Master's degree delivered is in engineering.

The programme prepares students for a long-lasting professional career by providing a broad repertoire of problem-solving methods and by integrating theory and practice to understand and manage the complexity in the actualization of a construction project. 

Building on the complementarity of different disciplines, the Design and Construction Project Management master's programme aims at providing you as future practitioners with a combination of prescriptive and analytical tools to face these challenges. The prescriptive tools aim at planning, organizing, managing and controlling the construction processes as well as addressing the individual, social and organizational aspects of the sector; the analytical tools, methods and theories, enable the future practitioners to develop a holistic view, be more reflexive about the context they evolve in and accordingly make informed decisions.

The programme offers a mixture of conventional lectures and seminars, supported by online resources and a variety of external sources of information. It benefits from the use of case studies, real-life projects and collaboration with industry. Student presentations and group work are important parts. To stimulate an efficient exchange of experiences and knowledge, a main pedagogical idea is to enhance your co-operation and communication.

Topics covered 

The subjects of construction management, and communication, are fundamental areas in the Design and construction project management master’s programme. The courses included in the programme plan handle topics such as real estate finance, leadership and service management.

Master's programme structure

The master's programme runs for a duration of two years, leading to a Master of Science (MSc) degree​. During each year, students can earn 60 credits (ECTS) and complete the programme by accumulating a total of 120 credits. Credits are earned by completing courses where each course is usually 7.5 credits. The programme consists of compulsory courses, compulsory elective courses and elective courses.

Compulsory courses year 1

During the first year the programme starts with four compulsory courses that form a common foundation in Design and construction project management. Each course is usually 7.5 credits.
  • Project management in construction
  • Financial management and accounting
  • Methods and enquiry in organization
  • Construction contract relationships​

Compulsory courses year 2

In the second year you must complete a master's thesis in order to graduate. The thesis may be worth 30 credits or 60 credits depending on your choice.
  • ​Master’s thesis 

Compulsory elective courses 

Through compulsory elective courses, you can then specialize in various subjects. ​​During year 1 and 2,  you need to select some compulsory elective courses out of the following in order to graduate.
  • Design management
  • Construction process and management
  • Life cycle engineering
  • Organisational change in construction
  • Environmental management
  • Logistics and supply chain in construction
  • Service management for construction and facilities 
  • Real estate finance and economics
  • Leadership and communication​

Elective courses 

You will also be able to select courses outside of your programme plan. These are called elective courses. You can choose from a wide range of elective courses.

Career

Career opportunities within Design and construction project management can be found in both public and private organizations. The challenges of mitigating climate change and urbanisation force the construction to develop continually and there is a need for competent engineers in this sector who are able to engage and transform the actual modes of production. Civil engineers with a strong background in management are sought after and will be so also in the future, both nationally and internationally. 

The core fields are projects focusing on planning, design, construction and facilities management. Examples of roles are working as a project manager in a construction project organization, working with project development at an architectural office, design manager in a consultancy firm, managing properties in a housing company, developing health care facilities or working in supportive functions such as purchasing, sustainability, quality, health and safety.

Our previous students have had a high level of employability within companies in engineering consulting like AFRY, WSP; contractors like Skanska, NCC, PEAB  or real estate like Vasakronan, Castellum, Wallenstam to name a few. Some students also hold positions in public organisations like municipalities or regions.

Research within Design and construction project management

The programme builds on several scientific disciplines and courses are given by three different departments at Chalmers University of Technology; Architecture and Civil Engineering, Technology Management and Economics and Energy and Environment. 

All teachers involved in the courses in this programme perform qualified research in management fields at both national and international levels and provide the students with updates on recent developments in the construction sector. The teachers also have close cooperation with the main actors in the industry and numerous practitioners are taking part in the courses. The integration of professional experience in education is an important part of the programme. Including practitioners during the courses gives the possibility to the students to apply theory and method in a concrete context and to test their new knowledge directly. 

The faculty and our students' collaborate closely with CMB, Centre for Management of the Built Environment, for example by providing a mentorship programme, especially for students in the master's programme or the possibility to follow a project manager, during their professional activities.

​​​​​​​Department of Energy and Environment​​

​​​​

Sustainable development

The programme is highly interlinked with the achievement of the UN Sustainable development goals (SDGs)​. The table below provides an overview of the sustainable development goals and the associated targets within the programme.
SDGs for Design and construction project management at Chalmers

Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Students and teachers in this programme cooperate to identify the challenges and needs for promoting an inclusive and sustainable built environment. Within the programme, there is also a constant collaboration with industrial partners in research and development projects aiming at improving the production of the built environment by including for example circularity principles. 

Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
The students in this programme will acquire knowledge to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable with initiatives such as social procurement or sustainable district.

Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production
The built environment is a major contributor to environmental degradation due to its consumption of non-renewable resources and emissions of CO2 (IEA, 2019). Students are presented with approaches and tools to reducing, reusing, recycling and rethinking waste and resources in the entire value chain.


Student interview

“The teachers are so passionate about their field"
Damilare, Nigeria, Design and construction project management​

Why did you choose this programme?
– I had my background in Civil engineering with core practice experience in Structural engineering. During my work experience where I was discharging the role of an internal consultant in a top construction firm, I had to take a step further to obtain a broader perspective of sustainability-focused management in the construction industry which eventually led me to Chalmers and Gothenburg. Interestingly enough, I have come to discover that the programme is not only focused on gaining digital skills, learning about financial management, and leadership with a central focus on sustainability. It is also about training to have a prepared and dynamic state of mind, being ready and able to communicate and execute innovative ideas independently and collaboratively to advance industrial growth.

What have you been working on?
– It has been an interesting and intense learning process so far. We had the opportunity to analyse companies from different lenses of sustainability like executing Life cycle assessments, auditing the quality of their performance, and investigating the financial status based on the respective case study reports provided. 
At every point of our studies, we are assigned to work individually and as a team towards specific goals to enhance communication skills, and embrace diversity and critical thinking. The goal is to become more efficient and pragmatic in handling problems with a sustainable mindset.

What do you like the most about your programme?
– It would be hard to choose what I like the most, as the structure so far has been great. We have teachers and guest lecturers that are active in the industry. They are extremely passionate about this field and are eager to share their experiences with us. They talk to us about the challenges they have been through, the pressures they dealt with towards fulfilling sustainability targets, green construction, digitalization, and the unexpected pandemic experience. Another thing that I love about my programme is that the students are involved and heard in decision-making that affects the future of the programme and its courses.

What do you want to do in the future?
– The possibilities are endless I believe, But I would love to have a first-hand experience in industry practice starting with a mentoring programme. Thereafter, there is a possibility to apply to an internship programme where graduates are trained in a company of their choice, in all business areas from design, project, or site management. I look forward to becoming a design manager who bridges seamlessly the link between academia, technology, design, and construction practice.

​​Student Blogs

Page manager Published: Mon 17 Oct 2022.