Whichever way you choose to study, you'll gain the expertise to oversee a major project through from planning to completion - find out how to become a construction manager
As a construction manager, it's your responsibility to ensure that the project you're leading is finished on time and on budget to the required standard.
You'll supervise operations, collaborate with other professionals such as architects and surveyors, and ensure that tradespeople and contractors make progress as expected. Your duties will extend to buying materials and equipment, hiring staff, inspecting work in progress, checking design documents and maintaining communication with clients.
Taking an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in construction management will give you a head start. Look for construction courses accredited by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) - as a worldwide professional body, CIOB accreditation is a mark of quality that employers recognise.
Why study construction management?
If you have excellent leadership skills, are highly organised and already possess in-depth knowledge of how construction projects work, qualifying as a construction manager could be your next career move.
The job can be stressful, as you'll be the key point of contact and therefore responsible for handling the demands of the client, public and the range of professionals involved. However, seeing a project through to completion can be incredibly rewarding, and there'll be opportunities all over the UK on a range of sites - those with experience may even be able to work abroad.
With starting salaries of £26,000 to £33,000, becoming a construction manager brings high earning potential - you can earn £70,000 or more at senior and chartered levels.
Learn more about the role of a construction manager.
Construction management degrees
There are many construction management degrees available at undergraduate level, usually classified as Bachelor of Science (BSc). Often these include an industry placement year, which is a great opportunity to gain valuable experience on the job - however, this means you'll gain your qualification in four years rather than three.
Entry requirements vary depending on the institution. Most stipulate that you should have at least two A-levels or equivalent - sometimes demanding that one of these is in maths or a science subject - as well as good GCSEs in maths and English.
For some courses you'll need a minimum of 96 UCAS points, such as the BSc (Hons) Construction Management courses offered by the University of Brighton and University of East London, while others expect up to 112, such as the BSc (Hons) Construction Project Management course offered at Oxford Brookes University. Check with your chosen university before applying. Mature students who don't meet the minimum requirements, but already have significant industry experience, may also be considered.
To develop the skills needed to become a construction manager, you'll cover topics such as project management, the built environment, managing costs and relevant construction legislation.
Different universities run different compulsory and core modules, but all courses accredited by the CIOB will cover the essentials. You'll usually be expected to complete a dissertation or major project in your final year.
Graduates go on to careers as construction managers, project managers, estimators, town planners, and in building control and maintenance. Explore more property and construction jobs and find out what you can do with a building and construction management degree.
Another option at undergraduate level is to study for a foundation degree in construction management (FdSc). These courses last two years and are equivalent to two thirds of a BSc degree. This may suit you if you don't meet the entry requirements for the full degree or you aren't sure whether you want to commit to a three-year course.
Foundation degrees tend to be more vocational, and part-time study is often available for those already working in the industry. What's more, you can decide to top-up a foundation degree to a full degree further down the line. Learn more about foundation degrees.
Search and apply for undergraduate construction management courses through UCAS.
Masters in construction management
If you want an accredited construction management qualification but didn't study a course at undergraduate level, don't worry - the subject is widely available as a postgraduate course. The most common courses are Master of Science (MSc) degrees in construction management or construction project management. Find out more about MSc degrees.
For entry onto a Masters, you'll typically require at least a 2:1 undergraduate degree in a relevant subject. As a guide, The University of Manchester describes a relevant subject as being in 'the built environment or relevant engineering, science or management disciplines'.
For some courses a 2:2 will be sufficient, such as the University College of Estate Management's MSc Construction Management, and a number of universities don't demand that you previously studied a relevant subject as long as you can demonstrate that you have an interest in the construction industry. Mature students with experience on the job may also be eligible.
Masters degrees generally take 12 months to complete when studied full time - though part time and distance learning variations are available too. They deliver intensive training in the theory and practice of construction management.
Example compulsory modules include:
- contracts and procurement
- construction financial management
- sustainability and environmental management
- managing smart construction projects
- economic, legal and political framework.
You'll often be given the choice of some optional modules, allowing you to specialise in your favoured subjects. You'll also have to write a dissertation or complete a major project.
Tuition fees for MSc construction management courses are typically between £7,000 and £9,000 but can rise to more than £10,000 in some cases. Consider supporting your studies with a postgraduate loan.
Apply via the websites of the universities you're interested in, or search postgraduate courses in construction management.
Professional construction management courses
If you'd like to study at postgraduate level and aren't interested in writing a dissertation, many universities offer their construction management courses as postgraduate diplomas. This option of study may be more suited to you if you're already in work, for instance. Find out more about postgraduate diplomas and certificates.
Whether you decide to study construction management at undergraduate or postgraduate level, the skills and knowledge you gain should put you in an ideal position to start your job search.