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Construction Business and Leadership with management specialisms


MSc Construction, Business and Leadership (with specialist management pathways) at Ulster University gives you the unique opportunity to master the twin tracks of managing the construction process and leading a business organisation.

Construction professionals must perform well as leaders and managers in all sectors of the industry. This programme provides a vehicle for you to further your construction knowledge as well as hone your management and leadership skills to enhance your ability to deliver both project and business objectives.

Construction firms and Consultants are increasingly seeking highly qualified employees who can respond to client demands in a diverse range of areas from seeking out commercial opportunities, managing and delivering the project to operation and maintenance of the built asset. This programme provides you with the opportunity to specialise in one of three management areas to meet your career objectives:

Specialist Option 1: Construction Project Management
Specialist Option 2: Commercial Management
Specialist Option 3: Built-Asset Management

The programme is suitable for both graduates and working professionals from a range of fields including architecture, building, engineering, quantity surveying, structural engineering, facilities maintenance and town planning, amongst others.

Given the increasing demand for suitably qualified and skilled professionals in the industry, career opportunities are extensive within the public, private and voluntary sectors and previous graduates have been successful at local, national and international levels.


The programme is designed to:

• Develop graduates and professionals with the knowledge to critically engage within the construction business and implement strategic leadership to deliver business and corporate objectives.

• Develop graduates and professionals with the competencies to think differently within the construction environment through innovative learning and best practice.

• Develop graduates and professionals with the skills to apply and integrate the specialist knowledge of their selected pathway to manage their chosen sector.

Employability is fully embedded throughout the course and the syllabus has been designed to ensure that it meets the current needs of industry.

Special Programme Features

You will study a range of topics including the 6 core themes namely:

• Project Management
• Organisation and Management Studies
• Construction Financial Management
• Project Leadership
• Construction Procurement
• Construction Legal Studies
In addition, the programme offers you the option to study a chosen suite of management modules in one of three specialist industry areas namely:

1. Construction Project Management
2. Commercial Management
3. Built-Asset Management

Through these modules, you will enhance your intellectual skills to explore new theories, concepts and methods in unfamiliar situations and adapt them to meet future challenges.

In addition, you will develop key transferable skills such as communication, teamwork, problem solving and organisation, and critically reflect on your existing management and leadership styles.

Programme Mission Statement

TO OFFER a linked postgraduate course which is intellectually coherent, academically challenging, progressive in nature (with appropriate exit points) and has vocational relevance.

TO CONTRIBUTE to the development of management in the construction industry generally but, more specifically, in the context of devolution, integration and globalisation.

TO MAXIMISE the multi- and interdisciplinary teaching and professional strengths of the Faculty's staff in the modules offered on the course.

TO BE INNOVATIVE in teaching, learning and assessment strategies and build on existing good practice identified on current postgraduate certificate/diploma and masters courses from which this programme derives.

TO ENCOURAGE professional integration within the construction industry.

TO DEVELOP the leaders of the construction industry of the future.


For the award of Master of Science in Construction Business and Leadership (with specialist management pathways) you will have:

….GAINED a general understanding of the fundamental tenets of management through the study of core disciplines (organisation and management, business management and finance, leadership, procurement, legal studies) and an in-depth comprehension of your chosen specialist pathway;

….ACQUIRED the necessary skills to undertake both independent and peer group learning; in the case of the former this will demand a review of literature, data collection and the integration of theory and practice necessary for managerial reports, academic assignments and student presentations; in the case of the latter this will require working as part of a group to undertake the same tasks and possible assessment by peers;

….DEVELOPED skills in communication, teamwork, problem-solving, organisation (time management and task management), personal (self-awareness and self-appraisal) skills and information technology which will allow you to engage in interactive learning and the dissemination of information based on the acquisition and application of knowledge in your specialist area;

….APPLIED and integrated your knowledge of the core disciplines and option choices to a better understanding of the issues arising in the construction sector generally and in the sector or service in which they are employed. Specifically, this will involve you developing new theoretical and empirical perspectives and "testing" ideas for validity and robustness of peers and module tutors;

….CRITICALLY REFLECTED on existing management practice and suggest change in your areas of expertise; real-life topical managerial problems will provide the substance for case-study material in which analytical and conceptual skills acquired during the course will be utilised to improve practice.


The master's programme in Construction Business and Leadership (with specialist management pathways) is a series of linked postgraduate awards (PgCERT/PgDIP/MSc) offered both full (one calendar year) and part-time (three years), within the Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment.

The Learning Outcomes of the Postgraduate Certificate/Diploma are that, on completion, you should:
…………have increased capacity for understanding the concepts, complexities and issues relevant to construction business, management and leadership through a rigorous study of selected topics;
…………have an enhanced ability to apply knowledge and skills in identifying, analysing and solving management problems within the construction firm, projects and the construction process;
…………improve your professional performance by encouraging the development of professional judgement, skills, attitudes and personal attributes such as leadership, assertiveness and creativity.

The additional Learning Outcomes of the Master of Science Degree are that, on completion, you should have:
………….gained experience of a supervised independent investigation of a problem of current leadership and management concern, using relevant research methodology:
………….the capacity to carry out a comprehensive literature search, to design a suitable methodology to investigate a problem, to describe it, to analyse data, to evaluate the results of your investigation and to produce reasoned conclusions.
………….developed the ability to present, through your dissertation, arguments in support of your conclusions.

Professional Accreditation

Your course is professionally accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

In addition, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), Association for Project Management (APM), the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), and Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineering (CIBSE) have considered the award to be of significant assistance for individuals in gaining professional qualifications on a case by case basis.

A student-centred learning approach is adopted on the programme which encourages and rewards logical and lateral thinking, whilst developing lifelong learning competencies.

A range of learning and teaching methods are used to encourage the acquisition of knowledge and in-depth understanding of the principles and practice relevant to the programme. We strive to incorporate teaching methods that encourage individual reading, an investigative spirit, promotes synthesis of the many interrelated subjects, allows for critical reflection and provides an opportunity to make reasoned judgements based on available evidence.

The methods used are designed to offer academic and subject progression from semester 1 through to semester 3 and encompass the interdisciplinary teaching and professional strengths of the resident academic staff.


Teaching is delivered through a range of formats including but not limited to:
• Didactic lectures
• Case study investigation
• Simulation studies
• Tutorials
• Computer laboratory workshops
• Group work and assignments
• Seminars

Teaching methods are continuously evolving to meet the needs of the Industry. It is delivered by both academic and industrial practitioners to ensure content is theoretically robust and current for the global construction industry and meets the needs of students.

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements

Applicants must hold a degree or equivalent, or demonstrate their ability to undertake the course through the accreditation of prior experiential learning. The specific requirements for admission are detailed below:

Applicants should normally possess:

An Honours or non-Honours degree in an appropriate science, engineering or built environment discipline from a recognised educational institution from a University of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, from the Council for National Academic Awards, the National Council for Educational Awards, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council, or from an institution of another country which is recognised as being of an equivalent standard.


an equivalent standard in a Postgraduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate in an appropriate science, engineering or built environment discipline from a recognised educational institution or an approved alternative qualification


satisfy the University's general entry requirements including evidence of the required level of numeracy (GCSE grade C or equivalent);

Exceptionally, we will admit students with non-construction related qualifications provided they have significant industry / professional experience.

In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant experiential learning, a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of the graduate qualities (including subject-specific outcomes, specified by the Course Committee) may be considered as an alternative entrance route. Evidence used to demonstrate graduate qualities may not be used for an exemption against modules within the programme.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability

Studies pursued and examinations passed in respect of other qualifications awarded by the University or by another university or other educational institution, or from the accreditation of prior experiential or certificated learning may be accepted as exempting candidates from part of the programme of study provided that;

(a) they shall register as a student of the University for modules amounting to at least the final third of the credit value of a Master's award, and at least 50% of the credit value of the award in respect of a Postgraduate Diploma or Certificate award.

(b) no exemption shall be permitted from the Dissertation.


Transfer between other MSc/MBA programmes within the University is also permissible, with appropriate exemptions for relevant modules completed successfully.

Upon completion of the PgC/PgD/MSc there are ample opportunities for further study both within the Built Environment and beyond. In recent years, several graduates have progressed on to PhD studies, with some achieving employment as post-doctoral lecturing or research staff within our School.




The course is offered in both full-time and part-time mode in block learning format and each has a specific attendance pattern:

• MSc Full-time – 1 calendar year
• MSc Part-time – 3 years
• PG Dip Full-time – 2 semesters
• PG Dip Part-time – 2 years

The full-time mode requires all modules to be taken within one academic year (50 weeks) including the dissertation which is taken in Semester 3 (between May and September). In full-time block mode students attend 4 blocks of 5 consecutive days at approx. 3 week intervals across semesters 1 and 2 with attendance required for oral presentations and/or coursework submissions during the examinations period between semesters.

The periods between blocks are used to undertake assignments and coursework during which the student is encouraged to maintain contact with the Module Coordinator and classmates via on-line discussion forums such as Blackboard Collaborate.

Careers or further progression

Career options

Students who successfully complete this demanding programme will enhance their business leadership and management skills and competencies, and in doing so, will offer employers what they, and their clients, require.

Whilst most of our postgraduates find employment at local and national levels (Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland), increasingly opportunities are arising with international construction, consulting and client organisations.

Alumini of the programme are working as far afield as Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, China, Australia, New Zealand, Butan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, the Caribbean, Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Peru, Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Nigeria, Botswana, Kenya, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Estonia, Azerbaijan, Canada and the United States of America.

Others have opted to pursue a research path and have successfully obtained doctorates before embarking on an academic career.

Further enquiries

For course specific enquiries:
Dr Bryan Magee
T: +44 (0)28 9036 6287

Admissions contact:
Renee Magee
T:+44 (0)28 9036 8496

Centralised Admissions staff:
T:+44 (0)28 9036 6305

Subjects taught

Year one

Construction Financial Management
Construction financial management is of prime importance because many construction firms tend to fail, not because of lack of cash but because of poor financial management.

This module provides a sound foundation for financial management for profitable construction contracting. It encapsulates the process of development appraisal, sources of project finance and innovative financing, capital project budgeting, cost management and control as well as fundamentals of management accounting.

Organisation & Management: Thinking Differently
This module has been designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of modern construction business organisation and management, including investigating key business management components such as Business formation, Marketing, Research & Development, Recruitment; Management - functions, roles, skills and competencies. Problem-solving and decision-making; Organisational culture, behavioural influences, motivation, and performance; Conflict and creativity; Individual development, group dynamics and leadership. Practical applications and case studies of relevant practice are used to enhance the learning experience and students are challenged to view, reflect and think differently about themselves, their work, their profession and the construction industry.

Construction Procurement
This module has been designed to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of
procurement strategies and processes. This will enable you to identity the appropriate best
practice procurement for clients based on their organisational objectives and project
requirements. Furthermore through the identification of the inherent challenges of
implementing best practice procurement you will gain a robust appreciation of the strategic
importance of construction procurement.

Construction Legal Studies
This module examines underpinning legal principles and concepts that impact upon and influence the way that construction projects are managed and delivered. Express contractual provisions of construction contracts are evaluated to understand how risk is managed and apportioned between the respective parties. The roles and responsibilities of those involved in the execution and administration of construction projects are considered with respect to the selected contract strategy.

Project Management
The module is designed to provide a postgraduate multi disciplinary learning experience on the subject of Project Management. It introduces the concepts of Project Management, examines the recognised practices and accepted principles involved in the project management function, and combines these with an understanding of the increasingly demanding multi-dimensional aspects of the discipline. It provides an overall project orientated management framework (theoretical tempered with world best practice) with local, national and international dimensions within which you can develop your knowledge / understanding and key professional competencies.

Project Leadership for Construction Professionals
This module is designed for students who wish to gain an understanding of key leadership tools and skills in order to develop their own personal leadership capabilities to deliver project and company objectives within the Construction industry.

Research Design and Dissertation
This module enables the student to undertake an independent in-depth study of a particular aspect of their course of study. This research methods and associated dissertation module gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in problem solving and decision making whilst also refining other skills including investigative and evaluative skills. Students are required to demonstrate their knowledge of the subject researched, skills in critical analysis and use of investigative methods. Students are required to display these skills in written and oral format that will clearly display analysis of the principal arguments and conclusions of their work.

Built Asset Management
This module is optional
This module is designed to consider how property assets should be managed to support organisational objectives. The strategic interaction between the organisation and the alignment of their property requirements is analysed, as is the process of planning and managing property resources to maximise organisational requirements. Finally, the operational aspects of built assets are studied to consider life cycle, maintenance and facilities management.

Development Appraisal and Regeneration
This module is optional
This module is designed to provide students with an understanding of the planning and property development process in context of sustainable urban regeneration, a contemporary and priority agenda in cities. The module provides the students with knowledge of key issues related to mixed use developments and the deliverability of sustainability principles within an urban regeneration context. This module addresses the policy objectives related to sustainable communities and low carbon growth in cities.

Construction Project Management
This module is optional
This module develops the students' comprehension of the project management processes in construction and development, from procurement methods through to post-completion audits. It closely follows the structured approach of the CIOB Code of Practice, and develops the skills of students in applying modern project management principles at every stage of a construction development. It also addresses the primary issues currently facing the construction industry, presenting an up to date review of best practice.

Green Building, passive/low energy design and energy efficiency
This module is optional
This module will allow students to understand and critically appraise the factors affecting energy consumption in buildings enabling them to explore a wide range of low energy options in both domestic and non-domestic buildings. This will enable them to reduce the auxiliary energy load of any renewable energy solutions that may be considered while appreciating the main hazards to health in modern building designs.

Commercial Management and Bidding Strategy
This module is optional
The module is designed to develop an understanding of the role of Commercial Management within construction businesses at both pre and post contract stages. The module will examine and develop a comprehensive understanding of the key concepts required for the effective management of the commercial bidding process for construction projects and associated risks. The module will also examine the evolving importance of BIM in Commercial Management and Commercial Bidding Strategy.

Contract Communication and Dispute Management
This module is optional
This module provides students with an insight into the myriad of issues associated with contractor's claims. From the administration of the construction contract to the eventual resolution of the disputed matters, students obtain a comprehensive understanding of the entire process. The practical application of the construction contract provisions, together with the applicable legal principles provides for a positive learning experience that is transferable to professional practice.

Assessment method


Students work is 100% coursework-based and includes written essays, presentations and problem-based/simulation exercises which are assessed on a continuous basis across the year. Assessment methods chosen at programme and module level will enable you to demonstrate your achievement of learning outcomes, and enable you to be marked against specified assessment criteria. Assessment will mainly focus on the learning outcomes.

A wide and flexible repertoire of assessment methods is utilised to match and underpin the knowledge, understanding and skills required in the Programme. These include:

• Essays
• Investigative Reports
• Reflective writing
• Case studies
• Seminar presentations
• Role Play and Simulations
• Oral Presentations
• Poster Presentations
• Dissertation

The method of assessment is influenced by various factors including, level of study, subject, and learning methods.

Application date

Application is through the University's online application system.

Enrolment and start dates

Start Dates: September 2019

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