UCL Home

MSc Construction Economics & Management


The MSc Construction Economics and Management postgraduate course equips graduates with the skills to become senior managers, policy advisers and decision-makers in any branch of the construction industry.

It can also provide teachers and researches in these subject areas with professional academic development.

Why choose The Bartlett

We are:

  • Located within the UK’s largest multidisciplinary faculty of the built environment, in one of the world’s top universities
  • Based in central London, close to world-leading architectural, engineering and creative practices, many of whom are partners
  • Host to students from over 40 nations, many of them among the most sought-after in the world for their drive, creativity, and skills

About the course

The course works with a concept of the construction industry as the whole sector of activity concerned with the production of the built environment.

Students are therefore drawn from, and go on to work in, all branches of this sector, from client organisations, research and consulting organisations through professional practices, to construction firms in the narrower sense of the term.

This distinctive approach not only means that students are challenged to step outside of the particular perspective implied by their experience to date, it also equips them to think flexibly about the roles of organisations, and to analyse the kinds of problems that will confront senior managers, policy advisers and decision-makers.

As you progress through the course you will:

  • develop managerial competence
  • build a broader understanding of social science disciplines
  • gain an appreciation of construction economics and management as a general discipline, not a self-contained intellectual field
  • become capable of building upon our research base

The course is accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.


The course is divided into three equal parts:

Term 1 – Four Core Modules (60 credits)

These are compulsory modules which form the basic knowledge areas of the course and develop the fundamental approach that characterises the course. These are intensive modules which consist of lectures and group exercises or discussions. These are taught from 10:30am to 6:00pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the first term. There is a high degree of contact time under the direction of the module leader.

Two of these modules are assessed by 3,000 word term papers due in November. The other two are assessed by an unseen two hour examination which takes place on a date in April-May during the first four weeks of Term 3.

Term 2 – Four Option (Elective) modules (60 credits)

These are optional or “elective” modules which allow students to build up an individual specialisation based on their own interests and career objectives. These have rather less contact time and a much greater proportion of the time is in self-directed reading. This is often combined with a certain level of desk research which you may be required to do in order to complete the assessment.

There are some restrictions on the different combinations of options you can take and you will be advised of these. You will need to choose two modules from a list of Economics-based Option Modules, one from a list of Enterprise-based Option Modules and a final free choice from either of the two preceding lists or a list of Project-based Option Modules also offered to students of the MSc in Project and Enterprise Management (PEM).

In addition to their four assessed option modules, each student may, with the approval of the Course Director and the Module Leader, audit up to two other option modules, for which they can attend teaching events and receive teaching materials but on which they will not be assessed.

Not all modules may be offered in any one year. From year to year new modules may be offered and existing ones withdrawn.

All option modules are assessed by 3,000 word term papers. Term papers for modules taught during the first half of the second term have to be submitted towards the end of the second term. Those for modules taught during the second half of the second term have to be submitted during the first week of the third term.

Full year – Dissertation (60 credits)

This is a piece of original research carried out by the student. Essentially the contact time here is almost entirely directed by the student and it is up to the student themselves to manage the progress of their work although each student is assigned a supervisor to guide them through the process.

It is an important principle of the course that each student chooses their own dissertation topic and collects original data.

There are two parts of the assessment. A 1,000 word Dissertation Topic outline has to be submitted in late February (November for part-time students) and the full 10,000 word dissertation in early September.

Non-Assessed Modules

There are also other short modules in Management Skills, Research Methods and Project Planning Software which take place during the first two terms.

Mode of study

The course is available full-time over a full academic year (September to September) or part-time over 2-5 academic years. Part-time students completing the course over two years take two core and two option modules each academic year with the Dissertation also in the second year.


All lectures and seminars are grouped into two days per week, Tuesday and Thursday, to assist part-time students. Students taking the course over two years attend either on Thursdays in their first year and Tuesdays in their second year. A few additional days of attendance are required on other days for the non-assessed modules including one full weekend.

In total students have a minimum of 175 hours of delivered events, comprising: 120 hours of lectures in the compulsory core courses; 40 hours of lectures and seminars in the optional module courses; 35 hours of lectures/seminars and events in the non-assessed management and research skills modules. In addition there are group tutorial events linked to the core courses, individual tutorials, and supervision of dissertations.



Each student is assessed in three ways.

1] The Core Modules are assessed by written examinations. The examinations for modules CM01-Economics of Construction and PE01-Project Management take place in January. Examinations for modules CM02- Economic Institutions of the Construction Industry and PE08-Principles of Enterprise Management are in April/May. There are four two-hour exams in total.

2] The Option Modules are assessed by term papers, one for each of the four assessed Modules that a student must take, making four in all. Each paper is around 3,000 words long.

3] Each student presents at the end of the course a Report on a research question of their own choosing. This Report will be of 10,000 words.
The Additional Modules are not assessed.


1] In addition to their four assessed Option Modules, each student may, with the approval of the Course Director, attend up to two other Course Option Modules, on which they will not be assessed.

2] Not all modules may be offered in any one year. From year to year new modules may be offered and existing ones withdrawn.

3] It is an important principle of the course that each student chooses their own Report topic.

Students are encouraged and assisted to undertake investigations in their Reports of topics of immediate concern to them or their sponsoring institutions, and to collect and use their own data.


The MSc Dissertation is a 10,000 word piece of original research which students undertake throughout the later part of their course and which has essentially to be (project) managed by them.

It is best practice to start consideration of the dissertation as soon as (or even before) the start of the course. Part-time students are advised to start thinking about the dissertation in May of the first year after the first set of taught modules has been completed. Although departmental staff are available to supervise dissertations on any relevant topic, certain staff have research expertise in different areas.

The MSc Dissertation must demonstrate a sound theoretical basis (or at least a sound understanding of relevant research conducted to date) which is then applied to primary data in a way which makes the results applicable to more than one organization in answering a specific research question. Alternatively the research may contribute to theory-building from the data collected. Either way it would be expected that students collect at least some primary data.

Each student will present the chosen Dissertation topic in a special seminar session, in a way that covers: why it was chosen; what it is hoped to find out; and what methods of research will be used. This will give an opportunity to improve and adapt the proposed research in response to comments in the seminar and by staff in tutorials.

Dissertation stages
Dissertation Supervisors

Based on the topic presentations, each student will be allocated a Dissertation Supervisor following submission of the 1,000 word Dissertation Topic Outline. It will be the responsibility of the student to make and maintain contact with dissertation supervisors.

Examples of recent dissertation topics

Non-assessed modules

Research methods

This consists of two full day sessions which will be held on Mondays in the first half of the first term. This will introduce you to thinking critically about applied social science research. Most research carried out in the School of Construction and Project Management falls into this category.

Management skills

This consists of two full day workshops held over one weekend in Term 1 or 2. It encourages students to think critically about their own management skills, including their interpersonal skills and their place in teams and other working groups. There are self-tests, group discussions, exercises and management simulations. Students generally find this a very stimulating and worthwhile module.

Project Planning Software

This consists of a full day session of hands-on training in the use of the project planning software MS Project which takes place during Reading Week of Term 2.


Programme Director

John Kelsey
View John's profile
Send John an email

Programme Administrator

Carol Trent
Send Carol an email

Module Teachers

Dr Michelle Baddeley
View Michelle's profile
Send Michelle an email

Dr Chen-Yu Chang
View Chen-Yu's profile
Send Chen-Yu an email

David Coles
View David's profile
Send David an email

Sarah Earl
View Sarah's profile
Send Sarah an email

Dr Andrew Edkins
View Andrew's profile
Send Andrew an email

Dr Taha Elhag
View Taha's profile
Send Taha an email

Graham Ive
View Graham's profile
Send Graham an email

Alex Murray
View Alex's profile
Send Alex an email

Dr Stephen Pryke
View Stephen's profile
Send Stephen an email

Dr Aeli Roberts
View Aeli's profile
Send Aeli an email

Dr Hedley Smyth
View Hedley's profile
Send Hedley an email

Dr Satu Teerikangas
View Satu's profile
Send Satu an email


Application procedures, fees, funding and scholarships

For information, please see the faculty admissions information here.


Given that students should be able to critically:

a) appraise and interpret the importance of trends and developments in the construction industry of the country in which they work.

b) appraise continuing developments in research and in the literature of construction economics and management.

c) apply theory and best practice to a wide range of construction industry problems and contexts.

Graduates of the course will go on to become future innovators, leaders, senior managers, researchers and teachers in the fields of construction management and construction economics as well as other areas of the Built Environment. Other graduates also move into project/asset finance and management. Necessarily, not all our graduates will achieve careers of these kinds, but many will.

The course is accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and graduates are encouraged, where appropriate, to progress to full membership.

Careers Events

Careers-related events will be held during the year to enable students to meet prospective employers.

Potential Prospective Employers

Major construction clients including:

  • Major retailers
  • Transport infrastructure managers and developers
  • Housing developers and managers
  • Commercial property developers and managers
  • Banks and other financial institutions


  • Building and civil engineering contractors
  • Architectural firms and other building design consultants
  • Building cost consultants
  • Management consultants
  • Major subcontractors and materials/components/plant suppliers

Research, Education and Policy:

  • Government agencies related to construction and infrastructure
  • University departments in construction, civil engineering and the built environment.
  • C&PM Research
  • Other research/policy institutions