To gain a competitive advantage in the construction industry, many construction managers pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree in construction management. These degree programs prepare graduates for careers in both residential and commercial construction. Some managers may hold degrees in related fields such as civil engineering construction or engineering management.
What to Expect From a Construction Management Program
A degree in construction management provides graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to manage projects effectively. The curriculum typically covers a range of topics, including methods and materials, project management, building codes and regulations, safety practices, and communication and leadership skills.
Students take courses in construction technology, cost estimating, scheduling, project management, and contract administration. They will also learn about legal and ethical issues in the industry and how to manage risk and maintain safety on construction sites.
Many programs require internships or co-op experiences, providing hands-on experience in the field.
Depending on the institution, students also can participate in research projects or study abroad programs.
Graduates of construction management degree programs can pursue careers as project managers, superintendents, cost estimators, cost engineers, project engineer, or company owners. They can work in a variety of settings, including construction firms, engineering firms, architectural firms, or government agencies.
The Best Construction Management Degree Programs
The top-ranked Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University offers a Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a focus on Construction Engineering and Management.
Designed to provide advanced training in the management of construction projects, the program includes courses in scheduling, cost control, risk management, and project delivery methods. Students can focus on sustainable practices, building information modeling, or other specialized topics.
The highly interdisciplinary program draws on faculty and resources from the Graduate School of Business and the Department of Management Science and Engineering, among others. Students have access to state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge research programs, and are encouraged to participate in internships, co-op experiences, or research projects.
Brigham Young University
Owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Department of Construction and Facilities Management at Brigham Young University (BYU) offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in construction management.
The department provides a comprehensive education that integrates technical knowledge with management skills.
The Bachelor of Science program provides hands-on learning experiences and a rigorous curriculum. Students learn about project management, cost estimating, safety practices, and sustainable building practices.
Designed for those who want to advance their careers in the industry or pursue research opportunities in the field, the Master of Science in Construction Management program provides advanced training in project management, risk assessment, sustainable construction, and other specialized topics.
University of California-Berkeley
The top-ranked Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) offers a Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a focus on Construction Engineering and Management.
With a focus on sustainable practices, project management, and other key aspects of construction engineering and management, the program prepares students for leadership roles in the industry.
The curriculum combines coursework with a strong emphasis on hands-on learning experiences. Students have access to state-of-the-art facilities, including the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation and the Terner Center for Housing Innovation, as well as opportunities to participate in internships, co-op experiences, or research projects.
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, Michigan
The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor offers a Master of Science in Construction Engineering and Management.
The program focuses on project management, methods, sustainability, and other key aspects of construction engineering and management.
The curriculum emphasizes coursework and hands-on learning. Students have access to state-of-the-art facilities, including the Mcity Test Facility for connected and autonomous vehicles.
The university is home to a number of research centers and institutes focused on construction engineering and management, such as the Center for Professional Development and the Center for Intelligent Infrastructure.
The University of Texas at Austin
Offered through the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas at Austin’s Master of Science in Civil Engineering with a focus on Construction Engineering and Project Management emphasizes project management, methods, safety, and sustainability.
The program offers a broad range of courses, and students can focus on a specific area of interest, such as infrastructure, building construction, or sustainable design.
The department has state-of-the-art facilities, including a construction materials laboratory, geotechnical engineering laboratory, and a transportation research laboratory.
UT Austin is home to several research centers and institutes, including the Center for Transportation Research, the Center for Sustainable Development, and the Center for Energy and Environmental Resources.
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Building Construction offers a related degrees at the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels.
The bachelor’s program offers a solid foundation in construction management, design, materials and methods, safety, and sustainability. The program combines classroom instruction with hands-on learning experiences, such as site visits, internships, and project-based coursework.
The master’s program covers topics, including project management, sustainability, real estate development, and facility management. Graduates are prepared for leadership roles in the industry, including managing large-scale projects, developing and implementing sustainable practices, and managing facility operations.
With a focus on the development and application of innovative management practices, the research-based doctoral program prepares graduates for careers in academia or industry research. Graduates are prepared to make significant contributions to the field of construction management through research, teaching, and consulting.
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) offers a Master of Science in Civil Engineering with a focus on Construction Management that emphasizes project management, methods and materials, cost estimating, scheduling, and risk management.
Offered through UIUC’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the program provides students with a solid foundation in engineering and management principles, and hands-on learning experiences.
The program also offers a variety of elective courses, allowing students to specialize in areas such as green construction, construction law, or building information modeling.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
The University of Wisconsin-Madison offers a graduate-level management degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a focus on Construction Engineering and Management degree through its Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
The program focuses on project management, methods and materials, cost estimating, scheduling, and risk management.
The program also offers a range of elective courses, allowing students to specialize in areas such as green construction, construction law, or building information modeling.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Virginia Tech’s Department of Building Construction offers three building construction degrees — a bachelor’s, a master’s and a doctorate.
The bachelor’s degree provides a comprehensive education in construction management, project planning and scheduling, building systems and materials, safety, and quality control.
The master’s program provides advanced training in construction management, sustainability, and technology. Students focus their studies on areas such as project management, real estate, or sustainable construction.
The research-based doctorate focuses on advancing the knowledge and understanding of building construction through research and scholarly work.
Purdue University-Main Campus
Department of Building Construction Management
West Lafayette, Indiana
Through its Department of Building Construction Management, Purdue University-West Lafayette offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in building construction management.
The bachelor’s program provides students with a solid foundation in the principles of construction management, building systems, occupational safety, and quality control.
The master’s program allows students to specialize in areas such as project management, building information modeling, and sustainable construction.
Auburn University’s McWhorter School of Building Science offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in building construction.
The bachelor’s program provides students with a broad understanding of the industry. Topics include project management, cost estimating, and safety with specializations in commercial construction, residential construction, or sustainability.
Designed for those who want an advanced career in the construction field itself, the master’s program covers construction project management, finance, and risk management. Students can specialize in areas such as sustainable practices, historic preservation, or international construction.
The research-based Ph.D. program allows in-depth study of construction management, technology, or sustainability.
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
University Park, Pennsylvania
Penn State’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers a Master’s in Civil Engineering program with a specialization in Construction Management.
The curriculum blends core courses and specialized construction management courses. By combining technical expertise with managerial skills, the program prepares graduates for leadership positions in the field.
The department emphasizes research opportunities.
Columbia University in the City of New York
New York, New York
The M.S. program in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics with a focus on Construction Engineering and Management is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of processes, project management, and engineering principles.
The curriculum combines advanced coursework with practical experiences to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in the field.
Students explore a range of topics related to construction engineering and management, including project planning, cost estimation, law and contracts, sustainable practices, risk assessment, and advanced materials. The curriculum also emphasizes the application of engineering principles to address complex challenges.
University of Washington-Seattle Campus
The Bachelor in Construction Management program at UW provides students with a solid foundation in the principles and practices of construction management.
The curriculum combines coursework in project management, building systems, and law. Students gain hands-on experience through internships and cooperative education programs.
For those seeking advanced knowledge and specialization, the department offers a Master’s in Construction Management program. The curriculum includes advanced coursework, research opportunities, and industry-focused projects that allow students to develop expertise in their chosen area of specialization.
University of Florida
Designed to prepare students for leadership roles, M.E. Rinker Sr. School’s Bachelor’s in Construction Management program encompasses a range of subjects, including construction project management, construction methods and materials, cost estimating, scheduling, and sustainable practices. Students also gain hands-on experience through field trips, internships, and cooperative education programs.
For those interested in a global perspective, the Rinker School offers the Master of International Construction Management (M.I.C.M.), which combines advanced coursework with international experiences to develop students’ skills in managing projects on a global scale. It includes courses in international law, cross-cultural communication, global project finance, and risk management. Students also have the opportunity to participate in study abroad programs and engage in international internships.
Arizona State University
Arizona State University houses a School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment that offers programs in Construction Management at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
The bachelor’s program includes project planning and control, cost estimation, law and contracts, and sustainable practices. Students gain practical experience through internships and hands-on projects.
The master’s program builds upon the fundamental concepts and delves into advanced topics such as risk management, sustainable methods, and building information modeling (BIM).
University of California-Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
UCLA’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers a Master’s program in Civil Engineering with a specialization in Construction Engineering and Management.
The program combines a comprehensive curriculum with hands-on experiences. Course subjects include methods and materials, law and contracts, scheduling and control, and advanced technologies.
Texas A & M University-College Station
College Station, Texas
Texas A&M’s Department of Construction Science offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in Construction Science and Construction Management.
The bachelor’s curriculum includes courses in materials and methods, estimating and bidding, scheduling, building codes and regulations, and sustainable practices. Students also gain practical experience through internships and cooperative education programs.
The master’s program allows students to deepen their understanding of management principles, advanced techniques, leadership skills, and research methodologies.
University of Maryland-College Park
College Park, Maryland
The University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers a M.S. in Civil Engineering program with a specialization in Construction Management.
The program covers a range of topics, including project planning and scheduling, cost estimating, risk management, quality control, safety management, and sustainable practices. Students also gain practical experience through internships, research projects, and industry collaborations.
Clemson, South Carolina
Clemson University’s Department of Construction Science and Management offers both undergraduate and graduate programs.
The bachelor’s program combines a solid foundation in principles and management practices with hands-on experiences. The program also emphasizes teamwork, communication skills, and leadership development.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Construction Management?
With a degree in construction management, individuals may be eligible for higher-level positions that offer more responsibility and higher pay.
Through the program, students learn about various aspects of construction projects, including design, estimating, scheduling construction planning, and safety.
Students connect with professors, industry professionals, and others who share their career goals and professional interests, leading to valuable connections that can be leveraged when seeking internships or employment opportunities.
Many degree programs also offer industry-specific certifications that can enhance a graduate’s resume and demonstrate their expertise to potential employers.
What Is Construction Management?
Construction management involves planning, coordinating, and overseeing projects from start to finish. The goal is to ensure that a project is completed on time, within budget, and to the required standards of quality and safety.
Managers work closely with architects, engineers, contractors, and other professionals to develop project plans, establish timelines and budgets, and ensure that work is completed according to schedule.
What degree does a construction manager need?
While a degree is not always required, many employers prefer candidates who have at least a bachelor’s degree in construction management, architecture, engineering, or a related field.
In addition to formal education, managers typically need several years of relevant work experience in the industry, such as working as a construction worker, carpenter, or electrician.
Some also pursue certification from industry organizations, such as the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) or the American Institute of Constructors (AIC).
What kinds of jobs can you get with a construction management degree?
The industry role in construction management varies and can include titles such as:
- Project Manager.
- Construction Superintendent.
- Facilities Manager.
- Construction Safety Manager.
- Building Inspector.
- Construction Consultant.
Popular Construction Management Courses
Typical courses include:
- Materials and Methods.
- Project Management.
- Building Codes and Regulations.
- Law and Contracts.
- Building Information Modeling (BIM).
Is a degree in construction management worth it?
Degrees are ideally suitable for aspiring professionals who have never had a job experience in the field. If you already possess years of management experience in construction, it may be the best way to gain a competitive edge.
What degree is best for construction management?
A bachelor of engineering in construction technologies provides students with the knowledge to learn different construction techniques used for managing projects, building planning and budget estimation.
What do Construction Managers do?
Managers work with architects, engineers, and other professionals to develop project plans that outline the scope, budget, timeline, and required resources for a project. Once a project is underway, managers oversee all aspects of the process, including budgeting, scheduling, resource allocation, quality control, and risk management.
Managers must have strong leadership and communication skills to coordinate the work of multiple contractors, subcontractors, and workers on a site.
Is it possible to work in Project Management with this degree?
Project management is an important aspect of construction management programs, and the curriculum covers topics such as materials and methods, cost estimating, and scheduling, which are all essential skills for successful completion of project management.
The program also provides hands-on experience through internships and project-based coursework, which can be valuable for developing practical skills needed for project management roles. Graduates may be prepared to pursue careers in project management in the construction industry or related fields.
Is Construction Manager a good career?
It can be a good career for those who enjoy managing projects, working with people, and have an interest in the industry. The demand for construction managers is expected to grow as construction projects become more complex and as the need for sustainable building practices increases.
It can be a demanding and exciting career however, requiring long hours and the ability to manage multiple projects and teams simultaneously.
What are the admission requirements for a construction management degree?
Admission requirements vary based on college or university as well as specific construction management degree program.
For undergraduate admissions, applicants will likely need a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification.
For a graduate program, a bachelor’s degree in a related field is usually required.
It’s important to provide official transcripts from your previous educational institutions, including high school and any colleges or universities you attended. Some undergraduate programs may also require SAT or ACT scores, while graduate programs may require scores from tests like the GRE.
Common requirements also include letters of recommendation and a personal statement or essay.
Work experience in the construction industry can be valuable, particularly for graduate admissions. Some programs may consider applicants with significant work experience even if they don’t hold a bachelor’s degree.
Some institutions may also conduct interviews as part of the admissions process. This gives the admissions committee an opportunity to assess an applicant’s communication skills, personal qualities, and how well they would fit into the program.
Is financial aid available to prospective students?
Many colleges and universities offer various forms of financial assistance to help students manage the cost of tuition, fees, books, and other educational expenses while pursuing a construction management degree. The types of financial aid available can include scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and loans.
Are there online programs for construction management?
With the increasing popularity and accessibility of online education, many colleges and universities offer online programs in construction management at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Online programs typically cover the same curriculum and topics as their on-campus counterparts. The coursework is delivered through virtual platforms, allowing students to access lectures, readings, assignments, and interactive materials remotely. This enables them to successfully complete the program and earn their degree online.
What is the average salary for construction managers?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for construction managers in 2020 was $97,180. Additionally, they have opportunities for career advancement, with potential to become project managers, executives, or even start their own firms.
Additionally, U.S. News and World report ranks Construction Management No. 1 in construction-related careers.