MS BCSM Degree Requirements

All MS BCSM students must satisfy the Graduate School requirements for maximum or minimum credit hours in accordance with graduate school policy as indicated in the Graduate Catalog under Policies for Credit Hour Requirements.


The Master of Science in Building Construction Science and Management degree requirements have been structured so that graduate students admitted to the program may obtain an advanced degree in construction building on diverse backgrounds, experience, or prior degrees.

  • A minimum of 32 credit hours are required for the degree. These credit hours fall into three major categories:
  • Nineteen (19) hours of core coursework is recommended for all MS students.
  • Students who have taken equivalent courses elsewhere may substitute other electives pending approval from their advisory committee and the Graduate Chair.
  • Two tracks of study are available at the Masters level.

For a list of all degree requirements for each track please consult the following check lists:

MS BCSM Degree Requirements Checklist

Common Core Courses

The Common Core consists of 19 credit hours of coursework that will establish each student’s credibility and basic knowledge for work in the U.S. Construction industry. All students without an undergraduate degree from an ACCE-accredited Building Construction Program must take these courses unless they can demonstrate through direct comparison that previous coursework or personal experience has provided equivalent learning. The Course Requirements Checklist for the MS BCSM degree contains information about the sequencing and prerequisite/corequisite requirements for these courses.

Students with an undergraduate degree in Building Construction or with substantial industry experience should consult directly with the BC Graduate Chair, their committee chair and committee to explore the possibility of substituting other coursework for the Common Core Courses. Substitutions require specific evidence of learning equivalence. This evidence may include:

  • Transcript of grade earned on similar courses plus syllabus or detailed description of course contents
  • Detailed resume’ and description of specific experiences on industry projects where equivalent skills and capabilities have been demonstrated.

Students receiving permission to substitute other coursework for the core should include their evidence along with a letter from their committee chair describing the substitutions approved by the advisory committee as part of their Plan of Study submitted for review to the department.

Track Requirements

During their first semester of study, each student will select and declare a track that will determine their exit option from the program. Six to ten credit hours of the 32 hours required for the degree will be determined by the student’s choice of track, as follows.

Industry Track

Students choosing the Industry Track will exit the program through an oral exam administered by the Industry Track Advisory Committee (ITAC). These students have as their objective a career in the construction industry following graduation.

  • Students in this track are required to take CNST 5214: Construction Company Management during spring of their first year, and
  • must select at least one elective course of 3 credit hours from the Pamplin College of Business to complete the track. Students may also receive approval to take courses from other colleges to complete the elective requirement, as long as they can demonstrate to the ITAC that the course meets the objectives of the Industry Track. Students should obtain written approval of all substitutions from the ITAC in the form of a memo attached to their approved Plan of Study before taking any courses outside the Pamplin College of Business to meet this elective requirement.
Research Track

Students choosing the Research Track will exit the program through a final written report and thesis that is orally defended in their final examination. Some students in this track intend to continue their graduate studies in the future by pursuing a Ph.D., while others may be interested in pursuing a specific problem or area of inquiry not covered by available courses, followed by a career in industry.

  • All students in the Research Track must take CNST 5084: Methods in Construction Research or an equivalent course to prepare them for the rigors of designing and implementing a research study. CNST 5084 is available in spring semester only. Students in the Accelerated UG/GR program who intend to pursue the Research Track should consider enrolling in CNST 5084 during spring semester of their senior year so that they can begin their research in time to complete all requirements. Students are not advised to take CNST 5084 in their final semester and must find an earlier course on research methods and design to substitute. The justification for substitution must be supported by a memo from the student’s academic advisor attached to the approved Plan of Study.
  • After developing a research proposal in CNST 5084 and successfully defending it before their advisory committee, Research Track students must enroll in either BC 5904: Project and Report or BC 5994: Research and Thesis while undertaking their research investigation. Only three hours of BC 5904 for Project & Report students, and only six hours of BC 5994 for Thesis students, may be counted toward the 32 required credit hours. While students may elect to register for additional research hours to achieve minimum enrollment requirements (e.g., at least 12 hours to maintain assistantship funding) or to dedicate additional time to complete their study, these extra hours will not be counted toward the minimum 32 hours. In total, Thesis-option students will devote ten hours of their degree to this track, and Project & Report students will devote six hours.

Project & Report students typically complete and defend their research study in one semester, and may use the summer between their first and second years of study as additional unregistered research time. Thesis students typically require two semesters to complete their research, and will register for three hours each semester to meet the six hour requirement. Due to the significantly larger scope of thesis research, students are not encouraged to register for six hours of thesis research in a single semester. Few students are able to successfully complete all requirements for a thesis in one semester no matter how much time is devoted.

  • All Research Track students are also required to register for CNST 5424: Construction Research Presentation in their final semester. This one hour seminar course is offered both spring and fall semesters. The objective of the course is to provide guidance for designing and delivering the graphical and oral presentation of research findings. Students in this course present their work to peers and faculty and receive important feedback before entering the final defense phase of their research.

Construction Electives

Students achieve the balance of required credit hours for the degree through one or more elective courses selected to further develop their knowledge in construction-related areas of personal interest. All electives included as part of the required 32 credit hours must be related or relatable to construction in some way in order for the Plan of Study to be approved. Elective courses may be chosen from the following as well as other disciplines related to the Architecture/Engineering/Construction industry:

  • Building Construction
  • Architecture
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Business (Finance, Marketing, Accounting, and other sub-disciplines)
  • Civil Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • Urban Affairs and Planning
  • Natural Resources

Students may also make the case for courses in disciplines such as Computer Science, the natural or applied sciences, or other disciplines based on their personal interests and career goals. Students taking elective courses for which the construction relevance is not obvious should include a memo of justification from their committee chair attached to their approved Plan of Study.

For other types of coursework options that may or may not count towards degree requirements, please visit:

Coursework Options