Track Selection (MS only)

During their first semester of study, each Master of Science 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.