Detailed course guide
Programme lead: Dr Graeme Bowles
Semester 1: September – December, 3 mandatory modules and one optional module
Semester 2: January – April, 4 mandatory modules
Semester 3: May – August, dissertation (MSc students only)
- Project Management: Theory and Practice
- Value and Risk Management
- Contracts and Procurement
- Project Management: Strategic Issues
- Construction Financial Management
- Construction Practice and Information Technology
- People and Organisational Management in the Built Environment
Optional modules (students will choose one):
- Sustainability in Civil Engineering
- Construction Technology
- Environmental Hydrology and Water Resources
- Real Estate Economics
- Spatial Planning
- Sustainable Design and Development
- Environmental Geotechnics
Project Management: Theory and Practice
This module aims to provide the student with an understanding of the concepts and practices of construction project management used to provide value added services to clients. The course develops understanding of the issues related to the management of construction clients and other project stakeholders and how their needs can be co-ordinated, managed and delivered from the project’s design stage through production to occupation and maintenance within the context of client satisfaction and the overarching construction project constraints of time, cost, quality sustainability, health and safety management.
Value and Risk Management
The module aims to introduce the concepts of value & risk management, apply them to strategic and tactical problems and illustrate their tools and techniques through case studies.
Contracts and Procurement
The aim of this module is to help students understand advanced procurement practices, the situations in which their use is appropriate and the contractual principles upon which they are based. The course will also introduce students to the mechanisms used by a typical standard form of construction contract (from the JCT05 suite) to control the risk exposure arising from the liabilities of contracting parties created by the contract and common law, as well as the flow of money and information between contacting parties.
Sustainability in Civil Engineering
This module aims to equip students with the interdisciplinary attitudes, skills and knowledge necessary to allow them to contribute to the delivery of sustainable development within the civil engineering industry. This will include a broad introduction to the concepts, drivers and definitions associated with sustainability, as well as an overview of the history of sustainable development.
The overall aim of this course is to provide students with a basic understanding of the different elements that make-up a building so that they can communicate effectively with construction professionals in the design and construction of buildings.
Environmental Hydrology and Water Resources
The aim of this module is to provide the students with a thorough understanding of the hydrological basis of water resources assessment, planning and management. In this regard, the course is designed to provide the learners with a board introduction to hydrological modelling.
Real Estate Economics
This module aims to introduce students to an economic analysis of real estate markets. The course will help students to understand land and property markets from an economic perspective; to examine land and property as a set of linked markets and to consider regulatory constraints on real estate in economic terms including planning.
This module aims to help students to develop a critical understanding of: spatial planning agendas; sectoral and spatial policy frameworks at national, strategic and local levels; legal and ethical frameworks; implementation mechanisms; development management issues; relationships between land and property and planning, including development rights and property rights.
Sustainable Design and Development
This module aims to help students develop a critical understanding of the complexity of urban and housing design and development, including the importance of people and process. The course will help students to gain professional knowledge about urban design principles and practice, including sustainability issues.
This module aims to give students an appreciation of the role of contaminated land within geotechnical engineering, developing understanding of current UK legislation and government policy relating to methodologies for dealing with contaminated land. In this regard, the course enables learners to understand the practical relevance of the remediation technologies within the context of site contamination and to gain knowledge of the engineering measures adopted at landfill sites for the safe disposal of waste.
Project Management: Strategic Issues
This module aims to further develop the learners theoretical and practical knowledge in the implementation of Project Management Principles in the construction industry. The course is designed to raise student awareness as to why the construction industry under-performs when compared to other industries. This enables learners to appraise and critically analyse the performance of the project management discipline in order to explore what is needed to improve this performance, with emphasis on the UK construction industry.
Construction Financial Management
The aim of the module is to enable students to appreciate and make an intelligent contribution towards the managerial and financial aspects of construction companies in general and construction projects in particular. This includes developing awareness and understanding of the need for financial planning and monitoring and the cost control process.
Construction Practice and Information Technology
The overall aim of this module is to provide an insight into the development of information systems in the construction industry. The course will help students to evaluate the use of modern ICT means and their impact on business performance in construction; study relevant IT concepts and appraise its applicability to construction process re-engineering and develop adequate research skills in reviewing and preparing academic publications.
People and Organisational Management in the Built Environment
This module aims to develop a high level of interdisciplinary understanding about complex organisational and personal management processes and how important they are in underpinning technical skills to deliver high quality services as a professional. Students will learn about and explore management theory and practice and will have a chance to reflect on their own personal development in a synoptic way. This will be valuable in terms of career development, as management competences and self-reflection are increasingly sought in practice.
PG Diploma students may choose to transfer to the MSc if they meet the following progression standards: average mark of 50% or higher and no course marks below 40%.
Dr Graeme Bowles has teaching and research interests in value and risk management, whole life costing, project briefing and procurement. He manages the dissertation process within the discipline and has supervised a number of construction management related PhD students. He is on the Association for Project Management committee as Higher Education Institute representative.
Masters (MSc) level entry applicants must have one of the following:
- Minimum of 2:2 honours degree or equivalent academic qualification in a cognate or semi-cognate subject area
- Minimum of 2:2 honours degree or equivalent academic qualification in a non-cognate subject area but demonstrates an interest in the discipline (supported by a personal statement, detail of work experience)
- Corporate (or chartered) membership of relevant professional institutions will also be considered
PG Diploma level entry applicants must have an ordinary degree in a related subject area and relevant post qualification industry experience.
Candidates who do not meet the above entry requirements or have no formal academic qualifications will be considered individually based on their CV and possibly interview. Admission via this route will be at the discretion of the Director of Recruitment.
Recognition of Prior Learning
Heriot-Watt University is committed to providing opportunities to applicants who have a wide range of prior experiences through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Prior learning at postgraduate level is normally recognised to gain exemption from individual modules within a course based on an existing academic qualification. Note that the prior learning must have been rated at the level of the modules for which RPL is sought, yet credits from an award already held by an applicant can only contribute to a higher award in the same discipline, e.g. from PG Diploma to MSc. If you believe that you qualify for RPL, please contact the Learning and Teaching Support Team via firstname.lastname@example.org, who will guide you through the RPL application procedure.
The school will only consider students' requests for RPL at the time of application for their course of study.
English language requirements
If English is not the applicant’s first language a minimum of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required with all elements passed at 6.0 or above. Please refer to English language requirements for further details.
Some applicants may be asked for alternative evidence in line with UKVI recognised English speaking countries. Applicants who have previously successfully completed courses delivered in the medium of English language may be considered and will be required to provide documentary evidence of this. Examples would be secondary school education or undergraduate degree. A minimum of at least one year of full time study (or equivalent) in the medium of English language will be required.
All evidence of English language needs to be dated within two years of the commencement of study.
We also offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your master’s programme:
- 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no more than one skill at 4.5)
- 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum of 5.0 in all skills)
- 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with minimum of 5.5 in reading and writing and minimum of 5.0 in speaking and listening)