Construction Degrees

If you’re thinking about starting a degree in construction, then there are plenty of courses for you can choose from and routes that you can take. Your current career or previous qualifications may have restricted you in your learning but when it comes to construction degrees you’ll find that you’ll easily be able to specialise and tailor your eduction to ensure you get the job you want.

From college to university…

If you are moving from a college course to a degree course you’ll find that there are far more course for you to choose from, and areas that you’re able to specialise in. Most BTEC nationals in construction offer students an overall introduction into the world of construction.

Learners get a good foundation of knowledge, but the chance to specialise is often very limited.

This isn’t the case with construction degrees. If you found that there was an area of construction that you were particularly interested in, or excelled in you should have no trouble specialising in this field at university.

If however you are working in a specific construction area, you should have no trouble finding a construction degree that will complement your chosen employment. Additionally, a degree may also help you to diversify and to gain a new set of skills in another construction field.

Choosing the right construction degree…

There are plenty of courses that you can choose from at university level. Here are just a few examples – Building Surveying, Construction Engineering, Facilities Management, Quantity Surveying to name but a few.

Before you choose your construction degree course, make sure that you check out the individual course requirements. Heading into a new area of study may mean that you need additional qualifications or experience in order to study.

Studying and working…

The great thing about studying at a degree level is that you can spread your course over 5 years and build practical experience whilst you study.

A five-year part-time course allows students a lot more free time, and many construction students work within their chosen fields part-time to help apply the skills they’re gaining during their studies.

Life after your construction degree…

Most learners find that studying for a degree in their chosen construction subject is the highest level of qualification that is needed and/or available.

On course completion, many learners find that getting work in the world of construction is far easier than seeking employment with just a college based qualification. Degrees are well-respected, and a good degree teamed with some suitable practical experience will certainly help you land your dream job.

Studying for a degree will often qualify you to join a relevant professional body as a student or associate member.


Gary – I am looking for a part time degree. I am from South Africa, and would like to know if there are any available? READ MORE…

Yes, many universities and colleges in the UK are now offering part-time construction degree courses but they are not widely publicised.

You will find your choice of specialist subjects more limited then you would for full-time courses and you may also need to attend for at least one full day a week – so this option is not always as flexible as you might have wished?

However, I would suggest contacting a few Unversities directly for more specific advice as they can sometimes suggest courses and study options that you may not have previously considered?

Tom – I have been working as a joiner/cabinet maker for a little over 10 years now. I have an nvq level 3 in joinery and for the last two and a half years have been the workshop manager for a small furniture making business, producing work myself as well as overseeing 3 other joiners as well as producing all cutting lists for the workshop, running a spray booth for finishing, fitting when needed (bespoke kitchens, bedrooms, offices etc) and generally managing the day to day running (ordering, man management etc).

I know a lot of companies are finding it tough going at the moment and I am hoping to be able to advance my own career as well as to safeguard myself in case things take a bad turn in the future. I am unsure about what my next step from here can be and what extra qualifications I made need.

Obviously I have a degree of experience in management now and would like to be able to continue that. I also have above average technical and maths skills and was leaning in that direction also. READ MORE…

Probably the best thing you could do right now is have a word with someone at the built environment dept your local college. Most colleges have open day events for this very purpose but you don’t have to wait until one comes up, just pick the phone up and ask if you can call in for a chat.

In terms of studying for a higher level qualification your past experience should be enough to get you accepted on most relevant courses; it’s just a matter of what’s best for you.

Steven – I have been working in the construction industry for the last 10years, working on the tools, managing small residential developments from ground to completion. i only have NVQ level 2 in Cpcs and level 1 in carpentry which is holding me back from walking in to a contracts manager/ assistant site manager or something along those lines! I would like to further my career and get fully qualified in the managerial side of the industry and take on some bigger projects? What would be the best way to go about this? READ MORE…

Traditionally the Construction HNC or Construction Management HNC would be the answer – and they still are, to an extent. The courses are usually run one day a week over 2 years and there isn’t a way around this, at present. So you will have to have a supportive employer or be willing to go out on a limb.

The HNC is a respected qualification though and tends to be a prerequisite for the kinds of roles you’re interested in.

The 5 day Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) and 3 day First Aid at Work Course are also becoming a standard requirement for almost all junior management roles these days.

You may also have to contend with the CSCS card system which a lot of recruiters and main contractors are using as a default measure of ‘competence’.

The Level 6 NVQ Diploma in construction Site Management (QCF) would be your goal for attaining the site manager’s black card. However, the classic ‘chicken and egg’ problem this is that you have to be already in the role to be able to start the course.

As a first step I would recommend you register at the Chartered Institute of Builders (CIoB) with a view to becoming a full member. If you go down the HNC route you will be able to join as a student member and take it from there.

You may also find it helpful to get in touch with the head of ‘Built Environment’ at your nearest college to arrange a chat. He/she will be best placed to advise on the best course of action and what opportunities are available to you locally.

I know this can be a daunting prospect but often he or she will have been in the same position as yourself at some point and will be more than willing to help you.

Thomas – Can a level 3 NVQ in carpentry allow me to progress to an architecture course? If so what is the course called? READ MORE…

Normally you would need an HNC or HND in a construction or architectural discipline in order to study for a degree (or foundation degree).

Michael – I am currently working in the social housing sector carrying out refurbishment contracts as a project manager. I have worked in this role for the last 7 years and would like to take the next step in becoming a qs or higher level manager . I have all relevant site qualifications and a Btec in construction studies carried out 12 years ago. What is the best option for my next step. READ MORE…

There isn’t an easy answer to this question as there isn’t a path that’s guaranteed to get you the result you want. Obviously studying for a degree in construction management is going to be an advantage but unless you have a cooperative employer it isn’t always a practical route.

I suggest you consider membership of a professional body such as the Chartered Institute of Building or Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and follow a relevant pathway. It should, if nothing else, give an idea of what to aim for?

I have just completed a HNC in construction and the built environment, I have received a conditional offer for a part time construction and engineering management degree, which I will be funding myself which is quite expensive, alternatively I have been looking at site management higher nvq’s from level 4 to level 7 from the ciob.

I could do the nvqs at considerably less cost. But my worry is what would prospective employers look at more favourably NVQ’s or a degree?

Personally I have looked at the module titles covered and the nvq’s look like they are more site specific to a site management which is the direction I am looking to head after running my own building business for 9 years. Any help would be greatly received. READ MORE…

Doing the NVQs is the better option since they are more role specific, enable you to become a member of the CIoB and qualify you for a Black CSCS card. IF you did the degree, you would still need to do the NVQs to get a card and, although this is more or less symbolic, you will find it difficult to get a site management post without one.

If your aim is to start your own business the CIoB membership would also give you access to support and resources not otherwise available.

It would be wise to get as many opinions as you can at this stage though, especially from the University offering the degree, since there are always advantages and disadvantages that are not immediately obvious.

For example, you may form a network of contacts while doing the course that prove invaluable at a later stage. Some universities also have links with employers that may also be helpful when it comes to getting your first job?

See Also
Cranes at night
BSc Construction Management
HNC in Construction