Master of Science in Construction Management Degree Specifics - 2020

Program Overview

The Master of Science in Construction Management is designed to provide breadth in the managerial, technological, economic, and environmental aspects of construction. The Program is also designed to provide depth through a systems approach encompassing project management, estimating, scheduling and project controls, housing, land acquisition, real estate, finance, business management, green buildings and marketing.

In this major students have the opportunity to focus on topics including:

  • Sustainable and Energy Efficient Design and Construction,
  • Integrative Project Delivery Practices and Methods,
  • Building Information Modeling and Other Computer Applications,
  • Construction Management Information Systems,
  • Lean Construction,
  • International Project Management,
  • Construction Safety and Economics,
  • Estimating, Scheduling and Project Controls,
  • Construction Contracts and Legal Aspects,
  • Domicology,
  • Construction Education.

The major goals of the degree are to:

  • Prepare students to manage various project management functions of complex construction projects.
  • Enhance the decision making process by creating an innovation seeking and research mind set.
  • Expose students to the latest advancements in emerging technology applications.

Program Components/Plan Options

Both Thesis and Non-Thesis options are available. The Thesis option is generally suitable for students who are funded on research projects and for those who would like to pursue careers in research, consulting and academic areas. The Non-Thesis option is generally suitable for students who would like to pursue careers in industry. Most students complete the CM Degree in two years regardless of the option selected. The typical paths for the Master of Science in Construction Management are as follows:

Plan A – Thesis Option

Students choosing this option will be assigned a Major Professor and together, develop an academic program of study. The student will then present a Thesis proposal to their Major Professor and Guidance Committee. They will complete all required course work, research and write the Thesis. To graduate, students are required to pass an oral defense covering their Thesis topic. A passing evaluation must be given by 2/3 of committee members in order for student to pass. Students who fail the initial evaluation may be re-evaluated the next semester after recommended changes are made. The student must meet the minimum enrollment requirement for the University during this additional semester. Students who fail a second attempt will be dismissed from the program.

Plan A students must complete a minimum of 6 Master’s Thesis Research credits (CMP 899) in addition to 24 course credits for a total of 30 credits.

Plan B Report Presentation

Students choosing this option must select a Major Professor and another CM faculty member to serve as their committee and together, develop an academic program of study. The student will complete all required course work and research then write and orally present a report. The report and oral presentation will be evaluated by the two member committee. Passing will determined by consensus among the committee members. Students who fail the initial report presentation may be re-evaluated the next semester after recommended changes are made. The student must meet the minimum enrollment requirement for the University during this additional semester. Students who fail a second attempt will be dismissed from the program.

Plan B Report students must complete a minimum of 3 Master’s Research credits (CMP 898) in addition to 30 course credits for a total of 33 credits. The program may not exceed six credits of research or special problems.

Plan B Exam Option

Students choosing this option will complete a total of 33 course credits for the degree. They will have their choice of completing a written examination composed of questions from the CM faculty, passing with at least an 80% or they may take the American Institute of Constructors Certification Exam (AIC Exam). Students taking the AIC Exam will take Level One, Associate Constructor. However, students who have previously taken and passed Level One may opt to take Level Two, Certified Professional Constructor. The AIC Exam is a nationally administered Exam and a fee is required.

Students who fail the AIC exam may opt to take the departmental exam or retake the exam the next semester. Students who fail a second attempt will be dismissed from the program.

Neither the AIC or departmental exam is given during the summer semester. Students planning a summer graduation must take the exam in advance. All students must be enrolled for at least 1 credit during the semester in which they take the exam.

Degree Requirements

The student must complete a total of 30 course credits for the degree under Plan A (Thesis) or 33 course credits for the Degree under Plan B (Report or Exam). For a student who elects independent study courses, no more than 6 credits under Plan A and 9 credits under Plan B may be counted toward the requirements for the degree. The student’s academic program of study must be submitted to the Graduate Secretary before the end of their second semester.

Requirements for Plan A – Thesis Option

  • A minimum of 18 credits at the 800-900 level.
  • All of the following courses:
    • CMP 817: Construction Management Information Systems (3 credits);
    • CMP 822: Legal Issues in Construction (3 credits);
    • CMP 893: Elements and Methods of Research in CM (3 credits).
  • One additional 800-level Construction Management course, excluding Construction Management 890, 898, and 899. Students without a background in construction methods, project scheduling and estimating must complete Construction Management 801, 811 and 815 in partial fulfillment of this requirement.
  • One 400-level course or above in statistics if an approved statistics course was not completed as part of the undergraduate degree;
  • Complete 6 credits in CMP 899, no more than 6 credits may be counted towards the requirements for the degree under Plan A;
  • Complete and defend a Master’s Thesis acceptable to the student’s major professor and the guidance committee.

Requirements for Plan B – Report Option or Exam Option

  • A minimum of 24 credits at the 800-900 level;
  • All of the following courses:
    • CMP 817: Construction Management Information Systems (3 credits);
    • CMP 822: Legal Issues in Construction (3 credits);
    • CMP 893: Elements and Methods of Research in CM (3 credits)
  • One additional 800-level Construction Management course, excluding Construction Management 890, 898, and 899. Students without a background in construction methods, project scheduling and estimating must complete Construction Management 801, 811 and 815 in partial fulfillment of this requirement.
  • One 400-level course or above in statistics if an approved statistics course was not completed as part of the undergraduate degree;
  • Report Option: Complete 3 credits of Construction Management 898. No more than 3 credits may be counted towards the requirements for the degree under Plan B. Successfully complete the Plan B report acceptable to student’s major professor and the guidance committee

OR

  • Exam or Coursework Option: Completion of a written examination given by the guidance committee or pass the AIC Level 1 Certification Exam.

Linked Bachelor’s-Masters Degree in Construction Management

Admission to the Linked Bachelor’s-Master’s program allows the application of up to 9 credits toward the master’s program for qualifying 400-level and above course work taken at the undergraduate level at Michigan State University. Credits applied to the Linked Bachelor’s-Master’s program are not eligible to be applied to any other graduate degree program.

Collateral Courses

Students admitted with collateral requirements will be required to complete specified collateral courses with a grade point average of at least 3.0. These collateral courses will not count towards the degree. The guidance committee will determine which courses will be used to complete the collateral requirement during the student’s first semester.

Transfer Credits

No more than 9 semester credits of graduate course work (excluding research and thesis credits) may be transferred from other recognized educational institutions. To do so, access the “Transfer Credit Administrative Forms” online at the Office of the Registrar Online Forms Menu. Credits transferred are established through the Program of Study as agreed upon by the student’s guidance committee. Credits must be verified through official transcripts. Transferred credits must have been earned at a 3.0 or above to be included.

Sample Academic Program of Study

(Without collateral and prerequisite courses)

Fall Semester, Year I

Plan A and Plan B Students
  • CMP 801: Construction, Building, and Energy Systems (3 credits);
  • CMP 811: Advanced Project Scheduling (3 credits);
  • CMP 815: Advanced Cost Estimating and Analysis (3 credits).
Dual-Enrollment Bachelor/Masters
  • CMP 401*: Construction Safety Management (3 credits);
  • CMP 815*: Advanced Cost Estimating and Analysis (3 credits);
  • Undergraduate requirements.

Spring Semester, Year I

Plan A and Plan B Students
  • CMP 817: Construction Project Management and Information Systems (3 credits);
  • CMP 822: Contracts and Legal Issues in Construction (3 credits);
  • CMP 893: Elements and Methods of Research for Built Environment (3 credits).
Dual-Enrollment Bachelor/Masters
  • CMP 817*: Construction Project Management and Information Systems (3 credits);
  • CMP 890**: Special Problems (1-3 credits);
  • CMP 893: Elements and Methods of Research for Built Environment (3 credits).

Fall Semester, Year II

Plan A Students
  • Approved Elective (3 credits);
  • Approved Elective (3 credits);
  • CMP 899: Master's Thesis Research (3 credits).
Plan B Students
  • Approved Elective (3 credits);
  • Approved Elective (3 credits);
  • Approved Elective (3 credits).
Dual-Enrollment Bachelor/Masters
  • Approved Elective (3 credits);
  • Approved Elective (3 credits);
  • CMP 899: Master's Thesis Research (3 credits).

Spring Semester, Year II

Plan A Students
  • CMP 899: Master's Thesis Research (3 credits).
Plan B Students - Report
  • Approved Elective (3 credits);
  • CMP 898: Master's Research (3 credits).
Plan B Students - Coursework
  • Approved Elective (3 credits);
  • Approved Elective (3 credits).
Dual-Enrollment Bachelor/Masters
  • Approved Elective (3 credits);
  • Approved Elective (3 credits);
  • CMP 899: Master's Thesis Research (3 credits).

* Dual counting credits

** Students are to select CMP 890 credit in consultation with their advisors to make up for any gaps between the undergraduate and graduate courses.

Notes: Electives are CMP 401, 491, 828, 831, 891, PDC 901, and approved 400-, 800- and 900-level courses in SPDC or other departments (for students without a statistics course, one of the electives must be from statistics).

Required Academic Program of Study

All students are required to complete and submit a formal plan called the academic program of study. For Plan A students and Plan B Report students, The academic program of study with approving signatures from the Major Professor and all Guidance Committee must be submitted to Graduate Secretary, preferably by the end of their first semester. For Plan B Exam students, the academic program is developed with their assigned Major Professor and also signed by the Associate Director. It is strongly suggested and in the students best interest to develop their program of study as early as possible. Once submitted, any and all changes to the program must be approved by the student’s Major Professor, Guidance Committee, Associate Director of SPDC and the Associate Dean of The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Advising and Guidance Committees

Plan A students and Plan B Report students will be assigned a Major Professor. Plan A students may select a different Major Professor with consent. A Guidance Committee is formed for Plan A students and Plan B Report students. Members of the committee act as consultants, advisors and evaluators for the student’s Program and research. They’ll approve the academic program of study, and approve the Thesis or Report presentation. For Plan A students, the Guidance Committee consists of the Major Professor (CM faculty member), one committee member within CM in addition to one committee member outside the school. For Plan B Report students the Guidance Committee consists of the Major Professor and one additional committee member, both within CM.

It is in the student’s best interest to compose a Guidance Committee by the end of their first semester of classes so that the committee may give advice concerning course work. In forming the committee, the student is encouraged to meet with their Major Professor and develop a list of potential committee members. Students should then set up a time to meet the potential committee members. The process involves the consensus of both the student and potential committee members. The composition of the Guidance Committee will be submitted to the Graduate Secretary for approval no later than the end of the second semester of study.

The composition of the Guidance Committee (excluding the Major Professor) can change providing a member is willing to step down and a new member is found. This should be accomplished with the approval of the student’s Major Professor. A request to change the academic program of study must be submitted to the Graduate Secretary for approval from the Associate Director and the CANR Dean’s Office.

If a student’s Major Professor leaves the University or is unable to continue advising the graduate student, the student must search for a new Major Professor. If another faculty member in CM accepts the student, the student may continue their existing program of study. However, if a new Major Professor cannot be found, the student will be advised to complete their degree under the supervision of a CM faculty member assigned by the Associate Director.

Degree Calendar & Progress Checklist

Prior to Attending the First Semester of Classes

  • Activate your NetID and MSU E-mail account. MSU E-mail will be the official mode of communication. Students are advised against forwarding their MSU E-mail to other outside accounts. MSU uses e-mail for a variety of official communications related to employment, student, and safety concerns. For instance, notices regarding a tuition bill are sent to a student's MSU e-mail account. It is important to activate your NetID because your MSU account is the only e-mail account to which official notices are sent. Students use their PID and PAN for activation.
  • Attend the required SPDC new graduate orientation. Students are encouraged to participate in orientation activities offered by the Graduate School (and for international students, by the Office of International Students and Scholars).
  • Contact the Associate Director or assigned Major Professor when you arrive on campus to discuss Degree requirements, plan your courses (especially those for the first semester), and to discuss other student-related concerns.
  • Register for classes, master’s students must be registered for a minimum of 9 credits per semester (6 if hired as a Graduate Assistant) to be considered "full time". International students must register for a minimum of 9 hours to fulfill Visa requirements.

First Semester

  • Select Guidance Committee members with your Major Professor.
  • Schedule and hold a meeting with your Guidance Committee to discuss your academic and professional goals and the courses you intend to take. You may wish to discuss preliminary ideas for a Plan A Thesis or Plan B Report.
  • Collateral Courses: complete all collateral courses as specified in admissions letter (and plan of study developed with your Major Professor).

Second Semester

  • Finalize your academic program of study and circulate for approval. Once you have signatures from your Major Professor and Guidance Committee the Program should be submitted to the Graduate Secretary. It will then be reviewed by the Associate Director and sent to the Dean of CANR for approval. The original form will be placed in your permanent academic file.
  • Prepare a written draft of your Plan A Thesis or Plan B Report. Discuss with your Major Professor and secure his or her approval prior to submitting it to your Guidance Committee.

Second or Third Semester

  • Revise your proposal based on the feedback from your Major Professor and schedule a meeting of your Guidance Committee to discuss your proposal. Provide each member of your Guidance Committee with a copy of your proposal at least two weeks prior to the committee meeting.
  • Schedule and hold a meeting of your Guidance Committee to discuss and approve your proposal and review progress on your academic program.
  • Secure approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB), as appropriate to your research by submitting the application form found at the Human Research Protection Program website.

Last Semester

Prepare for Thesis defense, Report presentation or Exam:

  • Check deadline dates for the semester as they pertain to completing the Master’s Degree at The Graduate School website.
  • Register for a minimum of 1 credit for the semester in which you plan to defend your Thesis, present your Report or take your Exam.
  • Check STUINFO to be sure all DFs (deferred grades) have been converted to numerical grades and that your GPA is 3.0 or above.
  • Complete and submit the on-line application for graduation at the beginning of the semester. You must apply for graduation even if you do not plan to attend the ceremony. This will circulate the appropriate paperwork to the Graduate Secretary that is needed to approve and confer your degree.
  • Obtain a copy of the Thesis/Dissertation submission packets from The Graduate School EDT website. Although it is not required that the Plan B Report be submitted to the Graduate School, it should be formatted in the same manner as the Plan A Thesis.
  • Plan B Exam students should register and take Exam.
  • Prepare for commencements; see guidelines and checklist provided by the University.

Completion of Thesis/Report

  • Complete all required forms in the Thesis formatting guide found online at The Graduate School website (Plan A students).
  • Submit a draft of your Thesis or Report to your Major Professor and Guidance Committee at least two weeks before your defense.
  • Edit your draft, as needed.
  • Schedule a time with your Major Professor and Guidance Committee for defending or presenting your work. This will be an open session to which students and faculty in the School of Planning, Design and Construction may attend.
  • Once student has confirmed a date and time that will work for their Major Professor and Guidance Committee they should contact the Graduate Secretary to reserve a conference room. At this time the student will also provide the title of their Thesis or Report so the appropriate announcements may be sent out to SPDC faculty and students.
  • Provide your Major Professor and each member of your Guidance Committee a copy of your Thesis or Report at least two weeks prior to the defense or presentation.
  • Orally defend Thesis or Report.
  • Modify Thesis or Report as instructed by your Guidance Committee.
  • Prepare an abstract of your Thesis to be filled with “Dissertation/Thesis Abstracts;”
    • Submit a copy of your Thesis to the Graduate School via the process described at Theses and Dissertation Submissions. If Plan B Report students do not need to send a copy to the Graduate School.
    • Distribute copies of the Thesis or Report to your Major Professor, and Guidance Committee. Individual committee members may request an alternative format, such as softbound, unbound, or digital.

Final Logistics

  • Read and comply with the MSU’s Thesis/Dissertation electronic submissions to ensure that you have met all requirements and submitted all forms necessary, paperwork can be found at Theses and Dissertation Submissions.
  • Pay all final fees and complete questionnaires required by the Graduate School.

Faculty Available to Act as a Major Professor