The Department of Construction Management and the Department of Building and Quantity Surveying, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), commenced with the presentation of the MSc (Built Environment) with four specialisations, on 24 June 2002: Construction Management; Facilities Management; Project Management, and Property Economics and Valuation. A fifth specialisation, namely Construction Health and Safety Management, was added to the suite of specialisations in June 2007. Due to demand, the programme is presented annually. 

Purpose of the qualification

The purpose of the qualification is to:

  • Provide understanding of the management skills and techniques necessary to deliver sophisticated projects in an increasingly competitive economic environment of South Africa and elsewhere, within time, budget and risk requirements of construction clients and other stakeholders;
  • Develop analytical and methodological skills which are critical for management, decision-making and problem-solving roles, and
  • Prepare candidates for advancement in construction consultancy in professional construction management, facilities management, project management, and property economics and valuation, or careers in public service.

Contribution and impact 

The programme will provide leadership, managerial, professional and research competencies for effective and efficient delivery of built environment projects in the globally competitive environment in which major projects are procured. Targeted learners are primarily built environment professionals in the Eastern Cape Province who are largely under-served in the provision of continuing professional development (CPD) and postgraduate programmes. However, the attractiveness and relevance of the programme to learners from other parts of South Africa, SADC, and further a field, is enhanced by the residential (block release) mode of instruction, and the globally competitive curricula.

Further, given that the programme includes both course work and a substantial research component, it will contribute to capacity building and delivery in the built environment per se, tertiary education, and research, in addition to the realisation of generic and specific outcomes.

Generic and specific outcomes

Generic outcomes include competency to function as principal agent in complex construction and property development projects. Specific exit level outcomes per specialisation (in parentheses) include:

Construction manager / project manager on complex construction projects and processes and at senior management level in a related capacity in the business, institutional or public environment (construction management / project management);

  • Principal agent in the procurement of other projects such as end products or services, in sectors other than construction (‘generic’ project management);
  • Appreciate the complex human and financial consequences of property occupation (property economics and valuation, and facilities management);
  • Perform investment appraisals and undertake risk analysis and evaluation in relation to property investments (property economics and valuation, and facilities management);
  • Appraise the operational requirements of the core business activity in terms of real estate, and develop appropriate strategic and operational responses (facilities management), and
  • Perform effective space planning exercises (facilities management).


The curricula include four generic core modules, four or five (construction / project management) fundamental modules, one of three or four elective modules specific to the respective specialisations, and the research project. The curricula have been structured to include modules which engender skills complementary to the achievement of ‘best practice’ in the built environment, among other: building energy analysis and management; design management; environmental management; health and safety management; international construction; risk management, and total quality management.

Admission criteria


A range of admission criteria have been evolved to maximise eligibility for admission, and to enhance the shared experiences during instruction, resulting from the candidates’ diverse occupations:

  • Bachelor of Science honours degree in Quantity Surveying or Construction Management obtained at UPE / NMMU or at another University;
  • Bachelor of Architecture degree obtained at UPE / NMMU or at another University;
  • 4-year minimum bachelors’ degree in other disciplines at UPE / NMMU or at another University;
  • Bachelor of Technology degree in Quantity Surveying, Construction Management or Architecture obtained from a Technikon, or Technical University, with a minimum of five years of working experience;
  • Professional diploma in Quantity Surveying (RQS or ARICS), Construction Management or Architecture with a minimum of seven years of working experience, and
  • Any person accepted as a candidate for the degree by the University.

Go to the Online Prospectus to view the curriculum and rules...

Department of Construction Management