M.S. in Construction Management

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Master of Science in Construction Management

The Department of Construction Management offers graduate study leading to the Master of Science degree. The focus of the department is on professional programs that successfully combine theory and application with a strong emphasis in applied management. The master’s program is an advanced curriculum designed to allow students to tailor a portion of the specialization requirements to meet individual interests and goals.

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The learning objectives of this program are:

  1. Students will identify research problem(s), develop research question(s), design research methodologies, collect and analyze data, and interpret research results as components of scientific research.
  2. Students will develop critical thinking skills needed to conceive, develop, test, and refine scientific ideas and hypotheses.
  3. Students will communicate the results of their original research in a clear and well organized manner both in written (proposal, thesis or professional paper) and verbal (thesis or professional paper oral defense) format.
  4. Students will write manuscript(s) for submission to a refereed scientific journal or a conference based on their research.
  5. Students will develop expertise in one or more fields of construction management at which the student can successfully function in the profession (either academia or industry).

Each construction management graduate student must complete a final project of professional quality to demonstrate his/her capability in their area of interest and his/her readiness for professional practice. The final research project is original work, involving a substantial degree of independent research and analysis. The research project results are presented as either a Thesis (Plan A) or Professional Research Paper (Plan B). Each student will work with their advisor to determine if a thesis or a professional paper is more appropriate. Each graduate student is required to submit an article to a journal or proceedings approved by the advisor prior to graduation.

The goal of the program is to provide graduate students with skills related to advance construction management problem solving. To attain this goal, the CM department encourages students to perform applied research that is industry, institutional, or "client" based.

  • Plan A (Thesis)
    Plan A is normally selected by those wanting to pursue answers to a specific research topic and envisioning a career in applied research. The thesis process also provides students interested in pursuing advanced degrees with important experience in research methodologies and processes. It typically follows traditional models of scientific inquiry and reporting (both qualitative and quantitative modes of inquiry are acceptable). A thesis research project investigates and answers a research problem that the student defines as significant. The relevance of the research problem is demonstrated through a literature review which shows how the proposed research will contribute to prior research efforts, theory and/or practice. The student defines the research problem in the form of a hypothesis or a central focus and describes how their research will test/answer the central thesis topic. The thesis describes all of the aforementioned background material (i.e., statement of the problem, literature review, statement of hypothesis/focus, and research methodology) and documents the study analyses and results. The thesis should conclude by relating the research contributions back to the relevant theory, current practice and perhaps provide some direction for future research. A minimum of 33 upper-division credits are required for Plan A students.
  • Plan B (Professional Research Paper)
    Students who want to develop technical proficiency in a particular area or emphasis may choose Plan B. Professional research paper is not held to the same standards for replicability of the research methodology used for a thesis. Results from a professional paper may be directed toward providing a solution to a specific applied problem for a small audience. There is an expectation that the professional paper could still be published, but the outlets would likely be different than those of a thesis. A minimum of 36 upper-division credits are required for Plan B students.
  • Restrictions
    At least 24 credits must be earned at Colorado State, 21 of which must be earned after admission to the Graduate School. These totals may include courses taken through the Distance Degree program.
    At least 16 of the credits earned at Colorado State must be in the courses numbered 500 or above. Of the 16, at least 12 must be in regular (lecture/laboratory) courses.
  • Departmental Graduation Requirements
    Prior to final departmental clearance for gradaution, students must submit a PDF copy of their final thesis or professional paper to the CM Graduate Program Advisor.  Every student is also required to work with their faculty advisor to submit an article to a journal or proceeding.