Best Online Master’s Degrees in Construction Management

Find top-ranked programs, see what you’ll learn, and discover how an online master’s in construction management can upgrade your career through a study plan that fits your busy schedule.

An online master’s in construction management provides a convenient way to acquire the technical skills and business and management knowledge needed to effectively lead in the construction industry and secure senior-level positions. This guide gives a complete picture of what you can expect when earning a master’s in construction management online. It spotlights the best construction management master’s degrees offered online, looks at some of the career-focused academic concentrations, and highlights common career paths after graduation. Take the next step towards a rewarding leadership position in construction below.

Best Construction Management Master’s Degree Online Programs in 2021

The three schools highlighted below offer some of the best online master’s programs in construction management. They provide flexible online curricula and holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to construction management. These programs boast a roster of experts in the construction field along with seasoned academics in fields spanning engineering to law. Check back later in 2021 for our full ranking of the best online master’s in construction management.

University of Washington

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Considered one of the best online master’s in construction management, the University of Washington offers a 42-credit degree full-time students can complete in one year. Through its focus on the heavy construction industry, this program synthesizes the management techniques and technical know-how required for a career in construction management.

Online coursework includes energy infrastructure and the environment, construction operations and productivity, and heavy construction estimating. UW’s program uses the Canvas learning management system, and classes are taught asynchronously through prerecorded lectures, course materials, and discussion forums.

A bachelor’s in a construction-related degree from a regionally accredited institution is required, and applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA for their last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework. Submit official transcripts, a resume, a statement of purpose, and two letters of recommendation. GRE scores are also required for admission.

Arizona State University

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Designed for students with academic or professional experience in the construction industry, Arizona State University’s online master’s in construction management comprises 30 credits and takes 18 months to complete. ASU students choose between specializations in construction management and technology or facility management.

Coursework includes facilities operations and maintenance, construction project management, and construction company financial control. As a degree-culminating experience, you can complete a researched thesis or tackle a project allowing you to practically apply coursework. Prerequisite experience for the construction management track includes contracts, physics, scheduling, and strength of materials.

Applicants need a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of coursework. They must also submit official transcripts, a current resume, and a personal statement detailing academic and professional goals.

University of Southern California

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One of California’s premier private institutions, the University of Southern California offers an online master’s in construction management requiring four semesters of full-time study. Interdisciplinary in structure, the 32-credit online curriculum combines studies from engineering, architecture, business, law, and planning and development. Courses expose students to the technical and non-technical elements within construction management.

The core curriculum includes construction practices, construction accounting and finance, planning and preconstruction, and project controls. At least four elective courses fill out the curriculum, allowing students to shape coursework based on their career ambitions and academic interests.

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree in an engineering-related discipline such as civil engineering, architecture, or engineering management. They must also submit official transcripts, a resume, a personal statement, and two letters of recommendation. Applicants are also required to submit GRE or GMAT scores.

Advantages of Earning an Online Master’s in Construction Management

For construction professionals seeking more responsibility and increased pay, an online master’s degree in construction management is a great option. In addition to the flexibility inherent to online coursework, these degrees expose you to the business and technical ideas that fuel effective construction management. Below are three advantages of an online master’s in construction management.

  1. Flexibility

    Online learning allows professionals to continue working while simultaneously tackling graduate-level coursework. As many online programs are asynchronous, online students can complete work at their own pace, anywhere, and at any time. This is especially advantageous for construction professionals already working in the field.

  2. Earning Potential

    Management positions come with more responsibility and more pay. An online master’s in construction management prepares you to take on management through both technical course content as well as management-focused classes that delve into the financial and personnel aspects of the field.

  3. Multidisciplinary Knowledge

    The curriculum for an online master’s in construction management pulls from technical areas such as engineering and architecture as well as from business and law. As a result, you cover a variety of topics that are essential and easily applicable to myriad construction management roles. This well-rounded management training boosts career options.

What You’ll Learn in Construction Management Master’s Degree Online Programs

Online master’s in construction management curricula focuses on both technical coursework like engineering and architecture and leadership classes like business and management. These programs also provide exposure to important topics within law personnel management and civil engineering to produce a well-rounded education.

In addition to traditional online coursework, many programs require a degree-culminating project. Students often choose between a project that practically applies knowledge learned in classes or a heavily researched thesis project. As applied projects often involve working with professionals in the field, these capstones potentially lead to professional contacts and future career opportunities. Check out some common courses below.

Common Courses

  • Environmental Regulations

    This course exposes students to the regulations pertaining to construction-site stormwater runoff. Regulatory history and current legal requirements are examined, and students gain practical training in site analysis and avoiding or reducing water pollutants. This online class also examines regulatory issues regarding air pollution, wetlands, and endangered species.

  • Construction Accounting and Finance

    Critical to effective construction management, this course tackles accounting and financial concerns within the construction business. From payroll to cost control, construction accounting is essential to project and construction management. This course also delves into evaluating job costs, contractor’s financial statements, and economics of the construction industry.

  • Construction Practices

    This course examines major construction projects and the systems and processes impacting the planning, implementation, engineering, and delivery of the final product. Students also review the professional responsibilities of construction management leaders and analyze common problems that arise.

  • Statistical Fundamentals for Construction and Materials Applications

    Offering an overview of the statistical measures employed in construction decision-making processes, this course covers data distributions, hypothesis tests, regression analysis, and quality control and assurance. This online offering uses practical, construction-based data to simulate real-world construction situations.

  • Design and Construction Law

    Focusing on the legal problems common in design and construction services, this course emphasizes risk management and liability awareness. It explores topics like basic legal doctrines, client relationships, and contractor selection. Legal issues within the construction process and professional practice are also examined.

Specialization and Concentration Options

The construction world is expansive, and many online master’s in construction management allow students to select concentrations that mirror their academic and career interests. Specialization allows personalized training resulting in career prospects that best fit students’ interests. Five common concentrations are examined below.

  • Sustainability and Green Construction

    With environmental concerns in construction becoming more common, a concentration in sustainability and green construction meets the demands of a growing need for green construction. Through a curriculum focused on the LEED green building scale, students build knowledge of the most current regulatory standards and practices within environmentally responsible construction.

  • Construction Management and Technology

    The construction management and technology concentration prepares students for positions in upper-level management. Focused on boosting student competency in project, program, and organizational management, this concentration emphasizes a range of topics including construction estimates, scheduling, contracts, and technical competencies.

  • Facility Management

    Facility management concentrations cover topics such as civic regulations, project management, and safety standards. Through these courses, students examine management of the complex web of infrastructure and operations within existing buildings. In addition to technical responsibilities, plan to learn about payroll, personnel issues, and leadership skills.

  • Project Management

    Students delving into the construction project management concentration learn to navigate the tangle of scheduling, hiring, billing, and regulatory demands of large-scale construction projects. They also learn to maximize efficiency and boost worker performance while dealing with economic and personnel demands.

  • Real Estate

    This concentration challenges students with the technical elements of real estate construction, project management, and the economic and entrepreneurial dilemmas involved with real estate development. Coursework in this concentration covers real estate construction, management, and economics.

Accreditation for Master’s in Construction Management Online Programs

Academic accreditation provides an official seal of approval that ensures the education you receive is worth your hard-earned money. In short, accreditation means that a school upholds the academic standards set by accrediting agencies. Only consider online master’s programs in construction management that are regionally accredited and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

In addition to regional and national accreditation, the most reputable construction management programs are also recognized by construction management-specific accrediting groups such as the American Council for Construction Education, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, the National Architecture Accrediting Board, and the Association for Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering.

What You Can Do with a Master’s in Construction Management Online

If you’re interested in and/or already working in the construction field and want to move into a leadership role, a construction management master’s degree online can open many career opportunities. Effective managers hold unique skillsets that pull from technical knowledge, business know-how, and the ability to manage and work well with people.

The need for effective construction managers is constant, and these careers pay quite well. After completing a program, you will possess the skills needed to build professional connections, enhance career opportunities, and boost annual earnings. Several construction management careers are detailed below.

Construction Manager

Construction managers are essential to the effective functioning of construction projects. Overseeing a broad swath of responsibilities, they manage budgets, respond to a host of construction-related problems, possess a deep knowledge of legal regulations, and work closely with their team and other professionals.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$56,140 $95,260 $164,790

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Civil Engineer

Civil engineers design, supervise, construct, and manage infrastructure projects. These projects include large-scale construction developments like roads, buildings, airports, and bridges. Civil engineers analyze construction costs, environmental impact, legal issues, and local, state, and federal permits.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$55,380 $87,060 $144,560

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Cost Estimator

Integral to the construction process, cost estimators analyze information to estimate the time, cost, labor, and materials required for construction projects. These professionals assess technical information from blueprints and work closely with project managers, engineers, and clients. Cost estimators work to reduce costs and keep meticulous financial records.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$39,380 $65,250 $111,350

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Architectural and Engineering Manager

These technically trained managers plan and direct day-to-day business within construction settings. Architectural and engineering managers work closely with staff, direct training, manage budgets, and are responsible for an array of personnel issues. Technically adept, these managers are also responsible for the methods and quality of staff work.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$92,510 $144,830 $208,000

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Environmental Engineer

Within the context of construction, environmental engineers monitor the environmental impact of projects while also managing the construction of LEED-certified buildings. They prepare and review environmental impact reports, obtain permits, and monitor construction projects to ensure adherence to regulatory guidelines.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$54,330 $88,860 $142,070

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Costs and Financial Aid for an Online Master’s in Construction Management

Securing financial aid for a master’s degree in construction management can often make or break an opportunity for earning an advanced degree. Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a start. The FAFSA may not provide substantial support as a working professional, but it can lead to financial aid from your institution.

In addition to federal or private loans, there are many funding opportunities within a field like construction management. Organizations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers offer benefits including scholarships and fellowships. Some employers may also assist with tuition costs in exchange for a promise of work for a set amount of time after graduation.

What Your Online Construction Management Master’s Degree Could Cost

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Total Tuition Cost

Clemson University

21-30

N/A

$11,311/semester

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

33

$1,610

$53,130

Arizona State University

30

N/A

$8,609/semester

Q&A with an Online Master’s in Construction Management Graduate

Thomas Long works as the Field Contract Administrator at Arcadis in Brooklyn, New York. He competed an M.S. in Construction Management at New York University in 2011 and used the skills and knowledge gained from the program at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection prior to undertaking his current role. He has worked in the construction management industry for more than two decades.

Q. How important do you think it is for students to have previous construction or related experience before starting a master’s level degree?

I think it’s very important. I found that I learned from the other students as much as the professor. There are two flavors of a master’s in construction management. One is technical based and has more to do with means and methods. The other is business based and is closer an MBA in construction management. The technical programs dig deeper into the “what” of construction management. The business programs go more into the “why” of construction management.

Q. What advice do you have for making the most out of a program?

Networking is an important aspect of a master’s in construction management. Take your time if you can. There is no reason to rush through the program. It often gives you time to employ your new knowledge at work. It also gives you time to engage in extracurricular activities which are many times as rewarding as class work. Also, many programs expect students to spend more time on coursework out of class than during classroom hours. Much of the outside coursework is project based where you have to work as a team. Giving yourself more time allows you to engage in a leadership role in the team and increase your contribution.

Q. What would you tell students on the fence about whether or not they should pursue this degree?

Students should ask themselves several important questions to help identify if a master’s in construction management suits their goals. Some of these questions include:

Do you have enough time and energy to perform well?

Does your current company or your desired company see value in this degree?

Are you willing to take on more management responsibilities in your career?

Q. How did a master’s in construction management support your career goals?

I had my own business, and if opportunities would have allowed me to stay in business for myself it would’ve completely transformed my business. Instead, I took advantage of a different opportunity and that has made all the difference. If you want to broaden your opportunities, a master’s in construction management often gives you opportunities through networking and it can help you stand apart from other applicants. Look closely at your desired career path, would it be better served with a PE or AIA credential? If not, a master’s degree might be the best route.

FAQs About Construction Management Master’s Degrees Online

What are the admissions requirements for an online master’s in construction management?

Admission requirements for a master’s in construction management online vary, but most institutions follow a few standard prerequisites. These include:

  • A bachelor’s degree: You won’t be admitted to a master’s program without an undergraduate diploma from an accredited institution.
  • Minimum GPA: Most construction management programs require at least a 3.0 GPA. Some schools offer conditional admission for applicants failing to meet GPA requirements.
  • Relevant academic training or work experience: Many construction management programs are designed for professionals working in the field, and many require prerequisite professional or academic experience. Some allow completion of prerequisite coursework concurrently with master’s work.
  • Test scores: Most construction management programs require GRE or GMAT scores.

How long will it take to finish my master’s in construction management degree online?

Most master’s degrees in construction management programs take approximately two years of full-time enrollment. Part-time students need longer. Many schools, like Lawrence Technological University, offer online accelerated programs that can take as few as 12 months. Carefully consider the balance of professional and personal obligations before scheduling any online coursework.

Can I earn a master’s in construction management 100% online or do I need to visit campus?

Most master’s in construction management online programs are completed asynchronously and do not require going to campus. Additionally, as many of these programs are designed for professionals working in the construction field, internships or other experiential learning requirements often don’t apply. These programs provide a flexible academic experience for working professionals.