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Starting A Master's Degree Program In Construction

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.467.1 - 4.467.13

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Paper Authors

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Neil D. Opfer

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John Gambatese

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1321

Starting a Master’s Degree Program in Construction

John A. Gambatese, Neil D. Opfer University of Nevada, Las Vegas


The increasing sophistication of the construction industry is creating a need for specialized and advanced knowledge in the field of construction. This need is leading to an increased demand for employees with graduate education in construction engineering and management. As a result, university programs leading to master’s degrees in construction are being called on to respond to the increased demand. While many major universities across the country currently confer graduate degrees in construction, regional universities that lack a graduate-level construction program must create such a program. Development of a master’s degree program requires a substantial amount of focused effort and support by the university faculty and administrators.

This paper describes the development of a graduate program in construction in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Beginning with a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management degree, the construction program was expanded to include a Master of Science in Construction Management degree and a Master of Science in Engineering degree with construction option. Development of the new degrees required consideration of graduate construction coursework, faculty course loads and capabilities, student and local industry needs and limitations, and departmental resources. Setbacks to commencing the graduate program occurred due to limited initial course enrollment and the need for additional marketing of the program. Based on the local construction industry’s interest in the program and level of construction activity, it is expected that the program will eventually provide graduate education meeting the demand for a higher level of construction knowledge.

I. Introduction

Graduate construction programs are certainly not new, having been started at some institutions such as Stanford University in the mid-1950’s.1 Since that time more than 40 similar programs in construction engineering and management have been started at other universities across the country.2 Many of these programs were started at large, national universities. Program development at larger universities is often assisted in part by substantial monetary and infrastructure resources, large student enrollments coming from the surrounding region, nationally, and internationally, and extensive numbers of alumni from long school histories.

Opfer, N. D., & Gambatese, J. (1999, June), Starting A Master's Degree Program In Construction Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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