Educating project managers for the construction industry

Raymond Krizek*, Ahmad Hadavi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


With the increasing complexity of constructing and maintaining infrastructure facilities, there has been a growing need for civil and environmental engineers to supplement their technical and managerial skills through advanced degrees in engineering and management. ASCE has clearly supported this idea by adopting the master's degree (or its equivalent) as the first professional degree. The means to acquire additional technical expertise has been addressed quite adequately by a variety of master's degree programs at many universities throughout the country, but the challenge to impart the requisite managerial skills has not been satisfied very effectively. The latter is based on the premise that an MBA education is not ideal for managing large public and private projects which require managers with considerable technical expertise, as well as managerial skills. The Master of Project Management (MPM) program at Northwestern University has been established in response to this specific need in the construction industry. The program's multidisciplinary approach combines essential components of civil engineering design with concepts of business management and behavioral science to develop technically qualified individuals for responsible management roles in the design, construction, and operation of major engineering projects. The particular features that make this program particularly responsive to this need are (a) it is taught almost exclusively by a faculty of more than 20 high-level practitioners, (b) the student body is truly global to enhance the multicultural aspects of the current market, (c) the course selections are very flexible and custom-designed to meet the needs and objectives of each individual, (d) the program is dynamic and courses are continually added or deleted as the situation dictates, (e) courses are scheduled to accommodate both full-time and part-time students, and (f) strong emphasis is placed on the development and improvement of communication skills, both oral and written. One of the major impediments to the more widespread implementation of this program is the fact that the industry, as a whole, is not very supportive of employee participation - both in terms of financial remuneration for tuition and time-off to attend classes. In addition to the degree program, individual courses can be taken to earn a credential or to satisfy PDHs for professional registration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007
Event114th Annual ASEE Conference and Exposition, 2007 - Honolulu, HI, United States
Duration: Jun 24 2007Jun 27 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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