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Course content

The MSc Construction in Emerging Economies is highly innovative in its design and specifically focused on the needs of countries undergoing rapid urbanisation. Many such countries contain urban conurbations with a GDP in excess of some developed countries, but at the same time they also possess vast rural areas which remain poor and underdeveloped. The construction sector in such economies is invariably at the nexus of sustainable development.

The distinctive focus is on countries undergoing rapid urbanisation, placing construction-related knowledge within the economic, social and developmental contexts in emerging economies.

The course is aimed at early-to-mid-career professionals with an interest in the role of construction in emerging economies. The course will appeal to those seeking to bring about practical changes in a range of different national contexts. It will also appeal to those working with international NGOs who require a better understanding of construction in a developmental context.

The course content reflects the unique expertise available at the University of Reading, including our extensive international experience. The staff who contribute to the course are highly research-active, and many possess extensive experience of advising governments, NGOs and private-sector firms. But you will not only learn from members of staff; you will also learn from each other through joint engagement in experiential project work.

The interdisciplinary character of our courses matches the complexity of sustainable development. The principles of public-private partnership lie at the heart of the curriculum. Old dichotomies of public vs private are of little relevance to the real-world problems of the 21st Century. What is important is to have workable solutions specifically designed for localised needs. The 'one-size-fits-all' solutions promoted by the advocates of globalisation are rarely appropriate when faced with the lived realities of real people.

The modular structure of the course allows you to select subjects that meet their own needs and interests, while developing a core set of knowledge and skills. In addition to guiding theoretical principles, there is also a strong focus on the development of critical thinking ability together with the practical skills which are needed to make a difference.

What will you study?

Sample modules

  • International construction labour markets
  • Construction sector transition pathways in emerging economies
  • Financial and management accounting in construction
  • Building information modelling
  • Strategic management

Please note that all modules are subject to change. Please see our modules disclaimer for more information.


The dissertation is a major individual research project. Guidance will be given on choosing a research topic, research techniques and the style and presentation of the finished document. Classes in research skills are provided as part of the dissertation module. Students will have their own carefully selected dissertation tutor whose role is to help them plan and successfully execute this key part of the programme.


We offer a one-year, full-time modular course. It is taught with ten, one-week attendance periods at the University. The full-time programme starts in September each year.

Flexible part-time

We also offer a two-year, part-time modular course. It is taught with ten, one-week attendance periods at the University. The duration of the flexible route is strongly recommended as two years, but this is not fixed. The flexible course starts in September each year.

What career can you have?

Future career paths are likely to be within central governmental agencies, local/regional government, NGOs or the private sector. In the private sector, some graduates will work for major international construction companies who are seeking to develop their international market in emerging economies. Others may work for construction firms and construction clients who are employing those international firms. There are many opportunities to make a difference in the public and private sectors, especially at the interface between different emerging economies and with the more developed countries.

Visit the Construction in Emerging Economies MSc page on the University of Reading website for more details!





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