Quantity Surveying MSc/Diploma
- Delivery: Full Time, Part Time, Distance Learning
- Programme type: Taught Programme
- Study location: Edinburgh
- Entry date: January, September
The need for quantity surveyors is vital for the efficient financial management of construction projects. This programme is designed using principles that are applicable in many quantity surveying and financial management industrial sectors. It provides students with a solid theoretical base coupled with current and future approaches to practical quantity surveying practice.
As a partner university of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the School of the Built Environment is instrumental in meeting the educational needs of such graduates by building on their previous education and experience to prepare them for the demands of this profession.
Part-time and Distance Learning study options
This programme can be studied on a part-time basis or via Independent Distance Learning (IDL), ideal for those in employment or with other commitments, providing flexible study options that fit around work or family. As an IDL student you will not be required to attend any lectures, tutorials or other events at any of Heriot-Watt University’s campuses.
The MSc is accredited by RICS. If a student is in relevant structured employment whilst studying on the programme, they may register for the APC and work towards obtaining their relevant competencies. On successful completion of the MSc in Quantity Surveying graduates may then complete their RICS membership and on successful completion of the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) will achieve full chartered status.
The programme focuses on industrial relevance, ensuring that graduates are quickly able to make a positive and effective contribution to the success of their working environment, and the development of their own professional careers. The programme is taught using principles that are applicable in many quantity surveying and financial management industrial sectors. It provides students with access to both a solid theoretical base and current and future approaches to practical quantity surveying practice.
The Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design within the School of the Built Environment has excellent industry links. Staff within the Institute are actively engaged in a variety of research projects relating to building design, specification, management and operation.
Teaching and research excellence
The School of the Built Environment has a strong record in built environment research. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) 60% is classed ‘internationally excellent’ or better.
With a history dating back to 1821, Heriot-Watt is one of the UK’s leading universities, and Scotland’s most international. Find out more about Heriot-Watt University’s reputation, rankings and international profile.
For the MSc, students undertake eight taught courses plus the research dissertation. Students on the Diploma programme take the eight taught courses only. There are seven mandatory (core) courses to study plus one optional course from a choice of electives.
Choose one course from a selection of courses delivered in the School of the Built Environment
Please find below the course descriptions. For more information on courses, please contact the Programme Leader.
People and Organisational Management in the Built Environment(mandatory)
This Course aims to develop a high level of interdisciplinary understanding about complex organisational and personal management processes and how important they are in underpinning technical skills to deliver high quality services as a professional. Students will learn about and explore management theory and practice and will have a chance to reflect on their own personal development in a synoptic way. This will be valuable in terms of career development, as management competences and self-reflection are increasingly sought in practice. Subjects covered by the syllabus include:
What is management and why is it important for professional practice? Good and bad examples of management and their effect on individuals, organisations and service delivery. A critical evaluation of management theories. In depth understanding of the complexities of team building, organisational culture, recruitment and selection, staff appraisal, motivation, leadership, communication, co-ordination, and managing change and diversity.
Contracts and Procurement(mandatory)
The aim of this course is to help students understand advanced procurement practices, the situations in which their use is appropriate and the contractual principles upon which they are based. The course will also introduce students to the mechanisms used by a typical standard for of construction contract (from the JCT05 suite) to control the risk exposure arising from the liabilities of contracting parties created by the contract and common law, as well as the flow of money and information between contacting parties. Subjects covered by the syllabus include:
Introduction to Construction Project Procurement; Procurement Arrangement Options; Construction Contract Use in the UK; Principles of Contract Law; Partnering; Procurement through Public Private Partnerships; Claims; Negotiating; Managing Conflicts and Disputes; Towards Better Contracting Practices.
Value and Risk Management(mandatory)
The course aims to introduce the concepts of value & risk management, apply them to strategic and tactical problems and illustrate their tools and techniques through case study. The syllabus covers:
VRM and the construction procurement process, An Introduction to Value Management, Value Engineering - Function Analysis and other VE tools, Risk, uncertainty and the construction industry, Risk and procurement of PPP projects, The Risk Management framework., Sources, events and effects of project risk, Tools and techniques of Risk Management, Risk response and mitigation, Client Briefing, A Review of North American Practice.
Quantity Surveying Financial Management(mandatory)
The aim of this course is to develop the experience and capability of graduates in relation to the built environment. The objective is to enhance the students’ understanding of the cost and measurement practices and the organisation and processes of the cost control and development process in the construction industry.
Construction Financial Management(mandatory)
The aim of the course is to enable students to appreciate and make an intelligent contribution towards the managerial and financial aspects of construction companies in general and construction projects in particular. This includes developing awareness and understanding of the need for financial planning and monitoring and the cost control process. The following subjects are covered within the course syllabus:
Financial management and control in contracting; corporate strategies in construction; financial management at company level; cash flow forecasting; costing; cost/value reconciliation at project level; production of financial accounts for construction companies; corporate analysis and ratio analysis; economic comparison; profitability measurement; construction plant financial appraisal; development appraisal techniques.
The overall aim of this course is to provide students with a basic understanding of the different elements that make-up a building so that they can communicate effectively with construction professionals in the design and construction of buildings. Subjects include:
Structural Requirements for Buildings; Substructure Design – Foundations; Substructure Design – Basements; Structural frames and suspended floors; Superstructure - External walls and cladding Superstructure – Roofs; Services in Buildings; Offsite construction; Low carbon construction.
Construction Practice and Information Technology(mandatory)
The overall aim of this course is to provide an insight into the development of information systems in the construction industry. The course will help students to evaluate the use of modern ICT means and their impact on business performance in construction; study relevant IT concepts and appraise its applicability to construction process re-engineering and develop adequate research skills in reviewing and preparing academic publications. Subjects covered by the syllabus include:
Management Information systems for integrated work environment; Electronic Documents Management; Development strategy for information systems; Introduction to IT Infrastructure and EDI; E-business in construction; Building Information Modelling (BIM); Mobile computing in construction; Smart/Intelligent Building and Information systems and Knowledge Management.
Dr Fiona Grant is Director of Study for the Construction Management and Surveying discipline and Programme Leader for the postgraduate and undergraduate degrees in Quantity Surveying.
Dr Grant is also an active member of the RICS as an APC Assessor, she has involvement at national and international level in the institution.
Recommended textbook for background reading: Willis's Practice and Procedure for the Quantity Surveyor.
- DegreeMSc Quantity Surveying
- Present Job Quantity Surveyor with Laing O'Rourke, Australia
"Heriot-Watt has close ties with my previous employer, Sir Robert McAlpine, who sponsored my time there. As I was residing in Edinburgh at the time I wanted my place of study to be close to home and the part time option suited my circumstances. I believe Heriot-Watt to be the superior academic institution offering the Quantity Surveying course in Edinburgh.
"I am currently working on the McLachlan & Ann Street Project in the city centre of Brisbane, Australia. The project consists of a 12 level commercial building, 23 level residential building with recreation deck, 4 level mixed use building and an urban common consisting of retail outlets running through the ground floor. It has a construction value circa $150million.
"As one of the QS’ on the project I have been allocated sole commercial and contractual responsibility for the structure trades
on the project. Reporting to the Commercial Manager, the role includes procurement and tendering of subcontract packages, subcontract negotiation and selection, contract preparation, and the commercial management of these trades through to completion of the subcontract works.
"The programme is well rounded and covers a good mix of academic topics as well as practical. This is important so that you learn not only the day to day practicalities of being a QS but also management techniques and thinking that can be applied to many situations in the workplace as well as helping you realise that first step into management. The understanding of management techniques, principles and thinking is invaluable if you want to progress to senior roles within the construction industry.
"The MSc programme in Quantity Surveying was extremely useful to my career and has complimented my previous degree to give me an academic record that I am proud of and that employers look favourably upon. As such, I have been able to secure the job that I want, a role that is rewarding me personally as well as financially."
The challenge for today’s Quantity Surveyor is to provide cost certainty in construction projects. The current economic climate means this role is highly in demand as clients are pursuing the agenda of obtaining value for money in all construction activities.
The knowledge and skills developed in the completion of the MSc QS programme prepare graduates for the current and future role of the Quantity Surveying profession. International construction and quantity surveying practices recruit graduates from the programme each year and graduates develop careers across many sectors of industry and commerce.
Whatever your career aspirations are for the future, i.e. to be involved in the mega-projects of international reputation or to provide expertise in sustainable cost savings or present cost advice on the development and use of innovate building technologies and material components or to run your own organisation; the skills and knowledge delivered in the MSc QS programme provide the fundamental competencies to take you on your own individual career path.
For MSc level entry applicants must have:
- Minimum of 2:2 honours degree or equivalent academic qualification in cognate and semi-cognate subject area. For PG conversion programmes, non-cognate degrees will be considered. Corporate (or chartered) membership of relevant professional institutions will also be considered.
For PG Diploma level entry applicants must have:
- Third class honours degree in a cognate or semi-cognate subject area PLUS 2 years of relevant experience at an appropriate level completed post qualification.
- Cognate or semi-cognate ordinary degree PLUS 3-4 years of relevant experience at an appropriate level following graduation.
- Candidates who do not meet the above entry requirements or have no formal academic qualifications will be considered individually based on their CV and interview. Admission via this route will be at the discretion of the Director of Admissions and the number of successful applicants will be restricted.
There is no entry at PG Certificate level except through exceptional agreement with approved learning partners.
Non-graduating study at masters level:
- Entry is based on CV or on formal academic qualifications or graduate (or incorporated) membership of a relevant professional institution.
Distance Learning January entry
Distance learning students can choose to start their studies in January or September. The January intake is not available to students studying on-campus.
English language requirements
If English is not the applicant’s first language a minimum of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required with all elements passed at 6.0 or above.
Applicants who have previously successfully completed programmes delivered in the medium of English language may be considered and will be required to provide documentary evidence of this. Examples would be secondary school education or undergraduate degree programme. A minimum of at least one year of full time study (or equivalent) in the medium of English language will be required.
Distance learning students
Please note that independent distance learning students who access their studies online will be expected to have access to a PC/laptop and internet.
|Scotland / Non-UK EU||£4980||£2690||£1050/£750|
* If you are unsure which category you fall in to, you should complete a fee status enquiry form, which allows us to assess your fees.
** Fee per course
Additional fee information
** £1050 per course, £750 per research project.
Scholarships & bursaries
- Alumni Scholarship Scheme
- Carnegie-Cameron Taught Postgraduate Bursaries
Applicants must be Scottish by birth, have at least one parent born in Scotland or have been continuously resident in Scotland for a period of three years for the purpose of secondary or tertiary education.
- Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan
International (Commonwealth citizens)
- Department for International Development (DFID) Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme(SBE)
International (Commonwealth citizens)
- Department for International Development (DFID) Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme
- East Lothian Educational Trust
Applicants must be a resident of the old county of East Lothian (ie excluding Musselburgh, Wallyford and Whitecraig.)
- India Scholarship(SBE)
Students who have applied via the Heriot-Watt India office. Please note that this award is available for study at our Edinburgh campus only.
- Leverhulme Trade Charities Trust
Restricted to residents of the UK who are a son, daughter, spouse, widow or widower of a commercial traveller, chemist or grocer.
- Local Education Authority Awards
- Mexican Scholarships
- Music Scholarships
- Part-time Fee Grant (SAAS)
See SAAS residence conditions.
- Postgraduate Student Allowance Scheme (SAAS)
EU and UK applicants who meet the SAAS criteria on eligible courses
- Remission of Fees (families of staff)
Spouses/civil partners and children of members of staff, also retired members of staff of the University
- Royal Caledonian Schools Trust
Applicants must be of Scots parentage (conditions apply - see below)
- SFC Key Skills Funded Places (SBE)(SBE)
Applicants resident in Scotland who accept an offer for an eligible Programme
- Scotland's Saltire Scholarships
Citizens of Canada, the People's Republic of China, India or USA (2 awards for each country)
- Sports Scholarships
- Staff Scholarships
Employees of Heriot-Watt University
- The Consumer Affairs UK Scholarship Programme
All currently enrolled students
- The Muirhead Trust
Scottish, female applicants for science and engineering courses
- West Lothian Educational Trust
Individuals must have originated in West Lothian or have lived there for the last 3 years.