The Graduate Diploma in Quantity Surveying (QS) is an innovative course aimed at those who already hold a degree in another subject and who wish to follow a RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) accredited route to qualification as a Chartered Quantity or Construction Surveyor.
Employment market reports by the Building magazine, the main publication serving Quantity Surveyors, confirm the consistently strong demand for, and shortage of supply of, QS graduates to provide cost management services to the construction industry. UWE Bristol graduate surveys show QS graduates in the top quartile of all our graduates for employment and salary.
The Graduate Diploma in Quantity Surveying involves 180 credits of study. If you wish, you can 'top up' the Graduate Diploma to an MSc with a further 75 credits of study, which includes a postgraduate research module and dissertation on a topic of your choice. Students completing a minimum of 60 credits of study can be awarded a Graduate Certificate, but this carries no RICS accreditation. If you study the course part time and are in appropriate employment, you can start your RICS Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) at the same time as you start the course.
Students can also enrol directly for the MSc in Quantity Surveying, which is designed as professional development for graduates with a quantity surveying or similar cognate first degree and normally a minimum of three years post graduation experience in quantity surveying. It also involves 180 credits of study and provides a RICS accredited route to qualification as a Chartered Quantity or Construction Surveyor.
Course content – Graduate Diploma
Employers require the course to be firmly grounded in core quantity surveying skills and knowledge in construction technology, measurement, law, economics, procurement and contract management. These are introduced by pre-enrolment learning at Level 1 and the core skills are then developed at undergraduate Levels 2 and 3. Postgraduate business/project management skills are developed in the Level M project management modules.
The 60 credits of Level 2 modules and 60 credits of Level 3 modules are shared with the BSc(Hons) Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management (currently delivered in full-time and part-time day release modes) and the 60 credits of Level M modules are shared with the MSc Construction Project Management (currently delivered in blocks of two days) making a total of 180 credits for the course.
Below is a brief outline of each module. The transferable skills, referred to above, are embedded in the modules.
Modules are regularly reviewed to ensure that they remain up to date and relevant, so some of them may change before the course starts or whilst you are on it, but the overall aims and broad content of the course will remain the same.
Pre-Enrolment Learning (PEL)
If you do not have a related first degree and/or relevant work experience and therefore do not have knowledge of domestic construction, law, economics, environmental science or materials science, you will be required to undertake directed reading and work to prepare you for the course. The Pre-Enrolment Learning (PEL) is equivalent to a 15 credit undergraduate module: it is studied by distance learning and is assessed through coursework, exam and a viva (interview). If required to undertake the Pre-Enrolment Learning, you must pass the assessment before joining the Graduate Diploma course. There will be a fee of around £250 for the learning materials and assessment.
Level 2 modules
Construction Technology B (20 credits) consolidates the ideas of performance and construction from the PEL; it extends the range of building use and technology to include commercial and industrial buildings, with their related production processes and technologies, including method, sequence and resource requirements, and associated health and safety issues.
Project Information and Management (20 credits) introduces the theory behind measurement and the relationship with project information throughout the project life cycle; it covers both the traditional and computerised measurement of all sections of building work of single and multi-storey construction (except mechanical and electrical) for cost plan, bills of quantities, valuation and final account purposes.
Construction Procurement and Contract Administration (20 credits) is a project-based module which takes you through the typical roles of quantity surveyors and commercial managers in cost planning, procurement choice, estimating, tendering, tender evaluation and contract administration, including valuation and cost management.
Level 3 modules
Construction Economics and Cost Modelling (20 credits) examines appraisal techniques to evaluate and optimise property development proposals and construction project designs in terms of total project costs, life cycle costs and value for money; the influence of taxation and capital allowances; identification and analysis of commercial risk in construction and a critical understanding of ICT systems relevant to cost modelling.
Project and Conflict Management (20 credits) provides a grounding in the key aspects of successful management of construction projects from conception to completion, including risk management; an awareness of the legal and contractual arrangements and how to manage, reduce and resolve conflict where it occurs, including arbitration and alternative dispute resolution.
Strategic Cost Planning (20 credits) is a project-based module based on a major European regeneration project, containing a mix of building types, primarily commercial, with civil engineering infrastructure works and which is at an early stage of feasibility assessment with a minimum of firm details. Based on an outline design proposal, you research and prepare a detailed project report in teams, which you orally present to the course for a peer review critique. The second semester study develops knowledge and skills in the measurement and cost planning of mechanical, electrical and civil engineering services. There is a compulsory one-week European study visit attached to this module, charged at cost and subsidised 50 per cent by the University.
Level M modules
At this level, students typically include international as well as UK students and come from a range of professional disciplines in construction, including architecture and engineering, as well as surveying, and from a range of sectors, including building, utilities, transport and industrial engineering. You are encouraged to share your diverse experiences in interprofessional collaboration; to question existing practice and procedures, to identify best practice and think creatively about process improvement; also to draw on your personal work experience to provide the context for your assessed coursework.
Construction Project Management Principles (15 credits) examines the nature of projects, the variety of approaches to their management and the ways in which markets, stakeholders and the wider external environment affect projects; reviews the planning, organisation, monitoring and control of projects in different contexts, and the integration and motivation of all the participants; considers how to address the management of quality, risk, value and safety, health and environmental issues.
Construction Project Management Practice B (15 credits) is a project based module which aims to provide a contextual and holistic understanding of professional project management practice, involving an early feasibility stage analysis of the business case for a major international project and developing a strategic project execution plan. You are expected to demonstrate appropriate analytical, negotiating and presentation skills with a professional and ethical approach.
Construction Procurement Management B (15 credits) reviews current practice and different procurement strategies against customer needs and requirements; examines the current legal, business and contractual framework and tests it against UK Government best practice procurement guidance, including the aspirations of partnering and supply chain management; and examines the potential for concord and conflict in the construction industry, with appropriate responses to maximise synergy and creativity and to minimise conflict, including effective methods of dispute resolution.
Construction Operations Management B (15 credits) aims to develop a deeper understanding of the role of the producer of buildings in the development of the built environment. The resources available with respect to both the complexity of the project, the nature of the project, and the process of production are analysed. Alternative strategies for achieving the construction of the project are evaluated, using a high level of presentation skills, in a problem-solving environment and in relation to professional practice.
Progression to MSc Level
Students completing the Graduate Diploma Quantity Surveying can elect to continue on to the MSc Level by completing a further Level M module in Research for Policy and Practice and a Level M Dissertation. Alternatively, students on the Graduate Diploma, who have successfully completed all Level 2 and 3 modules, can elect to transfer to the MSc by substituting either the Construction Procurement Management B or Construction Operations Management B module for the Research for Policy and Practice module.
Research for Policy and Practice (15 credits) provides a critique of qualitative and quantitative research methods with guidance on appropriate sources to support the methodology your require for your own dissertation.
The Dissertation (60 credits) aims to provide experience of advanced independent inquiry, working near the boundaries of current knowledge, and linked to research expertise within the Faculty. You submit a research proposal, present at a progress seminar and submit a 16-20,000 word dissertation.
Course content – Direct entry to MSc Level
The course follows the principles and content outlined above for the Graduate Diploma, but for cognate graduates starts at Level 3 with the core QS modules:
-Construction Economics and Cost Modelling (20 credits)
-Project and Conflict Management (20 credits)
-Strategic Cost Planning (20 credits)
and progresses at Level M with:
-Construction Project Management Principles (15 credits)
-Construction Project Management Practice B (15 credits)
-Research for Policy and Practice (15 credits)
An option of either:
-Construction Procurement Management B (15 credits), or
-Construction Operations Management B (15 credits)
-Dissertation (60 credits)
Depending on your entry qualifications and first degree, it may be possible to grant exemption from some of the Level 3 modules.
Pattern and duration of study
The Level 2 and 3 modules can be studied part time over two years (attending one day per week) or full time over one year (attending three days per week).
We encourage students to study part time whilst in relevant employment. There is currently strong demand in the region for trainee Quantity Surveyors from employers who are prepared to sponsor students to do the course part time whilst working. You can apply for the course and get an offer before seeking employment. We think that studying part time offers significant advantages: working in the industry whilst studying helps students to directly relate their learning everyday professional practice; and students can complete their RICS APC (Assessment of Professional Competence) training concurrently with the course and take the APC Final Assessment immediately after graduation. There is also the advantage of earning whilst studying. However, students who particularly wish to study the Level 2 and 3 modules full time may do so. Please state in the application form your reasons for preferring full-time study.
All students (whether they studied the Level 2 and 3 modules part time or full time) will study the M Level modules part time in 'blocks' of two days. There are normally 10 two-day blocks over one academic year. This will complete the Graduate Diploma which is accredited by the RICS.
Students who wish to continue studying to gain the MSc Quantity Surveying would take the Research for Policy and Practice module, either with attendance or by web-based distance learning. They would also write a dissertation, which is primarily independent study with a compulsory progress seminar, but students are encouraged to keep in regular contact with their tutors.
Students with prior qualifications or substantial relevant experience in construction and who join the MSc directly (without doing the Level 2 and 3 modules) can complete the MSc in one year full time, starting in September and finally submitting their dissertation in August or November of the following year.
With the modular structure of the course, it is possible to defer modules and take them over a longer period if necessary.
Teaching and learning
Teaching methods are varied depending on the module; lectures, project work and tutorials all have a part. You are encouraged to do 'formative work' to prepare for assessments: this does not count towards your marks but the feedback which you receive will help you to improve your performance. Support is available for students who have difficulties with numeracy, IT, literacy and study skills. The teaching staff provide a friendly, enabling environment for learning. They are also actively engaged in research or professional practice, ensuring that you learn directly from the latest academic and business developments.