FITCHBURG, MA–Fitchburg State University will launch a new Master of Science in Construction Management program next year, building the state’s capacity in a critical professional field, the university announced on its website.
The fully online program will be offered through the university’s Engineering Technology Department and the School of Graduate, Online and Continuing Education. The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education approved the new program this fall.
This new graduate program will expand opportunities and streamline pathways in a critical workforce area for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, according to Fitchburg State President Richard S. Lapidus.
“Our program will provide professionals with the comprehensive academic and technical skills necessary for them to meet the needs of regional, national, and global industries,” President Lapidus continued. “This innovative program builds upon the strong foundation of our Engineering Technology Department, which has evolved for more than a century to respond to changing workforce needs.”
The online program will prepare students to manage complex construction projects and enhance their decision-making processes; provide pathways to students to advance into the field of construction management from related disciplines and/or prior construction experience; provide employers with a well-educated and skilled workforce, capable of performing valuable construction management services and ready to serve in managerial and leadership positions; and contribute to scholarly activity in the discipline. Students, who may complete the program in as few as three semesters, will graduate ready to meet the workforce needs of the construction industry.
Dr. Nirajan Mani, the Engineering Technology Department Chair and the founding program chair for the M.S. in Construction Management program, noted that Fitchburg State is the first state university in Massachusetts to offer such a graduate degree.
“We are uniquely prepared to provide this program in national and international markets,” Mani said. “We are also planning to offer an accelerated 4+1 pathway from B.S. to M.S. in the Construction Management program. In addition, the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) through portfolio option allows students the opportunity to have their industry experience evaluated as educational experiences and credited toward a graduate degree.”
The Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts, Inc. (AGC MA), a statewide trade association representing almost 200 construction managers, general contractors, subcontractors and affiliated service providers, endorsed Fitchburg State’s proposal to the Board of Higher Education.
AGC MA Chief Executive Officer John Ferrante described his organization’s long history of collaboration with Fitchburg State and said the program will support students as well as the state’s commercial construction industry.
“There are fewer than 10 universities in New England offering construction management programs for an industry that puts in place over $10 billion of work annually,” wrote Ferrante. “Currently, there is a disparity between the demand for project management professionals in our industry and the availability of talent. We consistently hear that some of the most successful construction management firms are turning down opportunities to bid because they do not have the management capacity to take on additional work.”
Ferrante said AGC-MA’s member companies have a backlog of work through 2025 which, coupled with the anticipated retirement of many industry professionals, will only exacerbate this issue. “Many of our member firms hire individuals without any construction experience or education because of the need for management professionals,” he continued.
The construction management master’s program developed by Fitchburg State will provide the only such public credential in the state, helping rising professionals advance in their careers.