Building Surveying MSc

Why choose this course?

This course focuses on the skills of the building surveyor operating within the construction industry. It centres on the requirements of the UK-based building surveying professional, as identified by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). It also offers European and global perspectives appropriate to the requirements of international consultancies.

You will develop professional skills and examine the multidisciplinary requirements specific to building surveying (such as building information modelling).

You will gain knowledge of building materials, construction technology and pathology, legal and regulatory issues (such as party wall issues), the design of simple structures and the preparation of schemes for the rehabilitation of buildings.

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year 2 days a week September 2020
Full time 2 years including professional placement 2 days a week plus placement year September 2020
Part time 2 years 1 day a week September 2020
Location Penrhyn Road

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • This course is ideal if you want to convert your existing undergraduate degree into a building surveying qualification and gain entry into the construction industry.
  • You will have the opportunity to participate in a week-long field trip to a European location.
  • Your learning will reflect the developing sustainability agenda with which construction professionals must engage.


This course is fully accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB). Many of our graduates go on to qualify as Chartered Surveyors. 

What you will study

You will gain knowledge of building materials, construction technology and pathology; specialist legal and regulatory issues (such as party wall issues); the design of simple structures; and the preparation of schemes for the rehabilitation of buildings. The course focuses on the core competencies of the building surveyor operating within the construction industry. It takes into account the developing sustainability agenda with which construction professionals must increasingly engage, together with multidisciplinary requirements specific to building surveying (such as building information modelling). While centred around the discipline requirements necessary for the UK-based building surveying professional (as identified by the RICS), the course also contains European and global perspectives

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

For a student to go on placement they are required to pass every module first time with no reassessments.


Core modules

Building Appraisal Maintenance and Renewal

30 credits

The module aims to enable students to develop a deep understanding of building defects and pathology and to develop their ability to recognise the causes of obsolescence and dilapidations in buildings. Students will consider the different types of decay which affect building materials and looks at approaches to building management and options for effective maintenance. The module will also consider different approaches to building re-use and renewal and to carbon reduction technologies which can be incorporated into a variety of building types. The module incorporates a European Field Trip, an essential part of which is to consider the built environment in a wider context and differing approaches to building maintenance and renewal.

The module is taught by a series of lectures and tutorials and students will be expected to take an active part in classes where they will apply worked examples within the tutorial format. Assessment will comprise two individual and one group courseworks.

Law and Practice for the Built Environment

30 credits

The module aims to enable students to develop deep understanding and critical knowledge of the development process and the roles of key parties in procurement and contractual arrangements as they apply primarily in the UK construction industry. Within this context students will develop a critical knowledge of the Statutes and Regulatory frameworks which apply to UK property in terms of design, defects, development and heritage. Students will develop the ability to apply their knowledge to worked examples identifying the most appropriate building and procurement solution to suit the client's needs. In addition, students will gain deep and broad knowledge of standard contract forms used in the UK and the legal duties and responsibilities of the parties involved in construction contracts. Upon completion of the module, students will also have critical knowledge and understanding of the pre/post-contract administration duties and practices of the building surveyor. The module is taught by a series of lectures and tutorials and students will be expected to take an active part in classes, and apply worked examples within the tutorial format. Assessment will comprise two courseworks and a written examination.

Sustainable Construction: Technology and Practice

30 credits

This module aims to enable students to gain an in-depth working knowledge of commercial construction technology and to explore theories and applications of project management principles to the construction of process. The subjects will explore the regulatory and procedural matters relating to sustainable construction of low and high rise buildings together with and understanding of project management methodologies, frameworks taking due account of risk and value management considerations. In particular the module introduces students to the role of sustainability considerations in building design and building use thereby enabling them to identify and formulate appropriate strategies and procedures for the use of sustainable construction technologies. Delivery is by a series of lectures, seminars and workshops. The module is assessed by two courseworks and a written examination.

Specification – Design and Analysis

30 credits

This module aims to develop the students' working knowledge of materials and their capacity to produce appropriate specification of works accordingly. In addition the module enables students to understand the principles of computer aided design (current AutoCAD version) and allows them to gain proficiency in its use such that they will be prepared for entry into work as a trainee building surveyor. Students will also gain an understanding of structures and the structural behaviour and properties of building materials. The module will also consider the practical implications on buildability of specifying materials and will also cover CDM (Construction Design and Management) and statutory approvals. Assessment will comprise two practically - orientated courseworks and a written examination.

Research Principles and Application

30 credits

This module aims to provide you with a sound grounding in research principles and methodologies that are commonly applied within the built environment. Throughout a series of lectures and seminars, supported by tutorials you are encouraged and enabled to develop their critical reasoning powers and to gain practice in researching ideas and knowledge and in the design of relevant research instruments.

Research Project/dissertation

30 credits

This final module provides you with the opportunity to design and execute an original research ‘capstone' project related to your own discipline specific interests, which synthesises their learning. You will develop a theoretically informed body of work that integrates both theory and practice. It may take the form of a dissertation, practice project, or experiment-based project. Following submission you will present your findings at a Masters Students Event.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Work placement scheme

Many postgraduate courses at Kingston University allow students to take the option of a 12-month work placement as part of their course. The responsibility for finding the work placement is with the student; we cannot guarantee the placement, just the opportunity to undertake it. As the work placement is an assessed part of the course, it is covered by a student's Tier 4 visa.

Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

  • Applicants should normally have a 2:1 or first-class degree. This can be in any discipline, although a related subject is an advantage.
  • Some experience of working in the industry would also be useful.


All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall, with the writing element at 6.0 and no other element below 5.5. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Teaching and assessment

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

As a student at Kingston University, we will make sure you have access to appropriate advice regarding your academic development. You will also be able to use the University's support services

Your workload

Type of teaching and learning

Year 1

Year 1
  • Scheduled teaching: 398 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1402 hours

22% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

How you will be assessed

Type of assessment

Year 1

Year 1
  • Coursework: 78%
  • Exams: 20%
  • Practical: 8%

Assessment typically comprises exams (eg test or exam), practical (eg presentations, performance) and coursework (eg essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios, dissertation). 

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

­You will be part of an intimate cohort of students which provides dedicated academic guidance and advice as well as the opportunity to build a life-long network of colleagues. Some modules are common across other postgraduate programmes, therefore you may be taught alongside postgraduates from other courses.

Who teaches this course?

This course is delivered by the Department of Construction and Surveying which is part of the School of Natural and Built Environments in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing.

The Faculty's wide selection of undergraduate and postgraduate courses covers a diverse range of subject areas, from aerospace to geography; from maths and computing to biotechnology; and many more. Our collaborative set-up provides new opportunities for our students, and we design our courses with industry professionals to ensure you stay up to date with the latest developments.

Department of Construction and Surveying

The Department of Construction and Surveying offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in building surveying, construction management and quantity surveying focusing on providing a strong foundation for students' future careers and an enhanced learning experience. We have built a reputation for the quality of our courses and have successfully embedded the concept of sustainable development in all of our degree courses.

Postgraduate students may run or assist in lab sessions and may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.


There is a wide range of facilities for practical work at our Penrhyn Road campus, where this course is based. You will have access to a modern environment with the latest technology and industry-standard equipment, including:

  • extensive materials and structures facility for concrete, masonry, steel and timber;
  • geotechnical and hydraulics testing facilities; and
  • surveying equipment, such as satellite global-positioning systems.

Dedicated computer-aided design facilities include:

  • a range of CAD/CAM packages, such as Ideas, SolidWorks and AutoCad;
  • finite element analysis
  • computational fluid dynamics; and
  • virtual instrumentation.

Fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • MSc full time £9,820
  • MSc part time £5,400

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • MSc full time £15,700
  • MSc part time £8,635

Fees for the optional placement year

If you choose to take a placement as part of this course, you will be invoiced for the placement fee in Year 2. Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme and the costs for the placement year.

After you graduate

Where this course will take you

Entry into the RICS is a route often taken by our graduates when they can satisfy the entry requirements thus they become chartered building surveyors.

The building surveyor is often referred to as a "Building Doctor" as the chartered building surveyor is often the first person called in should a building develop a fault or defect.

This valuable work can span from why damp is becoming apparent to cracks appearing, the building surveyor will seek the cause of the problem, suggest a remedy and often supervise the subsequent on site work needed to achieve a cure.

We have graduates working in positions as diverse as the Royal Palaces, housing associations as well as building surveying consultancy firms.

What our students say

I studied on the Kingston Residential Property BSc(Hons) course and the MSc allowed me to build on these skills and gain a career enhancing RICS-accredited qualification. I think an MSc opens doors and helps you stand out from the crowd in the job market.

Miles Lesley

I gained a huge amount from the course and learnt a great deal. I was very impressed with the level of tuition, and the guidance given. All in all I had a fantastic year, and would not hesitate to recommend the School of Surveying and Planning at Kingston.

Alex Arconian

Lucy talks about her experiences of the Building Surveying MSc and why she chose to study here.

How we can support you

We will allocate you a personal tutor on your arrival at Kingston University. Your tutor will make sure you receive appropriate advice regarding your academic development. During your project, you receive extra support from a project supervisor, who will provide advice and feedback.

You will also be able to use the University's Careers Service and counselling service.

Study skills support

We also offer additional support throughout the course to help you improve your communication and study skills. You can attend optional workshops covering:

  • communication skills;
  • general English and study skills;
  • academic writing; and
  • postgraduate writing.


Canvas is an online learning management system. It is a potentially limitless resource for lecture notes and interactive teaching including:

  • access to course materials - such as lecture notes, backup materials, presentations and previous exam papers;
  • online chat rooms and bulletin boards - so you can interact with staff and other students; and
  • multimedia features - such as video tutorials.

Because you can use Canvas from any internet-enabled computer at any time, you can choose when and where you study.

My Kingston

The Kingston University student intranet provides a fast, easy way to find information online. It provides everything you need to know about student life at Kingston including direct links to Canvas, StudentHUB, OSIS and the iCat library search facility.

Graduate Centres

All postgraduate students at Kingston have access to the Graduate Centres, dedicated spaces for graduate students. These are ideal for private study or holding meetings. Find out more in the Facilities section. 

Language support

International students can access plenty of language support, both before and during your course:

Research areas

Many academic staff are engaged in a range of research and consultancy activities funded by the Research Councils, the European Union, the government, trade unions and industry. These activities ensure our staff are in touch with the latest industry thinking and bring best practice to your studies.

Research centres

Engineering research within the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing is organised into three research centres, which provide focus and encourage the cross-fertilisation of ideas.

Civil engineering and construction research takes place in the Sustainable Technology Research Centre. The research groups within the centre cover a wide range of topics, including:

  • land use;
  • building design and construction;
  • re-cycling waste materials;
  • efficient energy use and distribution;
  • water resources (hydraulics); and
  • monitoring using remote sensing.

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