BSCI Executive Graduate Certificate Programs Offer Education in Construction Management

Executive Programs students visit Samford Hall

The highly successful Executive Graduate Certificate and Masters programs in the McWhorter School of Building Science(BSCI) are currently in their 12th year. Three certificates in construction management are offered: the Executive Certificate in Construction Management, the Executive Technical Certificate in Construction Management and the Executive Integrated Processes Certificate in Construction Management. Students who have completed all three certificates have the option of completing an additional capstone project to earn a Master of Building Construction.

Some students want to complete just one or two certificates, but most choose to earn all three and work toward a master’s degree. “They do four classes for one certificate, which they can do in two semesters,” explained Associate Professor Anoop Sattineni, chair of the Executive Graduate Programs. “If they go seven semesters they’ll have the master’s degree, and about 95% of students go all the way through.”

The program began when an engineer at the United States Army Corps of Engineers at Fort Benning, Georgia, turned to Auburn to request a special program in construction management. That engineer is current Assistant Professor Alan Bugg, who has helped the program to grow and expand, first in the Southeast and then nationwide. Auburn’s successful and productive relationship with the Army Corps of Engineers was solidified after 10 years with the signing of an extended formal collaboration agreement in 2019. The program was eventually expanded to the entire U.S. Department of Defense and is now open to the public at large. Since the program’s inception, over 400 students have earned certificates or master’s degrees.

Coursework includes comprehensive construction management topics such as cost estimation, construction schedules, project management, Building Information Modeling, construction law and contracts. Students who complete the programs are prepared to advance into management positions in their current government agencies or to transfer their skills to the construction industry. “The government is investing in them to grow their careers and learn more about construction, which is not traditionally taught at engineering schools,” Sattineni said.

The Executive Programs are delivered in a hybrid format, combining an intense, week-long residency on campus with distance learning. Students in the programs have the opportunity to get to know faculty and other students in their cohort personally and also have access to on-campus facilities and resources like BSCI’s Office of Career Services. “The distance students can use any of our resources,” explained BSCI Career Services Specialist Angie White. “They can come for Meet and Greets and they can partake in our career fair virtually or in person.”

In addition to professional education related to construction management, the Executive Programs focus on research. In the past two years, students in the capstone course have published more than 20 papers with the help of their faculty advisors. Although other universities offer similar certificates, Auburn’s is the only one working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Defense. “It’s a big deal because they could go anywhere and they came to Auburn,” Dr. Sattineni explained. “We’ve got people from every corner of the United States. We’ve even got students who work for the Corps overseas in countries such as Korea, Japan and Germany.”

See more in:
Building Science