Construction Engineering and Project Management

Dual degrees programs are designed for students who wish to broaden their academic experience and enhance their career preparation by pursuing two complementary master’s degree programs.

Dual Program Degree: LBJ/ Engineering

The LBJ School of Public Affairs and the Cockrell School of Engineering offer a dual-degree program leading to the degrees of Master of Public Affairs (M.P.Aff.) and Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.E.).

Program Purpose

The program is designed to prepare qualified engineering and public affairs students for careers at any level of government and in public policy related areas of the engineering profession. Alumni currently hold positions in the offices of local, state, and national government agencies; engineering consulting firms; universities; and industries. The program allows a student to obtain a Master of Public Affairs degree in the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs within two full years. To achieve this goal, the student will have three types of educational experiences:

  • Development of specific technical competence through graduate education within the traditional engineering disciplines and specialties.
  • Acquisition of skills related to policy analysis and program management through course work in political economy, statistics, systems analysis, management of human and financial resources, and the policy process in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.
  • Experience in a "real world" context through summer internships, group projects, and independent research with public sector clients.

For more information on this program please visit “prospective students” section on the CAEE website.

The Department of Statistics Graduate Fellows Program

The SDS Graduate Fellows Program is a one semester appointment that provides guided experience in statistical consulting and dataset analysis. Students will learn how to consult on applied problems in a variety of different disciplines and will gain considerable experience in all aspects of the consulting role. Students may concentrate on either statistical or mathematical consulting.

Graduate Portfolio Programs

Portfolio programs are opportunities for students to obtain credentials in a cross-disciplinary academic area of inquiry while they are completing the requirements for a master's or doctor's degree in a particular discipline. A portfolio program usually consists of four thematically related graduate courses and a research presentation.

For a complete list of portfolio programs, visit the Graduate School website.


M.S. Degree Program

CEPM requires students to choose between two degree options: M.S. Thesis or M.S. Graduate Report.

The M.S. degree thesis option requires at least 30 semester credit hours of work beyond the B.S. degree. Included in this program are six hours of thesis and at least six hours of courses in a field outside the major. During the first semester of your M.S. program you should select a supervising professor. By the end of the semester you and your supervising professor should have a detailed objective and scope outlined for the thesis.

The M.S. graduate report may be completed without the preparation of a formal research thesis. Instead, a student may be permitted to enroll in a no-thesis program which involves additional course work and the preparation of an appropriate engineering project. Most graduate students, especially students holding University Fellowships, traineeships or research assistantships, are encouraged to complete a thesis.

Prospective students in the military should note that, historically, we have had students successfully complete the MS degree requirements in 12 months or less. However, we strongly encourage our students to expect to take 3 to 4 long semesters to complete their degree.

PH.D Degree Program

The program leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy is guided by a Supervising Committee appointed by the Graduate Dean for each student. A student seeking this degree is expected to have well-developed goals. To a large extent, the Ph.D. program is adjusted to meet the student's needs, consistent with the general requirements of The University. Typical requirements for the Ph.D. degree include approximately 30 hours of course work beyond the M.S. degree pursuant to the consultation of his/her Supervising Committee. The program includes an English proficiency requirement to ensure that all Ph.D. candidates possess the writing skills necessary for effective technical communication before embarking on the dissertation writing process.

For a more details about the M.S. and Ph.D. degree options, please visit the “prospective students” section on the CAEE website.


An important element of the CEPM program, and one that separates it from other construction management graduate programs, is the opportunity for involvement at premier research organizations.

CEPM research aims to be at the forefront of a dynamic, face-paced industry. Faculty and students participate and lead a wide range of research projects. Topics include: information technologies integration, management of critical infrastructure systems, and project supply chain management.

Examples of recent research are listed below:

High Impact Research: Advanced Work Packaging

CEPM faculty led this research effort by the Construction Industry Institute (CII) and the Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA). Owners and constructors want to increase productivity. The engineering and construction industry has tried for years to employ best practices, vary work shifts, use incentive packages, and much more. This is all in an effort to make gains in productivity and safety, worker retention and morale, improved schedules, and more reliable predictability for project success. No definitive process has dramatically improved construction's productivity rate, and the problem of increasing productivity continues even after decades of trying.

Rework is often encountered in construction projects because of poor field planning and coordination between engineering and construction. If a work packaging process is implemented properly, however, lost productivity can be avoided through improved project planning and collaboration. Early work planning integrates work packaging with engineering, procurement, construction, and project controls.

High Impact Research: AutoCodes Project, Phase II

CEPM faculty are guiding the AutoCodes Project, Phase II, research sponsored by Fiatech. This project ultimately will demonstrate the ability to develop automated code-checking rule sets. The objectives of Phase II are to: (1) expand development of rule sets for other occupancy classifications and construction codes from Phase I research; and (2) develop training materials to aid jurisdictions in transitioning from traditional to electronic plan review and ultimately to automated code checking.

The long-term objectives of the AutoCodes project include development of an extensive, open-source rule set library that will be approved and adopted by industry and regulatory bodies alike. The rule sets are to be used by technology developers in commercial applications and by code officials for the next generation of design, construction, and facility management.

High Impact Research: Computer Vision-Based Model for Productivity Analysis

CEPM faculty are collaborating with a researcher from another university on developing a model to interpret videos of construction operations automatically into productivity information. The research could improve current data collection methods and change how video is used in analyzing construction practices.

CEPM's Approach to the Research - Minimizing waste and ensuring a smooth, efficient flow of construction resources are the goals to increase productivity. Gathering productivity information at sites, however, is difficult because of the dynamic and complex nature of construction activity. Recent research has been centered on sensing systems for automated onsite productivity data collection. Previous systems have collected information on equipment hours and labor hours, the two most common resources that measure productivity. The problem there is the measurements do not differentiate between effective and non-effective hours. Video monitoring, however, provides a means to automatically measure how equipment and labor work hours have been spent, whether productively or not.

Infrastructure Management

CEPM faculty are leading efforts to understand infrastructure interdependencies, human-infrastructure interactions, and how infrastructure systems response under chronic and acute stresses. This research assesses the management, operations, and physical alternatives to improve the provision of services for communities. Such efforts include enhancing the understanding of how to provide efficient service during dynamic conditions, such as population dynamics, behavioral changes, technological changes, or natural stresses (disasters or climate change) from a systematic approach. As construction engineers, we are one group of individuals responsible for providing safe and cost-efficient services (e.g., water, wastewater) offered through our built environment throughout the life-cycle of the infrastructure, from planning, through construction, maintenance, rehabilitation and decommissioning, constrained by policies and human-needs. Our objective is to improve the resilience, robustness, and sustainability of the critical services necessary for the livelihood of our communities.


The University's interest in construction began in the late 1960's when Werner Dornberger and Robert Carr initiated undergraduate classes in Architectural Engineering. The Architectural and Civil Engineering Departments were later combined and Dr. John D. Borcherding initiated graduate classes in 1972. At the time Dr. C.M. Popescu joined the faculty in 1974, there were ten M.S. students and one Ph.D. student. Dr. Richard L. Tucker joined the faculty in 1976 and currently holds the Joe C. Walter, Jr., Chair Emeritus in Engineering. Dr. David Ashley joined the faculty in 1982 and Dr. James T. O'Connor joined in 1984, when the graduate enrollment had more than doubled in size.

In the early 1980s, Tucker and Borcherding and their students represented the CEPM graduate program as they conducted productivity studies for a large Texaco project. The effort convinced industry leaders that construction research was vital to the construction industry's overall improvement, and thus the Construction Industry Institute (CII) was formed. Tucker served as director of CII from 1983-1998, and is also credited with founding the Center for Construction Industry Studies (CCIS) and the National Academy of Construction (NAC).

Research and focus areas have evolved since CEPM’s inception. Originally focused on basic productivity and methods studies, the emphasis shifted over time to an understanding of the complete project life cycle, modeling and simulation, automation, planning and management, and exploitation of advanced information technologies. This effort to expand research areas was made possible thanks to initiative and work of the large-body of faculty. Since 2003, there has been a continued dedication to advance the program in a rapidly changing global environment. Dr. Carlos Caldas (2003), Dr. William O’Brien (2004), Dr. Fernanda Leite (2010), and Dr. Kasey Faust (2015) have all joined and made significant contributions to the refinement of the CEPM program and construction industry research on a national and international stage.