Building Operations Degrees and Courses Overview

Two common degree options in building operations are the Bachelor of Science in Building Science and Master of Building Science. Learn about these degree programs, courses, requirements, and salary information.

Essential Information

An undergraduate program can prepare you for roles ranging from facility planning to materials management to real estate brokering. Most focus on the technical aspects of blueprint design and execution, materials management and the management principles needed for overseeing crews of construction workers. A graduate program will then equip you for advanced management and consulting roles in the construction industry. Graduate building science programs typically provide an overview of the factors that make up advanced architecture and design.

Bachelor of Science in Building Science

The overall goal of a bachelor's degree program in building science is to provide an understanding of how structures are designed, developed and constructed. You'll learn how to implement electrical and plumbing systems, choose materials, order supplies, organize builders and work around environmental systems. Most degree programs in the field will require you to gain some sort of hands-on construction and building experience before you graduate. Most of the courses included in an undergraduate building sciences degree program focus on practical methods of construction and management. Studio participation may be included in a program emphasizing architecture or design. Courses commonly discuss:

  • History of design in society
  • Physical principles of building and design
  • Materials and design
  • Management principles
  • Statistics
  • Spatial planning

Master of Building Science

These programs will include the study of natural and environmental resources, building theory and creative human input. Most master's degree programs in the field are offered through the architecture department of 4-year universities. They'll often require you to complete a thesis paper or project related to a particular aspect of building science, such as new construction materials, sustainable materials, unique building structures or industrialized building processes. Building science master's degree programs feature advanced seminar courses that relate to specific aspects of the construction design and management field. Examples of such seminars are:

  • Advanced building systems
  • Environmental systems
  • Advanced building structures
  • Cost estimating
  • Project management and scheduling
  • Executive issues in construction

Popular Career Options

A bachelor's degree can lead to several possible careers related to the field of construction and building operations. Examples include:

  • Property manager
  • Design firm agent
  • Materials manager
  • Facility planner
  • Structure researcher and designer
  • Technical product representative
  • Building system supplier
  • Real estate broker

A Master of Building Science can lead to advanced, managerial positions in the fields of both construction management and architectural design. Some positions include:

  • Construction company owner
  • Design firm director
  • Sustainable materials manager
  • Environmental construction specialist
  • Community planner

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that urban and regional planners could expect 6% job growth from 2014-2024. Some 38,000 of these workers were employed as of 2014, and they made a median annual salary of $68,220 as of May 2015. The BLS also stated that environmental scientists and specialists earned a median annual salary of $67,460 in May 2015. This career was expected to see faster-than-average growth of 11% between 2014 and 2024.

Continuing Education Options

After graduating with a bachelor's degree in building science, you'll have several continuing education opportunities available to you, depending upon your specific area of interest. You may wish to enroll in a master's degree program for construction management or business administration. If you are more drawn to the technical or design aspects of the field, you might enroll in an advanced degree program in architecture, design, sustainable building or urban planning. To become an architect, you must also earn additional licensure before you can practice legally in any given state.

Individuals seeking a career in building operations have the option of earning bachelor's or master's degrees in building science. While earning these degrees, students will complete classes pertaining to building design, statistics, and project managing.

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