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Building and surveying courses

If you are interested in buildings and like the idea of identifying technical problems, finding solutions and giving technical or legal advice, building surveying could be for you. Building surveyors are involved at the design, planning and construction stages of building projects and also work in property management and the conservation of historic buildings. If you are more interested in business and finance, quantity surveying could be for you. Quantity surveyors manage costs relating to building and civil engineering projects.

Studying building and surveying at university

Example course modules

  • Design principles
  • Residential refurbishment and maintenance
  • Science and materials
  • Law and contract
  • Design and surveying skills
  • Residential construction
  • Commercial and industrial technology
  • Pre-and post-contract procedures
  • Defect and structural appraisal
  • Building pathology

Teaching hours / week

Average for this subject


Average for all subjects

The time you'll spend in lectures and seminars each week will vary from university to university, so use this as a guide.

Who studies this subject

  • Female : 18%
    Male : 82%
  • Mature : 39%
    School leaver : 61%
  • Full-time : 51%
    Part-time : 49%

What you need to get on a course

Subjects you need

A-levels (or equivalent) usually required

  • Maths

Useful to have

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Physics
More advice on A-level requirements

Application checklist

Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.

  • January application
  • October application
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Interview
  • Entry test
  • Work experience
  • Audition
More advice on applying to uni

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement is a core part of your university application, and getting it just right takes time. Before you start work on yours, take a look at our five quick tips on writing a personal statement. We'll help you past that writer's block!

Personal statement tips and advice

Career prospects

The recession hit the construction industry very hard and that has meant a tough few years for graduates in related subjects. Building graduates haven't had as difficult a time as other construction grads, though. Most graduates get jobs quickly, with quantity building surveyors, construction engineering and site management roles amongst the most common. There are jobs to be had in most parts of the country, so if you're technically-inclined and want to work somewhere specific, it might be worth considering this as an option. Building graduates are more likely than most to start their career with an employer who gave them work experience, so it’s particularly worth trying to secure links with industry if you take this degree.
Professional and accrediting bodies:
Sources: HECSU & KIS

Six months after graduating

Typical graduate job areas
  • Architects, town planners and surveyors

Longer term career paths

Jobs where this degree is useful

  • Construction manager
  • Estates manager
  • Chartered surveyor

Other real-life job examples

  • Building technician
  • Building surveyor
  • Civil engineer

What employers like about this subject

A degree in building or surveying will provide you with subject-specific skills such as the skills to appraise buildings; an understanding of the design, construction, performance and management of buildings and the legal principles around building and their construction, regulation and management. Transferable skills you can get from building or surveying include good numeracy, team-working, excellent IT, problem-solving, critical thinking and the ability to interpret data. Building or surveying graduates are employed in all branches of the construction industry, and in other industries such as electricity generation and supply, oil and gas, transport and property management.