Construction Engineering and Management

Adjunct Professor John Nelson and students analyze data from the new Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery to verify and validate assumptions about building systems and learn how occupants affect building performance. Photo: Jeff Miller.

Construction Engineering and Management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Effective management is essential for the design and execution of construction projects. The Construction Engineer and Manager (CEM) must have the technical, managerial and business knowledge to design, coordinate and manage projects that are safe, efficient, and cost effective. A CEM is prepared to integrate his/her technical knowledge with social awareness to effectively lead and coordinate scheduling, budgeting, safety, on-site decisions, availability of materials, legal aspects of the project, and more. They must also be socially aware in order to effectively lead project teams toward common project objectives.

The Construction Engineering and Management emphasis at UW-Madison is one of only six programs in the nation. Graduates of the Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) program receive a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a Construction Engineering and Management Emphasis.

It is estimated that between 30 and 40 percent of the current 305 Civil and Environmental Engineering undergraduate students are pursing CEM as a program emphasis and career choice.  Professor Hanna currently supports 8 graduate students.  Six of these students are pursuing MS degrees and 2 are Ph.D. students.  His research team completes approximately $800,000 in research annually.

Industry partners are strongly engaged in all aspects of the CEM program, serving as adjunct professors, professors of practice, instructors, strategic advisors and general supporters of the program.  Industry has also been significant financial supporters of the program, providing numerous gifts in both money and time.


Transitioning from the University to the Industry

Graduates from the CEM program are fully prepared to work in the construction industry. Some students will elect to continue with graduate school and further explore an important area of CEM.

Through the internship/co-op requirement, students immerse themselves in a company and are often offered full-time positions upon graduation. Furthermore, many undergraduate CEM classes require final projects that encourage students to seek advice and learn from local construction companies. These opportunities offer a valuable network of contacts with industry during the student’s undergraduate career.