The builders of the future – successful MSc programme in construction IT engineering

Over 240 years ago, the first degrees of BME’s predecessor were awarded to civil engineers. Nowadays, the faculty teaches students in the engineering programme to be able to address the challenges of the future.

As Hungary’s leading technology university, BME readily responds to the quickly changing industrial, market needs and to quote Péter Bihari, vice rector for education: ‘Based on BME’S nearly 250-year-long history, solid professional and scientific foundations, we train professionals who are inspired by the challenges of the future and who are able to meet not only the requirements of today but will continue to do so in 10 to 20 years as well. We want to ensure that the present graduates of BME, working as our future’s active creators, will be able to overcome difficulties that are not yet known to us today as questions.’ The MSc programme in construction information technology engineering of BME’s Faculty of Civil Engineering (BME ÉMK) is also designed to train professionals for the future. In the first year, in autumn 2022, 8 Hungarian and 10 foreign students, most of them having a BSc degree in civil engineering or architecture, started their studies. We interviewed Tamás Lovas, associate professor, head of the Department of Photogrammetry and Geoinformatics at BME’s Faculty of Civil Engineering to ask about their experiences and the background of the introduction of this MSc programme.

Tamás Lovas at the Educatio Trade Exhibition in 2020

 

What was the idea behind the introduction of this MSc programme?

Tamás Lovas:

The construction industry is one of the most underdigitalised sectors with immense potential for growth. We are facing increasingly complex problems and at the same time are expected to solve them with fewer and fewer people, which essentially requires the automation of the processes and the growth of robotisation. This calls for engineers who are not only deeply familiar with the processes in the construction industry but also have IT competences. As a result, this programme is designed to train professionals who are knowledgeable about the design, construction and operational processes of the building sector as well as the IT, infocommunication technologies and solutions necessary for the automation of such processes. The multidisciplinary structure, practical approach and the teaching methodology of this programme is new and unique even internationally. This programme was set up with several faculties working together as the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics, the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, the Faculty of Natural Sciences and the Faculty of Architecture each teach some subjects to the students.

 

What labour market forecasts did you consider for the programme?

In the construction industry, there is strong demand for workers with IT skills. One proof of this is that the market offers above-the-average compensation for competences much lower (e.g. digitalised only in certain design processes) than what this programme provides.

 

Why is the programme taught in English? Are you planning to start a Hungarian-language programme as well?

We believe that all MSc programmes will only be available in English in the long run. This programme is offered to both Hungarian and foreign students and this extremely practical training can only be economically run if it is taught in one language only.

 

How popular has been the programme since its introduction in 2022?

There were 18 students in the first year in 2022 and 22 in the second one in 2023. The feedback is very positive from both Hungary’s industry and from abroad, the programme is fully incorporated into the EELISA programme as, in the second term, the students join the EELISA community as part of their subject ‘European engineer project assignment’ and work together with students from EELISA partner universities. This programme is also extremely appreciated by the students, four students from the first year applied for a doctoral programme.

 

KJ-TZS