MSc and PGD: Design and Management of Sustainable Built Environments

The MSc in Design and Management of Sustainable Built Environments is a one year, full-time Master degree course providing new design and management skills and approaches to reliably and consistently deliver a low carbon sustainable built environment to society.

Key benefits

  • Employability: The School has an excellent employability records. In addition, the course will equip candidates with globally sought-after skills.
  • Latest knowledge and thinking: The teaching on the course is informed by the latest research of internationally leading academics and industry experts
  • Exposure to best practice: A series of site visits throughout the year, invited industry experts and a vast network of industry links will expose candidates to the state-of-the-art practice.
Figure 1 Wind Simulation 

Figure 1 Wind simulation showing speed vectors in a north-westerly wind

Aims and objectives

The aim of this programme is to provide advanced understanding of the key subjects required for the design and management of modern built environments to meet carbon emission reduction targets in the overall context of climate change and resource depletion. The modules will deal with the analysis, synthesis, design and assessment of modern, energy efficient environmental systems across scales (including urban systems, and passive and active building systems), using analytical and computer simulation techniques. The programme will also aim to broaden the knowledge in environmental engineering, urban and building design, system management, the application of digital technology, and urban and building sustainability. The targeted candidates will include architects, urban planners, developers, services engineers, building scientists, construction managers and facilities managers who already work in the construction industry and who have had industrial experience. Through the content of different modules students will be able to assimilate the range of topics necessary to analyse and synthesis solutions in sustainable built environment design and management.

Transferable skills

  • The programme will develop the following transferable skills:
  • Ability to apply the critical systems theory
  • Understanding of systems dynamics and systems evolution analysis
  • Awareness and understanding of environmental technology
  • Understanding of environmental design
  • Reflective practitioner skills
  • Scientific, engineering and management skills
  • Inter-professional team working skills
  • Hands-on computer simulation skills
  • Research skills

Figure 2 Screen shot of the model animation in ‘Model IT’ sub-program IES simulation.

Programme structure

The course starts at the beginning of October each year: the MSc lasting for 12 months full-time; and the PGD for 8 months full-time. The course is fully taught for two ten-week terms. The remainder of the course, from May until September, is devoted to the research-based project.

All taught modules and the project carry a certain number of credits, which can be awarded under the UK CATS scheme or the EU ECTS. The total credit for the MSc is 180 CATS (90 ECTS) and for the PGD 120 CATS (60 ECTS). Students on this programme are required to study all the Eight compulsory modules.


The course is run by internationally leading and research active academic members of staff as part of the postgraduate teaching in the School of Construction Management and Engineering.

Specialist expertise is provided by a number of visiting experts and practitioners who work outside the University but contribute to the course as external lecturers, advisers and research collaborators.

The core team of academics involved in the course all bring extensive experience in sustainable built environment research.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching on most modules involves lectures, tutorials and some laboratory practicals. Visiting lecturers come from the wider building industry spectrum. Assessed coursework includes computer and internet-based assignments, as well as laboratory work and written reports. Some modules include formal examinations. Site visits are organised throughout the year.

Modules are in a block form, with the teaching concentrated over one week, followed by a reading week. This format allows professionals seeking a more flexible approach to attend single modules in the form of Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

All candidates make at least two seminar presentations. Many candidates have considerable relevant experience, and are encouraged to share and develop this both informally and in assessed work. Most work is assessed on an individual basis, but some small-group assignments are also included.



Figure 3 Graphical User Interface for lighting programme DIAL.

Entry requirements

Candidates for admission to the programme should hold a good first degree in built environments including engineering, physics, environmental science, design, planning and management, preferably with some relevant industrial experience. Candidates with relevant professional qualifications will also be considered.


Urban sustainability providing an integrated approach to sustainable development in cities.

Sustainable design providing knowledge of passive design, environmental systems operation and indoor environment assessment.

Energy in buildings providing a comprehensive overview of energy use in buildings and training of building simulation skills.

Green building assessment providing a comprehensive knowledge of the green building concept and specifications of the existing green building assessment tools.

Energy and information management including of energy end-user demand, sensor technology, occupants behaviour and information management.

Carbon Management examining climate change, international agreements and initiatives including the Kyoto protocol, emissions trading, and the latest footprinting approaches.

Building information modelling providing students with understanding of how Building Information Modelling (BIM) is changing practices on advanced construction projects for through-life asset management

Mini-project and Research Method including a critical literature survey, report writing, seminar and project proposal.

Dissertation/Research Project
MSc candidates undertake an individual research project, which allows a detailed investigation of a particular aspect of the course. Many projects involve significant design and practical work. A number of projects will be proposed and supported by industrial partners, whilst candidates also bring project ideas from their own experience. The project is assessed through a written dissertation and seminar.

Potential dissertation research topics:

  • Sustainable urban design and eco-city assessment
  • Urban microclimates and urban heat island
  • Passive building design
  • Green building assessment
  • Indoor environment and thermal comfort
  • Indoor air quality
  • Natural ventilation design
  • Daylighting design
  • Building performance and post occupants evaluation
  • Sensor technology and building energy management
  • Design for adapting climate change
  • End-use behaviour and energy demand in buildings
  • Building information modelling

Download the Design and Management of Sustainable Built Environments brochure here (pdf-1mb)

Things to do now

Find out more:

Page navigation


Search Form

A-Z lists