MSc and PGD: Design and Management of Sustainable Built Environments

Leadership in environmental design and energy management

Design and Management of Sustainable Built Environments is based on advanced understanding of the key subjects required for meeting carbon emission reduction targets in building sector, in the overall context of climate change and resource depletion. We deal with the analysis, synthesis, design and assessment of modern, energy efficient environmental systems (including urban systems, and passive and active building systems), using analytical and computer simulation techniques. We develop knowledge in environmental engineering and building design, design management, the application of digital technology, and urban and building sustainability. A recurring theme throughout the programme concerns the dynamic nature of integrated design, operation and management of sustainable built environments. The themes cover urban sustainability, environmental design, intelligent operation and management.

The distinctive focus is on a truly interdisciplinary approach to the design and operation of sustainable buildings and cities.

The aim of the programme is to provide a coherent framework for the discipline and practice of design and management. Each module includes sessions delivered by leading practitioners. The programme is continually informed not only by the latest developments in industry, but also by on-going international research.

The programme is ideal for professionals in the built environment including urban planners, architects, building services engineers, facilities managers and performance assessors. The challenges include fragmentation of disciplines in built environments. We aim to prepare professionals to address these challenges through the acquisition of key practical skills of analysis and simulation in technical issues in environmental design, engineering and management.

Figure 1 Wind Simulation 

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

A career in sustainable built environments

Graduates will typically find employment in environmental urban planning, architectural design, environmental engineering, facilities management, energy assessment, green building assessment, energy policy.IES-simulation 

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

Programme modules

Compulsory Core Modules

  • Engineering Research and Dissertation
  • SDM Principles and Practice
  • Urban Sustainability
  • Energy in Buildings
  • Urban Microclimates
  • Building Information Modelling
  • ICT and Energy Management
  • Green Building Assessment
  • Environmental Quality and Well-Being

Optional: One from the list of optional modules

  • Carbon Management
  • Renewable energy in power systems
  • Engineering Project Management
  • Advanced Visualisation
  • New Technology, Management and Change
  • Thermodynamics of Energy Systems


The dissertation is a major individual research project. Guidance will be given on choosing a research topic, research techniques and the style and presentation of the finished document. Classes in research skills will introduce the basic skills for carrying out research, including the ability to develop a clear research question and subsequent research proposal; critically assessing relevant literature; identifying appropriate methods to address the chosen question; and robust analysis of results. These elements of research will be discussed in lectures, before students embark on their projects. We allocate to each student a carefully selected dissertation tutor whose role is to help the student plan and successfully execute this key part of the programme.

Previously completed titles

  • 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 occupancy evaluation
  • Sensor technology and building energy management

Programme organisation

The programme is a one-year, full-time modular programme. It is taught with ten, one-week attendance periods at the University. The full-time programme starts in October each year.

Flexible part-time
The programme is a two-year, part-time modular programme. It is taught with ten, one-week attendance periods at the University. The duration of the flexible route is strongly recommended as two years, but this is not fixed. The flexible programme starts in October or January each year.

Entry requirements

Applicants are normally required to have a good undergraduate honours degree in any subject. Candidates with a lesser degree and relevant professional qualifications (e.g. MRICS, MCIOB, MICE) will also be considered.

The programme is available on a flexible part-time and full-time basis.

Download the MSc Design and Management of Sustainable Built Environments brochure here


There are several possibilities for accessing funding to participate in our programmes.

International students seeking funding should contact their local British Council office.

The University of Reading offers a limited number of scholarships and bursaries to UK and EU students. Please note that there is considerable competition for all these sources of funds.

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