The course is organised on a modular credit system, 60 credits for postgraduate
certificate, 120 credits for the postgraduate diploma (9 months full-time, 20
months part-time) and 180 credits for the master's degree (12 months full-time,
24 months part-time).
Modules combine a ratio of taught to self-led study. For example, a module of 20
credits approximates to 200 hours of student effort, up to 36 hours of which
will normally be devoted to lectures, seminars, individual tutorials or other
staff contact. The remainder of the time is devoted to student-led study and
Please note: as courses are reviewed regularly, the module list you choose from may vary from that shown below.
The core modules for the MSc and PGDip are:
Building Physics module provides fundamental understanding of the applied principles
of physics to the built environment. Understanding Building physics is crucial
to more efficient and sustainable building design, providing the knowledge of
how buildings work. This module, in particular, studies heat, air and moisture
transfer in buildings allowing designers to explore energy efficient solutions/buildings
whilst also providing thermal comfort for its occupant.
This module explores energy balance through understanding gains and losses allowing
better fabric energy efficiency and consequently more efficient buildings. The
different climatic conditions and their effect on the overall energy demand of
buildings are also investigated. (20 credits)
Urban sustainability and microclimates:
The impact of urbanisation and its effect on microclimate is undeniably increasing
the burden on resources and energy demand, contributing to the rate of climate
change. This module sets to explore the issues arising from urban development
and its implication on district energy generation and distribution, infrastructures,
urban microclimates and the additional emphasis on the buildings’ energy demand.
The module introduces the philosophy and theories of sustainable development considering
energy supply and demand, water, natural resources, sustainable transport and
the local economy. (20 credits)
Building Performance Evaluation:
This unique module focuses on the complex task of assessing the actual performance
of buildings in respect of energy use, environmental impact and occupant satisfaction.
This module provides the opportunity for students to monitor and assess real
buildings’ performance after building completion, understanding the performance
gap and propose possible improvements. (20 credits)
and Systems for Net Zero Energy Buildings:
The module introduces the principles of building design and construction that minimise
the carbon impact of buildings. This includes advanced construction detailing,
highly-efficient heating, cooling, ventilation systems and energy-efficient appliances
in addition to the production of renewable energy through different available
A unique comprehensive construction detailing workshop is offered in this module.
Building Simulation and Design in Context:
This module allows students to apply the knowledge gained from other modules within the course, to one practical module. The module provides a theoretical introduction to a systematic building energy performance simulation and analysis in relation to different climatic conditions. The underlying theory and principles of software related to the predictive modelling of buildings is described and the merits of state of the art software modelling packages debated. Students are therefore able to examine their ideas in relation to particular types of climate and explore the effectiveness of applied strategies as climate modifiers, using predictive modelling techniques. The students are also encouraged to look beyond the oil age and traditional construction methods and materials and look into future proofing their proposal. This can be undertaken either by a more design based or alternative research approach. (40 credits)
Students will be provided with an annual free license for the dynamic simulation software to be installed on their laptops. Students will be expected to have a laptop suitable for DesignBuilder software.
The compulsory modules for the MSc are:
Research Methods and Design:
This module aims to advance the students’ knowledge and understanding of research
methods available. It presents a variety of qualitative and quantitative methodologies
providing an opportunity to gain practical research skills. (10 credits)
The synoptic research or a ‘research-led’ design dissertation gives the opportunity
for application and expansion of the material presented in the programme through
independent research projects. (50 credits)
Teaching and learning
The teaching and learning methods reflect the wide variety of topics and techniques associated with sustainability, low-carbon and resource efficient design.
Staff-led lectures provide the framework, background and knowledge base, and you are encouraged to probe deeper into the topics by further reading and review. Analysis, synthesis and application of material introduced in the lectures are achieved through professional and staff-led workshops, group and one-to-one tutorials, student-led seminars, case studies, and practical work that anticipates the design project.
The course attracts students from a diverse range of ages, backgrounds, gender and nationalities. This offers opportunities for interdisciplinary, globally aware teaching and learning. You are exposed to a variety of cultural perspectives and issues through the use of international case studies and draw on their diverse strengths through peer learning and group work.
An annual field trip is an opportunity to directly experience some of the very best of sustainable design projects in another culture. Previous field trips have been to Germany, Scotland and Denmark.
The range of subjects draws on the research strengths of the teaching staff and enables research to inform the teaching modules. You are encouraged where possible to take part in staff research projects.
We attract some of the best students in the field, drawn by the integrating basis of the programme and its solid theoretical foundation on expertise within the University.
We make one optional major field trip each year alongside shorter local trips. In the past we have travelled to Scotland, Sweden, Austria and Germany where there is a wealth of sustainable buildings.
Field trips give you the opportunity to experience sustainable buildings first hand and talk to building owners and operators of low energy buildings. This helps you understand some of the practical difficulties and rewards of achieving very sustainable buildings.
Field trips are not included in the cost of the fees and generally cost in a range of £400 to £800.
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published
on the website. For more information, please visit our
Changes to programmes