• SBPD1270420.jpg

Sustainable Building - Performance and Design

MSc / PGDip

School of Architecture

This unique multi-disciplinary Sustainable Building - Performance and Design (SBPD) course at Oxford Brookes is taught by architects, engineers and physicists involved in practice and research.This successful course has been running for over 20 years in different formats, keeping up to date with changes in sustainability, policies and advancement in the construction industry. It focuses on the theory and practice of developing low carbon and sustainable buildings. 
The SBPD course benefits from direct links to two of the best research groups in the university, recognised nationally and internationally. The research directly informs the teaching with the latest and the most up to date knowledge and innovation in the area of sustainability.  


The course includes a number of interlinked modules that simulate the design and development of a sustainable project. This enables students from different disciplines to develop skills and understanding relevant to their own discipline, be it design or  consultancy, and in relation to a national and international context.

We have teamed up with Passivhaus Trust UK this year, allowing our students to participate in the Passivhaus student competition and benefit from access to the UK Passivhaus conference as well as vast knowledge and material in relation to Passivhaus design and standard.  
The students were also trained in using PHPP as well as Design PH tool provided by the Trust. 

Available start dates

September 2018 / September 2019

Teaching location

Headington Campus

Course length

  • Full time: MSc: 12 months, PGDip: 9 months
  • Part time: MSc: 24 months, PGDip: 18 months

UCAS Postgraduate code

08081

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • The course is run by the School of Architecture, which is recognised as one of the country's leading schools of architecture and is consistently ranked by The Architect's Journals one of the five best schools in the UK.
  • The course benefits from direct involvement and input by Professor Rajat Gupta, Professor of Sustainable Architecture and Climate Change, Director of Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development (OISD), Director of OISD: Low Carbon Building Group and Matt Gaskin, Head of School of Architecture.
  • You will gain an advanced understanding of the key sustainability issues related to buildings enabling them to strategically influence feasibility and design processes within the built environment.
  • The course attracts some of the best students in the field from a diverse range of ages, backgrounds, gender and nationalities. This offers opportunities for interdisciplinary, globally aware teaching and learning.
  • 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.
  • You will have the opportunity to go on an annual field trip. This 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.
  • Students from this course have gone on to work in a wide range of occupations from architectural and engineering practices and research consultancies to development work, furniture design, owning and operating electricity utilities, and even carbon trading.

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 assessment.

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:

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) 


Post-occupancy Building 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)


Services 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 technologies.

 

A unique comprehensive construction detailing workshop is offered in this module. (20 credits)

Building Performance Simulation and Analysis: 

This module provides a theoretical introduction to a systematic building energy performance simulation and analysing its relation to different climatic conditions. Typical building responses are analysed in relation to particular types of climate and explore the effectiveness of strategies as climate modifiers, using predictive modelling techniques. Effects of solar gain, varying ventilation rates, surface finishes, daylighting, and occupancy are analysed to establish a range of effective design strategies.

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. (20 credits)


Sustainable Design in Context:

This module provides the opportunity for students to put the knowledge gained in other modules into practice by designing and testing the performance of their proposals. The module allows students to choose from different available paths in accordance to their interest and background whether it is design related or not. (20 credits)


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)

 

Dissertation: 

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.

Field trips

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.

Programme changes

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 page.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2017/18: £8,850 2018/19: £9,030

Home/EU - part time fee: 2017/18: £4,510 2018/19: £4,600

International - full time: 2017/18: £13,200 2018/19: £13,460

International - part time fee : 2017/18: £6,730 2018/19: £6,860

Where part time fees are quoted this is for the first year only. Fees will increase by approximately 2% each year.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088
finance-fees@brookes.ac.uk

Funding and scholarships

Entry requirements

Candidates are required to fulfil one of the following:

  • Hold an approved undergraduate honours degree minimum 2.2, or equivalent overseas qualification, in a relevant discipline ie architecture, engineering or physics and other subjects related to the built and natural environments.
  • Possess an appropriate professional background and experience in architecture, building or building servicing design.

Applications are also considered from potential candidates who wish to seek accreditation for their prior experiential learning or earlier qualifications, particularly those who have worked on projects in related fields.

A number of our applicants use the programme as a means of facilitating a career change or progression.

Please also see the university's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

At least 6.5 in IELTS, with a minimum of 6.0 across all four components of the test.

Please also see the university's standard English language requirements

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the university's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

International applications

Preparation courses for International and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.

  • Take our Pre-Master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course.
  • If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.

How to apply

You apply for this course through UCAS Postgraduate.

Through UCAS Postgraduate, you should use the UKPASS portal to make your application, which will then be forwarded directly to our Admissions Office. You should send supporting documentation to us directly using the email addresses on the UKPASS application form.

To apply for individual modules, as part of Continuing Professional Development, please contact Dr Paola Sassi on psassi@brookes.ac.uk

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Careers

Graduates will possess an advanced understanding of the key sustainability issues related to buildings enabling them to strategically influence feasibility and design processes within the built environment. They will be familiar with a range of models, tools and methods with which to quantify, predict, evaluate and manage building performance, and will be able to use them and switch to other tools based on an understanding from first principles.

Drawing on a working knowledge of how to minimise energy, carbon emissions and resource consumption in buildings through the various stages of their life cycles, they will be able to take account of changing, incomplete and uncertain information related to the environment. They will also have well developed skills in auditing, analysis, reporting and presentation and a thorough understanding of the interdisciplinary subject area.

Students from this course have gone on to work in a wide range of occupations from architectural and engineering practices and research consultancies to development work, furniture design, owning and operating electricity utilities, and even carbon trading.

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:

  • studying at a Brookes partner college
  • studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

How Brookes supports postgraduate students

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

Research highlights

Brookes is a major player in international research in the fields of Architecture and the Built Environment and Town and Country Planning. The School includes the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development (OISD) as its primary built environment research vehicle.