Welsh School of Architecture

MSc in Sustainable Energy and Environment

Scheme Scope and Aims

Climate change is claimed by many authoritative figures, including the UK Chief Scientific Adviser, to be the greatest threat to our planet this century. There is a considerable body of evidence that now relates climate change to the global consumption of energy, and in particular, the use of fossil fuels to provide heat, power and transportation. Moreover, as supplies of fossil fuels reduce and become concentrated in fewer global regions, security of supply worldwide becomes increasingly challenging, particularly given the current growth in world population. The threat of international terrorism exacerbates fuel supply issues, and the introduction of new technologies presents new risks, real and perceived, technical and financial, which require careful management. The nuclear debate continues, clean coal technology presents new opportunities for a traditional fuel, and what proportion of supply can we anticipate from renewables? It is clear that a cross-disciplinary, international, systems approach to developing solutions to these long-term problems is required, to ensure the sustainability of our planet. This will require graduates who are capable of thinking and working across and on the interface of traditional disciplines, and working effectively in multi-disciplinary project teams; Training such graduates is the primary aim of this new, research-led, multi-disciplinary MSc course. There are possibilities to integrate or develop the learning experience through existing and developing international collaborations (e.g. Ecole de Mines, Nantes; ENEL, Pisa, etc.).

Scheme Format

The Scheme develops from the central theme of Sustainable Development - led by a Royal Academy of Engineering Professor of Sustainability - which is embedded throughout the course. The structure then unfolds based around three main themes : Energy Supply, Demand and Management. The scheme is delivered primarily through three Schools within Cardiff University: Engineering, the Welsh School of Architecture and Earth, Ocean and Planetary Sciences, though there will be contributions from other schools and external industrial lectures to enhance the learning experience. The course aims to provide a balanced training across this broad field, notably providing a balance between the renewable and fossil fuel generation aspects, as well as encompassing the role of various industrial sectors (electrical power generation and distribution, built environment, transport, industry, etc.). A significant feature is the integrated, lifecycle approach to energy and environmental issues. The scheme is divided into 3 semesters, with increasingly more research-based learning and group projects in the second semester, culminating with an individual project in the final semester. Most projects will be associated with an industrial sponsor, taking full advantage of the strong industrial research collaborations existing within participating Schools. Students will select two modules from a group of options, allowing some degree of specialisation, and providing exposure to the frontiers of research in these areas.

MSc in Sustainable Energy and Environment

Stage 1 Modules

Sustainable Development introduces and develops understanding of the guiding principles of sustainability, and provides examples of sustainable practice through case studies and practicals.

Sustainable Energy Studies provides the basic laws relating to a wide range of energy systems commonly used and their application to a number of different complex systems.

Energy Management provides an introduction to the management techniques, issues and framework required to appreciate the significance of energy related matters with and industrial environment.

Risk and Hazard Management in the Energy Sector is a Level M engineering module concerning Risk and Hazard Assessment, comprising legislation, hazard identification, hazard quantification, quantified risk analyses, methods of elimination/mitigation, with numerous pertinent case studies.

Thermal Analysis considers that accurate thermal analysis is as much about setting up and designing the model as it is about the algorithms and techniques used. Therefore this module will concentrate significant time on basic theory and the requirements of the different simulation methods.

Fuels and Energy Systems looks at contemporary developments in Fuel and Energy Systems.

Alternative Energy Systems investigates theory, design and economic appraisal of integrated renewable energy systems for electrical power generation.

Sustainable Energy and Environment Case Study is an individual case study activity to plan a subsequent detailed engineering investigation.

Further information about these modules and details about the Optional Modules that are available can be found at: Cardiff University

Project and Dissertation individually students undertake a research based investigation into a challenging engineering problem. This will involve the undertaking, analysing, interpreting and reporting the results and drawing suitable conclusions at an advanced level.

MSc in Sustainable Energy and Environment


In several areas of the field there is predicted to be an employment shortage developing, and hence a demand for graduates from this type of course. Previous experience has shown that Masters graduates in the field of energy gain employment in large energy-focussed companies, the public sector (Energy agencies, Carbon Trust, etc.), research and development, or set up their own companies. About a third gain PhDs along their career paths.

Suitable for:

Admission to the MSc in Sustainable Energy and Environment requires a good first degree in engineering, environmental engineering, earth sciences or pure sciences, or in a cognate numerate scientific discipline, or appropriate professional experience. Currently, a good first degree is taken to mean one that would be equivalent in attainment to a 2(i) honours classification from a UK university. Applicants without an engineering or applied science background should bear in mind that there are significant numerical / computational elements to this MSc.

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to obtain a satisfactory standard in an approved English language qualification before being accepted unconditionally on to a postgraduate course of study. The University's English Language Service for International Students provides English language support and advice on academic study skills to full-time overseas students studying - or intending to study - at Cardiff University.

Funding Opportunities

A limited number of Cardiff School of Engineering International Scholarships are available for international students applying for this MSc course. There is no need to apply for these, eligible applicants will be considered on the basis of their application form for the MSc.

Information on EPSRC

Interested students should contact:
Cardiff School of Engineering Admissions Team

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 4656
Email: engineering-pg@cardiff.ac.uk
Website: www.cardiff.ac.uk/engin

Current students may find some useful links available from the Schools Support Pages.

Application Information