Environmental Design of Buildings (MSc)
Gain knowledge and expertise to specialise in the design of comfortable and healthy environments in and around buildings, regardless of climate, and with due regard to sustainable issues.
Conventional methods of construction are highly resource-intensive; they require energy, electricity and water, and generate landfill waste and CO2 emissions. With governments and the public becoming increasingly aware of dwindling global resources and interested in sustainability issues, there is a growing demand for professionals working in the built environment to be well-versed in sustainable design.
Our MSc Environmental Design of Buildings aims to develop knowledge and expertise in the design of comfortable and healthy environments in and around buildings, regardless of climate, and with due regard to sustainable issues.
Please note that you are currently viewing the course details for our full-time course. We also offer part-time and distance learning options which is suitable for professionals working in the field.
You will be based in the School of Architecture’s new studio for graduate students at Friary House, in Cardiff city centre. This is within 5-10 minutes’ walk of our other site, Bute Building.
- Study in one of the top Schools of Architecture in the UK.
- Accredited by the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), meets the academic requirements for CEng professional registration.
- Available as a full-time, part-time and distance learning course.
- Established course, providing a practical grounding in the subject of sustainable design to built environment professionals since 1993.
- Based on internationally acclaimed research expertise within the Welsh School of Architecture, we have long-standing experience in designing, monitoring and consulting on sustainable buildings such as the carbon positive SOLCER House.
|Next intake||September 2019|
|Other ways to study this course|
|Accreditations||Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE)|
The course is suitable for graduates or experienced practitioners in disciplines related to the built environment, such as architecture, building services engineering, building technology or environmental studies who would like to strengthen their expertise in environmental design. The distance learning version of this course will be of particular interest to professionals who do not want to interrupt their careers, wherever they live.
Applicants should possess a good first degree (typically a 2:1 or equivalent), or equivalent work experience in a relevant discipline.
Applicants whose first language is not English must meet the University's English Language requirements.
In order to apply, you must provide us with certificates and transcripts relating to previous qualifications, a personal statement, references, and (where applicable) proof of your English language proficiency.
Find out more about English language requirements.
Applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements
Our MSc Environmental Design of Buildings is delivered in two stages. Stage one is comprised of taught and project modules totalling 120 credits. Your dissertation is stage two. If you are a full-time student, you will take both stages in one year. If you are a part-time student or distance learner, you will take around two to three years to complete both stages, depending on the pathway you are enrolled on.
You will undertake six taught and two project modules (stage one) before commencing your dissertation (stage two). All modules will approach environmental design from a different angle, while taking specific themes, such as heating, lighting, acoustics and sustainability into account. Throughout the course, we will address good practice in climates around the world. We will explore:
- Current issues facing environmental designers and how the profession may be impacted by climate change.
- Environmental standards - their prediction, measurement, and legislation.
- Ways of achieving high standards of environmental performance, making appropriate use of building fabric and mechanical services.
- Broader issues that environmental designers should be aware of in order to practice in a sustainable way.
The taught modules on this course provide a grounding in architectural science within the context of sustainable development and environmental performance of buildings.
The project modules focus on specific themes in building design, such as climatic environment, internal building environment and passive design strategies. In these modules you will have the opportunity to apply taught design ideas to real-world scenarios.
After completing the modules, you will prepare a dissertation, where you will analyse a subject of environmental design that interests you in more depth.
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2019/20 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2019.
If you are a full-time student, you will undertake all modules and complete your dissertation in one year.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Earth and Society||ART022||10 credits|
|Passive Design||ART028||10 credits|
|Environmental Design Application||ART032||10 credits|
|Environmental Design Practice||ART034||40 credits|
|Low Carbon Buildings||ART035||10 credits|
|Climate Comfort and Energy||ART041||20 credits|
|Investigation of the Built Environment||ART042||10 credits|
|Architectural Science Research||ART049||10 credits|
How will I be taught?
The methods of teaching we employ will vary from module to module, as appropriate depending on the subject matter and the method of assessment. We teach using a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops, study visits, project work, and group tutorials.
In lectures and workshops we aim to make appropriate use of audio-visual support, animated demonstrations, and interactive exercises to aid learning and development of subject-specific skills.
You will be given access to relevant teaching materials through the University’s virtual learning environment, Learning Central. Through Learning Central, you will have access to recordings of lectures and demonstrations to support your studies.
How will I be supported?
All of our students are allocated a personal tutor when they enrol on the course. A personal tutor is there to support you during your studies, and can advise you on academic and personal matters that may be affecting you. You should have regular meetings with your personal tutor to ensure that you are fully supported.
You will have access to our bespoke Architecture Library, as well as to materials in the other Cardiff University Libraries.
We offer written and oral feedback, depending on the coursework or assessment you have undertaken. You will usually receive your feedback from the module leader. If you have questions regarding your feedback, module leaders are usually happy to give advice and guidance on your progress.
How will I be assessed?
Taught and project-based modules are assessed in a variety of different ways depending on the module content and learning outcomes (found in the module descriptions). We use class tests, course work (both written assignments and oral presentations or critical assessments/crits), and project work, or a combination of these to assess your progress on the module.
In the dissertation stage, your dissertation is the sole object of assessment. The dissertation is a written report on a piece of research which you have carried out in an agreed subject area under supervision.
What skills will I practise and develop?
On completing the course you should be able to:
- Collect and record relevant data, and apply appropriate appraisal techniques, in order to assess the environmental performance of buildings.
- Identify the nature of complex environmental design problems and deal with them both systematically and critically.
- Identify the environmental needs and preferences of building users, and satisfy them in an environmentally sound manner.
- Anticipate the principal ways in which controlling physical environments can impact on the wider local and global environment.
- Engage effectively in debate in a professional manner and prepare and present projects at a professional standard.
- Exercise initiative and personal responsibility in planning and implementing study tasks.
Students on this course frequently go back into their original profession with the advantage of having a new specialism in sustainable design. Following their completion of the course, some of our students with sufficient prior career experience have even gained leading roles in their respective professions.
The programme has helped a large number of professionals to pursue a career in a broad range of sectors such as (but not limited to):
- Practice of architecture or engineering, with specialism in environmental design
- Consultancy (building environmental analysis and building performance evaluation)
- Academia (teaching and/or research)
- Policy (in the UK and abroad)
Master's Excellence Scholarships
Scholarships available worth £3,000 each for UK/EU students starting a master’s degree in September 2019.Find out more
UK and EU students (2019/20)
More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.
EU students entering in 2019/20 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course. Please be aware that fees may increase annually in line with inflation. No decisions regarding fees and loans for EU students starting in 2020/21 have been made yet. These will be determined as part of the UK's discussions on its membership of the EU and we will provide further details as soon as we can.
Students from outside the EU (2019/20)
More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.
The School covers the cost of everything that is an essential part of the programme, this will be clearly detailed in all programme information and in any verbal instructions given by tutors. A financial contribution towards the travel and subsistence costs of the field trip is provided.
Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?
We will provide any equipment that is essential to the course. However, we recommend that you bring a laptop computer with appropriate software (e.g. word processing), USB or a hard drive, general stationary and some basic drawing equipment.
We provide students with student licenses for most of the specialist simulation software we use on the course, however we can currently only guarantee that these work on computers with a Windows operating system.
During the course, you will have access to the specialist Architecture Library, and other University libraries, and study spaces across campus. Within the School, you may use our computing suites and other facilities which include large-format plotters, a digital laser cutter and a well-equipped workshop.
During the course, we go on a range of study trips. Guided visits will be organised to buildings that demonstrate the application of ideas taught in the course. In the past, these have included visits to the carbon-positive SOLCER House. We currently also offer an optional student exchange trip to Navarra in Spain.