Environmental Design of Buildings (MSc)
- Duration: 1 year
- Mode: Full time
Why study this course
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.
A leading school of architecture
Study in one of the top schools of architecture in the UK.
Accredited by the CIBSE
Accredited by the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and meets the academic requirements for CEng professional registration.
A range of study options
Available as a full-time, part-time and distance learning course.
Established course, providing a practical grounding in the subject of environmental 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.
The construction, operation and end of life treatment of buildings is often resource intensive. They require energy, electricity and water, while generating landfill waste, CO2 emissions and other pollution. With increasing awareness of dwindling global resources and the importance of sustainability issues, there is a growing demand for professionals capable of addressing and resolving environmental problems in the built environment.
Our MSc Environmental Design of Buildings aims to develop knowledge and evidence based expertise in the design of comfortable and healthy environments in and around buildings, responding to climate, and with due regard to sustainability issues.
Full time, part-time and distance learning options (which are particularly suitable for professionals working in the field) of this course are offered.
Where you'll study
Welsh School of Architecture
We aim to make the world a better place through contextually sensitive, sustainable and beautiful architecture.
Typically, you will need to have either:
- a 2:1 honours degree in architecture, building services engineering, building technology, or environmental studies
- a university-recognised equivalent academic qualification
- or relevant professional experience evidenced by a reference.
English Language requirements:
IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with 5.5 in all subskills, or an accepted equivalent.
Other essential requirements:
You will also need to provide a personal statement which includes your reasons for studying this programme and any experience with issues related to the design of sustainable, comfortable, and healthy environments within your previous studies or professional career.
We allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend you apply as early as possible.
We will review your application and if you meet the entry requirements, we will make you an offer.
Find out more about English language requirements.
Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.
You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.
If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:
- access to computers or devices that can store images
- use of internet and communication tools/devices
- freedom of movement
- contact with people related to Cardiff University.
Our MSc Environmental Design of Buildings is delivered in two stages. Stage one (two thirds) is comprised of taught and project modules totalling 120 credits. The final third is your dissertation (stage 2).
As a full-time student, you will take both stages in one year.
Within Stage 1, you will undertake five taught and three project modules before commencing your dissertation in Stage two. All modules will approach environmental design from a different angle, while focusing on specific themes, such as heating, lighting and sustainability. Throughout the course, we will address good practice in relation to environmental design of buildings in climates around the world. We will explore:
- Current issues facing environmental building 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, including user comfort and health, making appropriate use of building fabric, mechanical services and renewable energy generation and storage.
- Broader sustainability 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 environmental design and 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 2023/24 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2023.
As a full-time student, you will undertake all modules and complete your dissertation in one calendar year
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Context of Environmental Building Design||ART017||20 credits|
|Enclosures in Environmental Building Design||ART018||20 credits|
|Specifying Environmental Buildings||ART019||20 credits|
|Earth and Society||ART022||10 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|
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.
Learning and assessment
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 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 assessments (such as written assessment and portfolio), 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.
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 your studies. 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.
Should it be required, online Counselling and Wellbeing appointments are available.
What skills will I practise and develop?
The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you.
The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below.
On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:
Knowledge & Understanding:
- Appraise the role of built environment professionals in supporting holistic sustainability at a range of development scales
- Examine the key climatic and behavioural parameters which influence occupant comfort, air quality and the energy/carbon performance of the built environment
- Summarise how buildings use energy and emit carbon and explain how this can be minimised while maintaining human comfort in the built environment
- Synthesise complex data to facilitate decision making
- Design, evaluate and develop creative solutions to complex problems in the context of the built environment
Professional Practical Skills:
- Investigate complex real-world problems in relation to the built environment and holistic sustainability
- Critique existing information and justify decisions made while creating a design solution
- Create and defend complex ideas, principles and theories
- Select and justify appropriate methods for solving problems
Tuition fees for 2023 entry
Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.
Learn how we decide your fee status
Fees for home status
Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2023/24 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.
Fees for island status
Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
Fees for overseas status
More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.
Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.
Fees cover all tuition fees, essential course costs, registration and exams. The School covers the cost of everything that is an essential part of the programme. This will be clearly detailed in programme information. Any optional visits/field trips will incur additional cost – this will be clearly communicated to students in advance.
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 which is capable of running Design Builder software. You may also find a USB or hard drive, general stationery and some basic drawing equipment useful.
Where appropriate, we provide students with student licenses or access to 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.
We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.
Students on this course frequently go back into their original profession with the advantage of having a new specialism in environmental and sustainable design. Following their completion of the course, some of our students with sufficient prior career experience have 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)
Please note that this course is not suitable for those wishing to study Landscape Architecture.
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 (Wales) and buildings using innovative approaches to energy efficiency in Spainand Zurich.
Other course options
HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.