Environmental Design of Buildings (3 year Distance Learning) (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 distance learning course, which is suitable for professionals working in the field. We also offer Cardiff-based full and part-time options.

Distinctive features

  • 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.
Kate Paxton, MSc Environmental Design of Buildings

The distance learning programme with the Welsh School of Architecture is well-tailored to suit the needs of those learning away from Cardiff. I particularly like the fact that all lectures are recorded, including questions and discussions with the local students. This means that I don't miss out on course content, but allows me to cover all of the material in my own time, at my own pace. The staff are very supportive and offer support through online tutorials and Skype calls. I have also been able to engage with other distance learners and also local students through group work, using Skype and also through the online tutorials.

Kate Paxton, MSc Environmental Design of Buildings (distance learning)

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2019
Duration3 years
QualificationMSc
ModePart-time - distance learning
Other ways to study this course
AccreditationsChartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE)
Contact

Admissions criteria

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.

Year one

If you are a part-time student on the three year route, you will undertake three out of six taught modules.

 

Module titleModule codeCredits
Passive DesignART12810 credits
Climate Comfort and EnergyART14120 credits
Investigation of the Built EnvironmentART14210 credits

Year two

 If you are a part-time student on a three year route, you will undertake the rest of your taught modules and one project module in year two.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Earth and SocietyART12210 credits
Environmental Design ApplicationART13210 credits
Low Carbon BuildingsART13510 credits

Year three

 If you are a part-time student on a three year route, you will undertake your remaining project module and complete your dissertation in year three.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Environmental Design PracticeART13440 credits
Architectural Science ResearchART14910 credits
DissertationART09960 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.

How will I be taught?

You will be taught primarily through the University virtual learning environment, Learning Central. Through this portal, you will have access to all distance learning teaching materials for this course, which include set reading material.

Due to the nature of this course, you are responsible for reading any emails sent by module tutors or announcements made through Learning Central on a frequent basis.

For the core taught modules, we use audio-visual support, animated demonstrations, and interactive exercises as necessary to aid learning and implementation of subject-specific skills. You will be given access to and are expected to view/ listen to recordings of lectures or demonstrations given as part of these modules. Short tasks are set to give students opportunities for individual study and formative feedback.

For the project modules you will be offered the opportunity to put your newly acquired skills from the programme into practice in order to reinforce your understanding and skills in the subject area and to develop your problem-solving and presentation skills. We will hold tutorials in group settings through a chat room. You should also keep in touch with the module tutor and your fellow distance learning students through an online discussion forum, where your tutor will be able to supervise your progress as a cohort and individually.

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.

Feedback

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. On the distance learning course, you may also be asked to complete tests through online invigilation.

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.

This University offers an exceptional distance learning opportunity for those who cannot make it to Cardiff. I got to know my other distance learning colleagues who come from different countries and backgrounds. The weekly online tutorials brought us colleagues and tutors closer together. One thing that I liked most in the final year project was that we exchanged our climates with that of our buddies for the project. I found that really fascinating. I really love the subject and in my opinion it was portrayed quite vividly.

Anne Casha, MSc Environmental Design of Buildings (Distance Learning)

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)

Due to the duration of this programme only Welsh and EU domiciled students who meet residency requirements (English domiciled students are excluded) are eligible for a postgraduate loan. See more information about eligibility for UK Government Postgraduate loans.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2019/20)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£1,837None

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)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£4,162£1,000

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Additional costs

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?

You will need access to a computer with word processing software and access to the internet in order to study on this distance learning course. We recommend that you use a laptop, which you can travel with when you come to the School for tuition. A USB or hard drive to store your work, general stationary and some basic drawing equipment is also recommended.

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.

You may also wish to purchase some of the key texts for the course. Although the texts required for study are available in the School’s library, there are benefits to owning your personal copy of key works so that you may access them whenever they wish.

Navarra field trip

During the course, Cardiff-based students go on a range of study trips. Guided visits are 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.

Our distance learning students are welcome to join these field trips, if their circumstances allow.