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Renewable Energy & Sustainable Building in a Global Context


MSc Renewable Energy and Sustainable Building in a Global Context is focusing on the two most important and desperately required fields of knowledge and skills at the moment no matter where you are in the world; renewable energy use in buildings and sustainable building. Graduates will have plenty of doors opened to them in those fields in both the private and the public sectors worldwide.

Closing date: For entry Sept 2014, apply before 18th July 2014, if you need a visa to study in the UK

Why study MSc Renewable Energy & Sustainable Building in a Global Context at Dundee?

The MSc Renewable Energy and Sustainable Building in a Global Context is intended to be a multi-disciplinary programme spanning the fields of sustainable building and micro-renewable energy technology suitable for building scale. This is reflecting the range of knowledge and skills required to address the challenges of environmental change we are facing ahead, and the sustainability and carbon emissions targets set by governments around the world.

The course aims to develop advanced skills, knowledge and understanding in relation to renewable energy generation and use in buildings, and that is related to sustainable building process. It is designed to allow students from outside Dundee, including overseas students, to focus on the issues specifically related to their regions, despite being design related or not.

The degree will be an excellent foundation for working in the fields of sustainable development projects and/or renewable energy in buildings or for further study leading to the degree of PhD.

Please visit the programme website for more information.

International students

Living and studying in a foreign country could be a life changing experience with memories that will live with you for the rest of your life. We fully understand this, and thus a very important aim for our overseas students is to provide them with educational and cultural experiences which are unique to the UK and specifically to Scotland. Visit our webpages for international applicants for information tailored specifically to your home country.

Sustainability at Dundee

The University of Dundee is strongly supporting the Sustainability agenda with its Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience (CECHR) that looks at sustainable food, water, energy and health, and Geddes Institute for Urban Research with its interest in social and cultural sustainability. Sustainability & the Environment was one of the four main themes identified by the University Strategic Review in February 2011.

Who should study this course?

Students with a design background can use design as a main research method throughout the programme or for their research project. Students from other backgrounds can use a range of other research methods to critically explore the range of related issues they are interested in.

To this end, the programme is aimed at Architects, Architecture technologists, Building surveyors, Building technologists, Civil engineers, Construction managers, Energy engineer, Energy specialists, Environmental engineers, Environmental scientists, Interior designers, Landscape designers, Mechanical engineers, Physicists, Planners, Quantity surveyors, and Urban designers.

If you do not have a university degree or practical experience in any of the above specialities but still believe this is the right programme for you, please contact the programme director for informal discussion before you make an application.

Related courses

Supporting courses

Teaching & Assessment

This course is taught by staff from Architecture, Town and Regional Planning and Electronics Engineering, Physics, and Renewable Energy the School of the Environment and the School of Engineering, Physics and Mathematics.

The whole programme is designed to allow students from different geographic backgrounds to study their own context.

The start date is September each year, and lasts for 12 months.

How you will be taught

Learning throughout the programme is mainly self-led, as expected at postgraduate level. A combination of multiple delivery modes are used such as lectures by internal staff and external speakers, workshops and site visits. Peer learning is encouraged through presentations prepared by students and group work.

One-on-one supervision of your dissertation in semester three by a single tutor is designed to promote continuity in the learning experiences provided.

What you will study

The programme is taught over three semesters. It consists of five core modules and one elective which you choose from a list of three possible modules, as follows:

Semester 1: September – December:

  • Sustainable Building in Context (30 credits)

A sustainable building is one that responds to the biological, psychological and socio-economic needs of its users and effectively utilise the free energies of the environment surrounding it. The process of doing so involves the consumption of substantial amount of energy and material throughout the life cycle of the building. It is thus imperative to understand the flow of different types of energies in and around buildings and the use of material throughout the life cycle of buildings. This module will introduce the students to those topics in order to be able to design, assess, maintain and manage sustainable buildings.

  • Renewable Energy in Buildings (30 credits) (extend to end of semester 2)

This module aims to introduce the students to the theory and practice of integrating renewable energy technologies in the built environment. This includes a wide range of related practical skills such as the ability to assess the potential of sites and the initial cost of installing renewable energy generation and distribution systems.

Semester 2: January - April

  • Ways to Study Built Environments (15 credits)

This module aims to introduce the students to a wide range of basic research skills necessary for successfully carrying out the research elements throughout the programme including the research project. This includes both research techniques and other related generic skills as indicated below.

  • Sustainability Monitoring, Prediction and Assessment (30 credits)

The module aims to promote critical exploration of the factors affecting building performance within the context of sustainable design of buildings. In doing so, students will be able to use a range of tools to monitor, predict and assess various aspects of buildings performance.

  • Elective (30 credits)(choose one of the following):
    • Zero-Carbon and Low Energy Housing Development

    This module aims to introduce the student to the challenges in addressing the future of sustainable housing development as set out in the UK Government’s 2016 Housing Action Policy for Zero-Carbon Housing. It is designed to enhance students understanding of sustainable housing development from Macro to Micro scales, and also aims to develop students qualitative and quantitative analytical skills pertaining to sustainable housing design.

    • Intelligent Buildings: Strategic Design and Management

    The module provides the overview of intelligent buildings necessary to appreciate the major significance of the subject and to take informed decisions on future intelligent sustainable buildings. It aims to give an introduction to all aspects of intelligent building design, management and operation within a systematic and coherent framework.

    • Sustainability in Contemporary Cities

    This module aims to discuss sustainable development in its wider theoretical, political and regulatory and historical context, and to use this understanding to examine how actors use a range of strategies to promote the sustainability of our cities and regions. It also engages with the question of how and whether the growth of cities is compatible to the achievement of sustainable development goals. Last but not least, it aims to develop a comparative understanding of the challenges for city management and governance practices across the globe as regards the sustainable provision of infrastructure and future land uses.


Semester 3: May - August

  • Research Project (45 credits)

The research project is the largest module across the programme. It is the opportunity that will allow the students to work independently on solving real life or theoretical problems that relate to their geographical background. Building on the knowledge acquired earlier through the core and the elective modules, the students will aim to conduct a primary research independently. They will have to find a topic for their dissertation in the field of sustainable building and/or renewable energy which is related to their geographical background. They then have to focus their research question, device a research methodology and execute the research project in terms of data gathering, handling and analysis, and to be able to draw up conclusions based on the discussion of their results, and finally write up a clearly structured argument in the form of an academic dissertation.

How you will be assessed

Assessment is based on problem solving, innovation and creativity. This is done through multiple individual and group work assignments based on real life problems that vary in complexity and nature to cater for the students’ different backgrounds, abilities and skills. In some cases, students will sit online open book exams. Students from architecture or design background will be given the opportunity to take the route of design based research to complete their research project. All the assignments are design to encourage the students to apply the vocational skills they will acquire throughout the programme in an integral manner.


Graduates from this course have a good opportunity to secure jobs in the energy sector, building industry including architecture and engineering practice, development sector, NGO’s, local governments, higher education teaching and research and research and development institutions worldwide.

You will have developed a range of skills including for example computer simulation, including lighting, energy, thermal and acoustic simulation of buildings. Plus skills in physical modelling, environmental design of buildings, building performance monitoring and assessment, and above all, skills in design based or non-design based research.

Entry Requirements

EU and International students visit our EU and International webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country.

A good first degree or higher in the area of built environment, or energy is normally required. Appropriate practical experience is desirable. Evidence of equivalent academic attainment or equivalent experience instead is acceptable. A first degree and/or experience in any other related discipline such as planning, engineering, surveying, physics, and environmental science might also be acceptable. 

Always feel free to get in touch with the programme director for informal discussion about your eligibility to apply.

English Language Requirement: IELTS of 6.5 (or equivalent), if your first language is not English. Please check our Language Requirements page for details of equivalent grades from other test providers, and information about the University of Dundee English Language courses.

English Language Pre-Sessional Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional programmes and Foundation Programme(s) which are designed to prepare you for university study, the 24 week and 10 week programmes provide additional English Language tuition for students who do not meet our minimum English Language requirements by up to 1.0 IELTS and 0.5 IELTS respectively. Successful completion of these programmes guarantees progression to various degrees at the University of Dundee as long as you hold a relevant offer. The 30 week (one Academic Year) Foundation Programme(s) allow applicants who have not met our typical academic entry requirements, and require additional English Language support by up to 1.0 to 1.5 IELTS, to gain the necessary qualifications to enter the University of Dundee degree programmes in the following year.

Fees and Funding

Academic Year Home/EU Overseas
2014-15 £3,800 £11,500

Sources of Funding

Information about the School of the Environment scholarships can be found on the School of the Environment scholarships webpage.

Other sources of funding for postgraduate students can be found on our Scholarships webpage.

Living Costs

  • Dundee is ranked as one of the most affordable places for students to live in the UK, and the cost of living is around 15% cheaper than the UK average.
  • Increasing numbers of students are successfully undertaking part-time work to supplement their income. You can get advice from our Careers Service, both about job opportunities and how to find a suitable study/work/life balance. EU and international students are also allowed to work up to 20 hours per week.
  • As a student in Scotland, you have free access to the National Health Service. Visits to doctors and hospitals, as well as prescriptions, sight tests and dental checkups, are available free of charge.

How to Apply

Apply online via UKPASS

You must read the information regarding how to upload relevant documents to UKPASS before proceeding with your application.

Mr. Tamer Gado

Architecture & Planning
School of the Environment
University of Dundee

Telephone: 01382 385346 (from the UK)
Telephone: +44 1382 385346 (from outside the UK)

Fax: 01382 203631 (from the UK)
Fax: +44 1382 203631 (from outside the UK)


Programme Administrator

Mrs. Jennifer Forbes
School of the Environment Office
Tower Building

Telephone: 01382 384180 (from the UK)
Telephone: +44(0)1382 384180 (from outside the UK)

Fax: 01382 388588 (from the UK)
Fax: +44(0)1382 388588 (from outside the UK)



Admissions Contact

Postgraduate Admissions
Admissions and Student Recruitment
University of Dundee

Telephone: 01382 384 384 (from the UK)
Telephone: +44 1382 384 384 (from outside the UK)

Fax: 01382 385 500 (from the UK)
Fax: +44 1382 385 500 (from outside the UK)