Advanced Sustainability of the Built Environment MSc

  • For Entry: September
  • Duration: 12 months
  • School:

The connection between the built environment, urban growth, the use of energy and creation of environmental pollution has been acknowledged in recent years, with a strong emphasis nowadays placed upon improving the sustainability of the built environment. This programme is uniquely designed to provide a holistic understanding of sustainable architecture and urban development.

Why study Advanced Sustainability of the Built Environment at Dundee?

How can the sector play its part in reducing its global impact, and what are the challenges that we face now and in the future? Architects, planners, engineers, regulators and clients still have much to learn in relation to sustainability concepts, criteria, design quality, and measurement. The management of sustainability requires reconciling the differing perceptions of the various stakeholders in the development process and building shared approaches to realising an improved environment.

The MSc Advanced Sustainability of the Built Environment aims to meet such needs. This programme is uniquely designed to provide a holistic understanding of sustainable architecture and urban development.

What's so good about Advanced Sustainability of the Built Environment at Dundee?

The MSc Advanced Sustainability of the Built Environment is a multi-disciplinary programme of postgraduate study aiming to equip learners with essential new perspectives and capabilities needed for sustainability applications in the built environment. Its creative approach to interdisciplinary working helps participants to understand the holistic nature of sustainability in the built environment "from cradle to cradle".

It emphasises the skills and technologies needed in planning, design, construction and management of sustainable built environments which meet changing environmental, socio-cultural, technological and economic needs. These are essential criteria in order to provide a full understanding of sustainability implications in the built environment process.

  • The course takes a holistic approach to issues surrounding the sustainability of the built environment covering topics from Macro (Urban Planning) to Micro perspective (Environmental Design)

This unique multi-disciplinary programme is designed to provide a holistic knowledge of the sustainable built environment.

  • Leading academics and practitioners in sustainable building and urban development will collaborate on delivery to demonstrate how sustainability thinking on a national and international level
  • The programme is suitable for architects, engineers, planners, regulators and facilities managers
  • Emphasis is placed on skills and technologies for sustainable design, construction and management to meet changing environmental, socio-cultural, technological and economic needs

The programme has been designed to enable students to specialise in one of three areas:

  • Intelligent buildings: strategic design and management
  • Sustainability in contemporary cities
  • Zero-carbon and low energy housing development: strategies, challenges and design

Who should study this course?

This course is relevant for individuals who plan, design, build, commission, maintain or manage such environment. These include:

  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Planners and Developers
  • Regulators/surveyors
  • Clients
  • Facilities managers
  • Construction managers
  • Research students
  • Research and development organisations
  • Consultants, contractors and manufacturers

This course is taught by staff in the School of Environment.

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

As well as lectures, our teaching methods include tutorials, seminars, lab work and group instruction for skills development.

Through a range of practical coursework, you will have the chance to develop your skills in communication, report writing, presentation, policy analysis and evaluation, problem solving, decision making, IT, and team work.

The programme is undertaken, on a full-time basis, over 12 months, or, on a part-time basis, normally over two years. It is organised on a modular basis and comprises three main core modules and one specialist module.

The core programme covers:

Principles of Sustainable Built Environment
This module will enable students to develop an understanding of the sustainable development agenda in all sectors of the construction industry based on economic, environmental, socio-cultural and technological issues and of key sustainable built environment processes, in particular:

  • the drivers of sustainable development agenda as a new way of thinking in relation to the built environment; defining the dimensions of sustainability in both design and urban scales, and examining appropriate sustainability parameters to inform sustainable design practices
  • the drivers of environmental design of buildings - investigating issues such as natural lighting, natural ventilation, renewable energy production and use in buildings, passive solar heating, passive cooling and environmental performance prediction and monitoring.

Spatial Analysis
The purpose of the spatial analysis module is to equip students with a set of perspectives and skills which are used when analysing complex urban situations. The module develops students' understanding of the principles of place design used to undertake visual analysis and area appraisals. Theories of urban development are examined. The skills of social science methodologies for analysing social and economic aspects of urban settlement are practiced. The aim of the module is to develop students' understanding of the planning research process and to enhance their abilities to make informed interpretations of urban complexity.

Sustainability Assessment (Implications, Indicators & Assessment Methods and the Whole Life Value)
The module covers a range of techniques and tools to evaluate and demonstrate how well (or how poorly) the built environment including buildings, construction industry, master plans and infrastructure are currently performing vis-á-vis sustainability. In addition, particular attention is paid to the significance of sustainability assessment methods as the construction industry are being confronted with a new set of regulatory practices and priorities, largely generated by the push for sustainability. The module identifies how the application of sustainability assessment methods can impact upon social, environmental and economic values.

Students take one specialist module from those available that year, for example: Intelligent Buildings: Strategic Design and Management
This module will give an introduction to the principal aspects of intelligent building design, construction, operation and management within a systematic and coherent framework and provide an overview of intelligent buildings necessary to appreciate the major significance of the subject and to take informed decisions on future intelligent buildings. Students will also develop an understanding of the significance of intelligent buildings within the overall span of building design and management: including the key characteristics and functions of intelligent buildings, the significance of the opportunities presented by intelligent buildings and the constraints to be overcome in order to capture them, and the managerial practices required to deliver the benefits of intelligent buildings.

Sustainability in Contemporary Cities
The overall aim of this module is 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. This also includes an appreciation of the challenges and constraints in adopting mitigation and adaptation approaches within urban management strategies. In so doing, the module sets out to engage with the core question of how and whether the growth of cities is compatible with the achievement of sustainable development goals.

Zero-Carbon and Low Energy Housing Development: Strategies, Challenges and Design
Housing plays a critical role in the development and provision of sustainable communities and the reduction of non-renewable energy and material resources. As global populations increase the nature and quality of future housing provision will become increasingly important in terms of how and where we live. This course will develop an understanding of the challenges, strategies and design solutions for low energy and zero carbon housing and the development of more sustainable communities. The course takes a holistic approach to issues surrounding sustainable housing covering topics from a macro to micro perspective.

Masters students pursue a research project on a specialist subject area developed from their specialist module or the Sustainability Assessment module.

The aims of assessment are to monitor the development of your subject understanding and research skills, intellectual and problem-solving competences, and also, the communication and interpersonal competences as required by practising professional architects, planners and engineers.

Assessment methods cover a mix of formats including case study evaluations, group project-work, and a research project. If required there are written examinations.

The MSc in Advanced Sustainability is a multi-disciplinary programme of post-graduate study which provides graduates with immediate career opportunities in the UK, EU and abroad.

This course will give you the practical environmental design and sustainable urban planning knowledge and skills that are highly sought-after by employers.

Our graduates understand the importance of taking a holistic approach to issues surrounding sustainable buildings and urban planning covering topics from a macro (Urban planning) to micro (Environmental design) perspective; connecting sustainable design projects to the broader decision making context of complex projects. Graduates have entered both academia and industry in the UK, EU and Overseas.

Year of Entry: 2015

Entry Requirements: Applicants to the MSc programme are normally required to have obtained an Honours degree, at 2.1 or above, in an appropriate subject - architecture, building services, planning, engineering, science or related disciplines. Applicants who do not hold formal qualifications to degree level, but who are able to demonstrate considerable experience in a relevant field, may also be accepted. Individual modules can be taken as personal Continuing Professional Development courses (CPD), in which case you do not necessarily need to hold a degree.

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

English Language Requirement

IELTS of 7.0 (or equivalent), if your first language is not English.

Please check our English 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 throughout the year and Foundation Programme(s) for both undergraduate and postgraduate students which start at the beginning of the academic year.  These programmes are all designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.  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 IELTS, to gain the necessary qualifications to enter the University of Dundee degree programmes in the following year.

The 24 week Pre-Sessional programme (March – August) provides additional English Language tuition for students who do not meet our minimum English Language requirements by up to 1.0 IELTS and the 10 week Pre-Sessional programme  (June – August) (October – December) provides specialist English Language tuition for students who are 0.5 IELTS below the requirement for their degree programme.

There have been many changes to the arrangements for funding students entering higher education in recent years, yet a degree from the University of Dundee, with its high rate of employment success, remains a cost-effective option.

The fees you pay will, in most cases, depend on your current country of residence.

The fee shown is annual, and may be subject to an increase each year.

Fee categoryFees for students starting September 2015
Scottish students Fee to be confirmed for 2015/16.
Rest of UK students Fee to be confirmed for 2015/16.
EU students Fee to be confirmed for 2015/16.
Overseas students (non-EU) £12,950 per year of study
See our scholarships for international applicants

Please read the Postgraduate "How to Apply" section for information on how to upload relevant documents to UKPASS before proceeding with your application.

Apply online via UKPASS