Sustainable Architecture MSc 2017-18

This course also available for 2018-19 entry

About the course

The course has a very distinct ethos based around the theme of environmentally sensitive building design. The aim is to provide you with skills and understanding that would enable you to take a leading professional and specialist role as a global practitioner within the field of sustainable architecture. It is also driven by the following key underlying themes that apply across all our architecture courses:

•  Critical regionalism;

•  Sustainability;

•  User Centred Design; and

•  Professional Development

Environmental issues rank at the very highest levels in the concerns of the general public and are particularly affected by the impact of the design and construction industry. The scale of influence ranges from building to urban dimensions. These are global problems requiring global and interconnected solutions and the course is designed to address issues from a world perspective. Issues are considered for different climate types and locations, giving a strong international dimension as well as providing opportunities to develop solutions that address local circumstances. The course is designed to give you the chance to acquire a mixture of skills and knowledge that would support roles as integrated and important members of design and construction teams. The course also provides opportunities to understand the specific needs of progression onto research degrees in the subject area.

Buildings consume vast amounts of natural resources during their construction and subsequent operation, accounting for around a third of the total energy used globally, and demand exploitation of natural resources to supply the materials. In use, building emissions add to global warming, damage the environment and create waste disposal problems. Buildings can also cause ill health and discomfort for their occupants due to poor air quality and inadequate internal conditions. This course considers the full range of issues associated with sustainable architecture including:

•  Energy You will have the opportunity to understand human comfort and energy use and to examine critically the links between energy consumption and emissions of carbon dioxide. This includes an exploration of energy assessment methods for both domestic and non-domestic buildings in a variety of cultural and climatic contexts.

•  Materials and resources You will have the opportunity to be able to examine the relationships between resource use and the design of building fabric, and both passive and active mechanisms for human control of the environment and environmental services.

•  Global environment The course is suitable for students from a variety of cultural backgrounds and from different climatic regions. You will have the opportunity to consider the differences and similarities of built environments around the globe and to seek innovative approaches to the development of appropriate architecture in widely different contexts.

•  Health and well being Central to the course ethos is the notion of user-centred design. All design aims to improve life. But in complex scenarios of construction the user, as the primary beneficiary of architecture, can become overlooked.The course aims to ask you to question the needs of the user and examine human comfort in relation to the quality of the built environment.

In all of these aspects you are asked to develop your own perspective and attitude, as part of your own continuing professional development. A key aspect of the course is that we ask you to become pro-active researchers in a complex field, making connections between a huge range of information and responding innovatively and with enterprise. At the heart of the student experience lie the shared experience of personal growth and development and the acquisition of knowledge, skills and understanding pertinent to the individual in developing their own careers in the field.

Start date:
18 / 09 / 2017


1 year full-time – September start
Part-time option also available

Entry requirements

Candidates must be able to satisfy the general admissions requirements of the University of Huddersfield and the specific requirements of the course in the following ways:

•  An Honours degree (2:2 or above) in a relevant subject or an equivalent professional qualification. Relevant practical experience preferred but not essential.

•  Direct entry without first degree may be considered in exceptional circumstances.


Course Administrator
Tel: +44 (0)1484 472281

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Course content

The course will cover the following key themes:

Core modules

Sustainable and Bioclimatic Design

This module will provide opportunities to understand and apply concepts from first principles, and how to make design decisions on use of both passive and active technologies and techniques, in order to produce buildings of high quality and functional capability. Advanced technologies will be explained and students will be encouraged to develop analytical skills in order to understand impacts of design decisions and to subsequently utilise those skills in the design of buildings and to evaluate the outcome in a critical and self-reflective fashion.

Environmental Impacts of Buildings and Urban Development

Buildings have enormous impacts on their environments both internal and external. The construction and operation of buildings within an urban setting further enhances their impacts and can result in beneficial or negative consequences. This module aims to adopt the approach of considering all aspects of impact using a variety of techniques and resources. It will look beyond buildings and closely consider sustainability within the urban environment in which they are located. This module will study the interaction of the human system with building related hazards and suggest methods for reducing the adverse effects. It will also examine the environmental impact arising from the construction and operation of buildings on the external environment. Immediate construction effects will be explored including the use of land, water and raw materials. Impacts will be considered with reference to the main environmental assessment methods (such as BREEAM). The intention for this module is to understand how to change and improve the design philosophy for the construction and operation of buildings and of urban development in order to minimise the detrimental effects.

Advanced Construction and Building Analysis

This module aims to address several key needs for the production and analysis of buildings designed to be efficient in construction and in operation. Reference will be made to the latest exemplars and how the lessons learned from these can be applied to future practice. Advanced construction techniques will be discussed alongside alternative forms of design. The module will consider both non-domestic and domestic examples of sustainable buildings. It will review them with a view to giving you the opportunity for critical questioning and analysis of their claimed performance. A key element of this module is the use of analytical methods including computer simulation to assess performance and how such information is integrated into other aspects of construction.

Research Methods

The research methods module introduces students to a variety of methods, approaches and practical issues involved in conducting academic research. It will give you the chance to become familiar with the key elements involved in designing, carrying out and assessing research relevant to a range of built environment disciplines. The objectives of this module are: to define a topic which is both researchable and manageable within the bounds of a Master’s dissertation/project; to conduct a preliminary literature search and synthesis, providing a background and justification to the research project; to establish clear aims and objectives for the research to specify the detailed plan to be carried out; and to produce a structure for the research which indicates the sources and methods to be employed and a feasible working programme.

Major Project

This module gives you the opportunity to undertake a major, in-depth piece of work along with other This includes a largely self-directed study, of what you have gained from the course and, often, to integrate it with elements from previous studies or professional experiences. It gives the opportunity for you to develop your research skills and abilities, allowing exploration of a particular and complex area covered in the taught elements of your course of study. The major project represents a study of a specified topic based on the gathering and analysis of primary and secondary data, contextualised within existing knowledge in the field and drawing conclusions to a defined research question.

Optional modules You will choose one from a list which may include:

BIM at the Project Level: Collaborative Approaches

This module aims to address BIM at the project level. The aim is to provide understanding and support the critical evaluation of the key issues in collaborative, integrated BIM based projects. It includes a broad understanding of process change needed to enable the achievement of BIM benefits in practice.


Communities Engagement for Social Innovation

A crucial element of design is its social responsibility to engage meaningfully with communities and the public at large, responding to and protecting the interests of society. Nowadays architectural/urban practices and goals are rapidly changing, especially in regard to the redefinition of public or collective spaces. In a UK context the formal process of urban design, at the scale of neighbourhoods, involves some degree of consultation with stakeholders. However there are compelling arguments for, and examples of, a range of approaches to this type of interaction, demonstrating how decision-making powers might be shared amongst different actors, and how the process can be embedded within the local community. The core aim of this module therefore is to provide an introduction to theories and practices of community participation in building and/or open spaces at different urban scales.

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.

We review all optional modules each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let students know in good time the options available for them to choose for the following year.

We will only change core modules for a course if it is necessary for us to do so, for example to maintain course accreditation. We will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before you begin the relevant academic year.

Sometimes we have to make changes to other aspects of a course or how it is delivered. We only make these changes if they are for reasons outside of our control, or where they are for our students’ benefit. Again, we will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before the relevant academic year. Our regulations set out our procedure which we will follow when we need to make any such changes.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Career opportunities

Construction professionals are increasingly including sustainability in their designs, driven by professional responsibility, client and funding body requirements and additional legislation. Graduates from this course are well positioned to fill the sustainable architecture skills gap within the industry globally. The pressures on our natural environment and depleting resources are not going to diminish, and expert and adaptable individuals will be required to face the challenges that lie ahead.

After studying within the subject area of Architecture, a few of the careers graduates have gone on to be successful within include: Architect at Farrell and Clark LLP; Consultant for WYG Group; Architectural Assistant for GPS, Urban Edge, Insights Architects Ltd, Simpson Haugh and Partners; Project Development Assistance for Renaissance Construction; Senior Architect for Atkins* *Source: LinkedIn

The course is also designed to give opportunities to enhance both your enterprise skills and your research skills with a view to progression to study at PhD level, if this is the direction you wish to take. It can also offer options aimed at developing initiatives that might form research projects beyond graduation that link between the university and graduates moving into industry.

Teaching and assessment

Modules are assessed by a combination of written reports, presentations and design work.

Your module specification/course handbook will provide full details of the assessment criteria applying to your course.

Feedback (usually written) is normally provided on all coursework submissions within three term time weeks – unless the submission was made towards the end of the session in which case feedback would be available on request after the formal publication of results. Feedback on exam performance/final coursework is available on request after the publication of results.

Huddersfield is the UK's only university where 100% of the permanent teaching staff are fellows of the Higher Education Academy.*

*Permanent staff, after probation: some recently appointed colleagues will only obtain recognition in the months after their arrival in Huddersfield, once they have started teaching.


During your studies you will have access to facilities in Queen Street Studios, which as well as housing contemporary studio space also offers advanced 3D technologies. This includes dedicated high-performance computer aided design (CAD) and 3D computer visualisation facilities, laser cutters with metal-cutting capabilities, 3D workshops for rapid prototyping, plus high definition and multi material 3D printers for the creation of 3D models. You'll also have access to the Digital Print Centre, our specialist facility capable of printing on a variety of media. All of this is supported by our expert technical staff.

In addition to having full access to the facilities during University opening hours, you'll also be able to access the specialist software licensed to the University from your own computer, whilst away from the campus out of studio opening hours. This means you won't have to invest in expensive software packages during the course.

How much will it cost me?

In 2017/18, the full-time tuition fee for UK and EU postgraduate students at the University of Huddersfield will generally be £5,100 (see Fees and Finance for exceptions). Tuition fees will cover the cost of your study at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision and examinations. For more information about funding, fees and finance for UK/EU students, including what your tuition fee covers, please see Fees and Finance. Please note that tuition fees for subsequent years of study may rise in line with inflation (RPI-X).

If you're interested in studying with us on a part-time basis, please visit our Fees and Finance pages for part-time fee information.

If you are an international student coming to study at the University of Huddersfield, please visit the International Fees and Finance pages for full details of tuition fees and support available.

Please email the Student Finance Office or call 01484 472210 for more information about fees and finance.


You will need to supply your own materials during the course. These include books, equipment, materials and printing. The approximate cost of these items in recent years has been £290. These costs may vary based on the materials you choose and the approximate costs are given as a guide only. There could also be costs associated with visits you may wish to make as part of your major project but this would be an optional element and voluntary as it is up to you if wish to choose such a project.

Additional routes

Research degrees are also available in this area. Contact us for details.

Interim Awards

A Master's course is 180 Master's level credits, which would normally take one calendar year full-time study. Interim awards are available at Postgraduate Certificate level or Postgraduate Diploma level should you decide to exit the course early.

Please contact us for details of the credits required for these interim awards.

How to apply

Research community

Research plays an important role in informing all our teaching and learning activities. Through research our staff remain up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, which means you have the opportunity to benefit and develop knowledge and skills that are current and highly relevant.

Centre for Urban Design, Architecture, and Sustainability (CUDAS):

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