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Course content

Become an expert in the science behind buildings and increase your understanding of the connections between architecture, engineering, testing and building research.

You'll explore building construction and performance, how building materials function, sustainability in the industry and the relationship between buildings and their environment. Learn to question, test and explain these elements and become confident in your knowledge as a building scientist.

You'll also get a practical grounding in how buildings impact on the natural world through their design, construction, operation and maintenance.

Learn through a combination of taught courses and a written thesis that involves self-directed research.

The Master of Building Science is professionally recognised by the New Zealand Institute of Building (NZIOB).

What you'll study

In your first year, you'll take courses exploring advanced construction theory, practice and technology integration, the principles of project management and sustainable engineering systems.

You'll also look at green building assessment systems and the use of energy within buildings, the interaction of buildings and the environment, and advanced research techniques, including historical and theoretical approaches.

Research year

In the second year, you'll complete a written thesis under supervision from the academic staff in the School of Architecture. You can extend your undergraduate specialisation in Project Management or Sustainable Engineering Systems, or explore another area of interest.

Current research topics in the School include:

  • digital craft in architecture multimedia, the internet and the building production process
  • daylight, productivity and health
  • digital simulation of building energy, thermal and lighting performance
  • monitoring energy use and personal satisfaction in work environments
  • sustainability of inner-city communities
  • seismic design of buildings
  • earthquake engineering in developing countries
  • fire engineering
  • integration of building structures with architecture
  • alternative, low-cost building construction technologies.

You'll be part of a strong culture of research and work with experienced staff who have published a variety of scholarly articles, books and conference papers.

Duration and workload

The MBSc will take you two years to complete if you're studying full time or you can take up to four years part time.

If you are studying full time, you can expect a workload of 40–45 hours a week for much of the year. Part-time students will need to do around 20–23 hours of work a week. Make sure you take this into account if you are working.


Postgraduate study will help you build valuable relationships and networks with peers, university staff and future colleagues. Make the most of opportunities to attend events, seminars, workshops and social functions.

You'll also benefit from the expertise of working professionals through the Faculty's connections with local industry.


A Master of Building Science can open doors to a career in mainstream architecture. You might start your own practice or work as an employee in a firm or government organisation. You could work as a construction project manager, a sustainable systems engineer or as a consultant. Other jobs might be a lighting adviser or designer, building consent adviser, fire design and regulations analyst, acoustic engineer and quantity surveyor.




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Recipient: Victoria University of Wellington

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