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Solent’s MSc Sustainable Building Design course is the ideal way for students from a wide range of academic backgrounds to pursue a career in this exciting and important sector. By providing you with a thorough understanding of both theory based and practical skills, you’ll graduate from this course as a specialist designer with the education and vision required to help create a sustainable future for the construction industry.

Throughout the course, you’ll be encouraged to develop a holistic approach to reducing the carbon footprint created by buildings. Learning is centred around social, economic, and environmental aspects of design, otherwise known as the three pillars of sustainability. The curriculum introduces the essential academic theory that underpins each of these areas and explores the technical tools required to successfully plan performance-based building projects.

The BRE Academy recognises the high level of real-world teaching at Solent. This means students on this course will be eligible to be fast-tracked to take the BREEAM AP qualification, and at a reduced fee. The qualifying period of three years’ work experience will also be waived. 

What does this course lead to?

Sustainable building design is a fast growing area, offering potential for employment in small, medium, and large companies. Graduates from this course will be able to take up roles as sustainable building designers, sustainability champions, strategic advisors, BIM managers/coordinators, or project managers for environmentally led collaborative projects. The course could also open the door for further research opportunities at PhD level.

Who is this course for?

Solent’s postgraduate sustainable building design programme is ideally suited to candidates from a wide range of related disciplines.

The curriculum is designed to be creative and inclusive, providing students with the opportunity to undertake a dissertation of a technical nature, or a design-based piece of final major project work.

How to apply

Applications for postgraduate courses can be made at any time prior to the start of the course. However, we strongly recommend you apply at your earliest convenience.

Please ensure you upload the following mandatory documents with your application.

  • Two academic references
  • Certified transcripts of qualifications, including English language proficiency if non-UK student
  • Copy of passport
  • Copy of current visa (if applicable)
  • A personal statement
  • Employer sponsor form where appropriate

Core units

Sustainable and Intelligent Building Design (30 credits) 

This unit introduces students to the concept of sustainable buildings and enables them to demonstrate understanding of how the form, fabric, and equipment of a building affect its environmental impact. An understanding of the passive and active design principles of sustainable building will be developed through a live design project. 

BIM Frameworks (15 credits) 

This unit provides an introduction to Building Information Modelling (BIM) from a holistic perspective. BIM has emerged as the dominant paradigm for information and communication technology in architecture, engineering, and construction. This unit covers BIM approaches, as well as the impact these have on the various AEC disciplines.

Sustainable Building Assessment (15 credits) 

This unit covers the environmental assessment methods of buildings in the UK and internationally. Students will develop and demonstrate understanding of the sustainable building assessment methods like BREEAM and LEED. Post-occupancy evaluation methods will also be explained to highlight the importance of the end user.

Integrated Project (30 credits) 

This unit brings together the combination of approaches from various disciplines that are utilised for the sustainable design of buildings. Encompassing the state-of-the-art in research and practice from the breadth of architecture, engineering, and construction; this unit covers aspects such as environmental strategies, instant thermal analyses and building information modelling.

Research Methods (15 credits) 

This unit develops the skills required to carry out research primarily for dissertation or design projects. It aims to provide students with comprehensive knowledge and understanding of methodological approaches of research and examines a range of tools used to collect and analyse the data in order to solve complex problems.


Project Management (15 credits) 

This unit focuses upon the management of complex building projects in sustainability contexts using systematic approaches. It deals with both hard and soft aspects of managing projects whilst delivering value to the clients by exploring current approaches, industry standard tools and techniques using case studies.


Work-Based Project Management (15 credits)

The project management unit is available in a work-based format designed to offer a flexible, practice-related approach to learning. Students who are already in relevant employment have the opportunity to gain academic credit for knowledge and skills gained in the workplace through a negotiated learning contract which is agreed by the student, employer and unit leader.


Research Dissertation (60 credits) 

In this unit, students undertake a Master's stage research project, present the body of work in a conventional dissertation and communicate the outcomes verbally through formal viva. Students explore in-depth a topic relevant to the discipline to develop a significant level of expertise in the area under investigation.


Design Project (60 credits)

In this unit, students carry out in-depth research into a topic relevant to the discipline, culminating in a design thesis and communicated via visual aids and artefacts as well as verbally.

Please note: Not all optional units are guaranteed to run each year.

The course benefits from extensive links with industry, formed over many years of delivering accredited courses with professional organisations (e.g. CIAT, CIOB, SBID and CABE). Practitioners from a cross-section of the built environment industry contribute regularly to the academic process by providing real-world projects, guest lectures, site visits and informal mentoring sessions.

Students will also have the opportunity to study towards becoming a BREEAM Accredited Graduate, a qualification offered in collaboration with the Building Research Establishment (BRE) Academy. The BREEAM AG scheme, which is taught alongside the main course at no extra cost to students, is a first step to becoming BREEAM Assessor.

Visit the Sustainable Building Design MSc page on the Solent University website for more details!




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