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Sustainable Building: Performance and Design - MSc/PGDip/PGCert


Course Description

This unique multi-disciplinary course is taught by architects, engineers and physicists involved in practice and research. It focuses on the theory and practice of developing low carbon and sustainable buildings.

The course includes a number of interlinked modules that simulate the design and development of a sustainable project. This enables students from different disciplines to develop skills and understanding relevant to their own discipline, be it design or consultancy, and in relation to a national and international context.

Why choose this course?

The course is run by the School of Architecture, which is recognised as one of the country's leading schools of architecture and is consistently ranked by The Architect's Journals one of the five best schools in the UK. You will gain an advanced understanding of the key sustainability issues related to buildings enabling them to strategically influence feasibility and design processes within the built environment. The course attracts some of the best students in the field from a diverse range of ages, backgrounds, gender and nationalities. This offers opportunities for interdisciplinary, globally aware teaching and learning.

The range of subjects draws on the research strengths of the teaching staff and enables research to inform the teaching modules. You are encouraged where possible to take part in staff research projects. You will have the opportunity to go on an annual field trip. This is an opportunity to directly experience some of the very best of sustainable design projects in another culture. Previous field trips have been to Germany, Scotland and Denmark. Students from this course have gone on to work in a wide range of occupations from architectural and engineering practices and research consultancies to development work, furniture design, owning and operating electricity utilities, and even carbon trading.

This course in detail

The course is organised on a modular credit system, 60 credits for postgraduate certificate, 120 credits for the postgraduate diploma (9 months full-time, 20 months part-time) and 180 credits for the master's degree (12 months full-time, 24 months part-time).

Modules combine a ratio of taught to self-led study. For example, a module of 20 credits approximates to 200 hours of student effort, up to 36 hours of which will normally be devoted to lectures, seminars, individual tutorials or other staff contact. The remainder of the time is devoted to student-led study and assessment.

Please note: as courses are reviewed regularly, the module list you choose from may vary from that shown below.

The core modules for the MSc and PGDip are:
-Building Physics (20 credits)
-The Sustainable Built Environment (20 credits)
-Post-occupancy Building Evaluation (20 credits)
-Advanced Low Carbon Building Technologies (20 credits)
-Modelling and Passive Strategies (20 credits)
-Sustainable Design in Context (20 credits)

The compulsory modules for the MSc are:
-Research Methods and Design (10 credits)
-MSc Dissertation (50 credits)

Teaching and learning

The teaching and learning methods reflect the wide variety of topics and techniques associated with sustainability, low-carbon and resource efficient design.

Staff-led lectures provide the framework, background and knowledge base, and you are encouraged to probe deeper into the topics by further reading and review. Analysis, synthesis and application of material introduced in the lectures are achieved through professional and staff-led workshops, group and one-to-one tutorials, student-led seminars, case studies, and practical work that anticipates the design project.

The course attracts students from a diverse range of ages, backgrounds, gender and nationalities. This offers opportunities for interdisciplinary, globally aware teaching and learning. You are exposed to a variety of cultural perspectives and issues through the use of international case studies and draw on their diverse strengths through peer learning and group work.

An annual field trip is an opportunity to directly experience some of the very best of sustainable design projects in another culture. Previous field trips have been to Germany, Scotland and Denmark.

The range of subjects draws on the research strengths of the teaching staff and enables research to inform the teaching modules. You are encouraged where possible to take part in staff research projects.

We attract some of the best students in the field, drawn by the integrating basis of the programme and its solid theoretical foundation on expertise within the University.

Careers and professional development

Graduates will possess an advanced understanding of the key sustainability issues related to buildings enabling them to strategically influence feasibility and design processes within the built environment. They will be familiar with a range of models, tools and methods with which to quantify, predict, evaluate and manage building performance, and will be able to use them and switch to other tools based on an understanding from first principles.

Drawing on a working knowledge of how to minimise energy, carbon emissions and resource consumption in buildings through the various stages of their life cycles, they will be able to take account of changing, incomplete and uncertain information related to the environment. They will also have well developed skills in auditing, analysis, reporting and presentation and a thorough understanding of the interdisciplinary subject area.

Students from this course have gone on to work in a wide range of occupations from architectural and engineering practices and research consultancies to development work, furniture design, owning and operating electricity utilities, and even carbon trading.

Visit the Sustainable Building: Performance and Design - MSc/PGDip/PGCert page on the Oxford Brookes University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Candidates need one of the following: Hold an approved undergraduate honours degree minimum 2.2, or equivalent overseas qualification, in a relevant discipline ie architecture, engineering or physics and other subjects related to the built and natural environments; possess an appropriate professional background and experience in architecture, building or building servicing design. Applications are also considered from potential candidates who wish to seek accreditation for their prior experiential learning or earlier qualifications, particularly those who have worked on projects in related fields. A number of our applicants use the programme as a means of facilitating a career change or progression.

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