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Modern Building Design (MSc)

Course Description

A unique and innovative MSc with a three-month professional placement.

The MSc Modern Building Design provides students with the knowledge of modern building design practice, methodologies and processes that are increasingly sought after by major engineering and design consultancies. It places emphasis on the key engineering and modelling challenges faced during the building design process and prepares students for industry, providing them with the practical and interpersonal skills to stand out to potential employers in a highly competitive market.

This unique and innovative 15-month full-time programme has three core components:
- a taught element, consisting of eight units
- a professional practice placement, where students apply low-carbon building strategies and methodologies from their taught component to establish the industrial impact of their dissertation ideas
- a research dissertation based on a real consultancy project and informed by their industrial placement experience.

We are dedicated to helping you find a placement in industry. We will support and guide you in your applications but cannot guarantee you a position. If you are unable to secure a placement, you will transfer on to our 12-month alternative programme and graduate with an MSc in Low-Carbon Building Design.

Visit the website http://www.bath.ac.uk/engineering/graduate-school/taught-programmes/modern-building-design/index.html

Learning outcomes

You will develop the hard and soft skills required by professionals working in key carbon-dominated built environment sectors, with the ability to demonstrate an understanding of carbon management of the built environment in practice. The taught element of the programme focuses on student professional development through the design process that is mapped to the 2013 RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) plan of work for multidisciplinary working. In particular, you will gain:

- trans-sector skills required by the construction industry, with a focus on employability
- a detailed knowledge of the design tools and strategies that comprise modern design processes
- the capability to demonstrate initiative and originality within the scope of low-carbon modern design strategies, planning and management
- the skills to formulate research projects in real carbon management and low-carbon buildings, independently and in professional multidisciplinary design teams.


A full list of units and descriptions can be found on the programme catalogue (http://www.bath.ac.uk/catalogues/2015-2016/ar/ar-proglist-pg.html).

Semesters 1 & 2 (October – June)
The first two semesters consist of eight taught units, co-designed and co-taught with employers. They provide a foundation in the most significant issues related to working in key carbon-dominated built environment sectors and professional development. Each unit comprises lectures, tutorials, practical classes and workshops alongside time for personal study. Assessment is by a combination of coursework and oral examination.

Semester 3 (July – September)
The third semester consists of a three-month professional practice placement. Workshops during the first two semesters will help you improve your employability and prepare you to undertake a placement at one of our partner companies. Assessment is by report and presentation to your placement employer.

Or, if you pass all taught units with an overall average of at least 50% but are unable to go on placement for any reason, you will transfer on to our 12-month programme. You will spend the third semester undertaking your research dissertation and, on successful completion, will graduate with the award of MSc in Low Carbon Building Design.

Semester 4 (October – December)
The final semester consists of a research dissertation. This provides a start-to-finish research experience to embed the research and professional knowledge gained throughout the programme. It builts on the skills acquired in the taught component and is informed by the needs of your industrial placement provider.

Facilities to support the programme of study
Your personal tutor will support your academic progress and general welfare, alongside the University's specialist student support services. We have a thriving portfolio of taught postgraduate programmes providing the opportunity to meet, and work alongside, students from other areas of the department.

The Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering offers well-equipped computer suites and laboratories for experimental work to support your studies.

We will provide guidance and tutorial support in any specific software required during the programme, including visualisation tools and dynamic modelling tools such as

- Autodesk Ecotect Analysis 2010
- Radiance
- ReluxPro
- CAD (AutoCAD / ArchiCAD)
- Sketchup
- Revit.


A three-month professional placement is an opportunity for you to learn from our industrial partners. We guarantee to find enough suitable vacancies for all our students but cannot promise that you will be placed as this also depends on your performance at interview. With this in mind, our dedicated Placements Team runs workshops on CV-writing and interview techniques to support you during the application and interview process.

We have links with a large number and variety of organisations offering placements both in the UK and further afield. Labox and MACE, two companies providing support for the research project and placement, describe what they are looking for in a placement student:


“Working within our Strategic BM Consultancy, Design and Construction teams you will be acting as a Trainee BIM Coordinator working alongside the core BIM team and provide BIM support for projects. Working with our BIM Integrators, Designers and Construction Design Managers you will be responsible for the effective use of technology on your project whilst assisting in the development of BIM standards and use for the business. You will liaise with the project team, client and consultants, and assist the reviewing of models for the project and guidance of project teams through the BIM process, as well as provide ad hoc assistance to the wider practice when required.”

- Labox:

“We are a design led multidisciplinary architectural practice specialising in individual site and client specific projects with a strong emphasis on energy efficiency as a means of improving quality of life. We strongly believe that everyone involved in the project is vital, and for a successful end result the technical information that we provide has to be accurate and very well considered. This means, that must be produced by well informed, interested and capable people who understand what they are trying to achieve and why. I would hope that someone who has completed this MSc would have the global vision that we are looking for.”

Professional Practice Reports

The Placement Professional Practice unit has three main components:

- POLO Report (Personal Objectives and Learning Outcomes) – this is a reflective report where you will focus on the set of skills and knowledge you had before and after placement.
- Placement Report – this report is developed in two phases (interim and final) and it refers to the research that you have done whilst on placement. This report will contribute to your dissertation.
- Presentation – you will have to present the results of your placement experience and research findings to your placement mentor and team once the placement is finished.

Career Opportunities

Engineering consultancies and multidisciplinary design consultancies are seeking graduates with knowledge of modern building design. This programme has been developed in conjunction with employers to ensure it provides the range of skills and experience they are looking for when they recruit and, as a result, graduates of this programme should be highly employable.

The Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering has an excellent reputation for employability, and has a strong link with local, national and international employers.

The Department also has links with the Building Research Establishment (BRE) through the BRE Centre of Innovative Construction Materials (http://www.bath.ac.uk/ace/research/cicm/index.html). PhD and other research students conduct research into innovative construction materials, and it is anticipated that the top graduates of MSc Modern Building Design will have the opportunity to further their studies through the PhD programme at Bath should they want to.

Industrial Partners

The programme is co-developed and co-delivered with a number of employers and partners in Architecture & Civil Engineering, including:

AFL Architects
Balfour Beatty
Building Research Establishment
Buro Happold
Digital Node
Foster & Partners
Keep Architecture
LaBox Arquitectura
Mott MacDonald
OPS Structures
Pozzoni Architecture
Wiltshire Council

Apply online here - https://www.bath.ac.uk/study/pg/applications.pl#ace

Visit the Modern Building Design (MSc) page on the University of Bath website for more details!

Entry Requirements

First degree (UK 1st or 2:1 or international equivalent) in Architecture, Civil or Mechanical Engineering or a related subject. You must supply a personal statement with your application, detailing your motivation and interest in this area. A portfolio is not required.

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