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Environmental Design of Buildings (MSc)

1 year (full-time) / 2 years (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)

Please note: This MSc programme is also available for study by distance learning over one, two or three years.

This course aims to offer knowledge and expertise for specialising in the design of comfortable and healthy environments in and around buildings, regardless of climate, and with due regard to sustainable issues. This is an area of expertise often tending to fall between the normal professional interests of architects and engineers. Project work is an important component of the scheme, and is intended to emphasise practicalities and develop the necessary working skills.

Special Features

Course Description

There are six taught and two project modules in the first stage of the course. The modules approach the subject from a variety of angles that are intended to cut across the integrating threads of heating, lighting, acoustics and sustainability, including:

The course syllabus and its project work address good practice in climates around the world. In the second stage, students prepare a research dissertation, in which they are able to pursue in greater depth an aspect of the subject that interests them.

Assessment Methods for this course include written examination, project work and a dissertation.


Course Structure

The programme is delivered in two stages:

Stage 1 has taught and project modules for which 120 credits are available.

The course shares 60 credits of core taught modules with a suite of architectural science masters. These modules provide a grounding in architectural science, while placing this in the context of sustainable development and environmental performance of buildings.

Alongside this core set of modules, 60 credits of modules reinforce this teaching with a focus on the climatic environment, the internal building environment and the passive design strategies as well as by providing the opportunity to apply the ideas taught in class to problems which, whilst not real, exercise a similar range of skills to a real problem.

Stage 2 has one dissertation module, for which 60 credits are available.

Full time students take stages 1 and 2 in one year. Part-time students take stage 1 in either two or three years, depending on the pathway for which they are enrolled, and undertake stage 2 at the end of their final year.


Other contributors:

Teaching and Assessment

Each module employs a different mix of teaching methods as is appropriate to the subject matter and the method of assessment. Access to teaching material is through the Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), Learning Central. Reading material is supplied through links on the VLE in the form of set texts and e-books. Appropriate use is made of audio-visual support, animated demonstrations, and interactive exercises as necessary to aid learning and implementation of some subject-specific skills. Students have access to, and are expected to view/listen to, recordings of lectures or demonstrations given at Cardiff University that are related to the locally offered MSc Environmental Design of Building programme. Short tasks are set to give students opportunities for individual study and formative feedback.

In project modules students are offered the opportunity to put into practice many of the ideas they are studying and so to reinforce their understanding and skills in the subject area and to exercise their more generic problem-solving and presentation skills. Tutorials in group settings are held through a chat room. Furthermore, students keep in touch with the module tutor and the other students through an online discussion forum, by which the tutor will be able to supervise the students’ progress as a cohort and individually.

Students receive written feedback on written assessments, and oral feedback on assessed presentations. The opportunity to test knowledge and understanding will also be provided through completion of online tests within the VLE, or through periodic project reviews, or “crits”.

Students have the opportunity to join local students on study visits, if it should be possible for them.

Skills Acquired

The principal aims of the programme are:

Career Prospects

The course is suitable for graduates or experienced practitioners in disciplines related to the built environment, such as architecture, building services engineering, building technology or environmental studies who would like to strengthen their expertise in environmental design. The knowledge and skills that students gain are those needed to become specialists in environmental design. In most cases, they are likely to continue their careers in their original disciplines, but with the advantages the new specialism will bring. With sufficient career experience, the scheme should prepare students for leading roles in their respective professions.

The programme has helped a large number of professionals to pursue a career in a broad range of sectors such as (but not limited to):

Entry Requirements

Applicants should possess a good first degree (typically a 2:1 or equivalent), or equivalent work experience in a relevant discipline.

The course is suitable for graduates or experienced practitioners in disciplines related to the built environment, such as architecture, building services engineering, building technology or environmental studies who would like to strengthen their expertise in environmental design. The distance learning version of this course will be of particular interest to professionals who do not want to interrupt their careers, wherever they live.

Applicants whose first language is not English must meet the University's English Language requirements.


Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 (General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.

Tuition Fees 2016/17

Fees quoted are for the academic session 2016/17. For programmes lasting more than one year, tuition fees for subsequent years of study are subject to an increase of no more than 4.5% per year.

  UK & EU International
Full-time £7,750 £18,250
Part-time £3,875 £9,125
Deposit n/a Includes a £1,000 deposit. More information about our deposit policy.

Next intake: September each year

School Contact

Name: Carys Meredith  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 9693 



More information

Funding Available

There are current funding opportunities for this course. Click here.


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