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Masters Excellence Scholarshipsup to £500,000 in tuition fee discounts available

Theory and Practice of Sustainable Design (MSc)

1 year (Full-time) / 2 years (Part-time) / n/a (Distance / E-Learning)

Course Aims

To offer knowledge and expertise in sustainability as it relates to the built environment, giving a working understanding of its aims, principal concerns and techniques, at theoretical and practical levels, in global and local contexts, and across social, environmental and economic boundaries.

Special Features

Course Description

There are two stages to the MSc programme: one for the taught modules and another for a dissertation by research, in which students report on an investigation that they have conducted into a research question that interests them.

A theory module at the beginning of the course explores origins and attitudes in sustainability, and encourages students to position themselves before engaging with the other modules and between them. There is a long module in which opportunities for sustainable practice are investigated in a live project. The other modules present practical approaches to procuring, designing, and constructing environmentally and socially sustainable developments in the built environment.

Please see the Welsh School of Architecture website for more information about modules.

Course Structure

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. Please see Core modules for full details.

Alongside this core set of modules, 60 credits of modules reinforce this teaching with a focus on sustainable building technologies, sustainable approaches to building procurement and performance evaluation as well as a live project module that enables students to apply theoretical understanding in a live project scenario that runs from autumn through to Summer. Please see specialist modules for full details.

Skills Acquired

The course is designed for built environment professionals from the disciplines of architecture, town and country planning, engineering, construction and client representatives. It is also appropriate for people from social sciences, ecology, environmental sciences, politics, management studies etc without a design background but working in relation with or having an interest in the built environment.

The global dimension of sustainability and the global relevance and application of the learning to be gained makes the course relevant internationally. The course will value and build upon the perspectives of participants form different cultures.

Entry Requirements

The course is suitable for graduates or experienced practitioners in the built environment disciplines of architecture, town and country planning, property development, civil engineering and construction, as well as those from the social sciences, ecology, environmental sciences, politics etc, who work in relation with, or have an interest in, the built environment.

Applicants should possess a good first degree, typically an upper second class or higher.For those applicants for a significant level of relevant and high quality work experience the academic requirements can be relaxed.

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.

For those applicants for a significant level of relevant and high quality work experience the academic requirements can be relaxed.


50% fee scholarships are currently available to UK and EU residents applying to study on PGT programmes. The 21st Anniversary Scholarship Fund is designed to attract and reward the brightest students from across the UK and the European Union to study at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University.

Our PGT programmes are open to candidates from architectural and built environment backgrounds and draw on established and widely recognised research strengths within the School. If you are a UK or EU resident with a good academic and /or work experience record we would like to hear from you.

We expect a high level of competition for scholarships and ask for expressions of interest for the course of your choice by 21st June 2014.

For further information, please see the Financial Support pages of the School website.

Tuition Fees:

  • UK & EU Full Time (fees are for 2015/16, unless otherwise stated):
  • UK & EU Part Time (fees are for 2015/16, unless otherwise stated):
  • International Full Time (fees are for 2015/16, unless otherwise stated):
  • International Part Time (fees are for 2015/16, unless otherwise stated):

Next intake:

School Contact

Name: Ms Christine Heywood  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 9332 

Fax: +44 (0)29 2087 4623 


School Website:

More information

Funding Available

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