Ecology

Architecture and the Sustainable Environment - MSc

Overview

The MSc in Architecture and Sustainable Environment (MASE) is a taught course aimed at professionals and academics world-wide with an interest in sustainability in the built environment, including architects, engineers, geographers, surveyors, historians and urban designers.

The MSc is offered by Centre for Architecture and Sustainable Environment, a new research centre in the Kent School of Architecture and Planning (KSAP) that promotes a cross-disciplinary approach to research in the field of sustainability in the built environment, bridging the traditional boundaries between the arts and the sciences, research and practice.

The course content ranges from the development of the design skills and the technical and scientific understanding required to develop sustainable solutions for new and existing buildings, the analysis of historic buildings and past environment technologies, to a critical exploration of the historical and cultural context of sustainability and environmental design.

The course, which can be studied full-time or part-time, offers an academically rigorous and intellectually challenging learning environment, which aims to enhance career development within the field for professionals and academics. The over-arching aim of the programme is to provide participants with a systematic understanding of core and advanced areas of sustainable design through a combination of taught courses, research assignments and project work. Students will be asked to conduct rigorous technical and historical research and to explore the practical application of their findings in the context of design and technology.


Entry requirements

A 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent), in architecture or related discipline in the built environment. Those without the degree or who come from other disciplinary backgrounds will be considered for entry on an individual basis but must be able to show a considerable period of experience at an appropriate level.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, students who require a student visa to study cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

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Course structure

Duration: 1 year full-time

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

Compulsory modules currently include

The module consists of lectures that describe the important energy and material flows in a building and how these are driven and can be regulated. This includes methods for calculating the flow, storage and release of heat in a range of media including phase change materials, determining daylight provision, and calculations for providing sufficient passive ventilation.

Built exemplar buildings are explored and their success assessed. Building fabric and services are explained and how resource requirements for maintenance can be reduced, whilst maintaining the function of the building. Advanced materials and techniques are introduced. Life Cycle Analysis is used to provide a decision tool to assess the sustainability of design. Climate change presents a new challenge to design buildings to be sustainable in the context of projected, but uncertain weather conditions. Future scenarios are investigated to reveal the implications for changing design parameters.

Find out more about AR827

In this module students will explore the environmental dimension of historic buildings and evaluate past environmental technologies and strategies, through a combination of historical research and technical analysis.

Students research into the historical and cultural context of environmentally driven innovation in architecture, and will explore the specific motivations and historical circumstances that have been driving the development of environmental technologies and scientific principles today and in the past.

Students will conduct a detailed environmental design case study of a historic building or environmental technology, combining historical research and technical analysis. Students have the choice to select from a number of case studies chosen by the module convenor or to study a building of their own choice. Students will conduct a piece of historical research with the aim of gaining a detailed understanding of the original environmental design intentions behind a particular historic building and the environmental technologies and control regimes deployed to achieve these objectives. Although each student will be assessed on individual pieces of work, the students are encouraged to work in cross-disciplinary teams.

Find out more about AR828

Students will explore a range of experimental and modelling techniques to evaluate the environmental and energy performance of buildings. This will include field surveys of appropriate case study buildings, where the students will experiment with monitoring the environmental conditions. They will select a range of techniques for the thermal and visual environment.

Subsequent modelling of the building will enable them to further assess the environmental conditions and energy performance of buildings, identifying problem areas with appropriate mitigation techniques.

Find out more about AR829

In the context of climate change, the significant of sustainable design is of many fold. Ideally, to achieve sustainable design one should be able to trace the environmental impact from geography to individual space and vice versa. However, to make a meaningful and workable sustainable design, the designer should at least address the environmental changes that take place at human scale (˜1m) to city block scale (˜1km). This primarily involves knowledge in disciplines such as urban climatology, urban design/planning, architecture and engineering in order to address environmental issues related to layout, form, structure/construction and environmental performance. In this module, students will acquire basic knowledge related to abovementioned disciplines and develop a sustainable design proposal incorporating suitable passive/low carbon technologies that are applicable to the context.

Advanced techniques and methodologies for analysis of local climatic conditions, site, and building proposals lead to the development of environmentally sustainable design proposals with a focus on achieving low energy buildings.

The influence of materials, form and construction on environmental performance and waste management will be examined with reference to sustainable design principles, benchmarks and precedents.

Find out more about AR830

Compulsory modules currently include

Students will work independently to research in-depth a topic of their own choice in the field of sustainable architecture and built environment, to produce a 15,000 word document.

They will need to critically evaluate the state-of-the-art literature and develop the methodology for answering the formulated research questions. The subsequent methodology can vary depending on the selected topic (archives, monitoring, modelling, thermal simulation, etc.)

They will be supported by their tutor, developing their methodology and discussing the research results, but ultimately they will be responsible for the development of the final document.

Find out more about AR899

Teaching and assessment

Assessment is mostly based on coursework, with presentations, case-study analyses, design proposals, essays and the dissertation.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • enable students to develop systematic understanding of the effect of the built environment on the environmental performance and energy consumption of buildings, while optimising comfortable conditions for the occupants
  • develop your understanding of the sustainability drivers for the built environment
  • develop your in-depth knowledge of the theoretical principles of low carbon design
  • develop the ability to analyse the environmental behaviour of historic structures and the efficiency of past environmental technologies, using modern scientific methods
  • promote creativity in the integration of sustainable solutions in the built environment at different scales
  • enable you to develop skills for physical monitoring and digital modelling of the environmental and energy performance of buildings
  • provide you with the ability to work in multidisciplinary design teams
  • promote and support independent research skills.
  • enable you to develop the skills required for both autonomous practice and team-working.
  • support you, so that you can fulfil your full potential in the programme.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You will gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the complexity of energy performance of buildings and their occupants’ interactions
  • impact of the physical environment on the environmental and energy performance of buildings
  • fundamental concepts of building science and principles for low energy design, in relation to heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting
  • a comprehensive, critical analysis of the environmental behaviour of historic buildings and the associated environmental technologies
  • the range of techniques for analysing the environmental and energy performance of buildings
  • A holistic approach that enables development of design strategies for low energy buildings, for both new as well as retrofitting developments, that are equally culturally and environmentally sustainable.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • the ability to apply the skills needed for academic study and enquiry
  • the ability to develop analytical and critical skills in understanding the environmental and energy performance of buildings
  • the ability to synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding of theory and application in the relevant framework
  • the ability to resolve complex problems in developing low energy buildings.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • the ability to develop strategies for low energy design for new and retrofitted building developments
  • the ability to produce technical analytical reports for the development of sustainable buildings
  • the ability to use appropriate monitoring techniques and software tools for evaluating the environmental and energy performance of buildings
  • the ability to use visual, verbal and written communication to present the analysis of design proposals
  • the ability to work in multidisciplinary design teams.

Transferable skills

You will gain the following transferable skills:

  • the ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of individuals using a variety of means
  • the ability to generate, analyse, interpret and present data
  • the ability to prepare critical arguments (written, visual and oral) based on thorough theoretical analysis and empirical research
  • the ability to work effectively individually as well as in a team
  • the ability to manage time and resources and prioritise workloads
  • the ability to take responsibility for your personal and professional learning and development (personal development planning and CPD).

Fees

The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home full-time £8100
  • International full-time £16800
  • Home part-time £4050
  • International part-time £8400

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk.

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:

Chevening scholarships

This programme attracts many applications from Chevening scholars. Chevening is the UK Government’s international awards scheme aimed at developing global leaders, and Kent is a Chevening partner. 

For details of the funding available, see our Chevening Scholarships page.

The Complete University Guide

In The Complete University Guide 2020, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.

Please see the University League Tables 2021 for more information.

Independent rankings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Architecture and Planning was ranked 8th for research intensity and 8th for research output in the UK.

An impressive 100% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 88% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of research of international quality.

Research areas

Research centres

KSAP incorporates the Centre for Research in European Architecture (CREAte), which focuses on research in architectural humanities and design, the Centre for Architecture and Sustainable Environment (CASE), which promotes research in the field of sustainable architecture, and the new Digital Architecture Research Centre (DARC), which researches the use of digital technologies in architecture and the built environment.

CREAte

The Centre provides a focus for research in architecture in the European context. Its emphasis is on the role and contribution of humanities to architecture and urban design in the context of urban and regional regeneration, nationally and internationally.

CREAte provides a platform for evening lectures by contemporary architects and scholars; hosting debates and events that are in the heart of architectural agenda of today.

The Centre builds upon its staff specialisms, interests and skills in the following areas: regional studies, contemporary architectural and urban theory and design, architectural history and theory (ranging from antiquity to contemporary European cities), sustainability, European topographies (landscape, urban, suburban and metropolitan) etc. Staff participate in the activities of AHRA – Architecture Humanities Research Association and are internationally published authors.

CASE

The Centre promotes research in the field of sustainable environment regionally, nationally and internationally.

Its research focus encompasses different aspects and scales of the sustainable built environment from the individual building to the urban block, promoting the wider environmental agenda and keeping the School at the forefront of research and development in the field. CASE also pursues research into the historical and cultural dimension of environmental design to foster links between the sciences, arts and humanities. There is a strong interest in understanding the environmental behaviour of historic buildings and the strategies originally deployed to manage the internal environment.

The Centre has already secured funding from various sources. This includes three EPSRC projects on climate change weather data for a sustainable built environment, sustainability of airport terminal buildings and design interventions in the public realm for affecting human behaviour, and two TSB-funded projects on Building Performance Evaluation. CASE is also involved with the recent EPSRC large-scale network on Digital Economy Communities and Culture.

DARC

The Centre is the newest research centre at Kent School of Architecture and Planning (KSAP) in the application of digital technology in architecture. The focus of the Digital Architecture Research Centre (DARC) will be the creative use of digital technologies to enhance design and fabrication possibilities for architecture and the built environment.

The centre will have three streams headed by members: 1) Generative design and computational creativity, 2) Digital fabrication and robotics and 3) Digital visualisation and mixed reality.

DARC will promote an innovative interdisciplinary research environment exploring intersections between architecture and digital technologies, to open up and expand the schools research agenda and funding possibilities. The new research centre will promote a fundamental shift in architecture and design thinking to develop design methods for the utilisation of computational technologies in architectural design, fabrication and assembly.

The centre is a new interdisciplinary direction for KSAP, founded on members' expertise and international research profiles to open up new avenues of research activity. The centre draws on university-wide contacts and expertise, and attracts additional expertise, knowledge and research in the field of digital architecture through existing and future collaborations, adding to its high quality research output, and looks to enhance the faculty's Digital Humanities theme, principally in the areas of Digital Creative Arts and Digital Heritage.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

The School of Architecture and Planning studios include a dedicated computing suite with a range of environmental construction software, and a Digital Crit Space. There is a fully equipped architectural model-making workshop for constructing models and large-scale prototypes.

Professional links

The School has excellent contacts with businesses and culture in the local area, including regional organisations such as the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Kent County Council and European Association of Architectural Education (EAAE). The Sustainable Communities Plan is particularly strong in south-east England, making the region the ideal place in which to debate innovative solutions to architectural issues.

Kent also has excellent links with schools of architecture in Lille, Istanbul, Rome, Tokyo, and, in the USA, Virginia.

Academic study is complemented by a mentoring scheme organised in collaboration with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and involving students in events with local practices.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Architectural Research Quarterly; Architectural Review; Building and Environment; The Journal of Architecture; The World of Interiors. Details of recently published books can be found within our staff research interests.

Global Skills Award

All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.  

Apply now

Learn more about the applications process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.

Once started, you can save and return to your application at any time.

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

MSc at Canterbury

Admissions enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

E: information@kent.ac.uk

Subject enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 824689

E: ksapadmissions@kent.ac.uk

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk