Sustainable Construction MSc

Course Overview

UK construction is well-placed to benefit from the opportunities presented by the global shift to a low carbon economy and green construction, but there is a continuing need to ensure investment in innovation and technology alongside increased collaboration between businesses and research institutions to enable the UK to realise this potential. There is also scope for further progress, particularly with regard to addressing evident skills shortages. The global green and sustainable building industry is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 22.8% between now and 2017 as a result of increasing low carbon regulatory requirements and greater societal demand for greener products. It seems that the market is recognising these opportunities.

According to recent research by McGraw-Hill Construction (2013), around half the architects, engineers, contractors, building owners and building consultants around the world anticipate that at least 60% of their work will be green by 2015, up from 28% of firms in 2012 and only 13% in 2009.

The UK's existing housing stock, which accounts for over half of the greenhouse gas emissions from the built environment, presents growth and development opportunities for the UK's low carbon and sustainable construction market.

The programme will draw upon subject expertise within the School of Architecture, Built and Natural Environments, which has been commended by Externals for its commitment to innovative teaching and learning. The programme enhances a number of advanced transferable skills and equips the student with a range of skills appropriate for a broad variety of future opportunities as well as providing skills and competencies for those students who are progressing to MPhil / PhD. Regularly, our MSc students have progressed to our PhD provision. Sustainability is seen as a priority in construction circles; the very nature of its operation places a heavy burden on the environment. The programme holds firm the sustainability concept and provides students with 'real' examples of established practices.

Key Features

The School of Built and Natural Environment prides itself on providing a supportive learning environment, with personal attention afforded to all students. Delivering a successful and enjoyable learning experience is at the very core of our vision to produce first class professionals.

We are situated in an urban maritime environment very close to Britain's first designated 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' and with many interesting buildings and cultural assets nearby. We are in close proximity to magnificent natural and physical resources of south, mid and west Wales and the University and its staff play a major role within the conservation and heritage management of these and other similar national assets.

As class sizes are generally less than 25, this engenders a culture and environment that listens to and supports individual student needs. Our teaching is informed by research in subject's that extend right across our portfolio, suitably supplemented by external experts from around the world. We believe in engaging with employers to develop, deliver and review courses that enhance our graduate's employability credentials in a manner that is central to our vision for students, the city and region. This is further reflected by recent graduate success stories that include employment in international organisations, entrepreneurship and community engagement. Our commitment is demonstrated by recent investment in facilities, staff and engagement, which means the future for our graduates, is stronger than ever. We truly look forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve your personal goals and ambitions


This Masters programme is delivered on a module credit system. Each module comprises 200 hours of student learning time for every 20 credits. The programme structure requires students to complete in Part I the equivalent of 120 credits in order to progress to Part II, in which they complete a dissertation of 60 credit value.

The total number of credits required to be eligible for the award of this modular Master's degree is not fewer than 180.

The full-time programme is normally studied over a three-semester period and the part-time programme over the course of six semesters. The taught Part I of the Masters normally begins in September and continues to the end of semester two in June.

Semester three is completed during the June to October period, and on the full-time programme this is concluded via the submission of the dissertation and defence via a viva voce.

Part I: Semesters 1 and 2 (Full Time)

  • This consists of modules which are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and study visits. The student needs to pass Part I to progress to the Part II dissertation.
  • Building Information Management Systems
  • Construction Technologies Past & Present
  • Energy Performance Strategies
  • Research Methods & Professional Skills
  • Sustainable Development
  • Future Proofing Construction

Part II: Dissertation (60 credits)

On successful completion of the 120 credits of taught modules the student can progress to the 60 credit dissertation module (in accordance with section 6.2.8 of the AQH). The student will submit a dissertation proposal form to the Programme Director who will assess the feasibility of the project.

Professional Accreditations

In progress with CIOB, RICS and CABE

Course Tutor(s)

  • Iain MacRae
  • Trevor Francis
  • Sergio Garate
  • Allan Nantel
  • Linda Rudd
  • Rhian Jenkins
  • Guest Lecturers


Assessments used within this Programme are normally formative or summative. In the former assessment is designed to ensure students become aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Typically, such assessment will take the form of practical exercises where a more hands-on approach shows student's ability on a range of activities. Traditional formal time-constrained assessment is by means of tests and examinations, normally of two-hour duration. Examinations are a traditional method of verifying that the work produced is the students' own work.

To help authenticate student coursework, some modules require that the student and lecturer negotiate the topic for assessment on an individual basis, allowing the lecturer to monitor progress. Some modules where the assessment is research-based require students to verbally/visually present the research results to the lecturer and peers, followed by a question and answer session. Such assessment strategies are in accord with the learning and teaching strategies employed by the team, that is, where the aim is to generate work that is mainly student-driven, individual, reflective and where appropriate, vocationally-orientated. Feedback to students will occur early in the study period and continue over the whole study session thereby allowing for greater value added to the student's learning.

Career Opportunities

The MSc is widely recognised as a valuable postgraduate qualification. It demonstrates the student's ability to commit to a programme of study and develop their knowledge within that area of academic study. The programme will help develop skills which are valuable to a wide range of employers, such as the ability to analyse complex information critically, the ability to present clear and coherent arguments and the ability to present complex information in a clear manner.

Such an education will develop an awareness of the interconnectedness of the built environment, and equip the student with a qualification relevant to a number of different vocational situations. The flexibility of the modular programme enables students to develop packages of study which satisfy specialist interests and career aspirations in the built environment.

In business many large organisations have established management systems and auditing procedures, and our former students' career paths demonstrate opportunities at all levels of management. This degree, which was developed in consultation with the BRE and major Companies/Consultants, will help students develop a career in these areas. In fact, the integral link with the BRE is a fundamental 'kitemark' for students and associated employers of this programme.

The School has a long history of industrial liaison. Since the 1990s programmes have had annual industrial liaison meetings. Feedback on new policies, initiatives and issues informed the curriculum, teaching and practice, especially when providing valuable input prior to validation (in particular BRE). The links will also provide experience for students to work on 'live' projects.

Recommendations by BRE on the content of the proposed programme(s) include:

  • Providing students with the opportunity to work on interdisciplinary projects with students pursuing other construction-related qualifications, for example, architects, surveyors, civil engineers, quantity surveyors, planners and tradespeople; this approach would simulate real-life construction projects.
  • Enabling students to gain practical experience, thus applying the theory they have learnt.

These types of industrially-centred learning provide the opportunity to inform teaching, learning and assessment adding much value to employability.

Further Information

Programme Specification

The programme requires students to undertake six taught modules (120 credits) followed by a dissertation which should not exceed 15,000 words in length (60 credits).

The programme team have designed the programme to provide a rich educational experience with particular emphasis on preparing for a professional career in the built environment in either the public or private sectors, specifically in management and consultancy roles or for further postgraduate studies. Staff involvements with waste and energy projects further inform curriculum and teaching methods.

Continued development of these key areas has given the School a competitive edge, and many students should be attracted to this course as a result. The programme includes some modules and content taken from other MSc programmes currently running in the school thereby offering a distinctive 'richness' to the learning experience.

The programme includes four new modules from within the School:

  • Energy Performance Strategies
  • Building Information Management Systems
  • Construction Technologies Past & Present
  • Future Proofing Construction

These modules capture the needs of the industry in helping to fill the skills gap in managing for innovation. BRE will provide some additional resources; specialist teaching, for example, which will add additional value to knowledge and skills attained.

Related Courses

  • MSc Environmental Conservation and Management
  • MSc Property and Facilities Management
MSc, MSc, PG Cert Award
, February Start
Full-time, Part-time Study Mode
1 years Duration

Entry Requirements For This Course

Entry Criteria

Applicants can be considered eligible to register on this Master's Degree programme provided s/he holds one of the following qualifications prior to commencement:

  • an initial degree from an approved degree awarding body;
  • a non-graduate qualification which has been deemed to be of an appropriate standard for the purpose of postgraduate admission;
  • specific entry requirements of the programme.
  • Applicants may also be considered eligible to register on this Master's Degree programme provided that s/he has held, for a minimum of two years, an appropriate position which is relevant to the programme to be pursued. Such applicants will be considered on a case by case basis.
  • International students must hold relevant qualifications/experience equivalent to their UK counterpart, in addition to good language skills and evidence of a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 for non-native English speakers.
  • As part of an inclusive approach to learning, we encourage students from non-traditional entry points or without recognised educational backgrounds, but who have an equivalent and appropriate professional qualification or significant relevant professional experience to apply.

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