Environmental Design MArch


Fact file

MArch Environmental Design
1 year full-time
Entry requirements
2.1(Upper 2nd class hons degree or international equivalent)
Other requirements
Architectural design work portfolio must be submitted
6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
University Park Campus
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.


This course focuses on bringing environmental considerations to the forefront of architectural design.
Read full overview

Environmental Design MArch image

This course aims to equip designers with the necessary skills to integrate environmental design principles from an early stage in the design process, enabling them to deliver truly sustainable buildings.

The 12-month course in Architecture and Environmental Design  is a design-based master’s degree that was designed to provide advanced training in integrated environmental design and sustainability in architecture. It is intended primarily for practitioners in architecture and in the building industry who wish to broaden their knowledge in sustainable building design and the application of environmental design principles and practice in architectural projects.

The course emphasises a problem-solving approach where technical and theoretical knowledge is well integrated in design projects, a unique learning method in environmental design education. By using the design projects as vehicles, you will be introduced to an integrated design approach where environmental design theories and principles are used to inform the design process. Design proposals are tested and refined using a range of physical and computer-based simulation tools available from our world-class facilities. Other modules are taught alongside studio design in order to support this process.

Key facts

  • The Department of Architecture and Built Environment aims to develop your vocational skills and the environmentally responsible attitude necessary in today’s rapidly changing world.
  • The department enjoys strong collaborative links with overseas institutions. You may have the opportunity to attended conferences, seminars and training courses both in the UK and abroad.
  • The department has strong collaborative links with architectural practices and environmental design consultants in the UK and abroad. Experts in the field are often invited to give you lectures, tutorials, and participate in design reviews. You may have the chance to meet and collaborate with some of the best-known people in the field.
  • This course can help you to broaden your careers horizon, develop critical thinking skills, as well interpersonal communication and professional presentation skills.
  • The course offers cross-disciplinary interaction and debate, as you work with professionals from other industrial sectors and share experience, and can enhance your professional network of contacts and support.
  • The personal benefits of this course include a broadening career horizon, development of critical thinking skills, development of interpersonal communication and professional presentation skills, cross disciplinary interaction and debate, working with professionals from other industrial sectors and sharing experience, as well as enhancing your professional network of contacts and support.
  • This course does not currently convey professional accreditation in the UK.

Course details

Environmental Design MArch course details image

The MArch Environmental Design is a master’s degree level based within the Department of Architecture and Built Environment and offered on a full-time basis over one year (September to September).

This course deals with the application of the theoretical and technological aspects of environmental design and sustainable architecture in equal measures in creative studio design projects. Therefore, architectural design projects are a core part of the course.

This course emphasises problem-solving, where technical and theoretical knowledge is integrated into design projects, a unique learning method in environmental design education.

Course content

Studio project briefs are based as much as possible on real-life projects, and participation in national or international competitions will often be encouraged and supported. Students will also be encouraged to present their work in national or international conferences and events. 

Dissertation topic choices will be offered by expert staff, but you are also able to choose a topic of your interest in the context that is most relevant to you to further develop your knowledge in integrated environmental design and sustainable architecture.

In the autumn and spring semesters, you will complete 120 credits worth of modules including  two design modules. These are studio-based exercises where practical skills and creativity are challenged and examined through an architectural project.  Additional lectures and seminar modules provide a parallel knowledge base and intellectual support for the design project and for the final dissertation.

You will spend the summer semester producing a 60-credit supervised dissertation. This will be an in-depth study of an individually determined topic and is an opportunity to conduct a major piece of independent research that reflects individual interests and aspirations. Previous dissertation topics have included: 

  • comfort in buildings 
  • light in sacred buildings
  • visual delight and luminous environment 
  • light in museums and exhibition spaces 
  • designing sustainable and resilient communities 
  • climate resilient design of energy efficient buildings 
  • optimising housing design to reduce energy dependency 
  • the application of the fabric first approach in various climates
  • the application of vernacular architecture strategies in modern design 
  • the application of integrated environmental design approach in various climates 
  • design for future climate change via the adoption of integrated design approach

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, you will have the knowledge and understanding of the opportunities and benefits that arise from the application of an integrated environmental design approach in sustainable architecture. You will also have developed an ability to use building performance prediction tools to enhance and refine design proposals, and a full understanding of the role of architects in supporting sustainable development.

Students who undertake the MArch Environmental Design course will develop:

  • an understanding of the of the role of architects in supporting sustainable development
  • an understanding of the importance of microclimate and site context in architectural design
  • the ability to exercise original thinking, design experimentation and creativity
  • the ability to apply integrated environmental design approach in architectural projects
  • the ability to use building performance prediction tools to enhance and refine design proposals
  • the ability to communicate ideas effectively in verbal communication and written reports
  • interpersonal communication and professional presentation skills

English language course for academic purposes

Accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English, the Centre for English Language Education (CELE) runs 10-week and 5-week English language and study skills courses for Built Environment.

These courses are designed in collaboration with the faculty and prepare students going on to postgraduate programmes within the Department of Architecture and Built Environment.

If you are close to the English language level you need to go on to this course and you meet the entry requirements for the relevant CELE course, you may be eligible for a joint offer. This means that:

  • you only need one TIER 4 visa and CAS
  • you take a 10 or 5-week English language and academic skills preparation course, and then go onto your course
  • your progression to the course is automatic, provided you attend and complete all the coursework

For more details, please visit the CELE website or email cele-enquiries@nottingham.ac.uk

Find out more about this English language course



Environmental Design MArch module image

Core modules

Optional (elective) modules

*The Case Study Project is a module focused on learning from existing buildings and/or urban spaces through post-occupancy and performance monitoring and evaluation. The module offers opportunities for students to explore environmental design issues in depth, to further develop their preferred speciality and to develop academic writing skills. Much of the work produced in this module has been published in international conferences or journals.

**The Dissertation is an individual research project taken over the summer term under the guidance and supervision of an academic member of staff. It is a great opportunity for students to further develop the area or topic they are most interested in.

For more details on our modules, please see the module catalogue.

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



The fees for this course can be found on our tuition fees webpages.

Please visit our funding your masters web page for general information and advice on financial support.

UK/EU Students

Funding information can be found on the Graduate School website.

Please visit the faculty website for information on any scholarships currently available through the department.

International and EU students

The University of Nottingham offers a range of masters scholarships for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study.

Applicants must receive an offer of study before applying for our scholarships. Please note the closing dates of any scholarships you are interested in and make sure you submit your masters course application in good time so that you have the opportunity to apply for them.

The International Office also provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.



The University of Nottingham is the best university in the UK for graduate employment, according to the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide.

The Department of Architecture and Built Environment, part of the Faculty of Engineering, has an international reputation for its teaching and research, and collaborates with leading institutions worldwide in the fields of architecture, urban design and sustainability.

The department is known for its commitment to interdisciplinary teaching and research, and therefore our postgraduates are internationally recognised as having the skills needed to meet the contemporary challenges facing the built environment professions.

This course will give you the practical environmental design knowledge and skills that are highly sought-after by employers. This master’s level programme is project oriented and has been specifically designed with the needs of the architectural profession in mind. Environmental design principles, both at an urban scale and at a building scale, will provide professional with a springboard for invention in architectural and sustainable design.

On the successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • confidently integrate environmental design principles to architectural design
  • confidently practice sustainable architectural design
  • give expert advice on the application of environmental design principles in practice
  • give expert advice on sustainability in the built environment
  • work more effectively in multi-disciplinary teams

Our graduates often benefit from accelerated promotion in the building industry and enjoy the recognition of their professional abilities by employers and clients worldwide.

If students have some prior experience within the building industry, the MArch Environmental Design may enable them to find mid-career opportunities to change direction or sector.

The University of Nottingham has been recognised as delivering a Gold standard in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), which aims to recognise and reward excellent learning and teaching.

Employment Prospects

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers, according to The Graduate Market, 2013-2017, High Fliers Research, and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career.

Most of the MArch Environmental Design course graduates are employed in architectural practices, environmental consultancies or universities across the world.

Careers and Employability Service

Completing a master’s degree demonstrates a high level of knowledge in a specific field. Whether you are using it to enhance your employability, as preparation for further academic research or as a means of vocational training, you may benefit from careers advice as to how you can use your new found skills to their full potential.

Our Careers and Employability Service has received a large investment to be even better equipped to help you do this, working with you to explore your options and inviting you to attend recruitment events, where you can meet potential employers, as well as suggesting further development opportunities, such as relevant work experience placements and skills workshops.  

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This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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