Course overview

Our MSc Sustainable Building Technology is tailored towards graduates in building services, architectural environmental engineering, architecture and other related disciplines.

The course is structured to accommodate the interests and skills of those who are related to building design and technology and building energy and environmental performance.

The strong emphasis is targeted to successful integration of renewable and sustainable energy technologies into buildings, which requires an understanding of both design and technology and hence the close co-operation of architecture and engineering.

Why choose this course?

Top 100

and 5th in the UK for Architecture

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023


in the Russell Group universities for ‘overall satisfaction’ in Architecture

The National Student Survey 2022


in Architecture

Times Good University Guide 2023 

Vocational skills

Will learn through making, building your design whilst developing an environmentally responsible attitude

Collaborative links

The department has strong collaborative links with practices

Course content

The course is designed to allow discussion and exchange of information between different disciplines and encourages novel and imaginative solutions to the challenge of producing environmentally friendly buildings.

In the autumn term, you will be taught the principle of renewable energy technologies alongside heating and cooling technologies, research methodology and professional development. You will also advance you knowledge on building performance computer simulation tools.

In the spring term, you will have the opportunity to explore integration of renewable and sustainable technologies in design-oriented projects. You will use the knowledge learnt during autumn term to design, evaluate and integrate renewable energy and sustainable energy technologies into buildings.

You will spend the summer semester producing a supervised dissertation, where you will pursue more technical-based project. This will be your opportunity to undertake a major piece of independent research related to building and sustainable energy technologies.

The course comprises 180 credits, split across 120 credits worth of taught modules and a 60 credit written dissertation completed over the summer period.


Cooling and Heating Systems and their Applications (autumn) 10 credits

This module aims to provide an understanding of air conditioning technology and develop skills in the design of air conditioning systems.

This module covers the cooling and heating technologies for building applications, focusing on vapour compression, absorption, adsorption and ejector cooling technologies, as well as the design and performance calculations for these systems.

Advanced multi-stage, multi-effect and combined systems designed to offer efficient use of thermal energy will also be introduced. The suitability of these technologies for applications in buildings will be discussed in relation to the efficient use of energy.

The module will address issues of thermal comfort, indoor air quality, air conditioning processes, psychrometrics, and cooling and heating load calculations. The design of systems for building cooling and heating is also discussed including the thermal comfort design conditions, the methods of delivery and sizing. With the knowledge provided by this module, students will be able to understand how to design efficient cooling/heating systems for various building applications.

CFD for Building Engineering (autumn) 20 credits

This module aims to provide students with an overview of indoor air flow and CFD from which skills in CFD modelling of air flow, heat transfer and pollutant transport processes in buildings are developed.

This module will provide the basics of air flow and heat transfer associated with building ventilation and a brief introduction to the principles of CFD (computational fluid dynamics) for building applications. Students will be introduced to a commercial CFD package (ANSYS Fluent), which will be used to develop practical modelling skills through exploring air flow, heat transfer and pollutant dispersion in and around buildings based on a variety of ventilation strategies.


Activity Number of Weeks Number of sessions Duration of a session
Lecture 11 weeks 1 week 3 hours
Tutorial 11 weeks 1 week 2 hours

Assessment method

Assessment Type Weight Requirements
Coursework 100.00 Written report
Principles of Renewable and Energy Efficient Systems (autumn) 20 credits

This module aims to provide students with a comprehensive grounding in renewable energy sources and allied conversion systems with the focus on their application within the built environment.

Specifically the module will cover:

  1. energy principles
  2. solar energy resources
  3. solar thermal collectors
  4. solar photovoltaics
  5. wind energy
  6. district heating and heat pumps
  7. biomass energy
  8. CHP
  9. efficient boilers
  10. heat recovery

For each of the renewable and energy efficient systems, the student will learn and develop an understanding of principle of operation, basic components, merit and limitations, and investigate the contribution they can make to a building's energy requirement with reference to their environmental impact.


Activity Number of Weeks Number of sessions Duration of a session
Laboratory 5 weeks 1 week 2 hours
Lecture 11 weeks 1 week 2 hours

Assessment method

Assessment Type Weight
Exam 70.00
Laboratory report 30.00
Research and Professional Skills, Tools and Methods (spring) 20 credits

This module enables students to acquire the core skills used in research, and to practice these through exploration of a specialist subject relevant to architecture and the built environment.

This module covers the skills and resources needed to conduct independent academic research, including how to present findings effectively. It will cover choosing a research topic, how to shape research literature search techniques, including the use of the web.

As a result, students will be able to conduct their own primary research, including quantitative and qualitative methodologies; data collection and simple statistical analysis. Opportunities to practice these skills will be presented through participation in a mixture of lectures, seminars and workshops designed to introduce specialist subject areas relevant to the field of architecture and related disciplines.


Activity Number of Weeks Number of sessions Duration of a session
Lecture 14 weeks 1 week 1 hour
Workshop 12 weeks  1 week 1 hour

Assessment method

Assessment Type Weight Requirements
Assignment 15.00 3,000 word essay
Presentation 1 30.00 Presentation of the research topic
Presentation and report 30.00  
Research portfolio 25.00  
Sustainable Building Research Project (spring) 20 credits

This module develops research skills through a collaborative design project that explores the integration of sustainability concepts and strategies. This provides opportunities to apply different approaches to assessing performance and developing a holistic understanding of a building and its systems.

This is a research-based module with emphasis on modelling, design and analysis. Students will be equipped with knowledge and skills for assessing the interactions between a building, its occupants and local microclimate conditions.

Through optimisation and other procedures, integrated design solutions are explored that seek to reduce energy use in building heating, cooling and lighting whilst achieving acceptable environmental performance.

Students will work in groups to develop a building design from which individual projects are identified that will assess baseline energy performance and investigate appropriate energy efficient and sustainable strategies to improve efficiency.


Activity Number of Weeks Number of sessions Duration of a session
Practicum 12 weeks 1 week 7 hours

Assessment method

Assessment Type Weight Requirements
Project 100.00 4000 word illustrated individual report
Technology Integration for Sustainable Buildings (spring) 10 credits

The module will further students’ knowledge and skills, and provide awareness of the technical and economic aspects of sustainable technologies available for building sustainability including, selection, design, installation and operation.

This module introduces a range of sustainable technologies suitable for integration into the built environment for enhanced building performance.

It provides students with the tools to assess the impact of integration of these sustainable technologies, including green roofs and walls, smart windows, super insulated walls, daylighting technologies, passive cooling and ventilation, renewable energy technologies, etc., on the operational performance of buildings, in line with building performance analysis tools.


Activity Number of Weeks Number of sessions Duration of a session
Lecture 11 weeks 1 week 2 hours

Assessment method

Assessment Type Weight Requirements
Technology Integration for Sustainable Buildings 100.00  
Renewable Energy Technology Design and Appraisal (spring) 20 credits

This module will examine aspects of performance analysis and system design/sizing of renewable energy systems for building integration. The course provides opportunities to gain experience in issues of technology selection, system design, installation and performance analysis of a range of renewable energy systems. The module will emphasize solar energy technologies (photovoltaic and solar thermal systems) and small-scale wind turbines, and their integration into buildings.

This includes aspects of weather data resource/collection, system performance analysis, system design parameters, design/simulation tools, field evaluation of these technologies and cost appraisal.

Dissertation, Architecture and Built Environment (summer) 60 credits

This module aims to enable students to plan, implement and write up a substantial piece of original research which will make a contribution to the intellectual life of the discipline.

This module seeks to enable students to:

  • demonstrate and develop research skills in their chosen area of study
  • select a topic of inquiry in consultation with relevant members of academic staff
  • search and critically review the appropriate literature
  • develop appropriate research questions for their chosen area of study
  • consider the ethical aspects of their investigation
  • select an appropriate methodology for their investigation
  • collect data, rigorously explore and critically analyse it
  • interpret findings against what is already known in the field of study
  • critically evaluate/reflect on the study itself; make appropriate suggestions for further research


Activity Number of Weeks Number of sessions Duration of a session
Tutorial   1 per week 1 hour
Lecture   1 per week 2 hours

Assessment method

Assessment Type Weight Requirements
Dissertation 100.00 20,000 word dissertation


The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Friday 05 April 2024.

Due to timetabling availability, there may be restrictions on some module combinations.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Design studio

The Sustainable Building Technology MSc consists of a number of related sets of modules that inform each other, culminating in the course outcome through the summer dissertation, which is your opportunity to explore a topic you are passionate about and to develop your space as a sustainable building designer.

The course emphasises on effective introduction of renewable and sustainable energy technologies into the built environment, through careful assessment and the application of knowledge and skills gained during the course of this programme. Learning outcomes are based on theoretical knowledge, awareness, technical and professional skills development, and ability to transfer these into a design project.

You will be supported by qualified academic staff and practitioners, who will support you in developing your skills and knowledge in sustainable building technologies, as well as sustainable energy technologies required for todays and future built environment.

The Sustainable Research Project is a studio-based project and is taught through lectures, tutorials, with supporting of workshops seminars, and may include site visits. The other modules are taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials.

How you will be assessed

  • Exams
  • Assignments

Assessments could be based on an exam, assignments, or a combination of these two. Each module has a set of marking criteria aligned with its learning outcomes which reflect the CIBSE Criteria for the Prescription of Qualifications of PGT degrees, which are based on The UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC). Specific marking criteria are used to assess your work. All marking is moderated by an independent moderator. You must pass all modules with at least an average of 50% to progress to the dissertation. Your final degree classification will be calculated based on the credit weighting for all modules, and the dissertation.

Submission for the Sustainable Research Project is in the form of a portfolio, and for all other modules a combination of assignment and exam are used. All submissions are electronic and are submitted through the Moodle.

Contact time and study hours

You will spend 12 hours a week learning through lectures or seminars. This does not include your independent study time.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2024 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 in a relevant subject area (or international equivalent)


Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply


Qualification MSc
Home / UK £10,500
International £28,600

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

As a student on this course, you may factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles which could cost up to £100 per year.

In addition to this you may spend up to £50 per on printing and up to £50 on model making and drawing equipment. Please note that these figures are approximate and subject to change.


There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

Many graduates on this programme have been rewarded for their ideas and contribution to real energy projects, for example the prestigious National Energy Award for work on a large-scale solar project in Mexico. Graduates have entered both academia and industry in the UK and overseas.

The course develops a practical and theoretical understanding and therefore enables graduates to work with architectural or engineering firms.

Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE)

The course is accredited by the Engineering Council through the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE)

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates

This content was last updated on Friday 05 April 2024. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.