Postgraduate study
This course focuses on bringing environmental considerations to the forefront of architectural design.
MArch Architecture and Sustainable Design
1 year full-time
Entry requirements
2:1 (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 may be available
Start date
UK/EU fees
£7,785 - Terms apply
International fees
£17,910 - Terms apply
University Park Campus



Environmental Design MArch image

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

It is a design-based master’s degree that provides advanced training in integrated environmental design and sustainability in architecture. It is intended primarily for postgraduate students and practitioners in architecture and 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. It is also targeted at individuals who wish to pursue research careers in sustainable design related areas.

The course builds on a unique project-based approach and focuses on the role of the architect as the designer with specialised sustainable design knowledge and skills. 

Meet the team

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

Full course details

Environmental Design MArch course details image

The MArch Architecture and Sustainable Design is a masters 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

Entry requirements

Applicants to all MArch programmes in the Department of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Nottingham are required to submit a portfolio of their design work with their application. The portfolio enables us to see that you have some of the core skills required to be successful on an MArch course and to see the range of skills and types of projects that you have completed in your undergraduate degree.

The portfolio should be submitted with your admissions application and be in PDF format and less than 10Mb (please submit this directly onto the MyNottingham admissions system).

The portfolio should have:

  • a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 15 images
  • a letter confirming that this is your own work. The letter should come from a tutor or course teacher who has been responsible for you and should be on institution headed paper
  • a front cover of the portfolio which shows your full name

The portfolio should contain:

  • examples of a few design projects that you have completed as part of your taught university education. Try to show different presentation techniques that represent your design skills (such as plans, sections, perspectives, physical and computer models, etc). The images can be any from architectural, urban, planning or landscape projects that you have completed in your studies
  • you may also include a few sketches, paintings, photographs, still life or life drawings to show your skills (maximum 2 pages)
  • as well as the above, it is also acceptable to include an example of a project that you have completed as part of work experience or a professional placement (maximum 2 pages)

Portfolios will be judged on whether you have the visual skills required together with a keen sense of judgement and spatial awareness in your work.

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

Academic English preparation and support

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may want to attend a course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE), which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK. Find out more by visiting the CELE website.



Environmental Design MArch module image

  • Masters Studio 1 (Environmental Design) (20 credits)

  • Masters Studio 2 (Sustainable Design) (30 credits)

  • Dissertation (60 credits)

Elective options (10 credits):

  • Urban Design Theory and Practice

  • Design Fabrication and Design Build Theory
  • High Rise Issues and Vertical Urbanism
  • Sustainable Urban Design


An independent research dissertation of 60 credits is undertaken over the summer. It is an in-depth study of an individually determined theme related to architectural sustainability and green building design.

Previous projects have included:

  • renewable energy solutions for sustainable architecture
  • designing the sustainable neighbourhood
  • future energy efficient solutions for contemporary communities
  • light in Chapel on Mt. Rokko and Church of the Light by Tadao Ando: the legacy of Le Corbusier’s sacred buildings
  • visual delight and luminous environment in the Scholar Garden of China
  • light in the Sir John Soane’s Museum
  • optimising housing design to reduce energy efficiency dependency in Jordan
  • daylight and thermal assessment in adaptation of Indies architecture from traditional architecture in Indonesia
  • the application of an integrated environmental design approach in Jouberton Nursery School, South Africa
  • thermal performance of earth structures in warm and humid climates
  • design for future climate change via the adoption of integrated design approach

The above is a sample of the typical modules that 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. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.


Fees and funding

See information on how to fund your masters, including our step-by-step guide.

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

Faculty of Engineering Scholarships

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.

Government loans for masters courses

Masters student loans of up to £10,906 are available for taught and research masters courses. Applicants must ordinarily live in the UK or EU.

International and EU students

Masters scholarships are available for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure you apply for your course with enough time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.


Careers and professional development

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.  

Boost your earning potential

Which university courses boost graduate wages the most? Studying with us could help you to earn more.

  • We are second highest in the UK for female engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation
  • We are second highest in the Midlands for male engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation

(Source: Institute for Fiscal Studies data:



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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