The MSc in Sustainable Architecture Studies (MSc SAS) provides the opportunity to specialise in a range of subjects pertinent to the changing face of the architectural profession in response to climate change and global environmental change. Many of the students on this programme have already worked in professional practice after completing four or five years of architectural training and recognise the benefits of studying at an advanced level within the School of Architecture which has an excellent reputation for both teaching and research. The programme was established in 1992, revised in 1998 and updated in 2011 and 2012 to reflect shifts in sustainable architecture from a purely technological emphasis to a broader holistic approach which incorporates the School of Architecture’s ethos of promoting social responsibility.
The requirements for the MSc in Sustainable Architecture Studies (MSc SAS) may be satisfied by one year of full-time study (September-September) and the award of 180 credits, please see information below on part-time routes, the award of Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Architecture Studies. The programme includes training in research methods which is particularly relevant to students intending to pursue further study at PhD level in the area of Sustainable Architecture. In addition the programme provides the opportunity to specialise in either computational design or materials for low impact building. The programme is not designed to give exemption from professional examinations (such as those covered by the RIBA/ARB) which are covered by other courses within the School of Architecture.
The MSc in Sustainable Architecture Studies is organised on a modular credit system. All modules are 15 credits apart from one taught module (Sustainable Design Project 2) which is 30 credits and the dissertation module which is 60 credits. The MSc is awarded upon successful completion of five core modules (90 credits), two optional modules (30 credits) and the dissertation (60 credits). The total 180 credits may be completed in twelve months of full-time study (September – September). The MSc SAS is also available on a part-time basis, normally over a period of twenty-four months. The part-time route is designed to enable practitioners to join the programme for one to two days per week during the taught semesters.
Please note that the University reserves the right to alter the availability of modules within the programme. In addition to the choices listed below, students taking the MSc Sustainable Architecture Studies may select up to 30 credits of taught course units over the teaching semesters from other postgraduate course units in the School of Architecture with agreement from the Programme Coordinator.
ARC6710 Advanced Study and Research Methods 1 (15 credits)
This module introduces students to the techniques of advanced scholarly enquiry and provides the knowledge and skills needed for research in all areas of architectural studies. It guides students through the process of developing a research proposal and the identification of relevant literature and methodology that relate to an area of interest for the individual student in their preparation for ARC6990 Advanced Project.
ARC6780 Building Environmental Simulation and Analysis (BESA) (15 credits)
This module aims to provide a general understanding of, and practical experience in computer modelling software systems which are used for simulating and predicting the environmental performance of buildings. A theoretical explanation of the processes simulated in the computer models; such as heat transfer, air flow and lighting; is followed by a description of individual software packages and practical workshops using each package.
ARC6840 Renewable Energy (15 credits)
Students participate in a conference hosted by the School of Architecture called RE-Architecture (Renewable Energy – Architecture). This provides an opportunity for students to learn from leading industry professionals, engage in debates about the future of renewable energy, and interact with architects from the Yorkshire region. The conference is followed by participation in a debate on a topic relevant to the integration of renewable energy in the built environment.
ARC6990 Advanced Project (60 credits)
The Advanced Project is the culmination of the Masters programme and enables students to work in depth on a topic of their choice. Each student is allocated a supervisor who will normally be a specialist in the field of research that the student has chosen to pursue. The type of work which might be undertaken includes: a theoretical analysis of a particular subject using material gathered from books, articles in journals and other publications, and from buildings; a description and analysis of an experimental/laboratory study undertaken in the School; a piece of advanced design work that explores or demonstrates new ideas in detail; the development of a piece of analytical or advanced design work using novel computer technologies and techniques; a detailed analysis of a building type or of a particular architect’s work. The Advanced Project leads to the production of a 10,000 to 15,000 word dissertation.
|Core Modules - Design||
ARC6841 Sustainable Design Project 1 (15 credits)
This unit is the first in a sequence of two which are studio-based. It sets the foundations for ARC6842 Sustainable Design Project 2. The unit seeks to foster an awareness of the relationship between global environmental change and the construction and inhabitation of buildings. The unit introduces students to a range of approaches in sustainable architectural design, and encourages students to develop a critical stance in relation to theories of sustainable architecture.
ARC6842 Sustainable Design Project 2 (30 credits)
This unit is the second in a sequence of two which are studio-based. It builds upon the foundations laid by ARC6841 Sustainable Design Project 1. The unit provides practical workshops in methods for evaluating the thermal performance, provision of daylighting, ventilation and embodied energy of a design project. The unit also guides students through the complexity of adopting a holistic approach to design which addresses the social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainable architecture.
|Computational Design and Materials Tracks||
Computational Design Track:
These two modules equip students with the basic concepts and skills of computational programming applicable to architectural design thinking and making. Computational Design will go beyond uses of conventional CAD packages and produce design works by programming shapes and forms directly. The first module will start to introduce examples of incorporating design constraints, criteria or standards drawn from aspects of design considerations such as formal, social and environmental into form finding, tuning and making.
The second module provides students with a conceptual and practical introduction to the integration of digital data in the computational design process. Data is an important driver of computational design, providing a link between constraint-based digital design practices and the specificities of site and program. Students are introduced to a range of techniques for designing with data. The practical component of the module focuses on the skills necessary for writing simple computer programs that produce design proposals based on environmental data and input from environmental simulation software.
The first module engages through lectures and seminars with a range of materials for low impact buildings which may include load-bearing and frame construction using straw bales, rammed earth, adobe, cob, compressed earth blocks, hemp-lime blocks, earth renders and plasters, timber techniques. The aim is to give students in depth theoretical knowledge about the environmental performance, practical applications and historical use of materials for low impact buildings.
In the second module students participate in practical workshops and tutorials with a range of materials for low impact buildings which may include load-bearing and frame construction using straw bales, rammed earth, adobe, cob, compressed earth blocks, hemp-lime blocks, earth renders and plasters, timber techniques. The aim is to give students a hands-on experience of working with materials as well as in depth knowledge about the technical specification and construction details associated with materials for low impact buildings.
|Part-time route, Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate||
The MSc is awarded upon successful completion of five core modules (90 credits), two optional modules (30 credits) and the dissertation (60 credits). The total 180 credits may be completed in twelve months of full-time study (September – September). The MSc SAS is also available on a part-time basis, normally over a period of twenty-four months. The part-time route is designed to enable practitioners to join the programme for one to two days per week during the taught semesters.
The Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Architecture Studies (PgDip SAS) is awarded upon successful completion of five core modules (90 credits) and two optional modules (30 credits). The Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Architecture Studies (PGCert SAS) is awarded upon successful completion of taught modules to the value of 60 credits.
Programme Director: Dr. Lucy Jones
Associated Professors: Prof. Fionn Stevenson
Module leaders: Dr. Hasim Altan, Dr. Lucy Jones, Dr. Mark Meagher, Dr. Chengzhi Peng, Prof. Stephen Walker
Other staff involved in teaching and supervision of dissertations: Dr. Hasim Altan, Prof. Peter Blundell-Jones, Dr. Rachel Cruise, Prof. Steve Fotios, Dr. Lucy Jones, Prof. Jian Kang, Dr. Mark Meagher, Dr. Chengzhi Peng, Prof. Doina Petrescu, Prof. Fionn Stevenson plus guest lecturers and guest design review panel.
|Applying & Fees||
We welcome applicants from a range of academic and professional backgrounds. For entry to the programme applicants will need a first undergraduate degree (2.1 or above) or other equivalent qualification related to design in the built environment, including architecture, landscape architecture, town planning, chartered surveying and structural engineering, or another subject area where applicants can demonstrate a clear interest in sustainable architecture. Individuals with substantial professional experience in architecture, interior design, landscape design, town planning, surveying and construction will also be considered.
Applicants with an existing design background are required to submit a design portfolio with examples of previous work and a written statement of interest in sustainable architecture. The portfolio should be no larger than A4, be a maximum of 10-20 pages including, where possible, projects that explore sustainability. Our preference is to receive this information electronically via the online application system in pdf format, although it is still possible to submit paper-based applications and send your portfolio (either on paper or CD) via the postal service. (Please note that unless adequate return postage is included, portfolios will not be sent back to applicants).
Applicants with a non-design background are required to submit a written and illustrated statement of interest which outlines their previous experience and their interest in sustainable architecture.
You are also asked to provide two written academic references, your CV, and a transcript of previous university qualifications (including a certified translation where appropriate).
English Language Requirements:
For applicants whose first language is not English, or who have not gained previous academic qualifications with English as the main language, we ask the applicant to demonstrate satisfactory proficiency. Applicants are normally expected to have a qualification such as IELTS (or an equivalent) with a score of 7.0 (with no component less than 6.5).
You can find more information about studying at Sheffield for English language qualifications at:
N.B. If you narrowly fail to satisfy our academic or language requirements we may still be able to make you an offer or confirm your place.
To apply, please refer to our online application process via University of Sheffield Admissions Service at:
If you prefer to submit a paper-based application form, please contact:
Tel. +44 (0)114 222 8030
We recommend that you apply as early as possible and applications should reach the University no later than 31 June of the entry year for which the application is being made. Applications received after this date may not be considered. Selected UK based students will be invited for interview and we may wish to conduct a telephone interview if you live overseas.