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Sustainable Architecture Studies
School of Architecture,
Faculty of Social Sciences
Our MSc Sustainable Architecture Studies has been giving students and practitioners the knowledge, skills and confidence to make a real difference in the world for over 30 years. We have a community of students, staff and alumni with the aim to inspire and educate each other, to enable us all to make informed choices in our work and in our lives.
This course will encourage you to develop a critical stance in your work and thinking. It is designed to enable you to pursue a well balanced, innovative, technical, research based approach to environmental design, so you will be able to develop informed strategies and solutions.
Aligned with the school’s ethos of social responsibility, as a Sheffield student, you will be involved in ‘live projects’. This is where you will engage with real clients and real issues affecting the challenges of climate change and the built environment today. Using the knowledge gained from the taught modules you will strengthen your understanding and your ability to disseminate information in a real life situation.
By the end of the course, you’ll possess the knowledge and skills to produce complex design proposals that adopt a holistic approach to design and address the social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainable architecture.
We’re one of the UK's top architecture schools. Our international research projects shape policy and address public and professional needs.
During your research thesis you will have the opportunity to learn with the supervision of top researchers in their specialist areas. With a shared desire to learn and develop their skills our students come from all over the world to study at Sheffield and we welcome students from a number of built environment related disciplines.
- Building Environmental Simulation and Analysis
The course unit aims to provide a general understanding of, and practical experience in computer modelling software systems. This involves the following: Thorough understanding of basic concepts of computer simulation, develop the ability to apply these concepts in real life situations. Understanding the use of computer simulation and the need to use the appropriate software to answer a specific enquiry. Understanding the relationships between the required outcome of a simulation exercise and the input details necessary to produce a valid answer.15 credits
- Renewable Energy
This is a core module for MSc Sustainable Architecture Studies (MSc SAS) and optional for students from: M.Arch (RIBA Part 2) MA Architectural Design (MAAD), MA Urban Design (MAUD), MSc Architectural Engineering Design (MSc AED) Energy efficiency, i.e. energy conservation techniques alongside renewable energy sources are often seen as the key to the solution of the world's future energy supply and pollution difficulties. This course introduces and discusses building energy use and building fabric efficiency and the role of small (building and city) scale energy sources of a renewable or particularly efficient nature and how these sources might be used at a variety of scales to supply a variety of needs. The course is interactive in nature and provides knowledge of renewable energy (RE) technologies and analytical skills for appropriate RE applications, including energy efficiency, in the built environment.15 credits
- Sustainable Design Project 1
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.15 credits
- Sustainable Design Project 2
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.30 credits
- Principles of Building Physics for Sustainable Design
Through lectures and workshops this module provides students with a conceptual and practical knowledge and understanding of a range of techniques in building physics that can be applied in sustainable design. The key principles that will be addressed are: the physics of heat and thermal comfort, the physics of light, the physics of sound. Additionally resource use shall be addressed in relation to energy, water and materials. The aim is to provide a toolkit of techniques and to encourage students to evaluate and / or integrate principles of building physics in sustainable design projects.15 credits
- Sustainable Design Thesis Project
This module is only for MSc Sustainable Architecture Studies students and is a core module. It allows students to develop their own in-depth project based on an individual research theme and the synthesized knowledge and skills gained from all previous units required for this programme. The thesis module is a 10,000 word written research-based dissertation in an A4 thesis document.60 credits
- Materials for Low Impact Buildings - Theory
This 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 through lectures and seminars.15 credits
Optional modules may include:
- Behaviour in the Built Environment
The urban/built environment influences the behaviour of people; equally, people’s behaviour can shape the environment. Understanding the interaction between people and their environment promotes the design of spaces and buildings that meet the needs of the people who occupy them. This module will discuss principles of behavioural and environmental psychology in the context of the design and management of indoor and outdoor spaces, including the application and interpretation of behavioural research methods. A key objective is for students to be better equipped to deliver a sustainable environment that meets user requirements.15 credits
- Building Information Modelling, Management and Analysis
This module aims to introduce Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology in practice with a focus on the technical aspects of how building data, both geometric and non-geometric, are created and integrated to support processes of designing, constructing and operating buildings. Fundamental knowledge and contemporary skills of using BIM will be delivered through a series of lectures, seminars, and hands-on workshops. Through executing individual assignments and term projects, students will learn BIM techniques to construct data-enriched virtual models and formulate critical thinking in how BIM can support innovative collaboration during various design, construction and operation phases along the building life cycle.15 credits
- Southern Urbanisms: Decolonial Perspectives on 'Global South' Cities
This module aims to decolonise architectural and urban theory by engaging with Southern perspectives currently relevant in contemporary urbanisation to understand cities both in Global South and North. Built environment professionals need more awareness of the diversity of cultures and values in relation to how cities are being shaped, and thereby generate a 'pluriversal' sensitivity. Given that Northern theories often fail to articulate southern urban contexts due to difference in empirics, this module engages with both canonical and emerging conceptualisations from/on Global South cities, and Southern positions in/on Global North through lectures, seminars and a reflective essay. The module provides the necessary research skills to navigate across multiple disciplinary discourses (urban studies, geography, international development), analyse and draw insights for informing architectural and urban design processes in Global South / Southern contexts.15 credits
- Spaces of Feminism
The module aims to introduce students to the relationship between space and feminist frameworks to include questions of intersectionality, care, displacement, development, and environment.15 credits
Starting from a feminist perspective of space developed in the Western context, the module expands to distinct geographies to engage nuanced approaches to the question of otherness - including feminist perspectives on 'other modernities' (socialist, 'Eastern', 'Southern' and so forth). Through lectures and group seminars, the module explores contexts of geographies of the Global East and Global South to discuss their intersecting histories of feminism and space. The focus will be on postsocialist and postcolonial contexts to address wide-ranging themes, debates around embodiment and lived experience as the basis for a conception of space that examines questions of the gendered, political, racialized, and so forth dimensions of spatial experience and their intertwining. Each session is organised around a thematic lecture and followed by group discussion around a number of prerequisite text readings.
The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.
An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.
Find out what makes us special at our next online open day on Wednesday 17 April 2024.
You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours
- 1 year full-time
- 2 years part-time
Your work in the design studio is supported through lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical computer work.
You’ll be assessed on course assignments, and a final design thesis or written dissertation.
Our students have gone on to provide specialist expertise in their fields and developed successful careers in sustainable architectural design, sustainable consultancy, research, academia, and beyond.
School of Architecture
Come to Sheffield and join some of the best architecture students in the UK - our students have won prizes at the RIBA Student Awards and the Royal Academy Summer Show. They've been shortlisted in the European Architecture Medals and the Inspiring Graduate Awards. Our staff are doing world-class research, helping to make the school a leader in our field across the UK and internationally.
We believe in architecture that makes a difference. We know that it has the potential to improve the lives of those who inhabit and use it.
Through our internationally-acclaimed teaching and research, we explore the social, spatial and environmental implications of architecture. As a Sheffield student, you will engage with real issues affecting the built environment.
We encourage you to explore ideas and collaborate with other students. Through group tutorials and peer review you'll learn how to express your opinions, and value the opinions of others. Sheffield is the perfect place to develop your personality as a designer.
We provide a balance of theory, design work and professional experience. We have a strong design studio culture. The studio acts as a laboratory for trialling your creative and critical ideas, and for developing fundamental architectural skills. You'll share ideas during group tutorials and review other students' work. This encourages you to express your own opinion and to value the opinions of others, as you begin to develop your personality as a designer.
Our built environment contributes a high percentage of carbon emissions and is one of the causes for global warming. I'm hoping to apply what I learn to influence people in the building industry to consider their impact on the environment.
MSc Sustainable Architecture Studies
Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree in a subject related to design in the built environment, such as architecture, landscape architecture or urban planning.
You should also provide a portfolio which includes a custom assignment. Here's what to include with your application.
We will also consider your application if your degree is not design based but you have considerable professional design experience.
Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.
Fees and funding
You can apply now using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.
+44 114 222 0349
Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.
Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.