MA

Sustainable Architecture

Develop specialist skills in sustainable architectural design

Star Course Overview

Why take this course?

In response to today’s climate change, this course aims to satisfy the demand for new skills in the areas of environmental sustainability and low carbon building design.

It will enable you to engage in current debates on the generation of sustainable architecture within our cities. You will examine the complexities inherent in creating well-designed sustainable settlements and get the opportunity to produce your own sustainable designs.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Get involved with some of our regional regeneration projects to test and develop your ideas
  • Undertake studio-based design projects and engage with our other collaborative projects with academic institutions in a range of countries including Turkey, Spain and Australia
  • Have the opportunity to ‘earn and learn’ by working on real-life contracts through our Projects Office

 

What opportunities might it lead to?

If you are already working in architecture, environment or planning professions, or are a recent graduate, this course aims to train you to further develop your skills and knowledge in environmentally responsive design.

It will provide opportunities for you to pursue specialist career routes within the architecture field or in other areas such as governments and professional bodies where sustainability is of high priority. Alternatively, you can apply this new thinking to your own practice.

Robert Leslie, MSc Property Development student

I've really enjoyed the excellent sessions by visiting lecturers from different areas of the industry which have brought the real world into the classroom.

Robert Leslie, architecture and property student

Key Facts

Duration
1 year full time, 2 years part time
Entry
A minimum of a second-class honours degree in Interior Design, Architecture or a related subject, or equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. An online portfolio submission may be required as part of the selection process. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
Fees

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students 
2016/17: full time: £5,200, part time: £1,730 in year 1 and £3,470* in year 2.

International students
2016/17: full time: £12,000, part time: £4,000 in year 1 and £8,000* in year 2.

* Fees are subject to annual increase.

View tuition fee terms and conditions
View additional course costs

Contact
create.admissions@port.ac.uk
+44 (0)23 9284 2421
Department
Portsmouth School of Architecture
Programme specification

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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

The course uses the experience and skills of teaching staff with research interest in environmental sustainability, building simulation modelling, and sustainable development of historic sites and contemporary settlements. It takes place in an exciting inter-disciplinary environment, running in conjunction with programmes on historic building conservation, interior and urban design.

Here are the units you will study:

  • Practice: This unit enables you to develop your knowledge of the various and multi-faceted theories relating to sustainable architecture and environments. It also covers the principles that govern an appropriate and sustainable response to such designed environments, as well as the technologies that may be adopted and incorporated. You will address these issues and evaluate both the design theory and practice-based applied methodologies, along with the analysis, evaluation and reflection of this practice in sustainable design solutions.
  • Theory: This unit gives you an opportunity to engage with the current debate on environmental sustainability, climate change and the value of traditional buildings which inspire a more sustainable practice. It introduces the principles of low carbon passive design strategies, as well as advanced daylight and thermal modelling techniques to assess their effectiveness in achieving an environmentally responsive design. We will encourage you to look at the architecture quality and assess the visual and thermal performance of a selected building type in different regions and climatic conditions. It aims to develop your modelling skills and apply it to a real design project.
  • Research Methods and Research Proposal: In this unit you will develop research skills, which will aid you throughout your course and particularly in producing your thesis. You will be asked to establish a critical position within an Outline Research Proposal. You will develop techniques, which will allow you to engage proactively within your area of study. You will be encouraged to explore methods of investigation that are responsive to, as well as inquisitive of, the conditions presented and which therefore speculate around possible critical scenarios. Implicit within these explorations is the need to investigate diverse means of representation and depiction through a variety of possible media and discourse.
  • Integration: This unit allows you to work in a multi-disciplinary context through groups within your own subject area and across the areas of interior design, urban design, sustainable architecture and historic building conservation, as well as explore the interrelationships of all disciplines. You will need to work collectively on given projects or problems related to staff run studios, which explore a range of given themes. This unit will introduce you to these themes at the start of the course and connect you to research areas within the School. There will be a group-based activity that is either subject specific or spans different areas of the disciplines as agreed by tutors.
  • Work-Based Learning: This unit gives you the opportunity to replace a 30-credit core unit with a work-based version of that unit. Not all units can be replaced and you will need to discuss the appropriateness of a unit with tutors. Work-based learning requires you to engage in critical and reflective learning in the workplace. This will be developed through a learning contract, negotiated by you, your employer and School. The work undertaken in practice will be appraised through critical reflective writing that engages with the practice of the particular subject discipline and this will form the assessment artefacts. Where professional body criteria and attributes need to be evidenced, these will form the minimum requirements of the learning outcomes.
  • Thesis: Your thesis is a substantial research-based project that enables you to carry out an in-depth investigation into a subject area of personal interest, which is related to or developed from a theme studied during the course. The proposed research theme should have a clearly defined focus to allow for in-depth theoretical, contextual and visual research. An initial seminar programme will help you develop your research proposal, define a research question and locate suitable primary and secondary sources. You will be allocated an appropriate supervisor on the basis of this proposal, who will work with you toward the final submission. This part of the project is self-managed, with tutorial guidance provided by the allocated supervisor and additional referencing and research support provided by the faculty librarian.

Teaching and Assessment

This course is lecture and studio-based, culminating in a written or design-led thesis project. It will involve case study investigations, group work, discussion and planning of sustainable environments, as well as independent study to develop design or research-based responses to sustainable problems.

How are you assessed?

Design assessment is through studio review and taught courses are assessed by various forms of evidence-based sustainable design decisions and proposals. You will also carry out an in-depth research project into an area of your choice.

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Monitor Facilities & Features


Design Studios

You’ll have access to superb facilities to help prepare you for professional practice. Our dynamic studios house advanced architectural computer facilities, with Macs and PCs offering the latest design software. Other facilities include:

  • CNC milling machine for building three-dimensional models
  • laser cutting machines which automate the production of complex models
  • life drawing studios and a virtual reality suite
  • professional printers as well as extensive computing, film and video facilities

Project Office

Offering a range of consultancy services to clients, the Project Office gives you access to real clients and live projects. This is a great means to gain real hands-on experience in order to support your design development and professional capacity. In the past we have overseen or managed major building or design works in the city including the Hilsea Lido, the Isle of Wight Zoo, the University’s own 3rd Space and the Bursledon Brickworks.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.

Other costs to consider

There are costs relating to the purchase of drawing equipment, model making, stationery, reprographic requirements and the production of a portfolio. This may be in the region of £100 - £300 each year. We support digital review of some project assessment work to reduce costs.

If you choose to complete a project not supported by existing University resources, you may wish to purchase extra materials or software. These costs will depend on the nature of the project.

For optional study trips you will be expected to pay full costs. Optional study trips to Europe will cost in the region of £300 - £500.

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Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

This course enables you to specialise in sustainable architecture and build upon your passion for the design of the twenty-first century urban environment.

On graduating, you will be adept in spatial practice and able to work within design practices, architectural firms and cross-disciplinary environments, engaging in issues from the design of details to the exploration of the urban environment.

The creative skills, professional competencies and expansive learning environment that we provide could also lead to a range of careers in disciplines such as marketing, advertising, journalism, virtual design and modelling, through to people-centred careers such as project management.

Career planning

One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degrees students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service – Purple Door – can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.

We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.

In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.

Benefits of Postgraduate Study

Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.

  • Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
  • Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
  • Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
  • Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
  • If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.

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Apply now

Online application form

Apply direct using our online form

Your application will be received by the University's Admissions Team before being transferred to individual departments for consideration and processing.

Postgraduate Information Days

Our Postgraduate Information Days for 2016 entry have now finished.

If you would like to visit the campus you can download our free walking tour for a self-guided tour of the University. You can visit Monday - Friday between 8.30am and 4.00pm. We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look into our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus. Find out more information about our self-guided walking tours.

If you are unable to visit us, why not contact the admissions team for your course of interest via our course pages.

If you have any further enquiries about postgraduate study at Portsmouth, including advice on the Postgraduate Loan for 2016 entry plus scholarships and bursaries available visit our postgraduate pages.

International Students

Staff from our international Office regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.

Fees and Funding

Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.