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Course details

Study options

Full-time: 1 year, Part-time: 2-3 years

UK/EU fee

£875 per 20 credits* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,700 for the full programme (2020/21)

Course level




Start dates

January, September


Markeaton Street, Derby Campus

Course description

CIAT logo

Our MSc is a contemporary sustainable architecture course offering an innovative blend of the established scientific theories and design principles relating to healthy buildings and environments.

CIAT Accredited course; a springboard to Chartership

This course is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologies (CIAT), a dynamic, forward-thinking and inclusive global membership qualifying body for Architectural Technology.     

CIAT is a membership organisation representing 10,000 members, including those practising and studying within the discipline and profession, who wish to be professionally recognised.  

CIAT Accreditation implies that the programme has been assessed in terms of content, structure, resources and has met the Institute's requirements.   

Whilst enrolled on this course, you will benefit from free student membership with CIAT where you'll be able to access their recourses to further enhance your professional development and enrich your studies.  Upon graduation, you'll be eligible to apply for Associate Membership (ACIAT) and you will be entitled to exemptions against the educational standards of the MCIAT Professional Assessment when progressing to become a Chartered Architectural Technologist, MCIAT. 

100%of our students agreed that staff are enthusiastic about what they teach**Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2020
100%of our students are satisfied with the overall quality of the course**Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2020
100%of our students agreed that staff are good at explaining things**Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2020
100%of our students agreed that the course is intellectually stimulating**Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2020
100%of our students agreed that they have sufficient contact time with staff to support learn**Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2020
Find out about our Architecture, Architectural Technologies and Interior Design courses at the University of Derby

New perspectives on design practice

This course enables you to build on your existing knowledge and skills by raising your awareness of the environmental impact of design decisions. It also looks at how to undertake holistic sustainable design analysis integrated within the building information modelling environment.

You will critically analyse current sustainable architecture and low energy design principles and technologies, government legislation, codes for sustainable design and other important professional, industrial and commerce drivers. You will also research issues that could adversely affect the health of building users, coming up with findings and solutions which are people- centred, proactive and preventive.

Sustainability is not just about the environment so you will also consider it in a broader contextual framework, including socio-cultural, economic and governance factors as well as advances in scientific and technological research.

Engage with influential research

You will be able to draw inspiration from – and take part in – the leading-edge sustainable design research initiatives being undertaken by our lecturers. These include the work on projects such as Retro-Tek and SmartPoD.

What you will study

This course is made up of three stages – Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, and MSc.

You will study modules such as:

Research Methods: Application and Evaluation

This module will advise, guide and develop you in the various elements that constitute the skills required for identifying and applying appropriate research methods and devising an overall research plan. Your learning will include how to identify, evaluate and apply different research philosophies, research approaches, research strategies, research methods, and methods of data collection and analysis.

Health in Buildings: Comparative Approaches

This module will raise your awareness of the different stages in implementing the health and safety aspects of the design of a new build, and the way remedies can be applied in dealing with existing environments.

Sustainable Architecture and Low Energy Design

During this module, you will critically evaluate the design principles, methodologies and techniques involved in the low-energy design of sustainable architecture, whether new build or retrofit. You will look at significant issues relating to climate change and the use of energy in the built environment.

Environmental Risk and Responsibility

You will evaluate how the professional actions, decisions and leadership of others interact with the society in which you are working, and how this affects environmental risk and the sustainable future of the planet. Starting with a global view of how environmental stresses are generated by developing technologies, the module takes a systemic approach to how responsibility for sustainability challenges does not always lie with the decision maker. This module will be delivered online for students joining the course in January.

You will study modules such as:

CPD and Strategic Management

During this module, you will develop your managerial skills in preparation for working in a global industry environment. You will study strategic concepts and learn how to transfer them into your own industry or specialism using a structured approach. You will focus on managing the global future by analysis rather than by instinct and become adept at forecasting and financial analysis, while considering business ethics.

Sustainable Design Simulation and Analysis

This module will provide you with a theoretical and practical study of sustainable building analysis in relation to a design proposal, linked with its climate and location. You will look at significant issues relating to climate change and the use of energy in the built environment.

You will also choose one module, such as:

Sustainable Construction Methods and Materials

One of the important remits of sustainable construction is to reduce the use of fossil-fuel based energy consumption. This module will see you critically evaluating the principles, methodologies and techniques involved in the selection and specification of sustainable construction methods and materials.

Designing Environments

This module is an option for students with a background in architectural technology. You will explore issues related to sustainability and associated with key players and systems in regeneration as well as new research and developments in the design of the built environment.

Negotiated Module

This module is usually studied by part-time students who are in employment as it allows participants to take practical, work-based experience and develop it within an academic context.

You will study one module, such as:

Independent Scholarship

You will have the opportunity to use and enhance the knowledge and intellectual skills you have gained during your studies through an extensive investigation related to the course material. This can take the form of a dissertation, a research-based technical design and development project, or the exhibition of creative design artwork.

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

Side-on black and white portrait of a young student looking to the sky for inspiration with bokeh lights

Postgraduate Live Online Events

While we’re not able to welcome you in person to our campuses at the moment, we’re not going to let that stop us showing you all the great things about studying at Derby.

We’re currently planning our autumn Open Events to bring you the best possible online and on-campus experience.

Book your Live Online EventBook your Live Online Event

How you will learn

This programme explores, at postgraduate level, the theory and practice of sustainable urban and building design and its potential impact on the health of users.

It includes live projects, field trips, site work, physical model experimentation, guest lectures and specialist workshops so that your learning experience is as close to real-world practices as academically possible.

A variety of assessment methods is used, including a combination of coursework and live project work, assignments, exhibitions, degree show, peer group reviews, graphic and oral presentations, and portfolios.

Who will teach you

Programme leader

Dr Boris Ceranic

Entry requirements

Applicants from non-traditional backgrounds are welcome to apply and will be accepted subject to successful interview and relevant work experience. 

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees (August 2020 - July 2021)


£875 per 20 credits*

£875 per 20 credits*


£14,700 for the full programme


*Note – at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the awards below.

Postgraduate Certificate60 Credits
Postgraduate Diploma120 Credits
MA or MSc180 Credits

This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.

Please note that all fees may be subject to annual increase.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply


As a graduate of this course, you will discover a wide range of career opportunities including senior sustainable design roles in architectural practice, consultancy or design management.

Alternatively, you could secure positions in environmental design assessment, central and local government, housing associations, retail enterprises and manufacturing companies. You could also consider further study towards a PhD and/or an academic career.

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

The information below is correct for entry in the academic year September 2020 - August 2021 only. Entry for future academic years may be subject to change.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

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