Postgraduate study

Advanced Sustainable Design MSc

Awards: MSc

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Advanced Sustainable Design

This programme helps you conceive, refine and explain sustainable strategies in the built environment.

The programme is scenario based, delivered in a series of studio projects supplemented with workshops and seminars on aspects of sustainable design. There is an opportunity to study environmental simulation techniques and discover how these can influence wider issues in the built environment.

We address the complex relationship of design to contemporary sustainable agendas and engage in cultural and professional debates that increasingly influence the production of architecture.

This programme is affiliated with the University’s Global Environment & Society Academy:

You complete your studies in one year.

The first semester is a combination of seminars and workshops on the theoretical underpinnings of sustainable design. Alongside this are a series of design projects at the scales of both settlements and building systems. We set many of the projects in a variety of global contexts that reflects the international nature of our students.

The second semester offers an immersive design project that allows you to form your own building programmes and test them in real contexts. You conclude your studies with a comprehensive dissertation research project that can advance your own interests and can be shaped to your preferred career path.

Graduates of this programme will have:

  • knowledge of the social, economic and legislative forces that are driving contemporary, sustainable agendas, and understanding of such agendas in relation to architectural cultures
  • an ability to critically assess sustainability as a cultural, economic and environmental phenomenon
  • the ability to interrogate site, programme and context in relation to the production of sustainable construction, engineering and architectural strategies
  • the acquisition of transdisciplinary skills in articulation of sustainable strategies in related industry sectors

As the call for a more sustainable built environment increases, architects, designers, engineers and planners who can produce solutions are in demand. With this qualification you’ll be best placed to embrace these opportunities and advance your career.

Even if you follow an unrelated path, the experience and skill development in communication, team work and project management that you’ll gain from the programme will be a valuable addition to your resume.

Our graduates work in specialist sustainable design consultancies, and design practice across a variety of disciplines. Many of our students choose to continue their academic development through PhD study.

Normally a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant subject.

You must submit a portfolio as part of your application. Your portfolio should be a PDF no larger than 2MB in size. It should demonstrate a clear interest in sustainable discourses and strong evidence of engagement or interest in design culture, practice and visual communication.

If you do not meet the academic entry requirements, we may still consider your application on the basis of your portfolio and/or relevant professional experience.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 61 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 08/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 09/05/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions
  • College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Postgraduate Office, The University of Edinburgh
  • David Hume Tower, George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JX

You must submit a portfolio as part of your application. You won't be able to submit your portfolio immediately, but you'll receive an email prompt within a few days of submitting your application that will explain how to upload your portfolio.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions
  • College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Postgraduate Office, The University of Edinburgh
  • David Hume Tower, George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JX