Overview

Built for the future

The appetite for sustainability and environmental skills across the built environment is increasing. Companies are aligning their business models and processes with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in mind; but sustainability isn’t static, it evolves and changes.

Senior leaders and sustainability experts need to be future-thinking and challenge what has gone before or set in strategy. You may well know what your organisation is doing but do you know why, and is it the right thing to do?

Through peer discussion and academic input, you will gain insight into different perspectives, argue conflicting interests and develop an understanding of the underpinning policies, research and discourse.

Reasons why degree is for you
FOUR REASONS
THIS DEGREE IS FOR YOU

Build your capabilities as a change agent for sustainable built environments

Engage with others in the discourse and opportunities around sustainability

Understand how sustainability can drive business success in built environments

Understand the legislation and policy around sustainability

ABOUT THE PROGRAMME

Key details

The MSc Innovation in Sustainable Built Environments explores how organisations can drive their sustainability agenda by understanding the current discourse and developing the skills needed to bring about change through challenge, knowledge and leadership.

Its multi-disciplined approach will demonstrate how businesses can stay at the forefront of innovation in the built environment and develop their expertise and credentials in this evolving, fast-changing field.

Exploring the challenges, perceptions and practicalities of sustainability, this professional master’s degree will develop the critical skills and language to influence others. It will conceptualise sustainability as a process and provide valuable insight into where to put effort, money and resources.

Throughout the programme, students will be encouraged to embrace innovative and alternative thinking. The concept of innovation will be considered in all aspects of sustainability, from management, leadership and organisational approaches to the materials, processes and technologies adopted.

Programme subject to validation

Please note that this programme is subject to validation, and once approved applications will open. Please register your interest so we can keep you informed and prepare your application.

Who is this programme for?

Built for you

Built environment professionals looking to affect change in their organisation

Career professionals operating at head/associate/regional/department director level, involved  in projects or departments relating to change, innovation, finance, strategy, operational, quality, contract management or business development.

Applicants are likely to have a degree in a built environment discipline, e.g. construction, real estate, civil engineering, architecture, or planning. They may have chartered membership of a built environment professional body and some years of experience.

Sustainability specialists/enthusiasts looking to practise in the built environment

Professionals who have a degree in a related subject such as business, economics, geography or environmental science. They may hold chartered status in an associated field and/or have practical experiences.

They would be seeking to take their knowledge and experience into the built environment sector with a special interest in sustainability.

This course will allow you to push the boundaries, think afresh, be the champion and changemaker. Sustainability is not defined; it’s an evolving process, be part of shaping that process.”

Dr Graeme Larsen
Associate Dean (Sustainability)

Programme structure

Module delivery structure

This is a part-time programme, offered at three qualification levels, as a full MSc (2 years), PG Diploma (18 months) and a PG Certificate (1 year). Get in touch with our enquiries team if you would like more information on these levels of study.

The programme will be delivered online through live peer engagement sessions, guided study and activities, plus independent learning and reading.

The PG Cert route is 60 credits:

You will study Realities of Sustainability, , Sustainable Infrastructure

The PG Dip route is 120 credits:

You will study Realities of Sustainability, Paradigms of Sustainability, Sustainable Infrastructure, Sustainable Materials, Processes and Technologies plus two electives from the Year 2 pathways

The MSc route is 180 credits:

You will study all modules including the final project/research dissertation

MODULES YOU WILL STUDY

Below are the modules for year 1 (depending on the qualification you choose) along with an overview of the topics you will study.

The conflicting information around sustainability exploring climate change denial, green washing, competing agendas – identifying the fact from the fiction.

The realities of sustainability in practice explored through live case studies.

The drivers of sustainability such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The cultural and social, economic and financial, and environmental and climate change aspects of sustainability. The approaches to change, innovation and our role.

The triple bottom line of sustainability and the impact on the wider world.

The infrastructure society uses and needs, and their relationship and role in the sustainability agenda. This includes transport, water, waste and digital services.

The relationship the built environment has with power sources including gas, electricity, solar, wind, and others.

The diverse discourse around materials, processes and technologies (MPT). Including natural/carbon zero materials, the management or production processes to improve sustainability.

How the organisation and sector can prepare for emerging technologies. The digital agenda (industry 4.0) and its connection with modern methods of construction such as off-site, robotics, lightweight and natural structures.

An introduction to emerging concepts and future developments.

The socio-technical perspective, recognising the range of stakeholders and agendas in achieving the uptake of sustainable MPTs.

Develop the research skills required to navigate the evolving sustainability discourses from academia and practice. Study different data types and methods of data collection and analysis and bias in readiness for the Final Project.

The module options in the second year are delivered as pathways allowing for different industry roles and your individual career needs. Below are the modules, along with an overview of the topics you will study.

The practices and institutional systems needed to enact sustainability, including sustaining a competitive advantage (future innovation and trends) and building a sustainable workforce (diversity, inclusion, race, bullying, and sexism).

Economic and financial models that shape the built environment and sustainability on the international stage.

How to champion change and challenge poor practice and enable sustainability practices in an operational setting.

Key organisational logics around quality which impact sustainability.

Standards, such as BREEAM and LEED.

Regulations including UNSDG, ESD guidance, ISO14001. The ethics and applying them.

The technical sustainability of our existing buildings, towns and cities.

How to address such challenges such as retrofitting, analysis and adaption modelling, building flexibility, maintenance and BMS.

The scale and long-term challenges and how to tackle this in a staged and inclusive manner.

The practices and institutional systems needed to enact sustainability, including sustaining a competitive advantage (future innovation and trends) and building a sustainable workforce (diversity, inclusion, race, bullying, and sexism).

Economic and financial models that shape the built environment and sustainability on the international stage.

How to champion change and challenge poor practice and enable sustainability practices in an operational setting.

Key organisational logics around quality which impact sustainability.

Standards, such as BREEAM and LEED.

Regulations including UNSDG, ESD guidance, ISO14001. The ethics and applying them.

The technical sustainability of our existing buildings, towns and cities.

How to address such challenges such as retrofitting, analysis and adaption modelling, building flexibility, maintenance and BMS.

The scale and long-term challenges and how to tackle this in a staged and inclusive manner.

Develop a project proposal based on sustainability making an informed choice for your final project.

Develop robust skills around how to contribute to the sustainability discourse by undertaking a final project

1. Produce a theoretically driven dissertation –opportunity for it to be a published article

OR

2. Create a research-based project that has the potential for immediate uptake and impact in the workplace

Programme subject to validation

Please note that this programme is subject to validation, and once approved applications will open. Please register your interest so we can keep you informed and prepare your application.

Entry requirements

Please note that you will be required to provide a personal statement and may be subject to interview.

Academic requirements

You should have:

A Bachelor’s degree with honours at lower second standard (2:2) or equivalent and be employed in a relevant role

Or;

A Bachelor’s degree or equivalent plus three years’ experience in a relevant field

Or;

A level 5 qualification as defined by the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications for England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ) plus five years’ relevant experience

Or;

A professional qualification plus five years’ relevant experience, two of which should be at senior management level

English language requirements

All UCEM programmes are taught and assessed in English. In addition to the programme entry requirements listed above, all applicants will therefore be required to demonstrate adequate proficiency in the language before being admitted to a programme.

You should have:

  • GCSE Grade 4 (or C) or above in English Language or English Literature or an equivalent qualification
  • Grade 6.0 or above, with at least 6.0 in the reading and writing modules, in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) academic test administered by the British Council
  • 88 or above in the internet option, 230 or above in the computer-based option or 570 or above in the paper-based option of the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test
  • Grade C or above in English (Language or Literature) at A/S Level
  • A cognate sub-degree (Level 5) qualification taught and assessed in English from the University of Hong Kong or City University of Hong Kong

Applicants with a Bachelor’s degree that has been taught and examined in English can be considered for entry in the absence of the English language qualifications detailed above.

Providing evidence

Evidence is required in the form of certificates or statements. You should send photocopies that have been verified by someone in a professional occupation.

Applications are assessed in accordance with the UCEM Code of Practice on Admissions and Recognition of Prior Learning.

Fees

Routes and options

Programme fees for September 2023.

MScPGDipPGCert

£9800 total cost

This is the total cost for x9 modules (180 credits)

£6540 total cost

This is the total cost for x6 modules (120 credits)

£3270 total cost

This is the total cost for x3 modules (60 credits)

Programme design

The programme design has been driven by a team of UCEM’s academics, led by Dr Graeme Larsen and Dr James Ritson, who have expertise in sustainable built environments.

Dr Graeme Larsen

Dr Graeme Larsen is Associate Dean of Sustainability. He joined UCEM in 2021, becoming part of the team to fulfil our vision of becoming the ‘Centre of Excellence for the Built Environment Education’.

Dr James Ritson

Dr James Ritson is an architecturally trained building conservator specialising in sustainability and recording of the historic built environment. Currently he is the programme leader for the MSc Building Surveying programme.

Application Process

Register your interest

Applications will open once the programme is validated. To be kept informed and receive invitations to meet the programme leader, please register your interest.

Please use this form to select which future events and programmes you would like UCEM to keep you informed about.


The built environment plays a key role in sustainability and every aspect of the built environment needs sustaining. We need to ask ourselves, what can we do and what can our organisations do to shape future sustainability."

Dr Graeme Larsen
Associate Dean (Sustainability)