Open for applications: UCEM’s new masters degree to expand skills base and lead sustainability charge in built environment

Posted on: 3 April, 2023


New MSc for Innovation in Sustainable Built Environments to support more development of sustainable business in housing, development, construction and real estate

Reading, UK – 3rd April 2023

UCEM, a university that provides education for the built environment sector globally, has launched a new Master’s degree course covering sustainability and environmental management for the construction, real estate and other built environment sectors. In September 2023, the first cohort of students will focus on championing sustainability efforts, improving environmental and business impact at their organisations, and challenging established orthodoxies to ensure the best results.

The new online Master’s degree from UCEM – the MSc Innovation in Sustainable Built Environments – will provide built environment professionals with the tools, knowledge and capabilities to develop sustainability practices in their operations, as well as adopting approaches that differentiate their businesses against competitors when it comes to services and expertise. It will also cater for sustainability professionals who want to diversify and apply their skills in different built environment sectors where they can have a significant impact.

The course will equip professionals to lead their organisation’s sustainability agenda, challenge assumptions and effect measurable change. They will understand how to be authoritative and innovative so they can shape and drive their organisation’s goals and ambitions. For the built environment sector, sustainability needs to cover more than simply reducing energy use or improving efficiency. It involves developing sustainable finance, social, cultural and leadership skills.

“The built environment sector needs more people who can think ahead and challenge what has gone before, and in doing so create the right environment for sustainable development for decades to come. This degree, through peer discussion, insight into different perspectives, and a thorough understanding of the underpinning policies, research and discourse around sustainability will equip these change-makers with the language and capabilities to make a difference,” said Dr Graeme Larsen, Associate Dean (Sustainability), UCEM. “This course offers accessible, relevant and cost-effective education for professionals to contribute to a more sustainable built environment globally.”

Sustainability and market impact

The built environment sector is currently one of the major contributors around carbon emissions and energy use:

  • According to the World Green Buildings Council, buildings are currently responsible for 39 percent of global energy related carbon emissions – this is made up of 28 percent from operational emissions, from energy needed to heat, cool and power them, and 11 percent from materials and construction.
  • Increased effort around sustainability is required to support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and as part of the global aim to deliver the goal of reducing climate emissions and getting to net zero by 2050. UCEM supports all 17 of the UN SDGs through its work, approach and culture.
  • The UK government has set the world’s most ambitious climate change target, cutting emissions by 78 percent by 2035 compared to 1990 levels.
  • The value of construction output in the UK across housing, infrastructure, public sector and other projects was £63.3billion in 2021, up more than £10billion over the previous year according to the Office for National Statistics.

“While the UK government has set an ambitious target for cutting emissions, the challenge is bigger than this individual target. Legislation can establish goals and make companies take initial action, but we encourage our students to think beyond these regulations and see the wider environmental and business impact that they can have. By leading their organisations to discover and deliver their own specific goals for long-term sustainability,” added Larsen.

Sustainability is central to everything UCEM does and the way the university operates, based on a culture of sustainability throughout its trustees, staff, students and alumni.  UCEM is committed to a wholistic approach to sustainability in its own operations, covering the methods and subjects that the university teaches, how the university operates, who it influences and the organisation’s leadership and governance. By actively influencing industry and conducting research, UCEM will support change in companies across the built environment at organisational, departmental and individual levels alongside the University’s own commitment to academic excellence and employee support.


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Martina Po

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