Faculty of Engineering & Design

MSc in Modern Building Design


Duration: 15 months full time with professional placement

12 months full time (alternative programme without professional placement)

Application deadline: 30 June  (international) / 31 August  (home/EU)

Entry requirements: A first or strong second class UK honours degree or internationally recognised equivalent in Architecture, Civil or Mechanical Engineering or a related subject. You must supply a personal statement with your application, detailing your motivation and interest in this area. A portfolio is not required.

Language requirements: IELTS 7.0 (with at least 6.5 of the four components).

Develop the knowledge of modern building design practice, methodologies and processes sought after by major engineering and design consultancies. Our course focuses on the engineering and modelling challenges faced during the building design process and gives you the practical and interpersonal skills you need to stand out to employers in a competitive market.


We are accredited as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer (CEng) for candidates who have already acquired an Accredited CEng (Partial) BEng (Hons) or an Accredited IEng (Full) BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree. Visit the Joint Board of Moderators website for further information.


Our 15-month course comprises:

  • a taught element involving eight compulsory units
  • a professional practice placement where students put their knowledge from the taught element into practice in industry
  • a research dissertation based on a real consultancy project and informed by industrial placement experience

The course gives you access to research expertise within our Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering.

MSc in Modern Building Design course overview video.

Free online course

Get a taster of what this course is about and sign up for our Modern Building Design MOOC. Our free online course runs for three weeks from 27 February.

Learning outcomes

You will develop the hard and soft skills required by professionals working in key carbon-dominated built environment sectors, with the ability to demonstrate an understanding of carbon management of the built environment in practice. The taught element of the programme focuses on student professional development through the design process that is mapped to the 2013 RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) plan of work for multidisciplinary working. In particular, you will gain:

  • trans-sector skills required by the construction industry, with a focus on employability
  • a detailed knowledge of the design tools and strategies that comprise modern design processes
  • the capability to demonstrate initiative and originality within the scope of low-carbon modern design strategies, planning and management
  • the skills to formulate research projects in real carbon management and low-carbon buildings, independently and in professional multidisciplinary design teams.

Further details

Course structure

Download our course structure diagram (PDF) or view our programme catalogue for more detail on individual units. You can watch a webinar by Director of Studies, Dr Ricardo Codinhoto, for further information about our course.

Semesters 1 & 2 (October – June)

The first two semesters consist of eight taught units, co-designed and co-taught with employers. They provide a foundation in the most significant issues related to working in key carbon-dominated built environment sectors and professional development. Each unit comprises lectures, tutorials, practical classes and workshops alongside time for personal study. Assessment is by a combination of coursework and oral examination.

Semester 3 (July – September)

The third semester consists of a three-month professional practice placement. Workshops during the first two semesters will help you improve your employability and prepare you to undertake a placement at one of our partner companies. Assessment is by report and presentation to your placement employer.

Or, if you pass all taught units with an overall average of at least 50% but are unable to go on placement for any reason, you will transfer on to our 12-month programme. You will spend the third semester undertaking your research dissertation and, on successful completion, will graduate with the award of MSc in Low Carbon Building Design.

Semester 4 (October – December)

The final semester consists of a research dissertation. This provides a start-to-finish research experience to embed the research and professional knowledge gained throughout the programme. It builts on the skills acquired in the taught component and is informed by the needs of your industrial placement provider.

Facilities to support the programme of study

Your personal tutor will support your academic progress and general welfare, alongside the University's specialist student support services. We have a thriving portfolio of taught postgraduate programmes providing the opportunity to meet, and work alongside, students from other areas of the department.

The Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering offers well-equipped computer suites and laboratories for experimental work to support your studies.

We will provide guidance and tutorial support in any specific software required during the programme, including visualisation tools and dynamic modelling tools such as

  • Autodesk Ecotect Analysis 2010
  • Radiance
  • ReluxPro
  • IES
  • CAD (AutoCAD / ArchiCAD)
  • Sketchup
  • Revit.

A three-month professional placement is an opportunity for you to learn from our industrial partners. We guarantee to find enough suitable vacancies for all our students but cannot promise that you will be placed as this also depends on your performance at interview. With this in mind, our dedicated Placements Team runs workshops on CV-writing and interview techniques to support you during the application and interview process.

We are dedicated to helping you find a placement in industry. We will support and guide you in your applications but cannot guarantee you a position. If you are unable to secure a placement, you will transfer on to our 12-month alternative programme and graduate with an MSc in Low-Carbon Building Design.

Watch our MSc in Modern Building Design students on placement.


We have links with a large number and variety of organisations offering placements both in the UK and further afield. Labox provide support for the research project and placement, below they describe what they are looking for in a placement student:


“We are a design led multidisciplinary architectural practice specialising in individual site and client specific projects with a strong emphasis on energy efficiency as a means of improving quality of life. We strongly believe that everyone involved in the project is vital, and for a successful end result the technical information that we provide has to be accurate and very well considered. This means, that must be produced by well informed, interested and capable people who understand what they are trying to achieve and why. I would hope that someone who has completed this MSc would have the global vision that we are looking for.”

Professional Practice Reports

The Placement Professional Practice unit has three main components:

  • POLO Report (Personal Objectives and Learning Outcomes) – this is a reflective report where you will focus on the set of skills and knowledge you had before and after placement.
  • Placement Report – this report is developed in two phases (interim and final) and it refers to the research that you have done whilst on placement. This report will contribute to your dissertation.
  • Presentation – you will have to present the results of your placement experience and research findings to your placement mentor and team once the placement is finished.

Engineering consultancies and multidisciplinary design consultancies are seeking graduates with knowledge of modern building design. This programme has been developed in conjunction with employers to ensure it provides the range of skills and experience they are looking for when they recruit and, as a result, graduates of this programme should be highly employable.

The Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering has an excellent reputation for employability, and has a strong link with local, national and international employers.

The Department also has links with the Building Research Establishment (BRE) through the BRE Centre of Innovative Construction Materials. PhD and other research students conduct research into innovative construction materials, and it is anticipated that the top graduates of MSc Modern Building Design will have the opportunity to further their studies through the PhD programme at Bath should they want to.