Sustainable Built Environment MSc/PG Dip/PG Cert

Develop an in-depth understanding of the ways new and renewable energy can be harnessed within buildings and learn about design procedures and performance analysis to optimise their sustainability. 


This programme has an interdisciplinary approach that gives students a broad insight into energy and sustainability issues and in-depth study of the building physics and modelling software used in the design of modern buildings and their surroundings.

Computer modelling techniques enable the complex interactions between buildings and the environment in and around them to be simulated, at both the level of individual buildings and at urban scale with many buildings. This is a modular programme having both taught and practical components, in which students develop skills in using such techniques.

The focus on building performance is complemented by a consideration of renewable energy and wider sustainable development policy issues, such as the use of sustainability indicators, and conceptions of economic and social sustainability. National and international assessment methods and tools, widely used in building design and appraisal, are included.

The need for sustainable approaches to building design is universally acknowledged. As the effects of climate change become greater, the drive towards more energy efficient and better adapted buildings will intensify. Sustainable buildings need not be technologically complex, but a high level of sophistication in design procedures and performance analysis is required. The skills developed on the course are in high demand in architectural and engineering consultancies, utilities and research and development.

Key features

  • Our research and teaching staff provide you with the opportunity to learn from scientists involved in furthering knowledge and sharing expertise.
  • This course is accredited by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and the Energy Institute (EI) until August 2024. Reaccreditation is being sought from September 2024.
  • Graduate equipped with knowledge and expertise required for careers in industry, public sector, research, or education.
  • Access specialist facilities such as the Energy Laboratory, a high-tech hub for teaching, research, and technology demonstration.
  • Graduates have gone on to work for global organisations including the European Commission, Mott MacDonald, WSP Global, WYG, and Arup Group.
  • Benefit from block teaching, where most students study one subject at a time. A simple timetable will allow you to really engage with your learning, receive regular feedback and assessments, get to know your course mates and enjoy a better study-life balance.




“The course has given me greater confidence in my work and helped me to communicate my designs and proposals more effectively. The credibility of having an MSc from a respected institution such as IESD within DMU has opened a lot of doors to me, and provided opportunities which I may not have had otherwise.” 

Declan Alcock, graduate 



DMU offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships and bursaries to help you realise your academic ambitions.

International Scholarships

Find out about available scholarships and country specific fee discounts for international students. 



More courses like this:

Energy and Sustainable Development MSc

Engineering Management MSc

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  • UK
  • EU/International

Course code: K20071

Location of study: De Montfort University campus

Start date: September 

Duration: One year full-time. 

Fees and funding: 

2024/25 full-time fees for UK students: £9,500

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Course code: K20071

Location of study: De Montfort University campus

Start date: September

Duration: One year full-time.

Fees and funding: 

2024/25 full-time tuition fees for EU and international students: £17,600 per year

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Entry criteria

You should have the equivalent of a British Honours degree (2:2 minimum) in a relevant numerate subject, for example engineering, physical sciences, mathematics. Architects with an interest in computer modelling are also encouraged to apply.

We are happy to consider equivalent qualifications from anywhere in the world.



English language requirements

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.0 overall with 5.5 in each band (or equivalent) when you start the course is essential.

English language tuition, delivered by our British Council-accredited Centre for English Language Learning, is available both before and throughout the course if you need it.

Structure and assessment


Course modules

Teaching and assessments

Academic expertise

  • Engineering Business Environment and Research Methods
  • Data Analytics for Sustainable Energy Systems
  • Sustainable Building Design and Performance Modelling
  • Built Environment Advanced Modelling
  • Individual Project




Teaching is in the form of lectures from teaching staff, and guest lectures, complemented by informal seminars, workshops, site visits and group work. You will also undertake self-directed study. Teaching material is available on the web-based virtual learning environment (VLE) before timetabled events take place. Some material such as lectures is also recorded as videos, which are made available on the VLE.

Learning is supported by formative work (not part of final assessment). Most modules have three (summative) assessment components for the module mark. This will be some combination of coursework, online tests and formal written exams. Some modules just have coursework. 




Students also complete an individual project or dissertation (60 credits) on a topic of their choice after the taught blocks. September students start this in May/June and submit in September; February students start this in January and submit in May/June. The dissertation is assessed in a viva voce examination.

Contact and learning hours

Block teaching is full time, attending with six weeks of teaching and a week of assessment per block (part-time students just do fewer blocks). Teaching will be on different days of the week, and a teaching week would typically have six hours of lectures and six hours of seminars and workshops, but this will vary between modules.



Modules are taught by research and teaching staff in the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD), providing you with a unique opportunity to learn from scientists actively involved in furthering knowledge in this area.

The IESD’s research has developed over a 30-year period to create the underlying knowledge, techniques and technology necessary to achieve more energy efficient and sustainable lifestyles.




Current research is driven by the UK’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase the use of new and renewable energy technology and provide a high-quality, comfortable, safe and efficient built environment.

Applied research seeks practical solutions to contemporary problems, whilst more theoretical and/or blue sky explorations seek to understand our physical and social world, generating new knowledge that can have long-term benefits in many fields of human endeavour.

Facilities and features


The new Energy Laboratory in the School of Engineering and Sustainable Development is a high-tech hub for teaching, research and technology demonstration. Complimenting DMU’s wider green energy projects, the Energy Laboratory is housed in the Queens Building, the award-winning passively cooled student and research space for Engineering and Media. 

Home to the future of smart energy the Energy Laboratory features a working smart kitchen, a technology testing and proving space for real-world experiments and practical energy projects. The Laboratory is also equipped with a demonstration heat pump system and features performance data from a working off-site heat pump installation at DMU’s ‘Green Energy House’, a traditional terrace equipped with some of the latest low carbon energy systems. 

The Energy Laboratory will become a catalyst for students to think creatively about some significant energy problems of the present and future but also for academic research into energy generation, low carbon transport, heating and light, energy storage and smart grids.

Listen to Professor Rick Greenough, Energy Systems explain the importance of heat pumps and how they work in our Energy Lab.

Learning zones

Our Learning Zones and The Greenhouse also provide space for group or individual work and study.

There are 1,600 study places across all library locations, more than 700 computer stations, laptops to borrow, free wi-fi and desktop power outlets.

You can also book rooms with plasma screens, laptops and DVD facilities for group work and presentations, secure an individual study room with adjustable lighting or make use of our assistive technology.

Library services

On campus, the main Kimberlin Library offers a space where you can work, study and access a vast range of print materials, with computer stations, laptops, plasma screens and assistive technology also available. 

As well as providing a physical space in which to work, we offer online tools to support your studies, and our extensive online collection of resources accessible from our Library website, e-books, specialised databases and electronic journals and films which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose. 

We will support you to confidently use a huge range of learning technologies, including Learning Zone, Collaborate Ultra, DMU Replay, MS Teams, Turnitin and more. Alongside this, you can access LinkedIn Learning and learn how to use Microsoft 365, and study support software such as mind mapping and note-taking through our new Digital Student Skills Hub. 

The library staff offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching, reference management and assistive technology. There is also a ‘Just Ask’ service for help and advice, live LibChat, online workshops, tutorials and drop-ins available from our Learning Services, and weekly library live chat sessions that give you the chance to ask the library teams for help.

Opportunities and careers

Find the people who will open doors for you

DMU's award-winning careers service provides guaranteed work experience opportunities DMU Careers Team



DMU Global

This is our innovative international experience programme which aims to enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons – helping you to become a global graduate, equipped to meet the needs of employers across the world.

Through DMU Global, we offer a wide range of opportunities including on-campus and UK activities, overseas study, internships, faculty-led field trips and volunteering, as well as Erasmus+ and international exchanges.



Graduate Careers

This course is aimed at both recent graduates and professionals working in relevant fields. The knowledge and advanced modelling skills you gain will enable you to work effectively as a building design professional or analyst. These skills are increasingly in demand in architectural and engineering consultancies, utilities and regulatory organisations, and local and national government.

Our graduates go on to work in a wide range of energy, buildings and sustainability roles – for example, energy and environmental consultants, in non-governmental environmental organisations, central and local government (including the European Commission), and multi-national organisations. Some of our graduates stay on at DMU to continue their academic training with PhD studies.

Recent graduate destinations include:

  • The Carbon Trust
  • BMW
  • Turley Associates
  • National Energy Foundation
  • European Commission
  • Knightstone Housing Association
  • National Grid
  • Leicester City Council
  • Mott MacDonald
  • WSP Group
  • Arup
  • WYG
  • David Chipperfield Architects

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