Sustainability and Adaptation in the Built Environment

Master of Science | PG Diploma

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Climate change poses two key challenges to modern architecture: how can buildings be made sustainable, and how can they be designed to take account of the effects of climate change?

This course uses the concepts of sustainability and adaptation to frame an understanding of the built environment at the community and individual buildings level.

Key areas of study

Key building issues covered in the course include: energy management and low energy design, sustainable materials, environmental performance assessment and energy provision. Students may further pursue interests in urban design, communities, ecology, water, ecological sanitation, politics and economics.

From spatial master-planning to politics and economics, get to the heart of how the environment must be brought into decision-making. Develop your ability to evaluate complex issues and become a self-reflective practitioner or researcher who can communicate evidence and conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences.

Modules

When studying this course as an MSc you will need to study the 30 credit Sustainability and Adaptation: Concepts and Planning module plus 2 additional core modules and 4 optional modules before undertaking a dissertation.  Please click on the module descriptions below for information about each module.

Core Modules

Sustainability and Adaptation: Concepts and Planning

This two-part 30-credit core module takes place in September and November and must be taken at the beginning of your course, no matter which route you take through your studies.

In part one, we will contextualise sustainability and transformational adaptation in view of current environmental changes, exploring the interconnectedness of the factors involved.

There will be an in-depth look at the wider implications of transformational adaptation on social structures, land use, trade, resource management, energy provision, governance, health and economic systems through a critical exploration of the primary considerations related to sustainability and environmental change.

In part two, you will experience transformational adaptation planning through a facilitated self-reflective practical team exercise, and form a deep appreciation and holistic understanding of adaptation transformation planning.

You will develop the skills and knowledge needed to assess risks and make informed decisions, despite the uncertainties that come with a changing climate.

Read more about this module for courses awarded by the University of East London: EV7102 - Sustainability and Adaptation Concepts and Planning UEL

Read more about this module for courses awarded by Liverpool John Moores University: 7501CATSCI -Sustainability and Adaptation Concepts and Planning LJMU

Sustainable Materials in the Built Environment

This module involves a systematic evaluation of the environmental impacts and the wider social and health implications of building materials, looking at the use, performance and usability of different materials.

You will gain a thorough appreciation of how environmentally sustainable materials offer creative opportunities for the use and development of high quality, healthy, effective, and long lasting products that can enhance rather than damage ecosystems.

You will learn about the advantages and disadvantages of different materials, and look at how to use sustainable options in the most effective ways.

We explore issues around the availability, cost, physical properties, construction methods and general perceptions of environmentally responsive materials, looking at ease of use, mainstream acceptance, design limitations, logistical considerations, and economic viability.
Students joining us on-site for the study week get hands-on experience with sustainable building materials in this highly practical module, working with rammed earth, cob, hemp and lime, timber and straw bales.

This is a 15 credit module.

Read more about this module for courses awarded by the University of East London: EV7110 - Sustainable Materials in the Built Environment UEL (38 downloads)

Read more about this module for courses awarded by Liverpool John Moores University 7507CATSCI - Sustainable Materials in the Built Environment LJMU (120 downloads)

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

 

Energy Flows in Buildings – Part B

The aim of this module is to develop a deep understanding of the principles and consequences of energy flows in buildings in terms of the materials used, the building’s orientation and the local climatic conditions.

You will gain a sound appreciation of how energy transfers in buildings can be manually calculated, modelled and simulated in computer modelling suites, and how this is vital to help optimise the design for energy efficiency.

You will be able to further hone a systematic, holistic, multidisciplinary and analytical approach to the critical appraisal of passive and energy efficiency design (including Passivhaus designs), heat and moisture flows in new builds and renovations.

This is a 15 credit module.

Find out more about this module: EV7107 - Energy Flows in Buildings Part B UEL

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

MSc Dissertation

The dissertation involves designing, investigating, and presenting an extended and independently conceived piece of research on a topic of your choosing within a field of study relevant to your course.

This will help you to develop skills in: research methods; data collection and analysis; interpreting results in relation to existing knowledge; self-reflection on research processes; subject-based practical skills; evaluating methodologies; analysis; conclusions; and relevance.

Teaching and learning is by tutorial-supported work on the preparation of this major item of academic discourse. After an initial seminar group meeting involving other students, tuition is mainly on an individual basis.

This is a 60 credit module.

Read more about the dissertation module for courses awarded by the University of East London:  EV7101 - Dissertation Module UEL

Read more about the dissertation module for courses awarded by Liverpool John Moores University 7500CATSCI - Dissertation LJMU

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Optional Modules

Energy Flows in Buildings – Part A

In this module you will learn about the complex nature of the interrelationships between occupant comfort, energy flows in buildings and energy efficient building design. Explore the theory and apply this in practice with expert-led practical workshops.

You will develop a systematic, holistic, multidisciplinary and analytical approach to the critical appraisal of energy efficient design, heat flows, and provision of thermal comfort with respect to the demands of climate change adaptation and the principles of sustainability.

This is a 15 credit module.

Find out more about this module: EV7106 - Energy Flows in Buildings Part A UEL

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Environmental Politics and Economics

The aim of this module is to develop an informed understanding of the complexity of political and economic opinions, perspectives, constraints and interactions that influence environmental policy and action, from international to local levels.

You will investigate how these factors affect attitudes towards, and actions related to, environmental change, sustainability and transformational adaptation planning and policy.

A mixture of lectures, seminar sessions and debates will provide a thorough understanding of historical political and economic transformations in order that you can critically and systematically appraise the influences on and potential outcomes of the transformations required to deliver sustainability and adaptation.

You will develop a discerning and detailed knowledge of the complexities, interrelationships and interactions that exist between politics, economics and other social sciences so that you can contextualise them with reference to environmental sustainability and adaptation planning.

This is a 15 credit module.

Read more about this module for courses awarded by the University of East London: EV7104 - Environmental Politics and Economics UEL

Read more about this module for courses awarded by Liverpool John Moores University 7502CATSCI - Environmental Politics and Economics LJMU

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Cities and Communities

This module helps develop your knowledge of current research and discourse concerning adaptation planning and sustainability of cities and communities, and their place in current and future environmental contexts.

You will develop a thorough understanding of key elements, infrastructures, maintenance issues, energy budgets, material flows, waste disposal, transportation, and the social dynamics that underlie the development and management of communities and cities.

Following a critical assessment of the complex factors that influence the provision of sustainability and adaptation planning within urban and community focused environments, you will be able to recognise and rationalise the prospects for innovative research and practice for city and community regeneration in the built environment.

This is a 15 credit module.

Read more about this module for courses awarded by the University of East London: EV7105 - Cities and Communities UEL

Read more about this module for courses awarded by Liverpool John Moores University: 7504CATSCI - Cities and Communities LJMU

Energy Provision

This module takes an in-depth look at the technological and behaviour change aspects of transforming our energy systems to help address climate change and other urgent environmental challenges.

We explore the technological aspects, functioning and practical considerations of different technologies for reducing energy demand and providing more energy via sustainable sources; and investigate resource potential (and limitations), maintenance needs, associated carbon emissions and the environmental impacts of the available renewable energy technologies.

You will develop a critical understanding of the primary need for energy use reduction and how energy distribution constraints, storage, supply and demand management, efficiency improvements, market drivers, planning processes, social and cultural aspects, governmental policy and financial support mechanisms can all affect the uptake of low impact energy systems.

You will comparatively appraise the above in a holistic, objective and self-reflective manner.

This is a 15 credit module.

Read more about this module for courses awarded by the University of East London: EV7108 - Energy Provision UEL

Read more about this module for courses awarded by Liverpool John Moores University 7505CATSCI - Energy Provision LJMU

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Ecosystem Services: Land Use, Water and Waste Management

This module gives you an appreciation of the key roles played by species, populations and healthy ecosystems in the provision of essential tangible and intangible services to human society, as well as the need to ensure ecological integrity on appropriate scales.
It provides you with an understanding of the overriding roles of climate change and industrial expansion in imposing progressive change in ecosystem and resource management, and the imperative for sustainable adaptation.

We explore the environmental impacts of sourcing, management and disposal of material and water resources, the case for minimisation, wise use and reuse where appropriate in order to function within resource, ecological and societal constraints, and the lessons to be learned from nature in resource design and processing.

It will enable you to comprehend the varied impacts of land use on environmental quality, biodiversity and ecosystem service provision, including industrial, domestic and agricultural wastes and their management; and to recognise the inherent lack of sustainability in modern, centralised food production and the necessity for ecologically-designed agriculture.

This is a 15 credit module.

Read more about this module for courses awarded by the University of East London: EV7103 - Ecosystem Services Land Use Water and Waste Management UEL

Read more about this module for courses awardedby Liverpool John Moores University 7506CATSCI - Ecosystem Services Land use and Waste Management LJMU.pdf

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Applied Project

This project is designed to deepen your knowledge and understanding of a specialist subject within your chosen field of study.

It involves you in analysing complex evidence generated through the Applied Project, and in developing critical responses to existing theoretical discourses, methodologies or practices within your chosen subject.

This is a practical student-led project and report that will include statistical analyses of ongoing projects. It may take the form of, for example, a case study scenario exercise or a design, fabrication, experimentation and testing exercise.

This is a 15 credit module.

Read more about this module for courses awarded by the University of East London: EV7111 - Applied Project UEL

Read more about this module for courses awarded by Liverpool John Moores University 7508CATSCI - Applied Project LJMU

Work-based Project

Based on a project that you are undertaking in practice, for example in your workplace or community, this module allows you to deepen your knowledge and understanding of a specialist subject within your chosen field of study.

You will undertake analysis of complex evidence and develop critical responses to existing theoretical discourses, methodologies or practices within the chosen specialist area.

This is a 15 credit module.

Read more about this module for courses awarded by the University of East London: EV7112 - Work Based Project UEL

Read more about this module for courses awarded by Liverpool John Moores University 7509CATSCI - Work-based Project LJMU

Entry Requirements

  • We ask for a Bachelor’s degree or knowledge and skills equivalent to degree standard.
  • IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) is required for applicants whose first language is not English.

Fees and Funding

The cost of studying one of our full MSc courses is £6,650 for UK/EEA residents or £7,950 for internationals. Please visit our Fees and Funding page to see the tuition fees, additional fees and funding opportunities.

Why Study at CAT?

Benefit from over 40 years’ sustainability experience

CAT is a world-leading eco-centre and a pioneer in researching and teaching practical solutions for sustainability, with over 40 years’ experience in low-impact building, energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable food production, natural resources management and more.

Immersive Learning

The taught eight-week modules offer an immersive learning experience through lectures, talks, seminars and workshops delivered by our expert in-house staff, with specialist insights from visiting lecturers from industry and academia.

Practical sessions are part of the programme of module teaching weeks at CAT, allowing you to get hands-on with sustainable building materials and energy efficiency.

Many modules are shared with our other postgraduate courses, providing you with a rich learning experience with your peers.

Flexible study options allow you to choose the level and mode of study that suits you, helping you fit your studies around other commitments. Full-time study at MSc level will allow you to complete the course in 18 months. This course can also be studied part-time and by distance.

Interested in studying this course? Join us for our next open day, contact us for more information or apply today.

 

This course is created and delivered by CAT and validated by the University of East London.

          

Open Days

Graduate School open days offer an authentic flavour of what it’s like to learn on our postgraduate sustainability courses. Informative and inspiring, there’s time to chat with current students and our lecturers to find out if studying with CAT is right for you.

Apply now

Applications are now closed for 2019/20. Begin your application today for 2020/21 to take the next step in making sustainable change or contact us if you need more information.