Taught course

Building Services Engineering

Heriot-Watt University · School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society

Entry requirements

Minimum of 2:2 honours degree or equivalent academic qualification in cognate and semi-cognate subject area for MSc entry. Third class or ordinary cognate or semi-cognate subject area plus relevant industry experience for PgDip entry.

Months of entry

January, September

Course content

Building Services Engineers design strategies and technology that make buildings work for us in today’s fast-paced, ecologically responsible and cost-driven construction industry. It is an exciting, broad-based and challenging profession and the role is evolving and expanding today at an unprecedented rate.

Our Building Services Engineering Programme considers low carbon building design, passive and active strategies for efficiency and wellbeing, and the integration of renewable energy systems into buildings. It deals with services engineering issues, building the multidisciplinary skills required to cope with the challenges in services design and implementation which will be experienced in the working environment. As a conversion course, it provides students with the best foundation for launching or accelerating a career as a Building Services Engineer, or technical sustainability consultant. These are critical roles in interdisciplinary design teams, and as a consequence rank among the highest paid built environment professionals with rapid career advancement opportunities.

The scope of our programme has unprecedented flexibility inbuilt, to allow you to focus on areas of particular interest to you, and your career development, through your individual course choices.

Programme Content

Students undertake eight taught courses for the Diploma plus the research dissertation for the MSc. Students can opt to complete a total of four courses and graduate with the Heriot-Watt University Postgraduate Certificate.

The taught element of the programme comprises 8 courses, with three mandatory/core courses and one optional course per semester:

Semester 1

  • Building Electrical and Lighting Services (mandatory)
  • Ventilation and Air Conditioning (mandatory)
  • Contracts and Procurement (optional)
  • Water Conservation (optional)
  • Sustainable Design and Development (optional)
  • Climate Change, Sustainability & Adaptation (optional)

Semester 2

  • Thermofluids (mandatory)
  • Human Factors (mandatory)
  • Low Carbon Buildings (mandatory)
  • Architectural Acoustics (mandatory)
  • People and Organisational Management for the Built Environment (optional)
  • Carbon Footprinting (optional)
  • Energy Systems and Buildings (optional)

Flexible study options

This programme can be studied full-time, part-time or via Independent Distance Learning (IDL), ideal for those in employment or with other commitments, providing flexible study options that fit around work or family. As an IDL student you will not be required to attend any lectures, tutorials or other events at any of Heriot-Watt University’s campuses, and you can also arrange to sit examinations in a location close to you.

Those who are close to our Dubai Campus will, in addition, benefit from our local support in the form of dissertation supervision and access to licensed software programmes and subscribed literatures, depending on availability.

Information for international students

English language requirements

If English is not the applicant’s first language a minimum of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required with all elements passed at 6.0 or above, or a first degree taught in English.

Applicants who have previously successfully completed programmes delivered in the medium of English language may be considered and will be required to provide documentary evidence of this. Examples would be secondary school education or undergraduate degree programme. A minimum of at least one year of full time study (or equivalent) in the medium of English language will be required.

We offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your masters programme:

  • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no more than one skill at 4.5);
  • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum of 5.0 in all skills);
  • 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with minimum of 5.5 in reading & writing and minimum of 5.0 in speaking & listening)

Fees and funding

UK students
Refer to website
International students
Refer to website

Please see the programme web page for up-to-date information on fees and funding.

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
24-84 months
part time
24 months
full time
12 months


part time
21 months
full time
9 months
distance learning
24-84 months


full time
6 months
distance learning
24-84 months
part time
12 months

Course contact details

Dr D P Campbell
+44 (0)131 451 4618