Taught course

Sustainable Building Design

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 PG conversion programmes, non-cognate degrees will be considered. Corporate (or chartered) membership of relevant professional institutions will also be considered.

Months of entry

January, September

Course content

Our Masters in Sustainable Building Design (MSc SBD) programme is aimed at graduates of architecture, design or planning subjects who wish to further develop their design skills to combine sustainability and low carbon technologies in building design and renovation. Participants in this programme will enhance their design skills with specialist technical knowledge, and develop multidisciplinary understanding, via a curriculum of applied, engaged and contemporary courses. You will learn to harness technology to deliver optimal solutions, balancing the individual competing needs for environmental, economic, social and cultural sustainability.

A culturally-adaptable approach to design places our graduates in a strong position to compete in local and international markets. This is a truly cross-disciplinary course providing unique grounding for a collaborative industry.

The programme will enhance students’ future career prospects in the area of sustainable design, in a competitive, growing market. It is also suitable for those looking to develop specialist knowledge and skills to allow them to change or further their careers.

Programme Content
  • Low Carbon Building
  • Climate Change, Sustainability & Adaptation
  • Ventilation & Air Conditioning
  • Water Conservation
  • Human Factors of the Built Environment
  • Building and Energy Systems
  • Environmental Design
  • Modelling for Sustainable Building Design

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

Qualification and course duration


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

Further details of qualification

Distance learning students can choose to start their studies in January or September. The January intake is not available to students studying on-campus. An IDL programme - whether at PgDip or MSc level - can be completed in a minimum of 2 years. On average, our PgDip programmes studied via IDL are completed in 2-3 years, while MSc programmes are completed in 2.5-7 years. Most students intend to complete their studies via IDL within 2-3 years.

Course contact details

Dr Fan Wang
+44 (0)131 451 4636