Taught course

Sustainable Practices in the Built Environment (Materials, Components and Systems)

Queen's University Belfast · School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering

Entry requirements

Full details can be found on the Queen's University website at http://www.qub.ac.uk/home/StudyatQueens/Coursefinder

MSc, PG Dip, PG Cert

Months of entry


Course content


This programme in Sustainable Practices in the Built Environment is a unique opportunity to learn and develop skills in a cross-disciplinary environment. Its aim is to offer specialisms in sustainability within a broad framework that facilitates the shared exchange of knowledge and practice and the opportunity of inter-disciplinary and collaborative learning and working. We encourage and facilitate students to develop a critical approach to the interaction between sustainability research, theory and practice, and in particular their own praxis, and can provide students with opportunities to up-skill in the context of sustainability.

Our students will have the opportunity to build appropriate professional networks (and extend their existing networks) within the field of sustainability and help position graduates as key participants and protagonists and leaders in the global green economy and wider society. Students will be able to engage, through live projects, with the latest thinking and processes in sustainable practices.

Students can choose from one of the programme's four specialisms: Contested Space; Critical Spatial Processes; Materials, Components and Systems; and Urban and Rural Design. The aims of each are to:

Contested Space

  • understand key socio-spatial issues related to planning and development in deeply divided societies and be able to engage in the related theoretical, practical and ethical debates.

  • appreciate the dilemmas and opportunities facing built environment professionals in addressing contested and critical spaces, and to understand the links between regeneration and community sustainability in such circumstances.

  • evaluate, understand and respond to the social, economic, environmental and political context for regeneration in contested and critical environments.

Critical Spatial Processes

  • critically investigate and understand the nature and range of spatial practices, historically and currently in operation.

  • understand, critique and engage with the ethical and economic landscape and sustainable viability of spatial practices.

  • develop an ability to build and work within a Green Business Plan agenda, supported by an understanding of publicity and dissemination strategies.

Materials, Components and Systems

  • develop the ability to adopt an informed and critical position towards systems within buildings, being aware of the latest developments technologically and at policy level.

  • develop the ability to both predict and test performance of a built space using a range of tools.

  • develop a wide understanding of the relationship between sustainability, materials and construction; and a specialist knowledge of one area of material and/or construction design, specification and performance.

Urban and Rural Design

  • understand the processes of change in the built environment and the relationships between the social, economic and physical factors associated with the sustainable development of the built environment. This includes understanding and engaging with the views and perceptions of, sometimes competing, development interests.

  • strengthen and develop students' design literacy and vocabulary. This includes the development of an understanding of concepts such as urban form and urban structure, scale, proportion, serial vision, permeability, legibility and composition; as well as developing skills in relation to the use of precedents and best practice.

  • develop an awareness of the value dimension of design activity and the ethical responsibilities of those involved in design and development in mediating between differences in contexts of power.

Information for international students

Full details can be found on the Queen's University website at http://www.qub.ac.uk/home/StudyatQueens/Coursefinder

Fees and funding

Applicants should refer to the relevant School's website for information. Details may be found at http://www.qub.ac.uk/SchoolsDepartments

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months


full time
10 months


full time
8 months

Course contact details

Professor Ruth Morrow