The MSc Renewable Energy and Architecture is a multi-disciplinary course for worldwide integration of renewable energy and sustainable energy and building technologies into the site plan and building form, fabric and services with a focus on climate and human comfort, using architectural and engineering techniques and powerful computer and laboratory simulations.

This international course is carefully structured to accommodate the interests and skills of those who are related to building design and technology and building energy and environmental performance. It is open to applicants from various backgrounds, including architecture, engineering (mechanical, civil/structural, electrical and building engineering) and town planning/urban design.

The course addresses issues such as:

  • sustainable building design and construction,
  • energy use,
  • new and renewable energy technologies,
  • novel materials and their influence on buildings and occupant comfort.

It is designed to stimulate and encourage novel and imaginative solutions to the challenging task of designing sustainable, energy efficient and environmentally responsible buildings and cities worldwide.

By the end of the course, you will have gained useful and technical knowledge as well as experience on this subject, and you will be adept at communicating and presenting yourself and your projects to an audience.

Entry requirements: 2:1 (or international equivalent) BEng/BSc in any relevant subject.

Key facts

  • The course attracts students from over 40 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and Latin America.Many graduates have completed a further stage of doctoral research or joined energy employment or academia in different countries.
  • As part of its remit, the Department of Architecture and Built Environment aims to develop your vocational skills and the environmentally responsible attitude necessary in today's rapidly changing world.
  • The department enjoys strong collaborative links with overseas institutions.You may have the opportunity to attend and present/publish your MSc dissertation research at relevant conferences both in the UK and abroad.

Course details

During the autumn semester, you will be given a comprehensive background on the subject and on the use of a number of powerful computer programs (e.g. Ansys and Revit).

In the spring semester, you will undertake laboratory work and design and simulation projects related to the course area. You will also learn how to use another piece of powerful computer software, EnergyPlus.

A unique feature of this course is that in the spring term, students from all academic backgrounds will be taught how to write/develop computer programs for energy modelling and many other applications, using step-by-step Microsoft Visual Basic programming.

You will spend the summer semester producing a supervised dissertation (60 credits). This will be your opportunity to undertake a major piece of independent research, using the knowledge and experience gained from the taught modules. The research project could be related to the climate and buildings in your home country.

The MSc Renewable Energy and Architecture is offered on a full-time basis over one year (12 months).

The course comprises 180 credits, split across 120 credits worth of taught modules during autumn and spring semesters, and a 60-credit dissertation completed over the summer period.

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  • Course graduates
  • Course director

Course aims and content

Successful integration of renewable energy into buildings requires an understanding of both design and technology, and hence the close co-operation of architects, engineers and other building professionals. The course is structured to accommodate the interests of those who are related to building design and energy performance, such as architecture and engineering. Core modules provide an introduction to energy systems that may be used to utilize natural energy resources and show how these may be incorporated into the design of buildings. Students have the opportunity to explore these in a manner that suits their backgrounds.

In the autumn semester, you will be given a good background on the subject and on the use of a number of computer programs such as Ansys and Revit. In the spring semester, you will undertake laboratory work and design and simulation projects related to the course area and also learn how to write/develop computer programs using Visual Basic. You will also be given the opportunity to learn how to use advanced computer programs such as EnergyPlus. No previous experience in using any of the above computer programs is essential.

During the course, you will carry out group and individual design and modelling projects, depending on your academic background.You will also prepare and give oral presentations, using MS Powerpoint. In the summer term, you will conduct your dissertation research, which could be related to your own countries’ climate and architectural style.

The course has been attended by students from over forty countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and Latin America. At the end of the course, you will gain useful experience on the subject and also learn how to communicate with others, as well as how to present yourself and your projects to an audience. A number of MSc graduates have already been offered jobs in the UK and abroad. Others have been able to undertake research leading to PhD, in renewable energy and architecture, after successfully completing the MSc course.

Entry requirements

The course is suitable for applicants with a good Honours Degree in any of the following disciplines: Architecture, Building Engineering, Building Services Engineering, Civil/Structural Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering. We are also happy to consider applicants from other relevant professional backgrounds. Experience in working with computers and computer software such as MS Word, MS Excel and MS Powerpoint is essential.

Minimum English requirement to apply:

IELTS: 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any element.

Required documents for application

A detailed CV, two references and a detailed academic transcript showing your GPA are required for the application. All documents MUST be in English.

Progression to summer dissertation

If a Postgraduate Diploma student manages to achieve at least 50% as an overall average for both autumn and spring semester modules, by June, he or she will be allowed to continue as an MSc student and therefore can register for the MSc dissertation in the summer period.

This condition of achieving at least 50% overall average also applies to other students on the course, in order to proceed to summer dissertation.


  • Principles of Renewable and Energy Efficient Technologies (20 credits)
  • Wind Environment 3D Simulation in Architecture (20 credits)
  • Passive Solar Design Principles and Simulation (10 credits)
  • Renewable Energy Technology Design and Appraisal (20 credits)
  • Climate Responsive Building Design Project (20 credits)
  • Building Energy Performance Rating and Programming (10 credits)
  • Research and Professional Skills, Tools and Methods (20 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits)

Please note that all module details are subject to change.

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.


Many graduates of this MSc programme have been rewarded for their innovative ideas and contribution to real energy projects, for example, the prestigious National Energy Award for work on a large-scale solar project in Mexico. Graduates have entered both academia and industry in the UK and overseas.

The MSc course develops a practical and theoretical understanding and therefore enables graduates to work with architectural or engineering firms, move into teaching at university level, or undertake research leading to a PhD.

The University of Nottingham has been recognised as delivering a Gold standard in the Teaching Excellence Framework(TEF), which aims to recognise and reward excellent learning and teaching.

Career Prospects and Employability

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career.

*The Graduate Market 2013-2017, High Fliers Research

The University of Nottingham has been named as the best university in the UK for graduate employment, by 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide.

The acquisition of a master’s degree from the University of Nottingham demonstrates a high level of knowledge in a specific field. Whether you are using it to enhance your employability, as preparation for further academic research or as a means of vocational training, you may benefit from careers advice as to how you can use your new found skills to their full potential.

Our Careers and Employability Service will help you do this, working with you to explore your options and inviting you to attend recruitment events where you can meet potential employers, as well as suggesting further development opportunities, such as relevant work experience placements and skills workshops.

Entry Requirements

  • Entry requirements: 2.1 (Upper 2nd class hons degree or international equivalent)
  • IELTS: 6.0 (no less than 5.5 in any element)
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Last updated November 5, 2018
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2019
Full time
7,785 GBP
UK/EU Fees £7,785; International Fees: £17,910
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