UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Smart Buildings and Digital Engineering MSc

Join a new generation of innovation and research leaders in the engineering design and operation of integrated building systems, with an expertise grounded in technical excellence.

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About the programme

The Smart Buildings & Digital Engineering (SBDE) MSc offers exceptional university graduates the opportunity to become experts in this innovative and developing discipline, taught by world-leaders at The Bartlett: UCL's Global Faculty of the Built Environment. We aspire to generate leaders in technology, delivering high-performance engineered solutions in building systems design.

Buildings are engineered products which must be designed to provide productive, safe and healthy environments for those who live and work within them. Integrated building systems design takes a unified view of the building form and its systems, as a prerequisite to delivering effective operation. Creating innovative designs requires advanced modelling and simulation skills, collection and interpretation of data, and understanding that goes beyond individual building components.
Areas covered by the programme include integrated building design, advanced modelling and simulation, energy management systems and performance evaluation. The content of the programme is informed by the latest advancements in research and the evolving needs of the industry.
The SBDE MSc is delivered by the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering (IEDE), building upon strong links with industry and multi-disciplinary research performed at The Bartlett. Teaching will be delivered at the Bloomsbury campus and UCL’s new Here East facility in East London. Students will benefit from access to the creative hub in Here East and access to modern lab spaces and equipment.

Who should apply?

The SBDE MSc programme is designed as an academically challenging and rigorous specialist MSc that will produce high-achieving graduates trained in the methodologies and practice in the discipline of design and operation of integrated building systems.

This programme is targeted at students of an engineering (e.g. civil, mechanical, building services engineering) or science (e.g. physics, mathematics, computer science) background who aspire to drive engineering innovation in the built environment, or wish to further pursue a research career in the field. Applicants with a first degree in Architectural Engineering and strong analytical and computational background are also welcome to apply.

The SBDE MSc programme will also be relevant for early- and mid-career professionals who want to expand their technical skills and knowledge, and keep abreast of the latest developments in their field. The flexible mode of study, as well as PG Cert or PG Dip routes, enable students to adapt the programme to individual needs and aspirations and allows professionals to continue their career while studying.

About the programme

You will learn how to apply scientific principles to the design and operation of integrated building systems, adopting new technology and adapting techniques to both new and existing systems to deliver lifelong sustainable building system performance. The SBDE MSc programme will further the development of professionals with a strong technical background placing special emphasis on the development of critical enquiry, communication, team working, and project planning skills. Learning activities are designed to stimulate a study, research and work principle that is both conceptually and practically interdisciplinary.

Teaching and learning are delivered through eight modules covering four different thematic areas: core knowledge, integrated design and operation, advanced methods, and optional modules. You will take two optional modules (chosen from six available modules), allowing you to tailor the programme to your own interests. You will also be researching in-depth a topic of your interest and complete a dissertation. Visit the programme structure page for detailed information on the module titles and content.

The programme engages students in a series of learning activities that mirror common industry practices and activities. Interactive sessions are scheduled with industry experts to discuss specific topics and provide the opportunity to discuss processes employed in the industry. Hands-on sessions help develop skills and advanced understanding of the use of relevant commercially-applicable and research-oriented tools.

Reasons to choose this programme include:

  1. Gaining expert knowledge and understanding of advanced building simulation and integrated design tools and getting real-world experience in the use of data-driven approaches.
  2. Being taught by leaders in the field, and having opportunities to network with industry experts.
  3. Being able to make a difference to your own career, as well as to society, via your professional contribution to the design for the performance of sustainable building solutions.

The SBDE MSc programme can be taken on a full-time (one calendar year), part-time (two years) or flexible (two to five years) basis. Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) and Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) routes are also available, an appealing option especially to working professionals who want to expand their knowledge and skills – see programme structure page for more details.

Industry views

The SBDE MSc development team conducted an industry survey that received more than 150 responses from building services evaluation, design, manufacturing, construction, assessment and operation industry professionals, in the UK and globally. 91% agreed or strongly agreed that the SBDE MSc was appealing, and 88% agreed or strongly agreed that if the SBDE MSc programme was developed and offered at UCL they would likely to recommend it to colleagues and prospective students. 89% considered that there would be a demand for graduates from a programme of this character.

The responses suggest a worldwide demand for engineering graduates who can readily adapt to new technology and techniques to lead the engineering design of integrated building systems in the context of delivering lifelong sustainable building system performance. Important qualities of such graduates are that they should have a knowledge that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries and possess a creative and open disposition towards problem-solving. Graduates with a strong core knowledge who are also resilient to change and have the ability to learn and evolve, are highly employable in the industry.


The SBDE MSc starts in September 2018 and is designed to meet the further learning requirements for holders of an accredited Bachelors Honours degree. Accreditation of the programme will be sought in the first instance by the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) as suitable ‘further learning’ to meet the academic requirements for Chartered Engineer (CEng) status.

Why choose The Bartlett?

The UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering has:

  • A world-leading track-record in building design and engineering research, with significant impact in addressing Grand Challenges;
  • Expertise in a diverse set of research methods;
  • Established partnerships and an extensive alumni network within many of London’s and UK’s major building engineering firms;
  • Long-standing strong established relationships with stakeholders from industry, policy makers and academia, who often give lectures and appear at networking events providing unrivalled networking opportunities;
  • A London location at the centre of open innovation and the biggest cluster of engineering and architectural consultancies;
  • An extensive pedagogical expertise: we are strong proponents of research-based teaching;
  • An inclusive environment that promotes global citizenship, and an ethos of equality and diversity.

We are The Bartlett: UK's largest multi-disciplinary Faculty of the Built Environment, part of University College London, London’s Global University.

More information

building technology engineering modelling complex systems energy computation