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UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering

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Light and Lighting MSc

This graduate programme brings together the technical and creative sides of lighting design to enable you to shape sustainable lit environments.

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Programme overview 

The Light and Lighting MSc is all about the human experience of the built environment, inside and out, and brings together the technical and creative sides of lighting design.

Since 1987, the course has continually produced some of the world’s leading lighting engineers and designers. It has greatly contributed to solving some of society’s most practical problems, from how best to light indoor spaces to how to light streets safely and efficiently.

The programme covers topics ranging from lighting design to the scientific research and engineering behind lighting, providing a uniquely comprehensive package of knowledge and skills to students.

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Who should apply?

Our students come from across the academic and professional spectrum, from physics and electrical engineering to architecture, design and art.

Their interests cover every aspect of the subject: recent dissertations have ranged from Sir John Soane’s mastery of day-lighting to luminous media facades.


Key information 

Duration

The programme can be studied full-time over one year or two-to-five years flexibly.

Entry requirements 

Read the full entry requirements for this programme in the UCL Graduate Prospectus.

Fees

Tuition fee information can be found in the UCL Graduate Prospectus.

Scholarships and funding
  • A scholarship is available to successful applicants who hold an offer for this programme: see details on our scholarships page.
  • The Worshipful Company of Lightmongers makes an award for Outstanding Achievement on the programme.
  • There is also funding available to lighting students from bodies such as the International Association of Lighting Designers, Education Trust and the Jonathan Speirs Scholarship Fund.
  • Successful applicants can also apply for an IEDE Postgraduate Scholarship.
  • For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, please visit the Scholarships and Funding section of the UCL website.

Teaching and Learning

Images: Students in Lighting Fundamentals workshop about illuminance and luminance, Richard Stonehouse Photography.

All students are required to complete the core modules and a 10,000-word dissertation, plus the optional module or another approved module. 

Core Modules

Lighting Fundamentals

Acting as a fundamental module, this module is an introduction to the tools of lighting: natural daylight, lighting technologies and the design calculations used. It deals with the human response to lighting, the fundamental definitions of the subject, and lighting engineering calculations (both daylighting and electric lighting).

Lighting Applied Calculations

This module takes the mathematical models and physical concepts of illumination and matches them with the reality of the luminous environment. It deals with the application of engineering and mathematical models to the lit environment. 

Lighting Research

In this module, lighting research results and the resulting theoretical models are introduced to the student in the area of human factors in lighting and illuminating engineering. It introduces research-based results and theoretical model-building in the human response to lighting and lighting engineering calculations.

Advanced Lighting Design

This module aims to produce confident, articulate lighting designers who can demonstrate the ability to use lighting design techniques to produce conceptual lighting designs and luminaire product designs. It consists of a set of focused lighting design projects covering the appraisal of lighting, luminaire (light fitting) design and a major design project covering all the issues involved in the integration of daylighting and electric lighting necessary to produce sustainable lighting designs.

Advanced Lighting Control Design

In this module you will learn how to design a lighting control system to meet people’s needs in different environments and to understand the practical implications and consequences of your design. This is a structured design module in which you will be guided through the relevant theory so that you can make informed lighting control design decisions.

The Evolution of Lighting Design

This module will explore the evolution of lighting design and technologies over time, to give you a full understanding of the historical context of current Lighting Design Practice. It will address how design approaches have been influenced by the technology of the time.

Dissertation

The dissertation allows the future lighting specialist to demonstrate a deep understanding of the lighting knowledge base. It involves the preparation and submission of a 10,000-word report on a topic associated with sustainability and light and lighting in the built environment.

Optional Module 

Lighting Practice

This module aims to prepare the future lighting designer for lighting practice by a description of the context in which they will work as well as the constraints on them. It covers material relevant to those who wish to practice as a lighting consultant and the legislative, contractual and the technological constraints which must be met to achieve sustainable lighting solutions.

Images: Examples of Light and Lighting MSc Student's work (in order) Lighting concept for bar area of Cork City Sleeper Hotel - Xavier Quiviger '18, Students at Ready Steady Light'15, Facde lighting concept for Cork City Sleeper Hotel '18, Students light up UCL's Portico '15

Careers and employability

The majority of past students have continued to work in – or have gained employment in – the lighting profession, either in the lighting manufacturing industry or in lighting design.

A number of students have gone on to win international awards in the field of lighting, including the Light Play prize at the Total Lighting Show (2000), the RHS Silver Gilt Medal (2004) and Lighting Designer of the Year (2006).

Several Light and Lighting graduates have received the Society of Light and Lighting's Young Lighters of the Year award – most recently in 2011. Students have also used the MSc as a foundation for MPhil/PhD research.


Accreditation

UK

The Light and Lighting MSc has been accredited by the Chartered Institute of Building Service Engineers (CIBSE) as meeting the further learning requirements for Chartered Engineer (CEng) status. CIBSE have registered the degree with the Engineering Council.

USA

The course is recognised to meet the requirement of the NCQLP Internship LC Program.


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Industry links

The course benefits from presentations and input from design practitioners, manufacturers and researchers within the lighting industry to provide added depth. The course content is also reviewed for relevance by senior practitioners in the lighting industry.

The Light and Lighting MSc is a member of the International Commission on Illumination (CIE)

The Light and Lighting MSc is also an official partner of the Professional Lighting Design Convention.
 


Why choose the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering?

We have:

  • A London location – the world’s centre for architectural lighting.
  • Staff who combine teaching with practice (often working on high-profile projects with leading architects).
  • Close ties with professional bodies and links with practices and manufacturers across the UK, providing regular inspiration for live projects.
  • A full calendar of events and talks.
  • A learning environment within The Bartlett, #1 for Architecture/Built Environment studies in the UK and #3 in the World - QS World University Rankings (2020)

Staff

Interim Programme Lead

Dr Edward Barrett
Teaching Fellow in Engineering and Architectural Design
Email: edward.barrett@ucl.ac.uk

Programme Lead (on Maternity Leave)

Dr Jemima Unwin – Lecturer in Light and Lighting
View Jemima's profile
Email: jemima.unwin@ucl.ac.uk

Other teaching staff

Dr Kevin Mansfield
Senior Lecturer in Lighting
View Kevin's profile
Email: kevin.mansfield@ucl.ac.uk

Prof Peter Raynham 
Professor of the Lit Environment
View Peter's profile
Email: p.raynham@ucl.ac.uk

Dr Farhang Tahmasebi 
Lecturer in Engineering and Architectural Design
View Farhang's profile
Email: f.tahmasebi@ucl.ac.uk

Dr Cosmin Ticleanu
Teaching Fellow in Engineering and Architectural Design
View Cosmin's profile
Email: c.ticleanu@ucl.ac.uk

Tad Trylski
Visting Lecturer
Email: t.trylski@ucl.ac.uk


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