Light and Lighting MSc

London, Bloomsbury and London, Hackney Wick (Here East)

UCL offers one of the world's most comprehensive Master’s degrees in Light and Lighting. We bring together the technical and creative sides of lighting design, to offer an extensive package of knowledge and skills that are employed across the lighting industry and built environment. You will learn to design lighting as an integrated component of architecture, utilising exciting advances in science and technology whilst taking into consideration human responses to the lit environment.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 17 Oct 2022 – 31 Mar 2023

Applications open

Entry requirements

The normal minimum qualifications are a second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

A second acceptable qualification is a degree of lower than second-class Bachelor's standard, or an equivalent overseas qualification, in a subject appropriate to the programme, plus extensive background and experience in the field. The latter implies considerable experience as a professional at a senior level.

Please note that a special qualifying examination may be set. Details of this route can be obtained from the department at the email address at the bottom of this page.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

From gas lamps to LEDs, as technology has progressed the lighting industry has become increasingly specialist. UCL's Light and Lighting MSc is designed to give you a comprehensive package of knowledge and skills for a career in the lighting profession. As a student on the programme you'll gain in-depth expertise on the science of light, lamp and luminaire technologies, alongside the impact of light on architectural form and the human response. This will give you the vision to design beautiful lit environments that promote the wellbeing of their users, and the skills to ensure that they are successfully engineered.

You will learn:

  • The fundamentals of lighting, including natural day light, lighting technologies, design calculations, and the human response
  • Mathematical models and physical concepts for illumination, applied to the reality of the lit environment
  • Software and tools used in the lighting and architectural industry such as Rhino 3D, Radiance and DIALux
  • Advanced design techniques to produce conceptual and detailed lighting designs and luminaire product designs
  • How to design a lighting control system that meets people’s needs in different environments
  • The evolution of lighting design and technologies over time, giving the historical context for lighting design practice in the present day
  • Essential lighting practice, regulations and standards required for lighting designers
  • About current research in the area of lighting

Who this course is for

This programme is suited both for recent graduates and early or mid-career professionals looking to expand their knowledge in the field. People passionate about lighting are welcome to apply. Applicants tend to come from backgrounds in architecture, interior design, industrial design, engineering, science, arts and theatre subjects. However, we encourage all prospective students with an interest in lighting to apply.

What this course will give you

As a student you will benefit from: 

  • Studying in London, the world’s centre for architectural lighting
  • Access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities including the Bartlett Lighting Simulator, an advanced sunlight and daylight modelling facility employing both computer simulation and a sophisticated variable luminance artificial sky
  • Our long-standing track-record of excellence in lighting research
  • Our close ties with professional bodies and links with practices and manufacturers across the UK, providing regular inspiration for live projects

This Masters is taught at the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering in The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources, home to specialist institutes in energy, environmental design and engineering, resources and heritage. 

The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment brings together the multidisciplinary specialisms required to research, understand, design, construct and operate the built environment of the future. The QS World University Rankings (2022) places The Bartlett as #1 for Architecture/Built Environment studies in the UK and #3 in the World. The Bartlett's research received the UK's most world-leading ratings for Built Environment research in the most recent Research Excellence Framework.

The foundation of your career

We have a rich network of alumni who have who have progressed or made a career in the lighting industry. Our graduates now work in global engineering consultancies, lighting design practices, architecture offices and luminaire manufacturers. A number of students have also used the MSc as a foundation for MPhil/PhD research. You can read about their experiences in our alumni profiles.

Several alumni have gone on to win international awards in the field of lighting, including the Light Play prize at the Total Lighting Show, the RHS Silver Gilt Medal and Lighting Designer of the Year. A number of graduates have also received the Society of Light and Lighting's Young Lighters of the Year award. 


This degree gives you a comprehensive package of lighting knowledge widely employed across industry. During the Master's we welcome design practitioners, manufacturers and researchers to give presentations. This puts you in touch with the lighting innovators, sharing the latest from industry and giving added depth to your studies through their practice.  


The Light and Lighting MSc has been accredited by the United Kingdom's 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.

The course is recognised by the American National Council on Qualifications for the Lighting Professions - NCQLP, making it easier for students achieve LC Certification.

Teaching and learning

The programme has lectures and tutorials, complemented by project work. Modules are assessed through coursework such as essays and design projects, as well as written examinations. Students will complete a 10,000-word dissertation.

In terms 1 and 2 full-time students can typically expect between 8 and 15 contact hours per teaching week through lectures, workshops and tutorials. In term 3 students will be completing their own dissertation research, keeping regular contact with their dissertation supervisors.

Outside of lectures students typically study the equivalent of a full-time job, using their remaining time for self-directed study and completing coursework assignments.


You will take seven compulsory modules which will provide you with the knowledge and skills that underpin lighting research and design, including lighting fundamentals, applied calculations, lighting research skills and the use of lighting simulation equipment. You will also complete lighting design projects in Terms 1 and 2.

Since 2020, new modules in Evolution of Lighting Design and Advanced Lighting Control Design have been added to the Programme. The Evolution of Lighting Design module includes the evolution of design philosophies over time and lighting principles relevant to ancient and modern town planning. In the Advanced Lighting Control Design 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.

All students will complete a research dissertation. You will undertake a research or design project that will allow you to demonstrate a deep understanding of the lighting knowledge base which will lead to an dissertation worth a third of the MSc.

Throughout the programme you will have the opportunity to undertake project work and design work, both on an individual basis and as part of a group. Design briefs are drawn from real-world lighting projects and engage with professionals in the field.

Part time students take the course over two years, typically taking four modules in the first year and four modules and the dissertation in second year.

Flexible students take all eight of their modules and complete their dissertation research within with between 2 and 5 years of starting the programme. Flexible students will be encouraged to discuss their plan for completing the MSc with the Programme Lead.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Light and Lighting.


The programme may include visits to sites, laboratories, and other facilities to study lighting. 


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Light and Lighting MSc

Are you interested in making our buildings, towns and cities better places to live in? Do you want to help make them more sustainable, healthier, more efficient and productive? Our specialist Master’s degrees can take you there. Join one of our virtual open days for Environmental Design and Engineering MSc, Health, Wellbeing and Sustainable Buildings MSc, Smart Buildings and Digital Engineering MSc, and Light and Lighting MSc.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £18,000 £9,000
Tuition fees (2023/24) £32,100 £16,050

Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

Students are expected to pay for local travel near the university. Travel for events outside London is provided if it forms part of the taught degree.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

UCL offers a range of financial awards aimed at assisting both prospective and current students with their studies.

Additional funding is available from our Institute and Faculty and is advertised on  the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering scholarships page and The Bartlett scholarships page.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Bartlett Promise Scholarship - Master's

Deadline: 31 May 2023
Value: Tuition fees plus £15,364 maintenance/yr (Duration of programme)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

Bartlett Promise Sub-Saharan Africa Masters Scholarship

Deadline: 31 March 2023
Value: Fees, stipend and other allowances (Duration of programme)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

Rising Leader in Sustainable Business Scholarship

Deadline: 14 July 2023
Value: £6,000 towards fees (1yr)
Criteria Based on academic merit
Eligibility: UK, EU, Overseas

Next steps

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Light and Lighting at graduate level
  • why you want to study Light and Lighting at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.