UCL Graduate degrees


Smart Buildings and Digital Engineering MSc

UCL’s Smart Buildings and Digital Engineering MSc explores how digital engineering can create smarter buildings that are better for their occupants and the environment. Drawing upon our world-leading research and exploiting our strong industry connections, this Master's provides you with the knowledge and skills to excel in relevant industry roles and academia.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2021

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years
Flexible: up to 5 years

Full-time students study for 37.5 hours per week during term time. Typically, lectures and seminars occur on two days per week. Part-time and Flexible mode students normally attend half this amount.

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 31 May 2021
Close: 31 May 2021
Applications may close earlier if all places on the programme are filled.

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£16,000 (FT)
£8,000 (PT)
£28,500 (FT)
£14,250 (PT)

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

Optional qualifications: This degree is also available as a PG Diploma and a PG Certificate with fees set accordingly.

This MSc has been accredited as suitable further learning to meet the academic requirement for Chartered Engineers (CEng) professional registration by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE).

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A second-class or higher UK Bachelor's degree, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, is required.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Standard

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

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.

International students

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.

Select your country:

About this degree

You will learn about integrated building design, advanced modelling and simulation, machine learning in buildings, and performance evaluation. Whilst studying Smart Buildings and Digital Engineering you will develop the expertise to utilise hard-edged engineering methods, quantitative and qualitative tools to test and evolve your designs, integrating quantitative performance considerations. This Master’s is informed by the latest research advances and the evolving needs of the industry.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of six compulsory modules (90 credits), two optional modules (30 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits).

A Postgraduate Diploma, six compulsory modules (90 credits), two optional modules (30 credits), full-time up to nine months or flexible/modular up to five years is offered.

A Postgraduate Certificate, four modules (60 credits) - of which at least three selected from the Core Modules, - full-time nine months or flexible/modular up to five years is offered.

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Smart Buildings and Digital Engineering. Upon successful completion of 120 credits, you will be awarded a PG Dip in Smart Buildings and Digital Engineering. Upon successful completion of 60 credits, you will be awarded a PG Cert in Smart Buildings and Digital Engineering.

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 is subject to change.

Compulsory modules

  • Engineered Environmental Elements (15 credits)
  • Building System Physics (15 credits)
  • Integrated Building Design for Health and Wellbeing (15 credits)
  • Building Systems Modelling (15 credits)
  • Integrated Building Systems Simulation (15 credits)
  • Machine Learning in Smart Buildings (15 credits)

Optional modules

Students choose two optional modules offered by the Department. An indicative list of optional modules (subject to availability and capacity constraints) is:

  • Indoor air quality in buildings (15 credits)
  • Light, lighting and wellbeing in buildings (15 credits)
  • Multi-objective design optimisation (15 credits)
  • Building acoustics (15 credits)
  • Low-energy housing retrofit (15 credits)
  • Advanced lighting control design (15 credits)
  • Mathematical modelling methods for the built environment (15 credits)
  • Energy systems modelling (15 credits)

Please note that all modules are subject to availability, and the approval of the relevant Programme Leader is required.

Dissertation/research project

All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a 10,000-word dissertation (60 credits).


Students will have the opportunity to participate in a field trip in term one which will include a mix of workshops, seminars and team building activities. There will also be opportunities to participate in site visits throughout the duration of the programme.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, problem-based learning and project work. 

Assessment is through a combination of methods:

  • Written coursework
  • Individual and group-based project work
  • Group work with a design component
  • Unseen examinations
  • Dissertation

Additional costs

The costs of the field trip are covered by the department. Site visits that are within the Transport for London area and which are optional may incur additional transport costs.

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


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


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

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

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

Bartlett Promise Scholarship - Master's

Deadline: 31 May 2021
Tuition fees plus £15,364 maintenance/yr (Duration of programme)
Based on financial need

Lamport Hall Preservation Trust Scholarship

Deadline: 16 July 2021
Up to £10,000 (Duration of programme)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

GREAT Scholarships for a Sustainable Future

Deadline: 5pm (BST), Thursday 21 April 2021
£10,000 (1 year)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

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


Successful graduates will be equipped with the skills and knowledge required for engineering and specialist roles in companies that provide engineering, design, planning and consulting services for the built environment.

Other sectors that will be particularly interested in employing graduates from this Master’s include:

  • Companies that specialise in building services engineering, operations, building controls and energy systems.
  • High-tech companies seeking to deliver disruptive solutions and digital innovation in the built environment.
  • Public sector agencies and government departments concerned with the built environment, resource efficiency, and energy management.

The programme also provides an ideal foundation for further doctoral and industrial research pathways.


You will gain core knowledge and hands-on experience with monitoring and energy management systems and applying industry standards. You will use simulation tools including EnergyPlus, DesignBuilder and will become familiar with modelling languages like Modelica. These skills are highly sought after.

Members of the industry provide guidance to ensure teaching content and project briefs are relevant to industry needs. We regularly invite members of industry to give guest lectures to enhance your learning experience.

You will gain the confidence to undertake large interdisciplinary projects with many unknowns and uncertainties, learning to coordinate work, integrate across disciplines, and make balanced decisions, thus preparing you for professional life.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL’s Smart Buildings and Digital Engineering MSc offers exceptional university graduates the opportunity to become experts in this innovative and developing discipline. We aspire to generate technology leaders, capable of delivering high-performance solutions in the engineering design of building systems.

This Master’s is delivered by 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 brings together the multidisciplinary specialisms required to research, understand, design, construct and operate buildings and urban environments of the future. The QS World University Rankings (2021) ranks The Bartlett, our faculty, as #1 for Architecture/Built Environment studies in the UK and #2 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.

As you student at the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering you will benefit from:

  • A world leading, multidisciplinary learning environment. 
  • Studying in London, the centre of open innovation and the biggest cluster of engineering and architectural consultancies.
  • Our Institute’s long-standing track-record of excellence in building design and engineering research.
  • Our long-standing strong established relationships with industry, policy makers and academia, who often give lectures and attend networking events. 
  • Our extensive alumni network, now within many of London and UK’s major building engineering firms.
  • An inclusive environment that promotes global citizenship, and an ethos of equality and diversity.


This MSc has been accredited as suitable further learning to meet the academic requirement for Chartered Engineers (CEng) professional registration by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE).

Department: Bartlett School of Environment, Energy & Resources

Application and 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.

This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.

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: ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

You will have an engineering or science background and will aspire to drive engineering innovation in the built environment.

The programme is also relevant to early and mid-career professionals looking to expand their technical skills and knowledge and keep abreast of the latest developments in their field.

Application deadlines

All applicants
31 May 2021
31 May 2021

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study at graduate level Smart Buildings and Digital Engineering
  • why you want to study Smart Buildings and Digital Engineering 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.

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Page last modified on 28 August 2021