UCL Graduate degrees


Smart Energy and the Built Environment MSc

A new relationship between how we produce, supply and consume energy in our buildings is required to transform global energy systems and reduce carbon emissions. UCL’s new interdisciplinary Smart Energy and the Built Environment MSc (SEBE) will train you to be at the forefront of this revolution in energy and the built environment.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2021

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years
Flexible: 2-5 years

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

Application dates

Visa nationals
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 31 May 2021
Non-visa nationals
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 30 July 2021
Applications may close earlier if all places on the programme are filled.

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£14,300 (FT)
£7,150 (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.

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

Entry requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline (for example physics, engineering, mathematics, geography, psychology, social science, architecture, planning or economics) or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard is required. Applicants with a different degree discipline but a minimum of 3 years of relevant experience are welcome to apply and will be assessed on an individual basis.

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: Good

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: 

  • The key concepts of smart energy and the built environment, set in the context of the wider energy system. 
  • The principles of building performance, their energy systems and of distributed energy system assets, e.g. storage and renewables.
  • The role of the smart energy system for society, its structure and regulation.
  • The role of individual behaviour and social structures, new business models, energy data and IoT technologies.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of five compulsory modules (75 credits), three optional modules (45 credits), and a dissertation (60 credits)

A Postgraduate Diploma, five compulsory modules (75 credits), three optional modules (45 credits). Full time (nine months), Part-time (two years) and flexible (up to five years) study is offered.

A Postgraduate Certificate, four modules (60 credits), Part-time (one year) and flexible (up to two years) study is offered.

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

  • Fundamentals of Smart Energy and the Built Environment (15 credits)
  • Energy Systems in Society (15 credits)
  • Introduction to Smart Energy Data and Statistics (15 credits)
  • Modelling Community Energy Systems (15 credits)
  • Smart Distributed Energy Systems (15 credits)

Please note all modules are subject to availability.

Optional modules

45 credits of options drawn from the following:

  • Data Analytics in the Smart Built Environment (15 credits)
  • Social Value and New Energy Business Models (15 credits)
  • Systems Thinking and System Dynamics (15 credits)
  • UK Energy and Environment Policy and Law (15 credits)
  • Industrial Symbiosis (15 credits)
  • Energy, Environment and Resources in Developing Countries (15 credits)
  • Energy, People and Behaviour (15 credits)
  • Business and Sustainability (15 credits)
  • Metrics, Modelling and Visualisation of the Resource Nexus (15 credits)

Please note all modules are subject to availability.

Dissertation/research project

You will complete an independent research project, culminating in a dissertation of 10,000-words, on a topic chosen by you, in agreement with the programme director.


The core module Fundamentals of Smart Energy and the Built Environment includes a site visit to help you to put your learnings into the context of a real situation. This will be to either a relevant low-energy development, a retrofit project or laboratory within a day-trip distance of UCL. 

Teaching and learning

Lectures, seminars and online content are complemented by a strong emphasis on learning by doing: applying knowledge to case studies and problems in workshops and tutorials. Assessment includes written examination, presentations, and written reports in the styles of academic papers, policy recommendations and a consultancy report.

Additional costs

Students will need to provide their own laptops. A high specification is not required, and students will be informed of the minimum specification in advance. No specialist software will need to be purchased.

If you are concerned by potential additional costs for books, equipment, etc. on this programme, please get in touch with the programme administration team by emailing bseer-studentqueries@ucl.ac.uk.

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 UCL Energy Institute’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.


There has been significant global investment into smart energy systems, low carbon technologies, novel strategies to manage energy demand, and the integration of generation and storage into the built environment. These are supported by rapid advancements in digital technologies to make systems more connected, intelligent and reliable. To design and commission these systems, highly skilled specialists with a deep understanding of the nature of energy demand in the built environment are required.

SEBE MSc is designed to prepare you for a career in:

  • Energy consultancies 
  • Public sector
  • NGOs
  • Energy start-ups 
  • Institutions which value expertise in energy and the built environment. 


The programme is developed with employability as a key priority, with a focus on skills relevant to workplaces in the sector. We address both technical and transferable skills, including statistics and data analysis, modelling, communication skills, critical thinking and social sciences. Our research-based curriculum teaches you how to undertake independent research, identify research questions and design a project to answer them, plus how to gather, organise and analyse evidence effectively, strengthening both your critical and your creative thinking skills. You will be encouraged to develop your own solutions to energy problems through both individual assignments and group work, collaborating with peers.

Why study this degree at UCL?

This Master’s will provide you with an understanding of the energy system, its smart, flexible operation, and the role of the built environment in this. You will learn the fundamentals of this field through physical, social and data-driven approaches. You will develop an understanding of the opportunities for business, and you will be able to support policy making in the transition to a net zero carbon energy system. Industry experts will be invited to give guest lectures to ground your learning in real world application as well as to keep you up-to-date with the latest in the field.

We aim to support you to develop an exciting career and make an impact by reducing carbon emissions and enhance the quality of life of building occupants. The programme brings together physical and social perspectives of energy demand and supply. This will help you understand how the sociotechnical system of local energy can be designed and commissioned to deliver effective policies and economic priorities. You will learn how key components of a smart energy system work, integrate and interact with energy policy and business opportunities, including building energy efficiency, renewable energy, decentralisation, Internet of Things (IoT), storage and energy market design.

UCL Energy Institute is part of The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources – home to specialist institutes in energy, environment, resources and heritage. The Bartlett is the UK's largest multidisciplinary Faculty of the Built Environment, bringing together scientific and professional specialisms required to research, understand, design, construct and operate the buildings and urban environments of the future.

The QS World University Rankings (2020) ranks The Bartlett, as #1 for Architecture/Built Environment studies in the UK and #3 in the World. The Bartlett’s research received the most world-leading ratings for research on the Built Environment in the UK in the most recent Research Excellence Framework.

Department: Bartlett School of Environment, Energy & Resources

Subscribe to the StudyUCL YouTube channel to learn more about life and studying at UCL.

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?

Students from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds are encouraged to join the MSc SEBE: energy and the built environment is a multidisciplinary subject. We are seeking a cohort of students from a diverse range of backgrounds including physics and related physical sciences, engineering, mathematics, geography, psychology, social science, architecture, planning and economics. You should hold an Upper Second Class first degree in one of these disciplines. 

We also welcome applications from those with a different degree discipline and a minimum of 3 years of relevant experience.

Application deadlines

Visa nationals
31 May 2021
Non-visa nationals
30 July 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 Smart Energy and the Built Environment at graduate level
  • why you want to study Smart Energy and the Built Environment at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this 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.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 28 August 2021