School of Art, Design and Architecture

MSc High Performance Buildings

Gain the knowledge and skills you need for a successful career at the leading edge of the building discipline, working towards the best products and processes in the industry. You'll develop the expertise needed to address challenges such as climate change, quality of life and the new economic reality.

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Key features

  • Join a programme that aims to set new international standards in building performance. Move beyond the ‘green buildings’ or ‘sustainability’ paradigms – these are embedded in this programme, but we give you a more holistic view. We combine a solid grounding in core aspects such as energy efficiency with a wider context that includes the economic, socio-cultural and historic dimensions.
  • Help tackle some of the key challenges that face the building industry, such as the new economic reality, quality of life, climate change, and population growth.
  • Gain expertise in the key enabling technologies of building performance simulation, building information modelling and energy management.
  • Get inspired through research-informed teaching. All staff contributing to this programme are part of a research group that runs projects funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), European Union, InnovateUK, Leverhulme Trust and others.
  • Interact with various stakeholders in the building domain, including design and engineering companies, contractors, property developers, facility managers, and governmental organisations.
  • Expand your network through special interest groups that focus both on industry as well as research.
  • Become part of a vibrant multidisciplinary school. Part of this programme allows you to explore modules of our Masters in Architecture (MArch) programme.

Course details

  • Programme overview
  • This research-informed programme aims to provide you with an opportunity to develop proficiency in the quantification of building performance and the application of the performance concept throughout the building life cycle. It covers existing and novel technologies, fabrication and construction methods for buildings, as well as financial and economic drivers that govern the life cycle of high-performance buildings. 

    The programme covers building performance in the technical context, but also from a socio-economic, aesthetic or cultural perspective. You develop the skills and knowledge needed to use building performance simulation tools, to collect data from existing buildings through monitoring and verification, and to carry out post-occupancy evaluation. You are also trained in optimisation, fault detection and control of building systems.

    Core modules
    • HPB702 Emerging Construction Technology

    • HPB703 Smart and Intelligent Buildings

      This module equips students with a comprehensive understanding of building operation. It provides a basis in building monitoring, performance tracking, fault detection and diagnosis, and optimization and control. Furthermore, the module will provide students with tools like Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) and Measurement and Verification (M&V) in order to manage the operation of buildings.

    • HPB704 Advanced Building Performance Simulation

      This module builds up both the theoretical and practical understanding of computational techniques to analyse building performance. It covers building science, modelling and simulation, and validation and verification. Students will experiment with a number of simulation tools, data presentation and analysis, and compare and contrast computational results with measured data.

    • HPB705 Performance Finance and Investment

    • HPB706 Performative Architecture

      This module investigates the position of High Performance Buildings within the wider context of design. It explores non-technical paradigms on performance, such as social and historical cohesion, integrity, sophistication, creativity, and public perception. This will equip students with a strong foundation to reflect on, and further develop, their understanding of High Performance Buildings.

    • HPB707 High Performance Buildings Research Project

      This module lets students research a subject of their choice, relevant to High Performance Buildings, in depth. The research project takes the form of a research project and allows students to demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, to act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level, to make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and to communicate their conclusions.

    • HPB708 Theory of High Performance Buildings

      This module provides students with a systematic understanding of building performance and its quantification. It develops a critical understanding of High Performance Buildings as the cutting edge of building design, construction and operation. It introduces systems engineering, performance indicators, and benchmarking. Students will gain appreciation of the complex interplay between requirements, building functions and performance.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MSc High Performance Buildings Programme Specification 2018 19 5393

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

The admissions policy and procedures are in place to ensure that applicants have the intellectual ability, motivation and, where appropriate, the professional experience to benefit from, and contribute to, the MSc in High Performance Buildings.

The normal minimum qualification is an upper second-class bachelor's degree (2.1) from a UK university in engineering, science, mathematics, or a discipline related to building. Other qualifications supplemented with relevant industrial experience will also be considered.

International students require a suitable academic profile as well as an English language score of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.

Application process

  • To be considered for entry onto the programme, you'll need to submit the following:
  • A completed application form.
  • An official copy of your transcript for your completed degree studies.
  • A statement of interest outlining why you want to study at Plymouth University and what you believe you will contribute to our programme.
  • A Curriculum Vitae that describes your academic qualifications, any work experience, and any other personal work relevant to your application.
  • Two suitable references (at least one from your former university). 

If you would like additional information please contact admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.


Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

New Student 2019 2020
Home/EU £8,240 £9,800
International £14,400 £14,800
Part time (Home/EU) £460 £550
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

How to apply

When to apply

Most of our taught programmes begin in September. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full. 

Before you apply

Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance.

Disability services

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website. 

International students

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Submitting an application

Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page).

What happens after I apply?

You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.

We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail.

If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858
Email: admissions@plymouth.ac.uk 

Admissions policy

More information and advice for applicants can be referenced by downloading our Student Admissions Policy Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

Career opportunities

Our graduates are in a unique position to work in integrated design project teams, in building energy/facility management, or in the building services area, or to continue towards postgraduate research.

Your programme leader

Professor Pieter de Wilde is Associate Head of School in the School of Art, Design and Architecture and programme manager for the MSc High Performance Buildings. 

Pieter is author of the book, Building Performance Analysis, on which much of the teaching is based and is Secretary of the board of The International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBPSA) and chair of The European Group for Intelligent Computing in Engineering (EG-ICE). All our teaching staff are members of research groups that run projects funded by the EPSRC, EU, InnovateUK, Leverhulme Trust among others. 

Any questions? email pieter.dewilde@plymouth.ac.uk

Our staff