MSc Modern Building Design: A survival manual

Posted in: msc, Postgraduate

Author: Sabine Kamill, MSc Modern Building Design -


The term ‘Modern Building Design’ comprises of modern ways to tackle new buildings. Hence, the course is about liberating oneself from traditional ways of planning and discovering new innovative ways to design buildings with a focus on sustainability. In this blog post, I am going to tell you about my personal experience of the course and give some tips on how to spend your time the most productive.

1) Prepare yourself

Futurelearn is an online platform with recorded presentations and lectures. Some Master's programmes of the University of Bath are participating here as well, including Modern Building Design.

You will not only learn some of the upcoming course’s subjects but also get to know your future lecturers. It gives you the best possibility to see what you will learn during your course in Bath.

You can find the link to the online course here.

2) Get your software skills right

During the first semester you will get to understand what intelligent modelling means. It will start very basic with Excel courses on how to create spreadsheets such as the one that the Passive House Institute created, PHPP. From there on, you will learn dynamic modelling tools with special focus on building physics. This means, that you will do a lot of 3D-modelling to eventually calculate thermal comfort impacts, energy outputs of renewables, internal heat gains and the list goes on and on.

But no worries! You will learn everything from the beginning so that everyone in the course is treated equally and has the same skills and knowledge.

3) No need for any frustration

What I appreciate the most about this course is the devotion and support we get from our tutors. I can simply salute the way they teach by being comprehensive and patient not only during the lectures but also outside the course. Therefore, my course mates and I totally agree that we have not experienced this kind of support before.

Also, the University of Bath provides the Wellbeing Service where professionals are on hand with help and advises if you have got any issues.

4) You will get to experience the construction industry

I believe that one of the main reasons why people join this program is the inclusion of a placement which takes place during summer. As a matter of fact, I am right now in London and working on a research project at an architectural and structural engineering office. The work I do here contributes to my master's dissertation and is very practical, i.e., everything I have learned in the course during the last months, I am putting into practice.

Therefore, the course is popular among architects and civil engineers. The University has great contacts with companies which you can meet on career events on campus.

Some additional tips:

  • Sort your accommodation out and find one that suits you well so you can concentrate on your studies better (see the blog post about finding a suitable accommodation here)
  • No need to spend money on printers. Most of the presentations we did were digital
  • Be in contact with everyone in the course. Do not just hang around with one group of people but speak to everyone in the class. Engage with the others as the course is a mix of architects and civil engineers. As an architect, you can get to know so much more insight into civil engineers and contrariwise. Also, you never know who your best friend can be!
  • Attend as much as auxiliary lectures you can. The Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering continually invite lecturers, industrial partners or researchers to hold lectures at the University of Bath. Most of the time, the lectures are about new innovative ideas or ways to tackle things in the ACE industry (Architecture, Construction, Engineering)
Students smiling at the camera with their tutor on the top of the Shard, London
On the top of the Shard during a trip to London after a hard year of study (PS: Can you spot one of our tutors?)

Posted in: msc, Postgraduate

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