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MSc Architecture, Urbanism & Climate Action

2024 Details

Programme Commencing:

September 2024

Programme duration:

1 year full time

MSc Architecture, Urbanism & Climate Action

Urban environments and their buildings are at once both acutely responsible for the climate crisis, and present some of the most achievable solutions. Climate action is urgently required to mitigate their environmental impact and unearth creative solutions.

This MSc programme equips graduates and returning professionals with specialist skills to respond to the challenge of planning, designing, and actioning a sustainable built environment. The School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy (APEP) brings together four key disciplines to provide a unique graduate learning experience.



The UCD School of Architecture, Planning & Environmental Policy has an established international track record as a leading research centre in sustainable building and city research with large national and international funded projects. It is in the Top 150 QS World University Rankings by subject area, and has long led the way in architectural study and practice in Ireland.


The School of Architecture, Planning & Environmental Policy offers dedicated studio space for its students, a dedicated architecture library and map room, access to fully equipped computer facilities, a building laboratory space with a wide range of equipment including laser cutters and a CNC router, and access to monitoring and simulation equipment in the Earth Institute.


Architecture at UCD is highly attractive to students due to the exposure to world leading researchers and the significant career prospects.

  • O’Donnell + Tuomey, RIBA Gold Medal Winners 2015
  • UCD is ranked in the top 1% of higher education institutes worldwide.
  • Degrees with high employability with dedicated careers support.
  • Alumni & Adjunct Professors, Shelley MacNamara & Yvonne Farrell Grafton Architects, Winners of RIBA International Prize
  • Ireland’s largest and most international university.
  • Established in 1854 with 160 years of teaching and research excellence.

What will I study?

Core modules are specifically designed to enhance knowledge of Sustainable Development Goals, climate science and policy as well as skills for sustainable building and urban design. Options will allows students choose from a wide range of architecture, planning and policy based modules, as well as energy and sustainability modules from around the University. Linking to prestigious industry-collaborative research projects will allow students action their research and knowledge to advance careers in sustainable practice, consultancy, policy and academia.

In the final trimester students will complete a linked research project. This can take the following 3 forms;
Option 1: Placement with a linked employer. The student will undertake a programme of work for an industry or public body. The work will be agreed between the student, academic supervisor and the placement host if a suitable option is available.
Option 2: Working on established industry-collaborative research projects as part of a research team in the fields of architecture or urbanism, or related areas including; energy efficient buildings, smart cities, climate action policy research etc.
Option 3: Individual study in a research area of choosing by the student and agreed with the module coordinator.

The pathway mode involves part-time study in the autumn and spring of years 1 and 2, and in the spring and summer of the final year. This may be completed in three to four (maximum) academic years.

Core Modules Include: 

  • Architecture and Climate Change
  • Sustainable Built Environments
  • GIS for Policy and Planning
  • Urban Design Theory
  • Research Methods into Action

Career Opportunities:

The range of climate change response, and environmental sustainability, related careers is broadening. This sector is set to expand rapidly in coming years. This MSc gives students a unique set of skills to allow them stay ahead of the curve and apply for exciting and fulfilling job opportunities. Potential careers include sustainable architecture and practice, sustainability consultancy, engineering consultancy, energy efficiency agency, public and environmental policy, sustainable development, energy supply and management and NGOs. This MSc can be a springboard into exciting careers in research and academia. It will allow students pursue further research opportunities into anthropologic and architectural responses to climate change. High achieving masters students will also be invited to continue onto PhD study in UCD either via in-house project opportunities or by applying for funding through national funding schemes.

A message from our Programme Director:
Oliver Kinnane
I established this masters programme because I believe strongly that we need to act now to dramatically reduce the unsustainable stresses we are placing on our planet. To achieve this we need graduates who will act for change. Particularly we need to change how we design, construct and livein our buildings and cities. We need to establish an urbanism that is sparing of energy and natural resources. I am an avid researcher and educator. I studied both engineering and architecture and have worked in energy, industrial and product design. I run national and international research projects that evaluate unsustainable practice and design and develop solutions. My teaching is primarily research led particularly at graduate level. My research is essentially transdisciplinary, drawing on a wide range of interests and a multidisciplinary background.
Dr. Oliver Kinnane

Entry Requirements:

A primary undergraduate degree with a minimum upper second class honours (NFQ level 8; minimum GPA 3.08) or international equivalent in subjects related to the built environment including architecture, urban design, engineering, environmental sciences, or humanity degrees involving social or natural sciences.
Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 6.5 (no band less than 6.0 in each element), or equivalent.

Other programmes of interest:

Master of Architecture MSc Environmental Technology MSc Urban Design & Planning ME Energy Systems

More Information:

See course details How to Apply Fee Information Ms Katie O'Neill
+353 1 716 1781
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