Sustainable Built Environment

Master of Sustainable Built Environment

Prog. Code: 
1.7 years full-time


Professional Recognition


Delivery Options

Full-time, Part-time

Apply the principles of sustainable development to the planning, design, construction and management of future cities

*This program is suspended and the final intake will be T3 2020. From 2021, you will be able to study Sustainable Built Environment courses as electives in Architecture, City Planning, Construction Project Management, Landscape Architecture, and Property and Development.

This degree will enhance your knowledge and skills in applying the principles of sustainable development to the planning, design, construction and management of the 21st-century city.

Education for sustainability is about empowering professionals to take on the challenge, it is transformative rather than merely transmissive, it is holistic and driven by critical thinking, and ultimately is about becoming a champion for change. The task begins with ways of thinking as well as considering the differing value systems and cultures which influence the ways communities shape their built environments.

The Master of Sustainable Built Environment provides the opportunity to explore these challenges in depth and adapt them to the needs of diverse professional and cultural settings. This program takes a global view and places it in a local context. It is both academically interdisciplinary and linked to practical application in industry.

Key Information

Program details

The Master of Sustainable Built Environment is a 1.7-year program consisting of 1 Research Project or Integrated Design Studio and 10 courses (72 Units Of Credit/UOC).

The program includes:

  • 1 Research Project or an Integrated Design Studio.
  • 4 Core Courses
  • 6 Elective Courses (If choosing the research project, one elective course is replaced with a research seminar course).  

Research Project 
In your final semester of study, you'll devise and independently undertake a major thesis project, where you'll focus on a particular area of specialised interest and build further depth and expertise to the critical ideas and knowledge you have already gained. You'll also complete a research seminar which will provide you with a range of research-based tools needed to complete the major research project.  

Integrated Design Studio
If you choose to undertake the Integrated Design Studio, you'll work together in teams with colleagues from the School of Engineering on real world, industry-linked projects focused on the integrated design of sustainable, high-performance buildings. 

Key Areas of Study
Sustainability and Habitability
Resources, Materials and Sustainability
Energy and the Built Environment
Sustainable Development

For course listing, descriptions and timetables please see the UNSW Online Handbook. 



Environmental Auditor training
UNSW is an Exemplar Global Certified TPECS* Provider for the following competency units:

  • Exemplar Global – AU – Management Systems Auditing; and

  • Exemplar Global - EM - Environmental Management Systems.

Satisfactory completion of these competency units meets the training and examination requirements for certification with Exemplar Global as an Environmental Auditor.

The specific level of auditor certification initially achievable will depend on the applicant’s work experience and also prior auditing experience (if any).

*(TPECS =Training Provider and Examiner Certification Scheme)

Green Star Accredited Professional (GSAP) training

  • UNSW has embedded the Green Star Design & As Built Foundation course into SUSD0003 Energy and the Built Environment from second semester 2014 (UNSW pays the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) presenter the standard sessional lecture rate).

  • The course is taught over a day – half lecture, half workshop.

  • In order for students to take the exam to become a Green Star Accredited Professional (GSAP) at a discounted price ($99 instead of $150) GBCA proposes that students enrol in the Future Green leaders program (free of charge) which will give them access to a range of discounts if under the age of 30. Future Green Leaders will also give them access to the technical manuals they will need to review in order to sit the exam.

  • UNSW pay an accreditation fee to GBCA equivalent to membership fee.

Infrastructure Sustainability Accredited Professional (ISAP) training

  • Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) provides required training to students enrolled in BENV7732 Sustainable Infrastructure and Transport (UNSW pays the ISCA Trainer standard guest lecture rate for the lecturing component).

  • Students receive the IS Technical Manual as part of this training. Students can sit for the exam to become an Infrastructure Sustainability Accredited Professional (ISAP) by paying a discounted fee ($100). ISAPs become part of the ISAP network including the LinkedIn group.

  • UNSW School of Built Environment pays an accreditation fee to ISCA equivalent to membership (note that this membership relates to the School, not the University, to save costs). So in addition to the ISAP training for students, the School receives the usual benefits of ISCA membership.

Career opportunities

Career opportunities
Graduates of this program pursue careers across a wide spectrum of positions in federal, state or local government agencies, as sustainability professionals in the built environment industry, in non-government organisations (NGOs) and as self-employed consultants.

Related Degrees
Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Built Environment
Graduate Diploma in Sustainable Built Environment


Why UNSW School of Built Environment
  • Professional accreditation
  • Graduate Certificate entry available with progression to Graduate Diploma
  • Specialised streams
  • Interdisciplinary projects
  • Top 27 in the world and 4th in Australia in Architecture/Built Environment (QS World University Rankings, 2020)
  • World class alumni connections
  • We're a global top 50 university. UNSW ranked in the top 50 universities worldwide (QS World University Rankings, 2020)
  • UNSW has the Most Employable Students (Winner, Australian Financial Review Most Employable Students Award 2020)
  • We're ranked 13th in the world and 2nd in Australia for Employer Reputation in Built Environment
  • Member of prestigious Group of Eight (Go8) universities
  • Strong industry links and partnerships
Entry requirements

To be eligible for this program you must have: 

  • An four year undergraduate degree with a Credit average or above (WAM 65+ or equivalent) in a relevant field such as Built Environment disciplines or related areas such as environmental science or engineering.
How to apply

All domestic and international students can apply for postgraduate coursework online:

  • Apply online (International students must pay an application fee of $125.)

Application deadlines:

  • Term 1 (February) - apply by 30 November*
  • Term 3 (September) - apply by 31 July

Late applications may be accepted after the closing dates subject to the availability of places.

If you gain entry into a program at UNSW, you can then be assessed for transfer credit for courses (subjects) studied in your previous degree. 

Fees and expenses
Our students

A particular highlight was being able to take part in the UNSW IHHR inaugural International Intensive Course on Health Development and Human Rights, with visiting professors from Harvard and other leading institutions

Matthew Trigg, Alumnus