and Share

Getting in touch and visiting:

Can I visit IESD before applying?
Are there any specific open days when I can meet students and staff?
Can I call to discuss my application in more detail?

Fees and funding:

What are the course fees?
How do I pay my fees?
Do you offer studentships, or bursaries?
I_am_a_UK_citizen_working abroad - do I qualify for Home Status?

Entry qualifications and future prospects:

Which careers do students move into after graduating?
What_is_meant_by_having_a_good_degree 'second class and above'?
Is my degree relevant for Climate Change and Sustainable Development?    
         ,,                  ,,        Energy and Industrial Sustainability? 
         ,,                  ,,        Energy_and Sustainable Building Design?
What level of mathematics is required?
I have studied something similar to one of the modules elsewhere, can I be exempt from any modules?
My English is below IELTS 6.5 but I would still like to study, what are my options?
I like some of the modules, but don't want to study towards an MSc - what are my options?

While studying:

How many hours of study must I put in?
For_Energy_and_Sustainable_Building Design, what software is needed?
Which subjects are chosen for dissertations, and can I pick my own?
Can I pick modules in any order?
How are the course assignments arranged / how is the course assesed?
Must I attend a Viva for my dissertation?

If you have any other questions, in the first instance please contact

Getting in touch and visiting:

Can I visit IESD before applying?

Of course you can, we're very friendly, committed to sustainability and enjoy discussing it, and delighted to meet all potential students. We'd like to know your aspirations and make sure that this is the right MSc for you. We can arrange for you to meet course leaders to discuss your application in more detail, and to give you a chance to ask more about what we offer. We can show you course material, sample assignments, and there is often a chance on Wednesdays or Thursdays to sit in on lectures, and meet current students. It's best to contact us in advance so that we can make sure to be around for when you visit. Visit this page for contact details of  course leaders. 

Are there any specific open days when I can meet students and staff?

There are open days for postgraduates which are announced on the DMU website, but we don't hold you to these dates and are happy to meet prospective students at any time. There is also an induction day, held in September, where all new students can attend, including Distance Learning students. On this day new students are also invited to see some of the dissertation presentations made by students who are completing thier MSc.  

If I enrol as a distance learner can I visit?

This is absolutely fine, you are welcome to visit before enrolling, as described above, and you are welcome to attend any of the lecturers that the attending students do, as well as meet the staff and other students. Once again, please feel free to visit. Visit this page for contact details of  course leaders. 

Can I call to discuss my application in more detail?

Of course! Course Leaders contact details are on the IESD website, it is also fine to contact any module leaders directly with specific questions. We can speak by landline or skype.  Visit this page for contact details.

Fees and funding:

What are the course fees?

Indicative fees for all IESD MSc courses can be found here:

Climate Change and Sustainable Development:

Emergy and Industrial Sustainability

Energy and Sustainable Building Design

Course fees sometimes change from year to year, so please also contact for confirmation of what your fees will be.

How do I pay my fees?

You will be sent all details of how to do this on application, but please contact if you have any further questions.

Do you offer studentships, or bursaries?

We offer a reduction in course fees for DMU graduates, which you have to apply for seperately and before your course begins. Please contact if you have any questions on this.

We'd also recommend checking out the funding guide at Find a Masters:

In certain countries you may also wish to check with the British Council for studentships. We are always looking into providing other bursaries or fee reductions, and if we are able to offer any bursaries or student support in the future, we will post details on this page and let all current applicants know. We would say though that funding options even to us, are currently very limited.

Most students fund their studies either by working and studying part time or in distance learning, or through a career development loan, and this is what we would usually recommend.

Fee Status - I am a UK citizen working abroad.  Can I pay UK fees?
One common assumption made  is that a British citizen (particularly when working abroad)  is automatically entitled to home status, which is far from the case.  Home status is a function of meeting various Home Office rules which are complex, require expert interpretation and include residency requirements.  If there is any doubt, then the Academic Registry/Student Administrative Support Division will send you a Fee Status Questionnaire for clarification.  This can take some time, so an early application is recommended in order that your fee status can be established promptly prior to the next academic session/start of your course.

Entry qualifications, dissertation, and future prospects:

Which Careers do students move into after graduating?

Careers after taking an IESD MSc are varied, we think that our employment statistics are very encouraging: 100% for 2010 graduates.

For results of our latest survey please click here:

I have studied something similar to one of the modules elsewhere, can I be exempt from any modules?

Yes you can. This does not come up often but it is possible to gain exemption through a process we call Accreditation of Prior Learning. This can apply to any module, although it is rare that other Research Methods modules and our own are a close enough match. Typically modules already studied need to be at Masters, PGDip level, but some undergraduate modules qualify. It's a good idea to let know on application, and if possible, to provide all the details of the module you've already studied. What then happens academicaly is that your course average mark is calculated on the modules you have studied with us.

My English is below IELTS 6.5 but I would still like to study, what are my options?

Not all students have the IELTS qualification, but equivalents such as TEFL are considered. Students who have a first degree taught in English may also qualify.

DMU does offer English Classes such that incorporated offers can be made for students slightly below the IELTS threshold, but it is at the discretion of the course leader to make such offers. In general, an MSc is an intense time and it is very difficult indeed to improve English skills whilst the MSc course is running, and certainly difficult to get high marks in the time available. Typically we find that students do far better on the course if reaching the required IELTS score in thier home countries before enrolling, and this is what we would usually reccommend.Contact if in doubt. 

I like some of the modules, but don't want to study towards an MSc - what are my options?
It is also possible to study towards a Postgraduate Certificate, or a Postgraduate Diploma, or even just to study specific modules with no coursework or exams.  This option is popular with professionals looking to enhance specific skills.  If you would like to discuss in more detail, please feel free to call the course leaders - visit this page for contact details.

For the award of Postgraduate Diploma a student is required to pass either 8 taught modules or 4 taught modules, one of which must be the Research Methods module, plus dissertation. 

For the award of Postgraduate Certificate, a student is required to pass at least 4
taught modules.

What is meant by having a "good degree (second class and above)"? 

A  'good degree (second class and above)' refers to an award classification of 2.2, 2.1 or a 1st.  Applicants who obtained their degree from an overseas institution must possess a comparable qualification.  On receipt of your application and supporting documents,  De Montfort University’s  Academic Registry  will check  your degree for comparability  through  UKNARIC (the National Agency responsible  for providing information and advice about vocational, academic and professional skills and qualifications from all over the world).    Applicants who do not have a degree can apply through the ‘experience’ route, if you have at least five years’ work experience in a relevant field.  Our Admissions Team assess each application on individual merit.  If you apply through this route please provide evidence in your Supporting Statement about how your work experience is relevant to your chosen course, why you want to study it, and your mathematics ability.  

Is my degree relevant for a Climate Change and Sustainable Development application?
We appreciate that a wide range of subjects and skills is relevant to the problem of climate change and sustainable
development.  The entry criteria are suggested to give an indication of the skills and experience required to successfully complete the course.  In our experience, well motivated students with non-standard backgrounds have also achieved this objective. 
Is my degree relevant for an Energy and Industrial Sustainability application?
As with CCSD, MSc Energy and Industrial Sustainability would attract applicants from a variety of backgrounds, but applicants with experience of manufacturing industry or a related sector will be preferred.   A degree from a numerate discipline is required, and this would normally, but not exclusively, be an engineering or physical sciences subject.
Is my degree relevant for an Energy and Sustainable Building Design application?
The Energy and Sustainable Building Design  course has a slightly narrower focus and greater technical content.  Applicants need to have a degree in an engineering, architectural, physical sciences or a mathematical discipline, or have significant work experience in a related field (usually five years or more) in order to satisfy the entry requirements. 

What level of mathematics is required for these courses?
Climate Change and Sustainable Development, and Energy and  Industrial Sustainability – We do accept that some applicants might have little experience using mathematics, or who might have used mathematics some time ago.   The quantitative analysis used on some of the modules tends to be mainly about understanding  the underlying principles, whilst  letting the software make the actual calculations.  So, any experience using spreadsheet tools would be beneficial.
Energy and Sustainable Building Design – For the computer simulation modules we will provide lesson material to help you to understand the theoretical and mathematical basis of some of the simulation models.  Although some of this may be daunting, your level of understanding of the mathematics is not assessed directly but is concerned more with the practical application of simulation methods and analysis of the data produced by the simulations.  
It might be helpful to be aware of the following:
1.  That some quantitative elements are present in every module and are central to modules such as: Energy in Buildings, and Energy Analysis Techniques for CCSD and EIS, plus Ventilation and Airflow Modelling, Energy and Thermal Performance, and Energy and Thermal Performance for ESBD.
2.  Assessed work varies, with some assessments being essay-based and others relying on quantitative analysis. 
3.  You should not be frightened of working with numbers and must expect to work hard to grapple with these issues.

What software is used for MSc ESBD?
The simulation modules teach modelling theory, methodologies  and include a good deal of practical work with simulation software.  The software we use is called IES – see their web site at – and we do not use any other software. The daylight simulation element of the software is based on the 'Radiance' software.  Distance learning students should expect to buy a licence for the software for use at home in their second and third years (currently about £50 per year).

While studying:

How many hours of study must I put in?

Each module requires a maximum of around 48 contact hours (lectures) which in Distance Learning mode means you should budget for this much interaction virtually, plus a typical maximum of 150 hours self-study. If it's a module you are familiar with, this may prove to be much less. A dissertation or design project typically requires a maximum of 600 hours. In actuality, while these numbers seem large, they are almost always quite manageable. 

Can I take the MSc distance learning course in less than three years?

The distance learning programme is aimed at full-time working professionals, and for them the three-year rolling programme is recommended.  However, the  time commitments of some applicants may allow for a shorter completion time and where this is the case an alternative programme of study can be arranged, subject to the restrictions of the timetable and with prior approval of the relevant Programme Leader.

Can I pick modules in any order?

Certain modules must follow others, and we find that students always do better if following the course timetable, so we insist on this in normal circumstances. We recognise that many of our students are busy people, i.e. mid career, professionals. If you e.g. have to move country, or face an illness, or have to care for a family member, completion of the courses can be flexible. For example, some students switch from full time to part time or to distance learning.

CCSD and EIS:  The Research Methods module is a pre-requisite to the research project.
ESBD:  (A) The 'Energy in Buildings' module is a pre-requisite to studying the three computer simulation modules – Climate and  Daylight Analysis,  Ventilation and Airflow Modelling,  and  Energy and Thermal Performance.   (B)  Ventilation and Airflow Modelling  is a pre-requisite to  Energy and Thermal Performance.   (C)   The design project requires a pass in all the three computer simulation modules mentioned above together with the Research Methods module.

How are the course assignments arranged?

The modules will be assessed by coursework/assignments.   Students submit two assignments per module on which they are assessed weighted 30%/70% accordingly.    In addition, there is an oral examination of the dissertation/design project at the end of the course which is held at the Institute.  Each module is worth 15 credits (total 120 credits) and the  research/design project is worth 60 credits, 180 credits in total.

All coursework is continuously assesed and there are no traditional written eexams. Some modules may feature brief on-line tests but these are very few. Assignments form a part A short assignment, typically between 5-10 pages long, and later in each module, a part B, longer assignment. This will be usually be between 15-25 pages long. Since each module is different, assignments lengths may vary somewhat. Word limits may be specified, and for some assignments, it is important that limits are kept to. You will have clear instructions from your module leader in the form of an assignment brief at the start of each module.

Which subjects are chosen for dissertations, and can I pick my own?

We offer a list of dissertation topics which are aligned with staff interests in many aspects of sustainability, topics range from social science, to energy efficiency, economics to manufacturing, building design to renewables. If you (or your employer) has a particular project in mind, we can also talk about this being your dissertation.

For a sample of past dissertations, try these links:


Dissertation example 1 - Reducing Carbon Emissions in an Outdoor Education Centre

Dissertation example 2 - Ecosystem Services and the Manufacturing Industry

Dissertation example 3 - Can Energy Services Deliver Zero Carbon Homes?

Dissertation example 4 - An evaluation of Display Energy Certificates as a policy initiative to improve energy-
Efficiency within public buildings in Cornwall

Dissertation example 5 - Investment behaviour of Swiss utilities in electricity productions units from
renewable energy sources


For Energy and Sustainable Building Design by distance learning, how is the group Design Project organised?
For the design project, students are organised into groups (two-three members) with the task of developing a building design from a  realistic pre-defined brief.  There are three elements to the Design Project; a group element  (30% of the marks), an individual element (50% of the marks), and the examination element – oral presentation (20% of the marks).
Collaboration for the group element of the work will be done  through  'Blackboard' the online virtual learning environment.  Here you will be able to share your ideas with other students using the discussion forums, email and other online collaboration systems.  You will also have email and telephone  contact with your supervisor.  Other group meetings can be arranged if desired, but these are optional.

Must I attend a Viva for my dissertation?

This is flexible. We  prefer when possible  that you attend IESD at the end of your course to present the findings from your dissertation. It makes for a great day, and for many students it is the first chance to meet other students and staff in person.  However,  after completing a Masters in sustainability, we certainly don't insist on you taking a flight just for a one day visit. So we can also hold Vivas on Skype or by phone.


Find out more:

email tel +44 (0)116 257 7979 or 7962 fax +44 (0)116 257 7977
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