High-Performance Buildings

Master of Architectural Science

A high-performance building is aesthetically and environmentally designed to maintain optimum indoor comfort for occupants, while achieving high operational efficiencies and minimising environmental impact.

To achieve this, the industry requires a new type of professional – an expert with specialised skills in optimising new and existing buildings for the best design and delivery of services.

Our Master of Architectural Science (High-Performance Buildings) is your pathway to an exciting and rewarding career in the built environment field.

Course Details

Course name Credit points Duration
Master of Architectural Science
(High-Performance Buildings)
with second stream
96 2 years
Master of Architectural Science
(High-Performance Buildings)
72 1.5 years
Graduate Diploma in Architectural Science
(High-Performance Buildings)
48 1 year
Graduate Diploma in Architectural Science
(High-Performance Buildings)
24 0.5 year

Facilities and equipment

You will have access to the latest equipment and facilities, such as our indoor environmental quality laboratory, where you can research the interaction of key factors such as temperature, humidity, air movement, ventilation rates, air quality, daylight, electric lighting, sound and acoustics.

You will also have access to specialist facilities such as an acoustics laboratory, anechoic chamber and lighting laboratory to support your study.

Why choose this course?

This course is open to graduates from a range of disciplines including science, engineering, architecture, building and planning.

Property Council of Australia

The University is proud to work alongside peak industry bodies that share a common goal in delivering quality education in the areas of improved building performance and efficiency.

Students who have completed the Operations and Facilities Management – Advanced program with the Property Council of Australia are eligible for a six credit points towards the diploma or master’s degree in High- Performance Buildings.

What will you achieve?

This unique specialisation allows you to pursue a career within a wide range of areas, including the design and creation of building services requiring an architectural engineering solution, architectural practice, business, sustainable design, commercial development, property management and more.

Intensive units

All core units are taught in block-mode intensives over several full days rather than weekly lectures. Part-time study is available for Australian citizens and permanent residents. Individual subjects can be taken as continuing professional development short courses without enrolling in a degree.

Indicative Course
(Assuming Urban & Regional Planning Specilisation)

    First Year

    Semester One

  • This unit aims to explore the scientific concepts of heat, light and sound, and from this develops foundational principles and methods applicable to buildings. It is divided into five topics: climate and resources: thermal environment: building services: lighting; and acoustics.

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  • This unit covers three related areas of investigation: basic building construction practices, advanced building construction practices & sustainable construction.

    It begins by introducing a number of recurrent themes in construction in Australia at the present time including the idea of building culture, the various modes of delivery and variety of classifications of buildings and building elements, rational construction & construction detailing from first principles.

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  • This unit aims to develop a critical understanding in students of building design principles that reduce the impact of the built environment on energy, water and material resource flows.

    Students will gain an overview of technical strategies that reduce the environmental impact of buildings and develop an awareness of the benchmarks and metrics used to judge the implementation of environmental design principles.

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  • The aim of the unit is to acquaint students with the range of analytical and design tools available for low energy building design; to provide the opportunity for students to become proficient at using some of these tools.

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    First Year

    Semester Two

  • Investors associated with the property industry require at the outset Return On Investment (ROI) evaluations before committing capital.

    This unit of study examines the economic principles as they apply to buildings, from capital growth and life cycle management perspectives.

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  • Humans' thermal, visual, auditory and olfactory senses determine the perceived quality of a built environment. This unit analyses built environments in context of these human factors.

    This unit relates human experience of buildings to the main dimensions of Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ): thermal, acoustic, lighting and indoor pollution. This understanding of human comfort perceptions is contextualised by an understanding of the various approaches to the evaluation of built environmental performance.

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  • This unit reviews the need for and application of Mechanical Services in the built environment - in particular commercial buildings.

    Mechanical Services are responsible for significant portion of energy and water consumption in buildings. Thus they have become important components of most modern building complexes, with a strong influence on other services and the architecture.

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Meet Our
Program Director


Professor Richard De Dear

Research Interests

Human thermal comfort

Over the last 31 years, Professor Richard de Dear has built a career in the area of human thermal comfort. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers and a dozen books and monographs on the subject. Within that body of research it is his work on the adaptive model of thermal comfort that has had the greatest impact, receiving over a thousand citations within the indoor environmental literature (and earning him an H Index of 19).

De Dear's adaptive model underpins the American Society of Heating and the Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers thermal comfort standard, and several other national and international standards/codes are now evolving in similar directions, including most recently the Netherlands and CEN.

See Richard's Profile

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Master of High Performance Buildings