Building the Future

With extensive experience analysing and controlling the physical phenomena affecting buildings, practitioners of Architectural Science have a profound impact on the function, aesthetics and efficiency of architectural spaces.

As the world's population becomes increasingly urbanised and buildings continue to tie up 40 percent of our energy costs, high performance buildings are more important than ever. The challenge is to reduce the energy consumption and maintenance costs of large buildings, while ensuring a comfortable and productive environment for occupants. To achieve these goals, the industry requires a new type of professional – an expert with specialised skills in the optimisation of new and existing buildings for the best design and delivery of services.

This degree is designed to equip you with the professional skills to ensure maximum operational efficiencies, optimal comfort and health outcomes for occupants of corporate and residential environments. It looks to close the gap that exists between the designers, construction teams and facility managers in building projects, using an integrated approach to address the needs of the property industry from a longer term perspective.


At the heart of our education and research is the drive to improve connections between people and the built environment. Through the combination of technology, design and research, we seek to positively shape the communities and environments in which we live and work.

As global sustainability and urbanism challenges increase over the coming decades, we are seeking students who will create, manage and innovate to meet these obstacles and be leaders in their respective fields. Our education is at the forefront of meeting these challenges and our graduates are highly sought after.


As a leading educator with a highly responsive curriculum, the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney is ideally placed to respond to evolving industry needs. When you study with us, you will have access to world-class equipment and facilities, such as our Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) laboratory , where you can research the interaction of key factors such as temperature, humidity, air movement, ventilation rates, air quality, daylight, artificial 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. These give you the opportunity to not only learn but also actively participate in research as part of your studies.

Leading the Industry through Research


NABERS is the national rating system used to measure the environmental performance of Australian buildings, tenancies and homes. Put simply, NABERS measures the energy efficiency, water usage, waste management and indoor environment quality of a building or tenancy and its impact on the environment.

Since 2013, Professor Richard de Dear and Dr Christhina Candido have been key advisors on the NABERS steering committee, where their expertise in IEQ has been key in identifying enhancements to the NABERS Indoor Environment (IE) tool. The result of this collaboration is a number of proposals to make NABERS IE easier to understand, more meaningful and valuable to customers.


Indoor environment quality is an important attribute of sustainable building design as it promotes the health, wellbeing and productivity of building occupants. But how do we know that design attributes are translating to meaningful outcomes for occupants, management and building owners? In 2011, the Architectural Science division launched their ARC research project BOSSA - an IEQ assessment / Post-Occupancy Evaluation system for Australia’s office buildings the only (and first) Australian POE provider in use on NABERS IE and Green Star-Performance.


The University of Sydney’s Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) Laboratory is a unique facility in which researchers can examine how the key IEQ factors - temperature, humidity, air movement, ventilation rates, air quality, daylight, artificial lighting, sound and acoustics – all interact to determine comfort, productivity and health outcomes for occupants. The first of it’s kind in the southern hemisphere, students will work alongside our research team and utilise the lab throughout their studies, contributing directly to the research outcomes of the facility.


The University is proud to work alongside peak industry bodies who share a common goal in delivering quality education in the areas of Improved Building Performance and efficiency.

Through a unique new collaboration in 2015, students who have completed the Operations and Facilities Management – Advanced program with the Property Council of Australia, are eligible for a 6 credit towards the Diploma or Masters level degree in High Performance Buildings should they wish to undertake further studies at Postgraduate level.

Scholarly Articles

Architectural Science program director, Richard de Dear is the world’s leading researcher on thermal comfort and a regular editor for the world’s leading research journals in the field of IEQ including Indoor Air, ASHRAE, HVAC & R Research. See some of his most recent contributions on Google Scholar and articles on ‘The Conversation’.

interview Catalyst


The Master of Architectural Science (High Performance Buildings) is open to graduates from a range of disciplines including science, engineering, architecture, building and planning. Expressions of interest are also welcome from other backgrounds and those who hold industry experience.

  • Masters applicants should hold a bachelors degree with a credit average.
  • Graduate Diploma applicants should hold a bachelors degree.
  • Graduate Certificate applicants should hold a bachelors degree or possess experience which is considered to demonstrate the knowledge and aptitude required to undertake the course.

Students enrolled in either the certificate or diploma can apply to upgrade if they satisfy the requirements of their degree with a weighted average mark of 65.

Applications for Postgraduate studies can now be completed easily online.

You will be prompted to upload copies all supporting documentation including certified transcripts of study and ID (passport or birth certificate).

Where students are applying for a certificate level based on industry experience, please attach a CV and any other supporting documentation, which will assist in the assessment of your application.


The Master of High Performance Buildings is a 1.5 year program that can be undertaken in full-time of part-time mode. Students looking to enrich their degree can also pursue a second specialisation in Illumination Design, Audio and Acoustics or Sustainable Design within a 2 year double degree, where 24 points of core units are taken from the second stream. Note *When applying for a double stream, please ensure the major area of study is listed as the first selection in the course title. The full list of options with HPB as the major, can be seen here:


Many Architectural Science units are taught in ‘intensive’ format to fit around the working professional. Please refer to Faculty Handbook to explore the delivery method of you chosen subjects. We try wherever possible to include weekend sessions to reduce the impact on work and family commitments.

Timetables are set approximately 2 months before the Semester commences. Future students can download the current timetable, as well as previous semester timetables to assist in understanding the expectant time commitments required during your studies.


Individual units may also be taken as Continuing Professional Development short courses without enrolling into a degree. Units taken with an assessment component may be credited towards further study within an aligned program.


Unit codeUnit nameCredit pointsSemester offered
DESC9200Introduction to Architectural Science61
DESC9014Building Construction Technology61 Int.
Unit codeUnit nameCredit pointsSemester offered
DESC9147Sustainable Building Design Principles61
TBA Building Economics62
DESC9201Indoor Environmental Quality62
DESC9015Building Energy Analysis6 1
DESC9067Mechanical Services6 2
Unit codeUnit nameCredit pointsSemester offered
TBA Building Information Modelling and Management (BIM)6 1*
Electives may be chosen with the permission of the program director, from any postgraduate course in the University.
DESC9300 in combination with either a report or dissertation may replace the capstone unit with the permission of the program director.
Unit codeUnit nameCredit pointsSemester offered
DESC9300Research Methods in
Architectural Science
6 1, 2
ARCH9031Research Report 12 1, 2
ARCH9045Dissertation 1 12 1, 2
ARCH9046Dissertation 2 12 1, 2
Unit codeUnit nameCredit pointsSemester offered
TBABuilding Services12 2
TBAEnergy Management
and Code Compliance
6 2
TBAIntelligent Building Control Systems6 1*
DESC9164Lighting Technologies6 Aug Int
Unit codeUnit nameCredit pointsSemester offered
DESC9048Operational Facility Management6 2
TBAAsset and Facility Management6 2
DESC9074Project Management62
Unit codeUnit nameCredit pointsSemester offered
DESC9148Sustainable Building Design Practice6 2
TBAHigh Performance Facades6 1*
DESC9133Architectural Acoustics Practice6 2
DESC9169Daylight in Buildings61
DESC9153Graduate Internship6 1,2

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