Postgraduate

Illumination Design

Master of Architectural Science

Our entire visual experience depends on light. It has an important impact on the function and aesthetics of architectural spaces.

There is growing demand for lighting specialists to oversee the implementation of sustainable and innovative solutions for large-scale architecture and property projects, as well as to develop and specify high-calibre lighting products.

This program offers strong technical education in human visual perception, methods for quantifying light, lighting technologies and sustainability. Using biology and physics, the coursework gives you a deep appreciation of the ways that light shapes the human experience of the built environment. This is complemented by practical curriculum to prepare students for a career in the lighting industry.

Course Details

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

Why choose this course?

This professional program welcomes students from diverse backgrounds, including architecture, engineering, computer science, interior design and psychology.

What will you achieve?

Career pathways for graduates include employment in lighting design firms, engineering companies, lighting equipment manufacturers, architectural and design practices, lighting distributors and private consultancies.

Subject to required practical experience, students who successfully complete this master’s coursework program are qualified for full membership in the Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia and New Zealand.

Intensive units

All Illumination Design 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. You may take individual subjects as continuing professional development short courses without enrolling in a degree.

Indicative Course
Progression

    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.

    Find out more

  • In lighting design, the primary function of light is to facilitate visual perception of the illuminated scene. User-centred lighting design requires a thorough understanding of the biological link between light and vision.

    In this unit, students learn the fundamentals of the human visual system and the physical properties of light that impact perception.

    Find out more

  • Measurements of light based only on physical properties are of limited use to the lighting designer.

    Instead, the tools to measure and communicate the characteristics of light sources and illumination consider the impact of the physical attributes of light on the human visual system.

    Find out more

    First Year

    Semester Two

  • 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.

    Find out more

  • This unit covers the technologies employed in generating, distributing, and controlling light in illuminated environments.

    Students learn the advantages and disadvantages of different hardware options for various lighting applications.

    Find out more

  • Modern lighting design practice requires the use of computer software to create design plans that can be easily modified, shared, and presented to clients.

    In this unit, students learn the basic operation of popular lighting design software packages, with particular emphasis on AGi32.

    Find out more

  • Lighting to a high aesthetic standard under pre-determined constraints requires an understanding of visual perception, quality of light, form and modelling, human sensitivity to a wide range of lighting environments, and a balanced approach involving critical reasoning and subjective analysis.

    This unit will be valuable for those interested in the lighting of architectural forms, objects and environments that demand a high level of aesthetic sensitivity.

    Find out more

Student Profiles

    John William Armstrong

    Master of Architectural Science
    (Illumination Design)

    “By studying Illumination Design, I can explore my creative side and gain an understanding of how lighting and architecture are related. One day I hope to start my own lighting design firm, and I know that having this qualification from the University of Sydney will hold me in good stead.”

    Bettina Easton

    Master of Architectural Science
    (Illumination Design)

    “The fact that the program is done in intensive blocks, you really get to meet and spend time with people. Normally we're professional rivals, some people do it over 4 or five years, so you get to meet different groups all the time. It's more camaraderie.

    I've enjoyed every class. Day lighting was one of my favourite units, not because of the subject per se but because it surprised me. It gave me a bit of an insight into different aspects of the industry. I ‘clicked’ with the very first class. Every lighting unit was exceptional. It's fantastic that [Dr] Wendy [Davis] has come onboard. She lives and breathes lighting.

    She is bringing even more science and more future technologies.I'm contemplating do more research.

    Wendy has taken the course to the next level. I think it's fantastic. For any alumni that want to come back and do papers or research, Wendy is establishing amazing facilities. There’s no reason that Australia can’t be the world leader in lighting.

    This degree is highly regarded by the lighting industry. To become a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society you must have the Illumination Design program, it’s one of only two recognised courses.

    That recognition is important; I believe you should continue to educate yourself throughout your whole career because technology and understandings change.

    Alex McCoy

    Master of Architectural Science
    (Illumination Design)

    "I come from an entertainment lighting background, the majority of which is based on information handed down by informal on the job training which is fine but I wanted a more formal, defined education in Illumination Design.

    The convenience of the timetable was extremely appealing as the lectures are run in intensive mode so you’re only required to attend four days of class per unit.

    As someone who works full time this allows for minimal interference with work compared to weekly night classes or other conventional arrangements.

    As someone who works full time this allows for minimal interference with work compared to weekly night classes or other conventional arrangements.

    The collective group of lecturers and guest speakers have an immense quantity of knowledge to impart and I hope to take as much of that away as possible.

Meet Our
Program Director

MASTER OF ILLUMINATION DESIGN

Dr Wendy Davis

Research Interests

Architecture and Cinema
Architecture and music
Spatial and temporal symbolism

Wendy is an active researcher in topics related to lighting and colour, with a particular interest on quality and desirability issues in emerging and next-generation energy efficient lighting technologies. With a colleague at the NIST, she developed the Color Quality Scale (CQS) to evaluate the colour rendering properties of light sources for general illumination.

The CQS is increasingly used by developers of lighting products, specifiers and designers. This work led to her 2009 United States Department of Commerce Silver Medal Award for Scientific/Engineering Achievement "For developing measurement methods and technical standards to accelerate the commercialization of energy-efficient, solid-state lighting products."

See Wendy's Profile

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Illumination Design