School of Academic/ Faculty

NUS College of Design and Engineering (CDE)

Course Highlight/ Description

The Master of Science, Integrated Sustainable Design (MSc ISD), is a one-year, post-professional programme that addresses the global sustainability challenge by tackling both the building and urban scales and integrating knowledge from the disciplines of architecture, engineering, landscape design, planning, urban design and biological science. The curriculum delves into material, technical, spatial and social systems, linking them directly to the urbanisation of Asian cities. Students come from varied disciplinary and cultural backgrounds; most are from Asian countries, with a few from Australia, Europe, North and Central America.

After graduation, many MSc ISD alumni return to their core disciplines as sustainability-trained professionals. A degree from NUS enhances their standing and marketability; the MSc ISD experience gives them a newfound capability to frame problems from an Asian perspective. With these, they are well placed to carve out unique positions in the building and planning sectors in the region. Some graduates segue into research, education or specialist consulting. Others have gone on to pursue PhDs.

Singapore and the Asian Condition
Singapore is on the frontlines of environmental policy and action in Asia. It serves as an exemplar of sustainability, particularly considering its greening efforts since the 1960s alongside its innovative urban development. With the city-state as a springboard, students are led to explore issues specific to tropical/subtropical climates and high-density urbanism.

The curriculum additionally includes visits to completed projects (for example, the SDE4 Zero-Energy Building by Serie Architects, Multiply Architects and Surbana Jurong, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital by CPG Consultants, Kampung Admiralty by WOHA, Pioneer and Crescent Halls, Nanyang Technological University by Toyo Ito & Associates, and so on) as well as guest lectures by policy-makers and consultants, shedding light on the Singapore model.

The MSD ISD Approach
Human actions are responsible for global warming and ecosystem losses. The solution to the crisis we face depends to a large degree on what we build, and how this shapes the way we live. The challenge here is technological, but it’s also cultural, economic and ecological. And the solution is predicated on our understanding of how these forces interact and how they might be integrated into positive, life-sustaining ways.

Three areas of focus differentiate the MSc ISD approach:

- Multiscalar Approach. The programme examines different scales of the built environment. The first semester is devoted to the building scale; the second probe the urban. Students discover why scale matters to a discussion on sustainability; they are taught to visualise the interdependency of engineered, spatial and landscape elements, and to frame buildings within neighbourhoods, and neighbourhoods within cities.

- Systems-Thinking. Systems-thinking aids the visualisation of connectivity and exchange. It facilitates life-sustaining flows of resources and people in a manner that unifies and fortifies and reverses fragmentation. The programme, for instance, investigates the interface between natural and human-made systems; it probes the links between social and economic networks. It emphasises integration, how to bind elements into new wholes, and goes beyond improving the performance of parts, an approach that limits environmental thinking today.

- Project-Based, Cross-Disciplinary Learning. The programme is taught by highly qualified professors who offer cross-disciplinary viewpoints and undertake cutting-edge research. In-house teaching is augmented with masterclasses run by internationally renowned scholars and practitioners. Past masterclasses have included architects, WOHA, and climate engineers, Transsolar KlimaEngineering. The two integrated studio projects channel theory into problem-solving. Here, emphasis is placed on strategic, critical and collaborative thinking, past textbook learning.

Head over to the programme page to know more!



Course Duration

Full-time: 12 months; Part-time: 24 months

Entry Requirement

Bachelor's Degree with Honours in Architecture, Engineering, Landscape Architecture, Planning/Urban Design, Project and Facility Management, or any built environment-related programmes or qualifications as may be approved by NUS

Preference is given to applicants with one to two years of work experience and/or qualifications that speak to an interest in sustainability

English Language:
Applicants whose native tongue and medium of university instruction is not completely in English:

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) minimum score of 85 (Internet-based), or
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) minimum Academic score of 6.0.

Note: TOEFL / IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date and should not have expired at point of application. Expired scores will not be considered for the application.

Shortlisted candidates may be invited to attend an admission interview (through telephone or video conferencing for overseas applicants).

Total Estimated Fee

S$38,317.76 (excluding GST) / S$41,000.00 (including GST)

Campus Branches

Kent Ridge Campus