The College’s Masters of Science in Architectural Studies with a concentration in Sustainable Design degree (MSAS|SD) is taught by faculty from all five of our college’s programs, namely Architecture, Building Construction, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture and Urban and Regional Planning. We use the latest e-Learning tools to enhance collaborative learning between faculty, students and visiting experts along with weekly video conferences and three intensive workshops delivered on the UF campus, and international locations to create a dynamic and highly charged learning environment.

Course Structure

(click each course for a description and syllabus)

Semester 1 (Fall) 13 CR
International Sustainable Development (ARC6913)
The course provides an overview of international trends in reducing the environmental impacts of land development and construction. It introduces basic sustainability principles, reviews ethical frameworks related to sustainability, examines sustainability principles and decision-making frameworks, explores sustainable design and construction practices, and covers international agreements in the field of sustainability. The objective is to equip students with a comprehensive understanding of global efforts to mitigate environmental impacts in land development and construction, emphasizing sustainable principles, ethical considerations, and international agreements.
4 CR
Sustainable Design and Planning in Architecture and
the Built Environment (DCP6212)
This course explores the intricate relationships between humans and their environment, spanning metabolic, sensory, natural, and built dimensions. Focused on shaping the ‘Third Environment’—Architecture—the course examines how humans have harnessed energy, materials, and technology to overcome natural challenges. Architecture, serving as more than just a source of physical comfort, has played a vital role in fostering societal advancement, leading to sophisticated infrastructures, and refined social structures. Urban spaces, discussed in the course, are dynamic hubs of cultural activities, including residences, workplaces, educational institutions, and recreational areas. Architects, planners, engineers, and experts serve as essential stewards of limited environmental resources. In the face of global population growth, industrialization, and impending fossil fuel scarcity, their practices are indispensable. Additionally, the course analyzes shifts in Western populations, reflecting evolving societal paradigms. Emphasizing sustainable approaches, the course navigates these changes, ensuring a balance between human ingenuity and environmental preservation.
4 CR
Ecological Issues in Sustainability & the Built Environment (pt. 1) (DCP6205)
This course is organized in two sections, which set the stage for the following Ecological Issues 2 course. The first portion of the course is focused on landscape ecology and systems, landscapes, and potential impacts from human activities. The second portion of the course focuses on smaller scale site inventory and analysis, identifying and analyzing the natural and cultural characteristics of a site, and identifying opportunities and constraints for land use and development to mitigate human impacts. The Ecological Issues 2 course will follow this with more specific discussion of urban, site, and neighborhood design, adaptive management, and governance based on these topics. The objective of this course is to engage in sustainable design, individuals must understand natural processes and functions both at regional and site scales, and the impact of human activities on the natural environment. This course serves as an introduction to the many facets of this complex reality. Later courses will apply this information with specific discussion of urban, neighborhood, and site level design, adaptive management, and governance.
3 CR
Research Design in Sustainability (Research Method)
Research Design in Sustainability (ARC2911) and Research Project Proposal Development or Thesis/MRP Prep (ARC6913) are two courses within the Master of Science in Architectural Studies, Sustainable Design Program. They provide essential foundations for students to establish research topics for their thesis or master’s research project. These courses encourage exploration of sustainability-related topics within a structured environment, ensuring completion within the assigned timeframe. Emphasizing research thinking and processes, they guide students in formulating research questions, objectives, methods, and methodologies, enabling them to draw compelling conclusions. The MRP aspect encourages students to integrate research findings into their projects. The courses differentiate between a thesis and a project, address planning problems, define appropriate research questions, and cover various study designs and data collection methodologies. Overall, they equip students with strategies for effective research design and conduct.
2 CR
Semester 2 (Spring) 14 CR
Design Studio in Sustainability (DCP6301)
This specialized studio fosters design thinking and problem-solving through in-depth research and the development of design proposals. Projects in the studio apply sustainability theories, focusing on water quality, density, urban scale, mixed-use development, infrastructure, ecosystems, and habitat preservation. The course emphasizes research, allowing analysis of precedents and sites to inform subsequent design work. To promote collaborative design, certain projects involve cross-cultural partnerships and discussions with remote team members. Building on knowledge from previous coursework in International Sustainable Development and Sustainable Design Problem Solving, the studio aligns with Ecological Issues in Sustainability 2. It also prepares students for independent work in their Thesis or Master’s Research Project.
6 CR
Ecological Issues in Sustainability & the Built Environment (pt. 2)(DCP6205)
This is the second part of a two-part course. The goal of the first course (fall semester) was to learn about landscape ecology and conservation principles, as they relate to understanding the broader
functions of natural systems, landscapes, and potential impacts from human activities; and also, to learn about identifying and analyzing the natural and human characteristics of a site and identifying opportunities and constraints for land use and development to mitigate human impacts. These topics form a critical foundation for sustainable site planning and design choices that incorporate an understanding of ecosystem processes and suitability. In this second course (spring semester), the direct and indirect impacts of the built environment on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and landscapes are examined in more detail. Cutting edge approaches to planning, design, governance, and management that can be used to reduce negative impacts from human activities and restore ecological health at the regional, metropolitan, neighborhood, and site scales are also presented. The objective of this course is to engage in sustainable design. Individuals must understand the complex relationships between human activities and the natural environment, resulting impacts, and methods for making sustainable land use decisions. This course serves as an introduction to the many facets of this complex reality.
3 CR
Research Project Proposal Development (eq. Thesis/MRP Prep)(DCP6913)
Sustainable Design Degree Program develops the foundations for a research topic for their thesis or Masters Research Project (MRP). This course provides a structured environment that encourages students to establish a line of research into topics that supports their interests in sustainability that can be successful completed in allotted time. It emphasizes the conceptualization of a research design, the selection of a study design and information-gathering strategies typically used in practice, including case studies, experimental and quasi-experimental design, survey methods, open-ended interviewing, and observation. It also deals with how to develop and use a conceptual framework that will assure that the information gathered is pertinent and useful to answer the questions that may be of interest to policymakers or addressed in a master’s thesis. Thus, the course focuses on defining planning problems and suitable research question, the development of simple conceptual models, understanding the types of study designs and data collection methodologies available to understand problems, and to the overall strategies for the design and conduct of research.
2 CR
Electives (varies, subject to instructor availability) **
Architecture and Climate OR
Urban Economy OR
Adaptive Reuse, a Sustainable Design Strategy and more …
3 CR
Semester 3 (Summer) 9 CR
Thesis or Master's Research Project (MRP)(ARC6979)
The Sustainable Design Degree Program equips students with the foundational skills needed to develop a research topic for their thesis or Master’s Research Project (MRP). This course offers a structured environment encouraging students to explore topics aligning with their sustainability interests and completable within a set timeframe. It emphasizes conceptualizing research design, selecting study designs, and employing common information-gathering strategies like case studies, experimental designs, surveys, interviews, and observation. Additionally, it addresses the development and utilization of a conceptual framework to ensure gathered information is pertinent for policymakers or master’s thesis questions. The course focuses on defining planning issues, formulating research questions, creating conceptual models, understanding diverse study designs and data collection methods, and devising overall research strategies. It builds upon the first two research methods and project proposal development courses taught in the last two semesters, culminating in a thesis or a Master’s Research Project.
6 CR
Greening New Construction & Major Renovation (ARC6913)
This is a multidisciplinary immersion course that utilizes built environment design and construction to educate and prepare students to be green building leaders and sustainability-focused citizens. The course equips students with the skills, knowledge, and experience needed to be effective communicators, project managers, critical thinkers, problem solvers, engaged leaders, and team players in the field of sustainability. Students will learn about tools and applications of green building technologies for designing and constructing high-performance buildings. The curriculum also covers economics and market development related to green building rating systems, with a focus on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Successful completion of the course can prepare students for LEED™ V4 Green Associate and BD+C specialty exams.
3 CR

*CR = Credits
**Elective courses are subject to change

[page updated 11/06/2023]