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BIM and Digital Built Environments


School - School of the Built Environment

Subject area - Built Environment

Start Dates(s): September


September intake 

MSc (one year full-time or two years and four months part-time on campus or distance learning) 

PgDip (eight months full-time or one year and eight months part-time on campus or distance learning) 

PgCert (four months full-time or eight months part-time  on campus or distance learning)

January intake

MSc (One year and four months full-time or two years and eight months distance learning/part-time)  

PgDip (One year full-time or two years distance learning/part-time)  

PgCert (One year distance learning/part-time)


Part-time - £1,300 per 30 credit module

UK - £7,800

International - £12,300

Distance Learning - £1,300 per 30 credit module

In Brief:

  • Gain knowledge of advanced BIM technologies and lean processes
  • Develop skills to deliver better value through integrated design and project delivery
  • Research-based teaching, including industrial guest lectures
  • Part-time study option
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

The construction industry is facing unprecedented change that is being driven by digital transformation. This course focuses strategically on these changes, and is designed with the aim of educating and supporting professionals in responding to current and future challenges in client expectations and  wider  societal needs.

This programme aims to provide extensive knowledge in the fields of BIM, Lean, and integrated design and project delivery approaches to deliver better whole life value through digital built environments. It is intended primarily for practitioners and graduates in the fields of architecture, engineering  construction,  and built environment, who wish to specialise in this area of industry digital transformation.

This course provides the skills and competences that will enable you to support integrated design and delivery approaches as well as equipping you with the skills necessary to coordinate roles and responsibilities for the financial, environmental and social performance of built environment assets. Building  upon  leading edge research and practice, you will be able to up-skill and take a principle role in the digital transformation of practices in work settings, delivering better whole life value through integrated design and project delivery approaches.

The School of the Built Environment enjoys excellent links with the local, national and international built environment industry. This course meets the needs of the industry by providing formal postgraduate level education and technical knowledge in the highly advanced and emerging area of BIM and Digital  Built  Environments. Guest lecturers from industry with expertise in relevant areas are invited to provide lectures throughout the duration of the course, enriching your learning experience. Field trips and site visits to innovative projects will allow the analysis and critical evaluation of cases in  which  high quality design and the adoption of technology has led to benefits for clients, users and/or communities.

Marina Machado
MSc BIM graduate
Now working at Morgan Sindall

The connections with industry are really good; there are many guests lectures that provide excellent insight and prepare you for your career in the field. 

The lecturers are approachable and professional and there are lots of opportunities for students. 

Having a degree from Salford is really well respected, especially in BIM, as the universityhas been researching BIM for a long time and a qualification in BIM from Salford is well recognised by industry.

Course Structure

This course can be studied (a) full-time on campus, (b) part-time on campus or (c) part-time by online distance learning. Admission onto the course is in September.  

The Masters award consists of three core taught modules and one elective module, followed by a dissertation.  The PgDip requires the completion of three core taught modules and one elective taught module.  The PgCert requires the completion of two of the core taught modules.  All modules are delivered over a 15 week period and are assessed through coursework.  

For the full-time study option:

You will study two 30 credit modules in each of your first two semesters on campus; these are designed to give you the core knowledge and experience required.  In the final semester you will progress to the dissertation. 

For the part-time on campus study option:

Part-time students attend the university one day per week, usually on day release from employment in industry.  A 30 credit module is studied each semester.  Throughout the final two semesters you undertake the dissertation.

Distance learning study:

A 30 credit module is studied each semester.  Assessment of these modules is driven by real-world problems aligned to your workplace and job role.  Teaching is based around a virtual learning environment supported by interactive online sessions.  In the final two semesters you progress to the dissertation worth 60 credits, which is also delivered online and incorporates extensive tutor engagement and support. You have the option to attend the university for specific activities like field trips, Salford study days and summer schools, which enable face to face interaction and knowledge exchange.

Modules may include:

BIM theory and practice emphasises on how the design process needs to change to achieve benefits from the use of technology. The module addresses data structures and standards, and describing data exchange needs in different use cases. It also describes collaborative multidisciplinary design settings,        communication with project stakeholders, clash detection, design integration and management of design changes. Module topics include:        
  • The concept of BIM          
  • BIM deployment strategies          
  • Design and construction process for BIM          
  • BIM tools in design          
  • Interoperability, IFCs, parametric modelling and BIM          
  • Building information exchange          
  • Change management process and people          
  • Data sharing and design integration          
  • BIM, energy efficiency and sustainability          
The aim of this module is to understand and critically evaluate key issues in the management of integrated BIM based projects. The module also provides an understanding of how process and technology changes can support better value generation through design. Module topics include:        
  • Building industry challenges and opportunities          
  • The business value of BIM and integrated design          
  • Design collaboration          
  • Lean design and construction          
  • Integrated project delivery          
  • Lifecycle management and BIM          

This module aims to provide knowledge on Lean design and construction. It focuses specifically on the integration of design and construction and its importance to the successful management of projects. Module topics include:        

  • Integrating people, process and technology          
  • Lean construction/ production          
  • Continuous improvement          
  • Process design and implementation          
  • Process mapping analysis          
  • Integrating project lifecycles          

Optional Modules

This module aims to provide you with critical awareness and appreciation of sustainable urban and building design to the development of sustainable communities. It describes design methods and assessment techniques for sustainable community design and development. Module topics include:        
  • Sustainable urban development theory          
  • Sustainable building design          
  • Visioning and sustainability assessment          
  • Sustainable urban design community considerations          
  • Sustainability appraisal          
  • Good practice case studies and examples          
This module aims to develop systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of Project and Production Management in the role of Construction Management. Module topics include:        
  • Construction as a manufacturing process          
  • Lean, agile and flexible production systems          
  • Management of risk and value          
  • Generic process models          
  • Tools and techniques          


This module allows you to develop a research proposal with clear aims and objectives related to your study.  You will undertake critical analysis of existing research and engage in various forms of recognised research in order to produce a sustained, sophisticated, and logical argument in        the form of a written dissertation.

Entry Requirements

Applications will typically be accepted from candidates who have:

  • a minimum second class undergraduate honours degree in architecture, or
  • a minimum second class undergraduate honours degree in engineering, project management or other built environment discipline, or
  • a recognised professional qualification in a cognate discipline.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

English Language Requirements

International students must provide evidence of proficiency in English- IELTS 6.0 band score (with no element below 5.5) or above are proof of this.

Suitable For

This course is intended for graduates or experienced practitioners in:

  • Architecture
  • Architectural technology
  • Structural, mechanical and electrical engineering design
  • Design
  • Design/project/construction management
  • Facilities management

Applicant profile

This course will appeal to architects, architectural technicians, engineers, designers and design/project/construction/facility managers working in the built environment. You will have a keen interest in efficient multidisciplinary collaboration through design and construction processes. You will have a desire to advance your current knowledge base and to specialise in integrated design and advanced BIM technologies.

A strong academic and/or professional background is required, and you should be prepared to take the initiative once guidance has been given due to the specialised nature of the material that will be covered.

Fees 2017-18

Type of StudyFee
Part-time£1,300 per 30 credit module
Full-time International£12,300
Distance Learning£1,300 per 30 credit module
International Distance Learning£1,717 per 30 credit module

Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We offer awards to help you study through our:

  • Vice-Chancellor's Excellence Scholarship
  • University of Salford student loyalty discount
  • Country bursary scheme for International students only

There are also other sources of funding available to you.

For more information please see our funding section


On campus study is delivered by a variety of learning and teaching methods.  Lectures introduce new material and provide the core knowledge base for each module.  Tutorials offer the opportunity for discussion and debate with personalised instruction from tutors.  Design project work is an important aspect of the course enabling you to initiate and control research and design techniques to develop solutions to prescribed tasks.  

Distance Learning uses an internet-based learning environment backed up by intensive tutor support.  Weekly online tutorials are led by tutors with student interaction.  Our online repository of learning material enables you to undertake self-directed study at your own convenience.  Learning is driven by real-world problems aligned to your workplace and job role.  

Additional learning support will be provided through optional study days for both on-campus and distance learning students along with a summer school which will include seminars, group working, presentations and guest speakers from industry.

Contact hours

Full-time: Approximately two days per week

Part-time: Approximately one day per week

Distance Learning: Two to three hours online contact time with up to five hours personal study time per week


You will be assessed through:

  • Coursework/design project work (100%)
  • Continuous informal assessment by your tutors

Postgraduate Staff Profile

Professor Jason Underwood 

Professor in the Digital Built Environment 
Course Director: MSc BIM and Digital Built Environments 

Jason’s background is a combination of civil/structural engineering and construction ICT with over fifteen years research experience in the area of concurrent engineering, integrated and collaborative computing in construction, product and building information modelling, and organisational e-readiness towards delivering strategic value from ICT investment through involvement in both UK and EU funded research projects, on which he has published extensively. In relation to BIM particularly, his interest is focused towards BIM implementation and deployment together with education and training in the development of BIM capabilities, in particular bringing together the concept of organisational e-readiness with BIM. At a national level Jason is actively engaged in the Education & Training working group to deliver the UK Government BIM strategy and the present Chair of the UK BIM Academic Forum. He is also engaged at a local level including the Northwest BIM Hub of the UK Government BIM Strategy and the Northwest Construction Hub BIM Special Interest Group. He is Director of Construct IT For Business; an industry-led non-profit making collaborative membership-based network focused on improving industry performance through the innovative application of ICT and acting as a catalyst for academic and industrial collaboration. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of 3D Information Modelling (IJ3DIM) specifically focused on BIM along with 3D GIS and their integration.

Find out more about Jason's research


Career Prospects

The uptake of BIM is growing worldwide and therefore there is a clear need for professionals with appropriate process and technology skills. This course will enable architects, designers and design/project/construction/facility managers to specialise in the use of BIM and the implementation of integrated design and delivery.

You will develop managerial, technical and interpersonal skills to deliver better value through integrated design. You will be able to work collaboratively throughout design development. You will also be able to apply digital and media technologies to generate, represent and communicate innovative design solutions.

On completion of this course you will have developed skills and knowledge in a highly advanced specialism and the expertise gained is at the forefront of industry requirements. The technical and reflective skills you will develop are of immediate advantage to employers in construction, engineering and design roles across the built environment.

Links with Industry

Guest lecturers from industry with expertise in relevant areas are invited to provide lectures throughout the duration of the course, enriching your learning experience.

Field trips and site visits to innovative projects will allow the analysis and critical evaluation of cases in which high quality design and the adoption of technology has led to benefits for clients, users and/or communities.

The School of the Built Environment enjoys excellent links with the local, national and international built environment industry. This course meets the needs of the industry by providing formal postgraduate level education and technical knowledge in the highly advanced and emerging area of BIM and integrated design.

Further Study

The School of the Built Environment has an exciting and vibrant research community engaged in advanced research in the built environment, please see and for more information.

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