Career in Sustainable Architecture

7 minute read
Sustainable Architecture

As the earth is witnessing climate change which has impacted almost every corner of the world, be it the frequent wildfires, drought or cases of tropical storms, bringing sustainability in almost every aspect of our lives has become the need of the hour. Further, each industry is adapting to energy management to lessen the implications of production on our natural resources. When it comes to architecture, understanding the environmental effects of the construction of physical structures is crucial. Thus, building an ecological yet economical physical structure takes a whole lot of strategic designing and development. If you have been exploring the varied specialisation in the vast domain of architecture, here is a blog that aims to delve deeper into what sustainable architecture is, the prospective courses you can choose from, top universities as well as the career profiles you can opt for.

What is Sustainable Architecture?

Often referred to as Green Architecture, Sustainable Architecture lessens the negative environmental impact of development and construction of buildings through moderation as well as ensuring optimal use of materials, energy, and development space. It combines the study of physical structures with that of ecology and environment and focuses on curating energy-efficient and eco-friendly spaces. This is carried out through the use of appropriate technologies, reusable materials as well as green energy systems while also making sure that the curated space has a positive effect on the health, comfort as well as accentuated liveability of the inhabitants.

Courses in Sustainable Architecture

For those wanting to explore the specialised field of Sustainable Architecture, there are numerous institutions across the globe that offer an array of courses. From 3-4 year bachelor’s degree program to 2-year master’s degree programs as well as doctorates, the following list elucidates some of the popular ones you must consider:

  • BSc in Sustainable Architecture
  • BArch in Sustainable Architecture
  • MArch in Sustainable Architecture
  • PhD in Sustainable Architecture
  • MSc in Sustainable Architecture
  • MArch in Environmental Architecture
  • Master in Sustainable Design
  • Master of Sustainable Built Environment
  • MA in Environmental Architecture
  • M.Eng in Healthy and Sustainable Buildings

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Sustainable Architecture Curriculum

Studying a program in this field, students will get to learn about the essentials of Architecture as a discipline which will be blended with a strive towards sustainability. Take a look at the following subjects covered under a BSc/BArch and Master’s degree in Sustainable Architecture:

  • Contemporary Processes in Architectural Design
  • Urban Conservation and Practice
  • Landscape Ecology and Planning
  • Sustainable and Green Building Design
  • Appropriate Technologies and Sustainable Construction
  • GIS Modelling in Urban Planning
  • Sustainability and Energy Conservation in Landscape Architecture
  • Material Conservation
  • Research Methodologies in Architecture
  • Performance Evaluation of Buildings
  • Emerging Practices in Housing

Note: The above-mentioned list is only for indicative purposes. Course offerings might differ as per the chosen program as well as an academic institution.

Master of Engineering vs Master of Science

Skills Required 

Sustainable Architecture as a career focuses highly on skill and requires expertise to be successful in this field. The most important skills a good architect needs to have are:

  • Designing skills
  • Analytical thinking skills
  • Computer software knowledge
  • Verbal communication skills
  • Reasoning skills
  • Mathematical skills
  • Team player
  • Attention for detail
  • Creativity

Eligibility Criteria 

The eligibility criteria for the program vary from university to university and whether the student wants to pursue the course in India or abroad. But, if you are planning to study abroad in one of the top architecture schools then the standard eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • 10+2 in science stream from a recognised board for bachelors programme. 
  • A Bachelor of Architecture degree is required from a recognised university for masters. 
  • Besides the academic requirements, you need to have a valid score of GRE
  • For the courses that are taught in the English language, you will be required to prove your proficiency in the language by taking one of the tests like IELTS, TOEFL or PTE
  • Apart from this, you will also be required to submit university transcripts, letters of recommendation (LOR), statement of purpose (SOP), updated CV, etc. 
  • A strong portfolio and work experience may be required at some of the universities for masters. So it is advised to go through the university website before applying for the MArch programs

Sustainable Architecture Requirements

Mentioned below are some of the important requirements that aspirants must keep in mind in order to become a sustainable architect in future: 


Most architectural jobs require a bachelor’s degree or above. Undergraduate degrees in landscape architecture, sustainable architecture, and urban design are available. Almost all undergraduate and graduate programmes need a considerable amount of studio hours in order for students to practise drawing and design methods, as well as methodology. At the graduate level, there are several sustainability degree programmes. There are also graduate-level certifications in sustainability that require less time to complete than a master’s degree. Ecology, sustainable design, and environmental technology may be covered in graduate school. Horticulture, Visual Design, Geology, and site planning may be required courses in landscape programmes.


To work as a sustainable architect, one must first get a state licence. Some states and countries even have separate licencing requirements, although they generally require applicants to first acquire an architecture-related degree before getting job experience in the industry. Individuals must next pass a test. Many states require licenced architects to participate in continuing education courses. In addition, several states require landscape architects to take a separate test than normal architects. To lawfully remove hazardous materials such as asbestos from ancient buildings under repair, preservation architects may need to finish a separate training and certification programme.

Top Universities Abroad for Sustainable Architecture

There are various institutions that offer a multitude of courses in this domain across the globe. Below we have enlisted some of the major academic institutions that are known for their varied programs under this specialised arena: 

  1. University of California, United States
  2. Harvard University, United States 
  3. Yale University, United States
  4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States
  5. University College London, UK
  6. Cardiff University, UK
  7. University of Cambridge, UK
  8. The University of Queensland, Australia
  9. Queensland University of Technology, Australia
  10. Politecnico Di Milano, Italy 

Top Colleges in India for Sustainable Architecture

Although sustainable architecture is still an unexplored area in India, slowly and steadily, it’s gaining recognition in the industry and people have started knowing about its importance in the coming future. As a result, there are not many universities that are providing courses in Sustainable Architecture. A few Indian colleges that are providing so are mentioned below: 

  • College of Architecture, Pune 
  • School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi 
  • School of Planning and Architecture, Vijayawada 
  • National Institute of Technology, Hamirpur 
  • Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University. Delhi
  • MES College of Engineering, Kerala 
  • Gandhi Institute of Technology and Management, Andhra Pradesh

Career Pathways

Once you have completed a degree in Sustainable Architecture or its related fields, there are ample career opportunities available in both the public and private sectors. Moreover, the major recruiters of graduates in this field generally include architecture firms, consulting services, educational institutions, real estate developers, amongst others. We have elaborated upon some of the major job profiles in this discipline below:

  • Sustainable Architect: The job role of a Sustainable Architect includes the creation of design and construction of buildings to ensure a minimal impact on the environment with the help of eco-friendly building materials and energy-efficient construction methods.
  • Preservation Architects: Preservation architects are architects that specialise in historical restoration and design. These people renovate historic buildings to provide cheap living and business space. These architects frequently study historical papers and plans in order to acquire a better understanding of how to combine ancient construction processes with modern procedures and technology. Cities may engage preservation architects to preserve the historical appearance of older areas while also upgrading structures to meet modern building and environmental regulations.
  • Landscape Architects: Landscape architects design aesthetically appealing landscapes with as little damage or interference in the natural environment as possible. At landscaping sites, these individuals analyse local plant life, soil chemistry, and nearby structures to determine their design. They meet with customers on a regular basis to assess the functioning of landscapes and to develop strategies to reduce the environmental effect of planned designs. Some people specialise in many parts of landscape design, whilst others concentrate on certain areas such as road construction or community spaces.
  • Project Architect: Overseeing the timely and profitable completion of a construction plan, a project architect is the senior leader of the team of architecture and is responsible for the implementation and overall development of a specific project.
  • Architectural Project Manager: The job roles and duties of an Architectural Project Manager include planning, directing and coordinating the construction projects. They also conduct in-depth research to determine materials and equipment which are required and propose budgets for each project undertaken.
  • Project Designer:  Under this job profile in Sustainable Architecture, you will be required to develop design documentation, technical specifications and other project-related documents for the development of a physical structure. Project designer also formulate the essential design details, specifications, drawings, design calculations and bills of quantities.

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Other Job Profiles

Apart from the above-mentioned prospects, options to make a career in Sustainable Architecture do not just end there. A few more have been stated below.

  • Transit Architect
  • Interior Designer
  • Architect
  • Preservation Architect
  • Landscape Architect

Those interested in a career in sustainable architecture might look for work in both the commercial and public sectors. Jobs in architectural firms, consulting firms, engineering firms, educational services, and building, developing, and general contracting are available in a variety of roles. At the starting level, sustainable architects may make between INR 10 and INR 25 lakhs per year. Those with enough professional expertise in the sector, on the other hand, may expect to earn between INR 30 and 60 lakhs per year.

Thus, we hope that this blog has helped you gain clarity about Sustainable Architecture as a field of study as well as a career domain. If you are unsure about the right educational institution to pursue a course in this specialisation, sign up for a free 30-minute career counselling session with our experts at Leverage Edu and we will help you find a suitable university and course with the help of our AI Course Finder!

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  1. This is so precise and appropriate information I require and got it at one stop. Thank you it is really helpful.

  1. This is so precise and appropriate information I require and got it at one stop. Thank you it is really helpful.