Master of Science in Creative Sustainability - M.Sc. Degree in Architecture

Aalto University

Program Description
EFMD Equis Accredited
AACSB Accredited

Master of Science in Creative Sustainability - M.Sc. Degree in Architecture

Aalto University

Goal of education

The International Master's Programme in Creative Sustainability (CS) is a joint master’s programme at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, School of Business and School of Engineering. The programme creates a multidisciplinary learning platform in the fields of architecture, business, design and real estate. The programme brings together students from different fields to study in multidisciplinary teams that increases understanding of different disciplines and enables adapting a holistic approach. This activates students to create new sustainable solutions for human environments on purpose to build a socially responsible and sustainable future.

Content outcomes

The CS programme provides the graduates with knowledge and skills on several competence areas:

  1. Multidisciplinary approach: capability in adapting knowledge, skills and new approaches to reach collaborative solutions based on ecological, economical and sociocultural sustainability.
  2. Systems approach: ability to integrate analytic and systemic thinking into critical problem solving that creates new holistic understanding about complex situations in society. The emphasis is on global awareness within the context of local communities and simultaneous modification of different aspects of sustainability.
  3. Design thinking: capability in creative problem solving that utilizes the methods of the design process in defining the problem, generating ideas and obtaining solutions.
  4. Project management: capability in multidisciplinary team leadership and communication in versatile environments that promotes sustainability in various cultural contexts.
  5. Business management: ability to develop new approaches and skills for creating sustainable business models and improvement of business ethics and corporate responsibility.

Skill outcomes

In addition to the specific aims of the CS programme the graduates of architecture have to possess the needed knowledge and skills for a professional architect which are mentioned in the EU directive 2005/36. Those are:

  1. ability to create architectural designs that satisfy both aesthetic and technical requirements,
  2. adequate knowledge of the history and theories of architecture and the related arts, technologies and human sciences,
  3. knowledge of the fine arts as an influence on the quality of architectural design,
  4. adequate knowledge of urban design, planning and the skills involved in the planning process,
  5. understanding of the relationship between people and buildings, and between buildings and their environment, and of the need to relate buildings and the spaces between them to human needs and scale,
  6. understanding of the profession of architecture and the role of the architect in society, in particular in preparing briefs that take account of social factors,
  7. understanding of the methods of investigation and preparation of the brief for a design project,
  8. understanding of the structural design, constructional and engineering problems associated with building design,
  9. adequate knowledge of physical problems and technologies and of the function of buildings so as to provide them with internal conditions of comfort and protection against the climate,
  10. necessary design skills to meet building users' requirements within the constraints imposed by cost factors and building regulations,
  11. adequate knowledge of the industries, organizations, regulations and procedures involved in translating design concepts into buildings and integrating plans into overall planning.

Academic skills

The aim of the programme is to provide the graduates with following general academic skills:

  • acquaintance with the academic discussion and the essential professional literature of the field
  • ability to write and argue in an academic and critical way
  • knowledge and skills needed to apply scientific knowledge and to use relevant research methods of the field
  • good language and communication skills to operate in a multicultural and global environment
  • knowledge and skills for lifelong and flexible learning
  • knowledge and skills for postgraduate education.

More about the language of instruction

The language of instruction in the Master’s Programme in Creative Sustainability - M.Sc. Degree in Architecture is English.

Education content

To ensure that the students fulfil the requirements for a professional architect the Department of Architecture demands that all approved applicants must possess a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in architecture. The master’s thesis topic is chosen from the major subject scope. The pedagogical approach is based on integrating teaching and research, problem-based learning, blended learning and strong connection to practical outcomes. E.g. in architecture the students learn programmatic concepts of sustainable ecosystems and learn to design sustainable and energy efficient buildings.

Career opportunities

CS studies prepare the students to work as sustainability experts in organizations that have a strategic view on transformation towards sustainability. These include the private and public sectors as well as a wide range of NGO´s. Architecture confront new challenges in innovating sustainable methods of design and development. The CS programme teaches skills to meet these challenges through specialization and interdisciplinary work, while students simultaneously fulfill requirements for professional degrees in Architecture. That makes the graduates from CS programme attractive targets for several types of local and international employers as well as prepares them for independent entrepreneurial activity.


The CS programme is international by itself, far more than half of the students are international. The most significant development challenges of sustainability are global: climate change, global poverty, social and economic inequality, population growth as well as demographic changes and adaptation to rapid global economic changes. The CS programme is a multidisciplinary learning platform which provides an international context of study, in student and teaching groups and study subjects.

Admission procedure

Students from Finnish or international universities can apply to this multidisciplinary programme through the admission procedure of the Aalto University. Admission is based on the academic assessment and all students from different fields apply through their own educational organization. As the students of architecture (also in CS programme) graduate as Master of Science in Architecture, their applications will be evaluated by the same evaluation panel and with the same criteria as all the applications for architecture. The evaluation process is highly competitive and the number of available study places is limited. There is no interview.

The Department of Architecture has given the following criteria for the academic evaluation:

  • The applicability of the previous degree, i.e. bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a school of architecture
  • The amount of relevant studies
  • The academic performance of the applicant
  • The quality of the application as a whole, including the portfolio
  • The motivation and commitment of the applicant on the basis of a motivation letter.

The applicant must show his/her motivation for studying in the program by writing a letter of motivation. A portfolio consisted of the applicant’s own works is mandatory. The portfolio should widely present the candidate’s architectural and artistic skills and creativity. It should be in paper form, easy to handle and no bigger than A3 size.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated December 14, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug., 2017
2 years
Full time
Jan. 25, 2017
Application period: 2016-12-15 - 2017-01-25
Start date Aug., 2017
Finland Espoo
Application deadline Jan. 25, 2017
Application period: 2016-12-15 - 2017-01-25
End date Request Info
Duration 2 years