Master's Programme in Creative Sustainability - M.Sc. Degree in Architecture


Master of Science (Architecture).
More information.


120 ECTS

Field of Study:

Technology and Engineering


2 years, full-time


An appropriate Bachelor´s degree or an equivalent qualification.
More information.

Tuition fees & scholarships:

Yes, for non-EU citizens.
More information

Language of Instruction:

More information.

Organising school/s:

School of Arts, Design and Architecture

Application period:

2017-12-15 - 2018-01-24


Goal of education

 Creative Sustainability programme (CS) provides a multidisciplinary learning platform in the fields of architecture, built environment, business and design. It allows students to study and develop solutions to global sustainability concerns such as climate change, resource scarcity, global poverty as well as social and economic inequality.

Global and local challenges call for multidisciplinary approaches and the inter-linkage of environmental, economic, socio-cultural aspects in education. CS programme brings together students who are devoted to develop systemic solutions, work in multidisciplinary teams and challenge themselves with practical learning tasks. The studies offer students opportunities to collaborate with research projects, companies, organisations and students from other disciplines.

The International Master’s Programme in Creative Sustainability is a joint master’s degree programme at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, School of Business and School of Engineering. CS students who entre the program via department of Architecture will graduate with degrees of Master of Science in Architecture.

Students who enter the CS program through the Department of Architecture learn to integrate sustainability and life cycle approach into architectural design process. They are expected to question conventional design approaches and challenge others into systems thinking in the built environment. See also the programme's own pages (website works better with Google Chrome and Firefox).

Content outcomes

Multidisciplinary approach: Students learn to adapt knowledge, skills and new approaches to reach collaborative solutions based on ecological, economical and socio-cultural sustainability.

Systems approach: Students learn to use systemic thinking into problem solving and create new holistic understandings of complex situations and critical infrastructures in society. The emphasis is on global awareness within the context of local communities and simultaneous modification of different aspects of sustainability.

Design thinking: Students learn to apply creative problem solving methods and tools in facilitating dialogs, defining problems, generating ideas and obtaining solutions.

Sustainability management: Students learn to develop, support and manage sustainability initiatives for the society at large, for business purposes and for the needs of other organizations. Students also gain understanding of the way that different organizational forms and work practices support the pursuits in sustainability.

Project management: Students learn to manage multidisciplinary teamwork, and to promote sustainability in culturally versatile organizational environments

Skill outcomes

After completing the degree in CS in the department of Architecture students are able to

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 2013/55/EU. 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, in the framework of sustainable development;
  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:

  1. acquaintance with the academic discussion and the essential professional literature of the field
  2. ability to write and argue in an academic and critical way
  3. knowledge and skills needed to apply scientific knowledge and to use relevant research methods of the field
  4. good language and communication skills to operate in a multicultural and global environment
  5. knowledge and skills for lifelong and flexible learning
  6. 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. More information about the languages of instruction at Aalto University.

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.

For further details on the education content, see the study guide for the academic year of 2017-2018.

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.

Page content by: | Last updated: 20.12.2017.