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Study Experience

The Graduate School offers an immersive educational environment where academic learning is combined with practical experimentation, providing the skills needed to build a more sustainable future.

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CAT attracts a diverse range of students from the UK and across the world, with a wide variety of different backgrounds and experiences.

Our students have qualifications and experience in lots of different disciplines, from physics to farming and from construction to commerce. They also bring different levels of prior knowledge, whether that is in academic studies or in their professional field.

The resulting mixing pot of ideas, skills, knowledge and inspiration creates a unique environment where students learn from each other as well as from tutors, lecturers and guest speakers. These interactions add additional richness to the learning experience, with conversations continuing well after the formal teaching sessions have ended.

CAT follows the standard hours of study for postgraduate level study, where 1 credit equals a recommended 10 hours of study. For our 15 credit modules, this would mean 150 hours of study. Over an 8 week 15-credit MSc module, this is around 18 hours a week although it’s worth considering that our teaching weeks are intensive so will exceed this. Most full time students will have modules overlapping so their study hours will increase to around 35 hours a week. Study hours include dedicated teaching time, independent study and reading, and completing module assignments. 

For full time MArch students who might also be working in practice then we recommend that 3 days of study and 2 days of work a week, alongside the intensive teaching week every month provides a good balance between work and study. Students on the course may also wish to concentrate fully on their studies during their final year of the course.

Whether you take courses remotely or as on-site modules with residential study visits you’ll benefit from a unique learning environment and from the extensive support network that CAT cultivates.

We are also QAA Assured. We are reviewed as a recognised Higher Education Provider by the QAA on our teaching and learning standards and quality. You can read more here.

Master of Science Courses, Master of Research Postgraduate Diplomas and Postgraduate Certificates

On taught modules you’ll learn through lectures, small group seminars and discussion forums, group work tasks, tutorials and written and visual learning resources, alongside some hands-on sessions during residential visits.

You’ll benefit from the in-depth understanding provided by our experienced academic staff, and gain expert insights on specific topics from more than 60 specialist guest lecturers drawn from both academia and industry.

Recent guest lecturers have included world-renowned climate scientist Professor Kevin Anderson, food policy expert Professor Tim Lang and award-winning architect Professor Pat Borer.

Learn more about the teaching and learning environment by attending an open day or by visiting our courses page.

You can also find details about module specifications and student handbooks on our current students page.

Masters in Sustainable Architecture (Part 2)

You’ll develop your skills and knowledge through practical activities, build projects and design tasks alongside studio learning, lectures, small group seminars and discussion forums, group work tasks, tutorials and written and visual learning resources.

This approach to teaching and learning provides a thorough understanding of the complex challenges that occur when theories are put into practice.

The course is delivered by a combination of CAT lecturers and visiting external designers and architects, such as Professor Pat Borer.

Read more about Masters in Architecture here or attend our next open day. You will also find information in the Student Handbook on our current students page.

Lucy Bird - CAT graduate

CAT Stories: Lucy Bird

“The course was greatly informative and covered such a breadth of topics that I really felt like I got to dig into the deeper causes of socio-environmental issues, and understand how the whole societal system linked up. I was grateful for each module that we covered – from the practical (e.g. building, farming) to the conceptual (e.g. economics, behaviour change). The quality of the lecturers and guests was excellent”

What our students say

“I found the assignments thought-provoking, interesting, innovative and certainly challenging.”

“The pattern of week-long intensive lecture and studio time in a residential setting is a great incubator for the in-depth discussion, sharing of information and experiences, and peer-to-peer learning that makes CAT quite unique.”

Studying at CAT is not like studying at any other university. My studies have been positively impacted by the absence of competition and unnecessary pettiness which often occurs in architecture schools. CAT has been a home, a family and the greatest experience I have undertaken up to this moment in time.

As a student on the Sustainability and Adaptation course I was able to use the buildings on site as real case studies, including undertaking air pressure testing and thermal imaging on the Self Build house, undertaking experiments with green roofs, using the workshop for straw bale construction and building a prototype timber frame disaster shelter on site. Being able to witness the load testing of the world’s first rammed earth arch, made by a fellow architecture student, was quite amazing.

People next to rolls of drainage pipes


We know that many students have jobs, families and other commitments alongside their passion for sustainability. This is why we offer flexible learning options to enable you to build your knowledge and skills without sacrificing other areas of your life.


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