About us

About us

We provide a home for academics and students who want to understand, design and shape our world. With a wide range of courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels alongside exciting programmes of research and first-class facilities, we bring together the disciplines of

  • architecture
  • planning
  • housing
  • construction
  • real estate
  • surveying
  • geography
  • environment

As well as our academic focus, we pride ourselves on our emphasis on employability. Our students often undertake work experience and sandwich placements and we have excellent links with a large number of professional bodies and employers.

The Department of the Natural and Built Environment focuses on the academic disciplines which seek to understand, design and shape our world. We cover


Our architecture courses have a reputation for teaching quality and high levels of student support and satisfaction. We have a strong academic community committed to the critical and creative investigation of environmental and social agendas in architecture and the pursuit of technical excellence.

Our courses are vocational in ambition and provide real skills valued by employers. We have excellent relationships and reputations with the professional bodies - the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT).

We have two undergraduate courses.

  • Architectural Technology is recognised as an educational leader in the subject and renowned for its emphasis on architectural design and technical excellence.
  • Architecture (RIBA Part 1) is defined and distinguished by its visionary focus on environmental issues

Our two postgraduate courses take architecture and architectural technology in new directions. The Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture offers a new model for Part 2 education with a distinctive three-year structure encouraging study alongside work in architectural practice. The MSc Technical Architecture course provides advanced learning in a wide range of topical subjects associated with current architectural practice. It is increasingly popular with international students.

Construction, building and surveying

Our construction, building and surveying courses combine theoretical knowledge with hands on experience. They are accredited by the relevant professional bodies, including the

  • Chartered Institute of Building
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
  • Association of Building Engineers
  • Royal Institute of British Architects
  • Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists

You work on real life case studies, giving you valuable experience in a real world setting. We also have a network of industry contacts you can access to help develop your knowledge in construction, building and surveying.

Our teaching staff have extensive construction, building and surveying industry experience, and you also benefit from the insight and experience of visiting lecturers from surveying practices, large property companies and contractors.


The Geography team seeks to enhance the understanding of relationships between physical, cultural, economic, environmental, political, and social processes and how they interact in different places.

We aim to provide an excellent education in a research-rich environment, drawing on the interests and expertise of our staff. Our courses cover topics such as natural hazards and geological processes, international development, social and cultural change, economic and political restructuring, sport leisure and tourism, urban planning and regeneration, environmental change and landscape management.

We provide three undergraduate courses in Geography, Human Geography, and Planning and Geography. We also offer postgraduate courses in Planning, Urban Regeneration, Environmental Management and Geographical Information Systems and have a substantial doctoral programme.

The courses have been designed closely with the relevant professional bodies. For example, the BSc (Honours) Geography is accredited by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, and the BA (Honours) Planning and Geography is accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute.

We place a strong emphasis on residential fieldwork and take students on regular trips to major international cities such as Barcelona, Berlin, London and Prague as well as other urban, rural and coastal areas throughout the UK and Europe.

Our staff are actively involved in applied research and we provide a wide range of consultancy and professional development services for organisations including Natural England, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Peak District National Park Authority.


Our courses develop an understanding of environmental processes and techniques. They also demonstrate the public benefits of well managed habitats and landscapes in both rural and urban contexts.

We have a research active team of staff who work closely with public sector agencies, private consultancies and non-governmental organisations to enhance the natural environment. Several of them sit on high level committees in both professional bodies and government organisations such as the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, the Peak District National Park Authority and Natural England. This means we can apply our up to date expertise to both our research and teaching.

We encourage our students to undertake relevant voluntary work whilst studying, through our extensive network of contacts. Students also have the option of undertaking work experience and professional placements whilst studying.

Planning, housing and regeneration

Our education and research reflects the vital importance of planning and regeneration to high quality urban development, sustainable economies, socially inclusive housing and environmental sustainability.

We have a long-standing community of staff with strong links to practice. Course delivery includes developing academic and analytical skills which are highly valued by employers nationally and internationally. The vocational focus of our teaching results in the development of professional competencies and high employment rates for our graduates.

BA (Honours) Planning and Geography is distinguished by its creative design and specialist focus on design, regeneration and environmental issues. Students have the option of taking a sandwich year and undertaking study at an overseas university. Our postgraduate courses in MSc Urban Planning, MSc Urban Regeneration and MSc Transport Planning have recently been refreshed in the context of contemporary challenges for cities and regions and an increasingly global market. Students can study full or part-time and also have the opportunity to undertake international field work as part of their studies.

In addition to our planning, housing and regeneration expertise, specialist teaching in transport, design, environmental sustainability and Geographical Information Systems allows students to focus on their areas of interest at every level.

Our courses are accredited and we work closely with professional institutions including

  • the Royal Town Planning Institute
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
  • Chartered Institute of Housing
  • Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport

Our academic staff are widely published in leading journals and their expertise and experience is in demand from policy makers. The department's research activity underpins the teaching alongside the work of the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research which specialises in social and economic regeneration, housing and labour market analysis.

Real estate

We have over 30 years experience teaching real estate courses. A number of our undergraduate and postgraduate real estate courses are accredited by professional bodies including the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the National Association of Estate Agents.

Our teaching staff have extensive industry experience from across the range of professional disciplines associated with real estate, such as surveying and valuation, property law and planning.

We ensure our courses are constantly updated to reflect the changing needs of the world we live in. They provide you with essential subject knowledge as well as invaluable transferable skills demanded by employers, such as problem solving, communication and team working.

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