MSBPD Graduation Requirements-School of Architecture - Carnegie Mellon University

What to expect from our MSBPD program...

The Master of Science in Building Performance & Diagnostics (MSBPD) is a post-professional degree designed for practitioners, researchers, and educators in architecture and the building industry who wish to be leaders in advanced building technologies and their performance. This rigorous 2-year (4 semester) curriculum provides a breadth of knowledge, from simulation software and cost-benefit analysis, to the integration of design, technology & construction methods.

Students in the MSBPD program have the opportunity to take classes not only through the School of Architecture, but also in Computer Science, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Public Policy & Management, and other departments throughout the University. Individually chosen Selective courses as well as the culminating Master's Project, provide students the opportunity to pursue topics of personal interest, such as life-cycle assessment, simulation software, sustainable engineering & LEED™ design, and data acquisition/management. As a research-oriented program, MSBPD is ideal for students who are seeking to continue their education at the PhD-level.

Core Course Descriptions:

Building Controls & Diagnostics

This course introduces the concepts and methods of building diagnostics, focusing on the empirical evaluation of the built environment (building components and systems, interactions between building, occupants and environmental conditions) in view of multiple performance criteria (thermal, visual and acoustic performance). The course will address empirical methods of building analysis and related issues, both theoretically and practically, through the application of: field measurement techniques, physical modeling methods, and computer-aided building modeling.

Building Performance Modeling

This course introduces fundamentals and computational methods in building performance modeling. Topics include: modeling and design, overview of thermal, visual, and acoustical domain knowledge, integration of performance simulation in computer-aided design, introduction to the application of advanced computational building simulation tools, case studies and design assignments on the application of simulation in the evaluation and improvement of building performance.

Empirical Methods for Public Policy & Management

Policy development and administrative decision making often require the collection and analysis of quantitative data. This course quickly reviews basic probability and statistics and then proceeds to introduce a variety of statistical methods in the context of public management and policy analysis. The most important goal of the course is to help you obtain the knowledge and confidence to perform rapid "back of the envelope" analysis, and to help you obtain the references and other intellectual resources to undertake more rigorous analysis, and to help you obtain wisdom to know when each is appropriate.

Management Science I: Optimization & Multi-Criteria Methods

This course focuses on the application of quantitative models and methods to management decision making and policy analysis. Topics covered include: forecasting, decision analysis, linear programming,and other forms of optimization, queuing, and simulation. Examples of application areas include: finance, criminal justice, urban service delivery, personnel planning, and health care services. Excel will be used extensively to teach and illustrate concepts.

Management Science II: Decision Risk Modeling

The course theme is decision making in the face of uncertainty. It covers applications of methodology for forecasting, queuing theory, project management, decision analysis, and behavioral decision theory. The focus of the course is on how to approach, abstract, and analyze messy problems from a quantitative, analytical perspective. Students will learn to use stochastic modeling for management and policy decision making. Use is made of appropriate software.

Paradigms of Research in Architecture

This course is an introduction to models and methods of academic research – particularly as they relate to building design issues – and a forum for intellectual curiosity. The initial 10 weeks of the semester involves an overview and covers several methods of research, including models of natural sciences, social sciences, sciences of the artificial, engineering and aesthetic in building design. During the final 5 weeks of the semester faculty from both the College of Fine Arts (CFA) and Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT) will be invited to make presentations about their areas of research and the methods they use.

Performance of Advanced Building Systems

This course focuses mainly on the sustainable performance of commercial buildings. Topics include: technology, design, construction and operation processes. Moreover, this class discusses the concept and importance of Systems Integration (utilizing all of these aspects) to produce buildings with not only the lowest environmental impact, but with the highest level of performance.

Master's Project

The Master's Project provides students with the opportunity to conduct research under the direction of the School's faculty. Students are encouraged to pursue topics of personal interest, providing each individual the opportunity to customize his or her educational experience. Normally, the project is undertaken in the Spring semester. However, with approval of their faculty advisor, students may elect to spread the project over two semesters (18 units per semester).

For a complete and up-to-date catalogue of course offerings, (including course descriptions, schedules, instructors, etc.) please visit the University's Schedule of Classes (SOC) website.


Core Courses

  • Building Controls & Diagnostics

  • Building Performance Modeling

  • Empirical Methods for Public Policy & Management

  • Management Science I: Optimization and Multi-Criteria Methods

  • Management Science II: Decision Risk Modeling

  • Paradigms of Research in Architecture

  • Performance of Advanced Building Systems

  • Master's Project


Selective Options

  • Air Quality Engineering

  • Building Economics

  • Data Acquisition

  • Energy System Modeling

  • Environmental Life-Cycle Assessment & Green Design

  • Introductory/Intermediate Programming

  • LEED™ Buildings & Green Design Concepts

  • Mathematical Modeling of Environmental Quality Systems

  • Productivity, Health & Quality of Buildings

  • Zero Energy House

  • and MORE...