Photograph of the interior of the Robert L. Preger Intelligent Workplace at CMU

Our graduate programs in Building Performance & Diagnostics (BPD) have long led the world in advanced building technologies that sustainably reshape the built environment.

Program Overview

"Sustainability" was our passion and expertise long before it became a buzzword. Carnegie Mellon’s Master of Science in Building Performance & Diagnostics (MSBPD) and PhD in Building Performance & Diagnostics (PhD-BPD) are top-ranked building science degree programs dedicated to advancing high performance buildings and communities for a more resilient and sustainable future.

The BPD programs are founded on the premise that the integrated design of building and community systems is critical for environmental sustainability and human health and productivity. The Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics (CBPD) conducts research for international governments and industries on: high performance building system design and operations; the office, school, healthcare, and urban settings of the future; design for climate, energy, resource conservation, health and productivity; environmental assessment and post occupancy evaluation feedback for design and operation; and the financial, natural, and human capital benefits of investing in high performance built environments. Read more about the CBPD’s research projects on the CBPD webpage and at the links below.

The CBPD is housed in the Robert L. Preger Intelligent Workplace (IW), a living laboratory of advances in building enclosure, mechanical, lighting, telecommunications, and interior systems, as well as the next generation of building controls to support human health and productivity and the highest level of environmental sustainability. The IW in turn is housed on the award winning urban campus of Carnegie Mellon University, a leader in graduate education, with the ability to customize your degree across all disciplines.

With over twelve faculty dedicated to sustainability and advanced building systems within the School of Architecture, the faculty in the MSBPD and PhD-BPD programs are an unparalleled resource. They have written the textbooks and led the research projects that have made high performance buildings and building systems the centerpiece of governments and industries around the world. View the PhD-BPD Dissertations to learn more.

The MSBPD is a two-year program for architecture and engineering graduates committed to advancing the quality of the built environment for human health and ecological sustainability. MSBPD graduates have successful careers in design and engineering practice, industry, government, consulting, and non-profit sectors designing, catalyzing and quantifying high performance buildings and communities.

Courses in the MSBPD program are intended to provide four semesters of intensive learning about sustainability science, technology, tools, data acquisition and analytics, sustainable social science and statistics, as well as sustainability economics and policy. Courses are taken across the disciplines at Carnegie Mellon, and students who come in with comparable pre-requisites can appeal to place out of courses and select electives across campus.

The MSBPD thesis is an invaluable opportunity to collaborate with faculty or pursue independent research expertise with an eye on the greatest needs and opportunities for future work. These outstanding projects have included advanced building system innovations and evaluation, energy data analytics, life cycle justifications for high performance buildings, computational tools for sustainability, design for sustainable cities, and industry- and government-based research projects.

The MSBPD, PhD-BPD, and Master of Science in Sustainable Design (MSSD) are a cohort of classmates from around the world, sharing learning experiences with dedicated faculty in purposefully small classes. The core curriculum offers a building science and research-oriented program with technical depth for careers in sustainability-focused professional practice, environmental research and consulting, the building industry, higher education, or continuing on to earn a PhD. The degrees are specifically designed for those who seek quantitative depth in building and urban design, building performance, building science, computational design and design invention, leading to sustainability positions in professional practice, research, environmental consulting, industry, and government.

We strive to empower building owners, operators, and occupants to save energy with interfaces that present its users not only with data, but with knowledge and actionable items.

Learn More 

Please contact Track Chair Vivian Loftness with questions about the BPD programs.

Educational & Professional Qualifications

We seek students who are highly self-motivated and passionate about research, with a balanced aptitude in both the art and science involved in sustainable development, who understand the important role the built environment must play if we are to create a sustainable future.

Program Details

Residency Requirement

The MSBPD is a 2-year (4 semester) program with a minimum residency of three (3) academic semesters at full-time status (36 units).

Graduation Requirements 

In addition to the course requirements for the MSBPD program, students must satisfy:

  • A minimum of 160 units of coursework with a minimum residency of three (3) academic semesters at full-time status (36 units).

  • A GPA of 3.0, with exceptions to be approved by the graduate faculty.

  • Advance standing and core course substitution that have been pre-approved by the Track Chair.

  • Advanced standing of one or two semesters of coursework for qualified CMU students within the B.Arch and M.Arch program through the Accelerated Master’s Program (AMP).

Curriculum

The core curriculum offers a building science and research-oriented program with technical depth for careers in sustainability-focused professional practice, environmental research and consulting, the building industry, higher education, or continuing on to earn a PhD. The degrees are specifically designed for those who seek quantitative depth in building and urban design, building performance, building science, computational design and design invention, leading to sustainability positions in professional practice, research, environmental consulting, industry, and government.

The MSBPD curriculum is intended to provide four (4) semesters of intensive learning about sustainability science, sustainable technologies and systems, performance simulation tools, data acquisition and analytics, social science and statistics, and sustainability economics and policy. Courses are offered by faculty across the disciplines at CMU. The MSBPD curriculum also serves as the required minimum coursework for PhD studies at CMU, upon successful admission to the program with a PhD advisor.

MSBPD Curriculum

PhD-BPD Curriculum

Program Faculty

Assistant Teaching Professor

Assistant Professor, DEI Director & DDes Track Chair

Associate Professor & MSSD Track Chair

Professor Emeritus

Professor & Head

Teaching Professor

Assistant Professor & AECM Track Chair

University Professor

Assistant Professor in Building Technology & BPD Track Chair