About the school

The School of the Built Environment at Oxford Brookes University produces world-class research, offers highly innovative programmes of study with outstanding teaching, and strong industry links for long-lasting and rewarding careers. It produces high calibre graduates with the deep and broad range of skills necessary to succeed at the highest levels in the real estate, planning, urban design, and construction industry sectors.

Our School is part of the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment at Oxford Brookes University. We have an international reputation for excellence in teaching, research and innovation. We have an ambitious desire to be recognised as a hotbed of creativity, innovation and knowledge exchange and to be one of the most exciting places to study in the world.

We address the dynamic challenges facing the built environment from an interdisciplinary base, giving our graduates deep understanding of their chosen field and a broad perspective on the issues involved in planning, designing, constructing, using, maintaining, investing in, and managing high performing built environments and delivering superior value to clients.

Teaching

We offer a comprehensive range of highly innovative programmes of study at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels including professional training developed in collaboration with industry to meet current and future professional, industry, and societal needs. We have an outstanding reputation for the quality of our teaching. Our programmes consistently score highly in the annual National Student Satisfaction (NSS) Survey and are highly ranked in the subject league tables. We have a highly talented, dedicated and diverse body of staff with a passion for teaching and giving our students a high quality learning experience. We draw on our experience of working with leading organisations and insights gained from our world-class research to educate the next generation of industry leaders. We engage expert professionals working at the leading-edge in industry in our teaching to significantly enrich the student experience and enhance employability. This gives our students a firm foundation and prepares them for long-lasting and rewarding careers in industry.

We continuously review, re-shape, and refresh our programmes to reflect the latest thinking at the cutting-edge of the profession and contemporary best practice, including emerging technological innovations in Building Information Modelling (BIM), City Information Modelling (CIM), Internet-of-Things (IoT), open data, and Big Data analytics. We use a multiplicity of teaching and learning methods including lectures, tutorials, case studies, live projects, problem-based learning, national and international field trips and online, and blended learning to enrich the student experience. Cognisant of the need for society to transition to a low carbon economy, the teaching of climate change and sustainability, modern methods of construction and digital literacy are embedded in all our courses, preparing our graduates to play leading roles in this transition and be responsible global citizens.

Research

Our staff engage in a continuous stream of interdisciplinary cutting-edge research and scholarly activities designed to meet the current and anticipate future needs of the built environment. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework in 2014, 97% of our research was judged to be internationally recognised, while 69% was found to be of ‘world leading’ quality or ‘internationally excellent’. 100% of our research was assed as having outstanding or very considerable impacts in terms of reach and significance.

Our research is organised and conducted through five research groups: the Spatial Planning, Urban Design, Impact Assessment, Real Estate & Land Policy, and Construction & Project Management Research groups which are all part of the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development. This gives us the ability to quickly assemble transdisciplinary research teams to tackle the major challenges affecting the built environment such as climate change, resilience, energy efficiency, resource scarcity, infrastructure, investment, and productivity. We are able to develop solutions to these challenges that contribute to sustainable growth in the 21st century by drawing on interdisciplinary innovations in BIM, open data, Big Data, Smart Cities, and many others in making impacts on the smart homes, communities, and cities of the future. We have a significant number of MPhil/PhD students working on a wide range of research topics and we offer an excellent research and knowledge exchange environment for our students, staff and partners.

Links to Practice

Our commitment to be at the forefront of current and evolving industry practice has led to taught and research programmes that reflect the realities of the marketplace. We have developed strong and extensive links with firms and organisations in the built environment industry sectors. Our industry advisory boards comprise senior staff from the leading firms in the built environment. We maintain strong links with the professional bodies and our courses are accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). We engage leading industry figures of international standing as visiting professors and lecturers to present regular guest lectures for our courses, providing students with contemporary and cutting edge practical insights into our discipline.

Employability

Many of our students are sponsored by the major firms and organisations in the built environment. We have excellent links with industry and work closely with our student’s future employers and leading professionals to ensure that our students develop strong commercial awareness. We have an extensive programme of career prospect enhancing activities which include industry placements, internships, a mentoring scheme, and dedicated career days with presentations from the leading firms and our alumni to help our students make a smooth transition into industry. This means that our graduates are highly sought after by employers as evidenced by independent government statistics which indicate that over 90% of our graduates are in employment six months after graduation.

Alumni

Many of our alumni hold senior management positions in leading firms. We have one of the largest and most influential alumni networks in the property sector, the Oxford Brookes Real Estate Management Society (OBREMS), which offers student internships, mentoring and prizes, and presents our graduates with highly beneficial networking opportunities. We also have large bodies of Alumni in the planning and construction industry sectors.

International

We attract students from all over the world. They bring diverse sets of experiences into the classroom that enrich learning and enhance personal global and cultural awareness. Our teaching and research activities are developed with an international perspective to reflect the increasingly strong role of the built environment in the global economy. Apart from preparing our graduates for careers in multi-national firms, a good mix of nationalities within our student population enhance the international learning experience and encourages understanding of the differences between national markets in the global built environment. We have developed many international links in Europe, North and South America, Russia, Africa, China, and the South East Asia and Middle East regions which involve student and staff academic exchanges and visits. We currently run both credit bearing and professional training programmes in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, China and Vietnam through collaboration with professional bodies and organisations such as the RICS, APREA, ANREV, and BOMA.

Oxford Location

The School is set in the historic student city of Oxford. Oxford is an excellent place to study planning, urban design, real estate and construction. The mix of historic and modern buildings presents a varied and rich environment for learning through site visits to diverse neighbourhoods, developments and construction projects involving both new build and challenging retrofitting work. The close proximity to London allows us to take advantage of its varied neighbourhoods, diverse communities and a world-class commercial property market. I invite you to join us in the quest to find solutions to the major challenges facing society, and to educate and train tomorrow’s leaders who will make a significant impact on our professions and society. Our website provides you with extensive information about our taught courses, research, and related activities. For further information, please contact us, or come along to one of our open days.