Architecture, Ambiances, Urbanity (U-ENV AAU)

Programme Objectives

This Master offers a world-class education to future engineers and town planners by providing the skills necessary to address environmental and health issues in the context of sustainable urban development, in research and in urban design.

The programme is designed to provide scientific theoretical knowledge and tools necessary to understand and address the environmental physical problems resulting from the ever increasing urban population. Various key disciplines such as urban microclimatology, wind and ventilation in urban areas, human ecology of urban spaces, sunlight and illumination are taught through advanced lectures and research work in laboratories renowned in these fields.

The Master programme is fully recognized by the French Ministry of Higher Education and the network of contacts established by the researchers engaged in the programme guarantees international exposure for the students.

The programme of study lasts two academic years - denoted by M1 and M2. The M1 programme is taught in English. M2 courses are in French, but the Master's thesis can be either in French or English.

A minimum B2 level in French is required for M1 admission, raising to C1 level by the end of the first semester of the first year.

Course Content

30 ECTS Credits per semester.
Language of instruction: English in M1 Year, French in M2 Year

M1 Year - 2022/23
Autumn Semester Courses ECTS  Spring Semester Courses  ECTS
Fluid mechanics 1  5 Hydrology and transfers in soils  5
Algorithmics for Engineering Modelling  4 Introduction to Computational Fluid Dynamics  5
Energetics and building heat transfers  5 Urban Realities Review  5
Introduction to Geographic Information Sciences  5 Urban Management and Planning  4
Introduction to research  5 History of the city  5
Business Environment  4 Social sciences for the city  4
Modern Languages *  2 Modern Languages *  2
Conferences  0

* 'French as Foreign Language' except for French native speakers who will study 'Cultural and Communicational English'

NB Course content may be subject to minor changes
M2 Year - 2022/23
Autumn Semester Courses ECTS
Research methods and practice 4
Ambiance, ambiances 5
Urban project 1: theoretical approach and environmental indicators  4
Urban project 2: design and evaluation 5
Urban environment 1: sunlight & sound environment 5
Urban environment 2: wind & microclimate 5
Modern Languages * 2
Conferences 0

* 'French as Foreign Language' except for French native speakers who will study 'Cultural and Communicational English'
NB Course content may be subject to minor changes.
Language of instruction in M2 Year: French
Spring Semester ECTS
Master thesis / internship                                                    30

Examples of previous internships in industry:

  • Taking into account external air quality issues in urban design processes. (EIVP internship)
  • Analysis of the conditions of comfort in the housing of the rural areas (district of Bogota, Colombia)

Examples of previous internships in research labs:

  • Lumiducs: history and issues in the contemporary city
  • The architectural angle at the intersection: the urban angle as an object of study of the urban space.
Skills developed
  • Understand and master the theoretical and methodological foundations of urban environments through the problematic of ambiances.
  • Master the physical phenomena that contribute to the comfort and to the perception of the developed or built environment.
  • Know how to characterise urban ambiances.

In addition to the above specialism-specific skills, students will also develop more general skills:

  • Express assumptions to analyse and solve a problem
  • Communicate comprehensive results in a meaningful way
  • Undertake bibliographic surveys of international research and professional literature
  • Carry out an urban project through its environmental challenges

Download syllabus | U-ENV AAU 2021/22

Facilities and Partnerships

Faculty and Research Facilities

This Master relies on Centrale Nantes’ faculty and the School of Architecture of Nantes (Ensa Nantes) staff and the research facilities of the LHEEA Laboratory, the AAU laboratory and the IRSTV (Research Institute on Urban Sciences and Technology)


Centrale Nantes and Ensa Nantes have partnerships with EDF, Veolia, ENERCON, Nantes Métropole, Air Pays de la Loire, CEREMA.
After the Master's

Career Prospects

  • Sectors: urban planning and design; urban environment; architecture
  • Fields: urban planning, microclimatology, comfort in urban areas
  • Positions: urban planner/architect in consulting office or groups specialized in environmental engineering; assistance to contracting authorities; research and academia (post PhD)
Published on April 13, 2017 Updated on November 24, 2022