Designing with 3D CAD & BIM Course

Learn SketchUp and Revit from the ground up

This online course provides a thorough introduction into Autodesk Revit and covers many applied topics in Trimble SketchUp Pro, both industry-leading software in the AEC field. It is available to anyone (not just matriculated students) on a per-credit fee basis.

Where To Sign Up

You can find this course and register for it here:

Course Description

This course provides students with an opportunity to learn about advanced topics in architectural and construction-focused CAD & BIM software in a problem-based environment. Topics covered are: precision 3D modeling, constructability analysis, digital fabrication, parametric building design, Building Information Modeling (BIM), construction documentation, material takeoff, 3D modeling for building-energy analysis, laser scanning and point clouds, rendering, collaboration, and presentation.

Furthermore it allows students to deepen their studies in Building Information Modeling (BIM), a concept that is at the heart of contemporary digital building planning and execution. Specific study topics can be tailored to the students’ personal or professional field of research where the project and accompanying faculty guidance are intended to support their individual endeavors.

Students can take this course on its own or as part of the Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Building Construction or our Master’s in Sustainable Building Systems.

Weeks / Topics

  1. Introduction and SketchUp Review
  2. Constructability Detail Modeling with SketchUp
  3. (continued)
  4. Digital Fabrication with SketchUp
  5. (continued)
  6. BIM Mini-Symposium / Intro to Revit
  7. Revit “Bootcamp” Week 1: Walls, Doors, and Windows
  8. Revit “Bootcamp” Week 2: Floors, Ceilings and Roofs
  9. Revit “Bootcamp” Week 3: Stairs and Structure
  10. Revit “Bootcamp” Week 4: Details, Furniture, and Sheets
  11. Benefits of BIM: Schedules and Estimating (Parameters)
  12. Benefits of BIM: Collaboration and Analysis
  13. Benefits of BIM: 3D Scanning / Point Clouds
  14. Half-Term BIM Project

Learning Outcomes

  • Ability to work in a 3-dimensional CAD / BIM environment and create 3D models of construction assemblies and buildings
  • Ability to create a parametric building information model (“BIM” = a 3D object-oriented model of a building where each component has “intelligent” behaviors and/or embedded data), and extract data from the BIM model
  • Ability to use CAD / BIM-based tools to solve technical issues (e.g. fabrication, energy efficiency, lighting, structural etc.) during the planning process
  • Understanding of Autodesk Revit as an example of a parametric BIM building modeling software and Trimble SketchUp Pro as an example of a general purpose 3D modeling tool
  • Knowledge of options to work collaboratively with BIM data on Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) projects
  • Knowledge of advanced CAD / BIM principles: Interoperability, software extensions, scripting/automation, texturing/rendering, laser scanning, workflow methods and others
  • Introduction to Trimble SketchUp Pro, Autodesk Revit, Trimble Connect, Trimble Realworks, and Trimble’s laser scanner


Some previous CAD knowledge (e.g. from AutoCAD, SketchUp, Rhino,…) is useful (e.g. from BCT 320 or a similar course or work practice). Beginner knowledge of SketchUp is required at the beginning of the course. Students should also have a bachelor’s degree or be certificate/graduate students.

Course Format

This course is delivered online through the UMass Amherst learning management systems. Students are expected to install all of the required software (mainly Trimble SketchUp Pro and Autodesk Revit) on their own computers – academic versions are available for free. Computer lab access in Amherst, MA or Newton, MA is also available if needed.

Dates and Cost

Spring Term (February-May, 13 weeks) or
Fall Term (September-December, 13 weeks)

  • ECO 620: $1,893 ($631/credit) plus an $85 term fee (2024 rates)

Where To Sign Up

You can find this course and register for it here: