Student looks at final project boards hanging on wall with a notepad in her hand

Environmental design includes the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban and planning design, as well as research pertaining to these fields. The bachelor in environmental design curriculum is a design studio-based education, which requires the completion of design-based studio experiences every semester, along with a number of complementary courses, general electives, and environmental-design electives. At any time, students may declare a major in architectural design, landscape architecture design, urban and planning design, or design studies; they must declare a major during their third-level studio. All graduates from the undergraduate program earn a bachelor in environmental design degree with a major in architectural designlandscape architecture design, urban and planning design, or design studies

In the core, bachelor in environmental design students take a sequence of courses, which emphasize the knowledge, methods, and practices, common to the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban and planning design. As the established design professions are increasingly collaborating on complex design issues related to the designed environment, the mix of core courses reflects these trends.

The program requires that students to complete courses in a clear series of prerequisites, but includes flexible opportunity for general studies and elective courses. Students must meet the prerequisites of any course before enrolling in subsequent courses.

The Design Majors

Students may declare a major at any time upon enrollment, but must declare a major before enrolling in any third-level design studio. In addition, students must meet the required prerequisites for each level. Students will declare a major in architectural design, landscape architectural design, urban and planning design, or design studies.

The BEnvd degree and its majors are a pre-professional program of study intended to prepare students for entry into graduate study, though many bachelor's in environmental design students find employment in careers allied to the professions without undertaking graduate study. Depending upon the particular requirements of graduate professional programs at other institutions, the BEnvd degree may lead to advanced standing, which can shorten the duration of graduate studies. After completing the BEnvd degree, a professional master's degree will be required for professional licensure in architecture or landscape architecture.

Environmental Design Curriculum: Thematic Structure

The undergraduate Program in Environmental Design encourages interdisciplinary study and collaborative work on real-world programs. It also encourages a breadth of knowledge, including knowledge in the liberal arts and in other general studies, which prepare students to be critical thinkers and communicators. 

The first year of the core introduces students to fundamental design ideas and practices, to the concepts of analysis and problem solving, to human factors, to ecology, to design history and theory, and to the relationship between environmental design and ethics. The following three semesters challenge students with design problems at a different scales within the built environment: at the scales of urban building, landscape, and design. Each of these design challenges underscores the interdependency of scales upon one another and the complex connectedness which characterizes the built environment.

The final three semesters of the curriculum offer students the opportunity to major in architecture, landscape architecture, or planning and urban design. Students wishing to pursue academic work that crosses disciplines can pursue design studies. During the final two years of study, students may earn opportunities to engage in service learning in the community or in design-build, they may study abroad, or they may have opportunities for more individualized research.

Course codes for this program are ARCH and ENVD.

Careers in the Design Professions

The program prepares preprofessional undergraduate students for professional graduate study in the design professions. As with other four-year preprofessional degrees, such as the bachelor of science or bachelor of arts in architecture, the BEnvd prepares students for study in a master of architecture (MArch), master of landscape architecture (MLA), master of urban design (MUD), or master of urban and regional planning (MURP) degree program.

It is common for bachelor's in environmental design graduates to receive advanced standing for the work they have done in our program, which allows them to complete a graduate degree at other design schools in a shorter time.