A Bachelor of Environmental Design, (B.EnvD.), is a pre-professional degree. The B.EnvD. prepares you for further study in architecture, landscape architecture, or urban planning (Wikipedia). This degree can act as a stepping stone to a Master of Architecture, for example. However, you can still find work using your knowledge from coursework in geography, environmental science, and urban planning.

Because the degree can be a precursor to a graduate program in architecture, the bachelor’s degree is often aligned with architecture. This post expands on the DegreeQuery one titled-What is a Degree in Environmental Design. That information was an overview of undergraduate programs, as well as examples of curricula. We will elaborate on some of the classes you can expect to take in the different types of environmental design/architecture programs.

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design

There are B.S. degrees whose curriculum focuses on subjects directly associated with architecture. Examples are classes in the history of architecture, technology, design, and building construction. Other programs may lean towards ecology by offering classes addressing the environmental effect on design, green technology, recycled materials, and energy efficient heating and lighting.

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Generally, a Bachelor of Science program will have classes similar to those offered in architecture. That is, they will involve the subjects of math, physical sciences, physics, and others related to architecture. Some of the examples are:

Physics: Topics may include kinematics, which is a study of the motion of objects.  Other areas of learning may involve mass, force, momentum, and energy.

Pre-Calculus: The class explores functions, graphs, and the use of symbols for expressing mathematical thoughts. Also deals with polynomials, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions.

Building Construction: The class studies the various materials used in constructing buildings from a design and structural perspective.  Architectural Graphics: This covers basic techniques in architectural graphic expression.

Environmental Controls: This entails the analysis and design of architectural lighting systems, acoustics, electrical systems, fire protection, and signal systems.

You can also find the program housed within a College of Architecture, Design, and Construction at Auburn University. The classes provide a solid background in construction and design. In the design coursework, you will become versed in design thinking, public issues, and elements of design in development. On the construction side, you will learn about costs, safety, materials, and structural components.

You will explore technology through digital media and drawing studios. Depending on the curriculum, you may have to perform an internship, work in an architectural firm, or volunteer for a community design project. These are part of the curriculum. The internship, for example, may last six months in an office conducting environmental and architectural design.

The Auburn program’s major in environmental design offers classes in Systems in Built Environment, Industrial Design, Environmental Design, Civic Engagement & Research, and Environmental Workshop.

Environmental design is about learning what is best for a community and how to accomplish this goal. To attain this objective, you require the technical skills to understand the physical properties of the rural or urban environment, as well as the creativity to design with a purpose. The result is a partnership between aesthetics and functionality. You receive instruction on how to work and communicate with community leaders and citizens’ groups. Therefore, many programs typically stress the importance of verbal communication in their curriculum.

Bachelor of Arts

There is the choice of a B.A. in Environmental Design, whose classes are similar to a science program. An Arts degree offered by one school’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning combines social, physical, economic, and behavioral science to plan communities. Therefore, planners must determine how they can design and build an environment that is attractive and functional for its residents. To accomplish this requires a grasp of the legal issues, government influences, history of the area, economy, topography, and business affairs.

The above program has a Math and Quantitative Reasoning class. You may also study Environment & Landscape Design, Architectural Sketching, Urban Planning, and Environmental Design Workshops.


We mentioned earlier in this post about electives with an ecology focus. Some programs specialize in the field called Renewable Energy & Ecological Design. This program and others like it target all things that are good for the environment. Protecting and preserving is paramount. These designers scrutinize excessive waste of resources and damage to the eco-system. They strive to create what is best for the community and the environment.

As expected, the emphasis of the classes is on renewable energy, solar energy, and the protection of the natural habitat. What you learn from these subjects is transferred to your work in design in homes, businesses, and communities.

For Further Reading: 

What Degree Do I Need to Become a Lighting Designer?