Bachelor's programs in environmental design focus on design theory; historical appreciation of design and architecture; ecological impact of design; building materials and methods; building systems like lighting, heating and plumbing; and how modern technology has influenced and changed the design process. Programs may also require internships. Accepted applicants to environmental design programs have a high school diploma and often have taken courses in mathematics and science. Some schools like to see a portfolio of student achievement submitted along with the application.
Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Design
Some programs offering Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees in the field of environmental design, as well as Bachelor of Environmental Design programs, conduct pre-professional programs for aspiring architects while others prepare students for architecture-related careers only. Undergraduate programs introduce students to basic and advanced concepts of environmental design though extensive coursework in the major. General education courses in are also required in subjects like humanities and social sciences. Major course topics can include:
- Introduction to environmental design
- Design communications media
- Ecology and design
- Introduction to architecture
- Introduction to landscape architecture
Popular Career Options
Graduates often pursue careers in architecture or professional design related fields. Some popular career choices include:
- Environmental planner
- Architectural technician
- Environmental conservationist
- Historical preservation specialist
- Environmental designer
- Architect (with additional education)
According to PayScale.com, entry-level environmental planners earned a median salary of $46,771 as of 2016. The same source reports that architectural technicians earned a median of $45,421 per year.
While graduates of environmental design programs who are seeking architecture-related careers may enter the workforce upon graduation, those seeking careers as licensed architects need to earn a Master of Architecture from an accredited program. The Master of Architecture program usually takes two years to complete.
Architects are also required to hold a state license. Obtaining a license involves a period of being mentored in a professional environment and passing the Architect Registration Examination.
Those employed in architecture-related careers may enroll in master's degree programs in environmental design and planning. Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Environmental Design degrees are available. These programs usually take two years to complete. Students may have some opportunity to cultivate specializations as degree programs may be aligned with related fields like landscape architecture, architecture or interior design. Depending on the career field pursued, certification may be available through professional associations.
Students interested in environmental design can pursue a bachelor's degree in the field that prepares them for professional architecture programs. Bachelor's-program graduates may also find entry-level work as architectural technicians or environmental planners, among other options.