Patricia L. McGirr, Program Director
The Environmental Design major gives students the opportunity to consider a variety of perspectives on creating a more sustainable world through planning and design. The curriculum is flexible and interdisciplinary, allowing a student to broadly explore ways of envisioning sustainable communities. Students will become familiar with the theories and techniques of design and planning for creating sustainable communities, conserving the environment, and responding to other social, cultural, economic and political challenges of the built environment.
Because the planning and design of a sustainable world is complex, this major offers students the opportunity to prepare academically to deal with this complexity by drawing on a variety of disciplinary fields and working at a range of scales. Students will gain an understanding of the wide range of disciplines, approaches, debates, and ultimately professional opportunities in this field of endeavor. Students will develop an understanding of the various ecological, economic, social and cultural aspects of design and planning, of ways in which planning and design affect sustainability and the human environment, and the knowledge, skills, and values that will help to critically analyze, assess, and act to change the built environment.
The Environmental Design major offers four areas of concentrated study: Urban Studies, Landscape Studies, Horticultural Studies, and Built Environment Studies. Concentrations within the major allow students to focus on particular issues and scales of design and planning. Students are required to take a total of 16 classes: 7 core requirements and 9 classes in one of the concentration areas.
3 Year Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Design
The Environmental Design Bachelor's Degree is both rigorous and flexible, with a high percentage of elective courses. As such, it is very feasible to complete it in three years. A suggested curriculum to achieve the Environmental Design degree in three years is available here.
Departmental Honors (DH)
Departmental Honors (DH) tracks are Advanced Scholarship Tracks of Commonwealth Honors College, available in most majors. The are recommended for students who wish to undertake advanced research within their majors, especially those who intend to pursue graduate study in the discipline of their major. Students may complete DH as part of the full CHC curriculum, which includes Honors General Studies, or they may complete DH alone. All DH students are members of CHC. For information about DH, please check: https://www.honors.umass.edu/dhreqs/environmental-design