The following ranking has been compiled to assist those prospective students interested in earning a bachelor’s in environmental design for 2017. This degree is often pursued as a pre-professional degree for individuals who intend to pursue a master’s degree in architecture and become a licensed architect. Even so, the degree may also prepare students for some entry-level positions in the field. Bachelor of environmental design programs can vary widely, so it’s important to investigate a program’s features carefully before choosing to embark on the journey towards your degree.

Ranking Methodology
Tuition Points:
• Under $30,000—1 point
• Under $25,000—2 points
• Under $20,000—3 points
• Under $15,000—4 points
• Under $10,000—5 points

Students Receiving Financial Aid:
• 60%–1 point
• 70%–2 points
• 80%–3 points
• 90%–4 points

Customization Options
• Content Customizations (e.g. Concentrations, Emphases, Specializations, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option
• Format Customizations (e.g. Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-Time, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option

Wow Factor
• 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us

Best Value Colleges for a Bachelor’s in Environmental Design
To create this list of the top value bachelor’s in environmental design programs, our editors searched the web for colleges and universities offering this distance degree. We visited the program websites of all 35 schools in our initial pool to gather information about the flexibility of the program as well as any content customization options available to students. We also considered the school’s tuition and percent of students receiving financial aid—as reported by College Navigator. After applying the methodology outlined above, we narrowed our list to 20 schools and ranked them according to the number of points awarded. In cases of a tie, the most affordable school was listed higher in the ranking.

#20 – Marywood University

Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture

Scranton, Pennsylvania

Marywood University bachelor's in environmental design

Marywood University’s bachelor of environmental design offering emphasizes social awareness.

Website
Points: 4
Marywood University offers a bachelor’s in environmental design in architecture. This program encourages students to take advantage of their general education requirements and apply these courses to their practice. Social awareness and responsibility is considered a major part of architecture. By the time they graduate, students are expected to design buildings that acknowledge the effects of the design on social and ecological environments into consideration. Many bachelor of environmental design students either go on to complete a graduate program or enter the field as a non-licensed practitioner, but they are also prepared to enter other related career paths.
Tuition: $32,692

#19 – University of Washington

Bachelor of Landscape Architecture

Seattle, Washington

University of Washington bachelor of environmental design

The University of Washington offers an interdisciplinary bachelor’s in environmental design program.

Website
Points: 4
The College of Built Environments at the University of Washington’s bachelor’s in environmental design offering is technically a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture program. Students in this program explore how human interaction with the environment affects urbanizing areas. Students take courses from several other departments such as botany, geology, and urban horticulture. This course material is then applied in studio classes, as well as a practicum. Bachelor of environmental design students are also encouraged to undertake independent study and research that will promote their professional and creative goals.
Tuition: $11,839

#18– Cornell University

Bachelor’s in Design and Environmental Analysis

Ithaca, New York

Cornell University bachelor of environmental design

Cornell University’s bachelor’s in environmental design program focuses on three themes: Design Strategy, Sustainable Futures, and Health and Wellbeing.

Website
Points: 5
Cornell University’s bachelor’s in environmental design program boasts a flexible, student-centered curriculum with a wide variety of courses to choose from. The program is built around three main themes: Design Strategy, Sustainable Futures, and Health and Wellbeing. After taking foundational courses, students are free to develop expertise in one of these areas, then work with students and faculty with expertise in the other two areas as an interdisciplinary team. Outside of on-campus studio training, bachelor of environmental design students have opportunities to gain practical experience through international and domestic off-campus study experiences.
Tuition: $49,116

#17 – Green Mountain College

Bachelor’s in Renewable Energy and Ecological Design

Poultney, Vermont

Green Mountain University bachelor of environmental design

Green Mountain College’s bachelor’s in environmental design offering is a unique Renewable Energy and Ecological Design major.

Website
Points: 5
Green Mountain College is home to a unique new bachelor’s in environmental design offering. This Renewable Energy and Ecological Design major focuses on sustainable building and installation of renewable systems. Due to the program’s interdisciplinary nature, students have a large amount of flexibility to customize their education and develop a concentration in whatever area they are most interested in. Bachelor of environmental design students can apply their classroom instruction not only through on-campus resources such as the studio and fabrication facility, but also through internships and field trips.
Tuition: $35,340

#16 – University of Hawaii—Manoa

Bachelor in Environmental Design

Manoa, Hawaii

University of Hawaii Manoa bachelor of environmental design

University of Hawaii–Manoa’s bachelor’s in environmental design students benefit from the school’s interdisciplinary laboratories.

Website
Points: 6
The University of Hawaii–Manoa’s School of Architecture offers a comprehensive bachelor’s in environmental design offering. This four-year program educates students in man-made and natural environments in order to prepare them for both graduate study and careers in design and building. The School of Architecture is also home to the Design Futures Lab and the Environmental Research and Design Lab. These interdisciplinary laboratories are designed to advance sustainable design and higher education through research and outreach. The facilities not only benefit the university and its bachelor of environmental design students, but also act as a resource for the professional community outside of campus.
Tuition: $11,164

#15 – University of California—Davis

Bachelor in Sustainable Design

Davis, California

University of California - Davis bachelor's in environmental design

University of California–Davis’s bachelor’s in environmental design program prepares students for graduate study or entry-level positions in the field.

Website
Points: 7
The University of California–Davis’ bachelor’s in environmental design offering is actually a Sustainable Environmental Design major. This new program prepares students to combine the fields of sustainability, community dynamics, and government planning to design environmentally safe communities. Most core courses are taken from the Department of Landscape Architecture, but students can choose elective courses from several departments such as Plant Science and Community and Regional Development. After completing this program, bachelor of environmental design students are well-prepared for both work in the field and education at the graduate level.
Tuition: $13,951

#14 – University of California—Berkeley

Bachelor of Arts in Landscape Architecture

Berkeley, California

University of California- Berkeley bachelor of environmental design

The University of California–Berkeley’s bachelor’s in environmental design curriculum emphasizes social equity.

Website
Points: 7
The University of California–Berkeley offers a bachelor’s in environmental design program that educates students in the basics of the profession. Berkeley’s landscape architecture programs are well-known for promoting not only ecological sustainability, but also social equity. Experiential learning opportunities such as field study are considered an essential part of students’ education, so students have plenty of opportunities to participate in projects not only locally, but also internationally. Bachelor of environmental design students who complete this program are equipped with the skills, knowledge, and experience required to pursue graduate study or start their career.
Tuition: $13,431

#13 – University at Buffalo

Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Design

Buffalo, New York

University at Buffalo bachelor of environmental design

The bachelor’s in environmental design program from the University at Buffalo features a strong experiential learning component.

Website
Points: 7
The School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo offers an experiential bachelor’s in environmental design program. This interdisciplinary program focuses on the creation of sustainable man-made environments, such as cities, that have a positive effect not only on the environment, but also on human behavior. Bachelor of environmental design students enjoy both comprehensive, specialized classes and opportunities to apply their classroom education to real-world scenarios. These opportunities include workshops, internships, and field experiences, which can often be completed not far from campus due to the geography of the Buffalo region.
Tuition: $9,381

#12 – Auburn University

Bachelor’s in Environmental Design

Auburn, Alabama

Auburn University bachelor of environmental design

Auburn University offers a highly flexible bachelor’s in environmental design program.

Website
Points: 8
Auburn University’s bachelor’s in environmental design program boasts a large amount of flexibility. Students are encouraged to adjust their education to reflect their needs and interests by minoring in multiple subjects and taking advantage of the accelerated track that prepares students for the Landscape Architecture graduate program. No matter which aspect of design they choose to focus on, bachelor of environmental design students graduate with a deep understanding of design and how it effects the environment both locally and globally.
Tuition: $10,424

#11 – University of Oklahoma

Bachelor of Environmental Design

Norman, Oklahoma

University of Oklahoma bachelor of environmental design

University of Oklahoma’s bachelor’s in environmental design students have the option to create their own individualized degree programs.

Website
Points:8
The University of Oklahoma offers an impressively flexible bachelor’s in environmental design program. Students in this program work with a faculty advisor to create their own, individualized program of study related to the natural and built environment. There are a loose set of guidelines, and the proposed program must be approved by the dean or associate dean. However, students are still free to choose from all of the university’s offered courses without being limited to certain departments. This bachelor of environmental design program is ideal for students looking for an exceptionally large number of customization options.
Tuition: $10,090

#10 – Stony Brook University

Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Design, Policy and Planning

Stony Brook, New York

Stony Brook University bachelor of environmental design

Stony Brook University’s bachelor’s in environmental design offering is a project-based program.

Website
Points: 8
Stony Brook University’s bachelor’s in environmental design program is a part of the university’s larger interdisciplinary sustainability program. As a result, students have opportunities to work closely with students from other majors on design projects. These projects are considered an integral part of the program because they simulate the interdisciplinary environment that students will work in after graduation. Bachelor of environmental design students also have the opportunity to network when they present their design project at the Annual Gathering of Researchers and Scholars on the Stony Brook Campus.
Tuition: $8,855

#9 – University of Houston

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design

Houston, Texas

University of Houston bachelor of environmental design

The University of Houston offers a hands-on bachelor’s in environmental design program.

Website
Points: 8
The bachelor’s in environmental design program offered at the University of Houston is similar to the university’s Bachelor of Architecture degree in that both emphasize sustainability, technology, and research. However, the Environmental Design program has less of an emphasis on professional practice. One of the main features of this program is its hands-on learning components. Bachelor of environmental design students regularly work with experienced faculty in studio courses that allow them to apply the research and theory discussed in classrooms to a small design project.
Tuition: $8,759

#8 – Montana State University

Bachelor of Environmental Design

Bozeman, Montana

Montana State University bachelor of environmental design

Montana State University’s bachelor’s in environmental design program is an especially rigorous one.

Website
Points: 8
Montana State University’s School of Architecture is home to a four-year bachelor’s in environmental design offering. This program is similar to other programs of its kind in content, but it is especially rigorous. Enrollment is limited, and students are required to undergo a portfolio review after their first year that indicates potential before being allowed to continue the program. Students also have opportunities to participate in internships and intensive foreign study. This bachelor of environmental design program is great for students looking for a more challenging course of study.
Tuition: $6,849

#7 – Ball State University

Bachelor of Environmental Design

Muncie, Indiana

Ball State University bachelor of environmental design

Ball State University offers two distinct bachelor’s in environmental design programs.

Website
Points: 9
Ball State University offers two bachelor’s in environmental design offerings—a BS and a BA in Environmental Design. Both of these programs are specifically designed for students who are interested in careers related to architecture but do not plan on becoming a licensed architect. The BS and BA are mostly the same, but the BA option does require two years of study in a foreign language. Environmental Design students have multiple opportunities to gain hands-on experience. On campus, students can take advantage of facilities such as the digital fabrication lab and the simulation lab. Off campus, bachelor of environmental design students can participate in internships and other field experiences.
Tuition: $9,498

#6 – North Dakota State University

Bachelor of Landscape Architecture

Fargo, North Dakota

North Dakota State University bachelor of environmental design

North Dakota State University’s bachelor’s in environmental design program features a robust study abroad program.

Website
Points: 9
North Dakota State University’s bachelor’s in environmental design degree program is designed to encourage students to collaborate across disciplines to develop regionally-focused projects. The university’s location in a dynamic region gives students a wonderful setting to put their education into practice. Students regularly participate in innovative community outreach projects close to campus, and the Department of Architecture and Landscape Architecture is home to excellent studio facilities. More adventurous bachelor of environmental design students also have opportunities to study abroad in countries such as France, Spain, and India.
Tuition: $8,098

#5 – Rutgers University—New Brunswick

Bachelor of Architecture/Landscape/Interiors

New Brunswick, New Jersey

Rutgers University--New Brunswick bachelor of environmental design

Rutgers University–New Brunswick’s bachelor’s in environmental design program features four areas of emphasis.

Website
Points: 9
Rutgers University–New Brunswick offers a customizable bachelor’s in environmental design offering. Students in this program can choose from four different options, which may appeal to students interested in specialization. These options include Landscape Industry, Environmental Geomatics, and Urban Forestry. All of these options emphasize interactions between social and natural systems, as well as train students to create sustainable and healthy environments. Bachelor of environmental design students who complete any of these options are prepared for both further study and entry into a related career.
Tuition: $14,131

#4 – University of Minnesota—Twin Cities

Bachelor of Environmental Design

Twin Cities, Minnesota

University of Minnesota Twin Cities bachelor of environmental design

The University of Minnesota–Twin Cities’ bachelor’s in environmental design program features both a design and a planning track.

Website
Points: 9
The College of Design at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities offers a dynamic bachelor’s in environmental design offering. Students in this program choose between the Design track and the Planning track. The Design track is for students who plan to work at a small-scale or residential level, whereas the Planning track is better for students who plan to work at a larger urban or regional scale. Bachelor of environmental design students also have the option to pursue accelerated status, which allows undergraduate students to take graduate-level courses and earn their MLA in one less year.
Tuition: $13,790

#3– Utah State University

Bachelor of Landscape Architecture

Logan, Utah

Utah State University bachelor of environmental design

Utah State University’s bachelor’s in environmental design offering emphasizes creative problem solving.

Website
Points:9
Utah State University’s Landscape Architecture program is one of the oldest bachelor’s in environmental design offering in the US. This program is primarily focused on hands-on learning. Much of students’ time is spent in the design studio working on projects that emphasize creative problem solving. Juniors and seniors in the program are provided with an individual desk, drafting table, and storage space to work with. All bachelor of environmental design students are required to complete a field experience before graduating. Field experiences include internships, study abroad, or faculty-sponsored trips.
Tuition: $7,260

#2 – University of Colorado—Boulder

Bachelor in Environmental Design

Boulder, Colorado

University of Colorado-Boulder bachelor of environmental design

The bachelor’s in environmental design program from the University of Colorado Boulder balances theory and practice.

Website
Points: 10
The bachelor’s in environmental design program at the University of Colorado–Boulder trains its students to find creative and sustainable solutions to the environmental problems facing society. Students enroll in a blend of lectures, seminars, and studios that gives them a balance of theory and practice. All of these courses are taught by faculty with both relevant field experience and academic experience. Bachelor of environmental design students also enjoy state-of-the-art facilities, such as fabrication equipment and digital image databases.
Tuition: $11,091

#1 – University of New Mexico

Bachelor of Environmental Planning and Design

Albuquerque, New Mexico

University of New Mexico bachelor of environmental design

The University of New Mexico’s bachelor’s in environmental design program features concentrations in Community and Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture.

Website
Points: 11
The University of New Mexico offers a bachelor’s in environmental design program with concentrations in Community and Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture. Both of these concentrations address the social, economic, environmental, physical and cultural needs of communities by creatively responding to changes in the natural and man-made environment. However, the Community and Regional Planning concentration prepares students to work on a larger scale, whereas the Landscape Architecture concentration prepares bachelor of environmental design students to work on a smaller scale.
Tuition: $7,071

This concludes our ranking of the 20 top value bachelor’s in environmental design degree programs for 2017.

CVO Staff
February 2017