5 Courses in an Environmental Design Program

Courses in an environmental art and design program prepare students for a broad range of terrific careers including those involving urban development, environmental restoration, historic preservation, and construction management. When working on completing a program in environmental design, students will be required to enroll in a variety of program-related courses that will provide them with the skills and knowledge needed for their careers. And while these courses may vary depending on students’ schools of choice, descriptions of five of the most common can be found in the following sections.


Bachelor’s in Environmental Design

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Introduction to Urban Environments

One course that is included in most environmental design programs is Introduction to Urban Environments. This class explores how governments, society, economic forces, design, and physical structures affect and shape our urban environments. Specific areas of study include trends and patterns in urban environments, culture and design, urban observation, and how demographics relate to urban design. Special focus is given to such urban issues as population problems, environmental issues, and race relations.

Environmental and Urban Planning

Environmental and Urban Planning is a prerequisite course found in many environmental design programs. This course introduces students to basic planning, design, and development of communities, cities, and natural environments. Examples of topics in this class include foundations of environmental and urban planning, common techniques of environmental and urban planning, development methods and processes, and issues in urban design. Special areas of study often include environmental assessment, sustainable development, land use, and historic preservation.

One of the most important classes required for completion of an environmental design program is Legal Issues in Planning and Development. Approved by the Environmental Design Research Association, this course delves into the history and legal foundations of environmental planning, design, and development. Specific issues examined include zoning restrictions and policies, legal land use, housing, and environmental regulations, and the governmental, legal, and administrative organizations involved in setting regulations pertaining to environmental planning and development.

Site Planning and Development

Site Planning and Development is yet another course that is often required in an environmental design program. In this class, students will study such topics as site planning and design as well as the development of industrial, commercial, and residential properties. Other areas of study included in this course are urban environment renovations, site selection procedures, landform preparations, aesthetics and site development, and community landscape planning.

Environmental Design Research Projects

Another common course in environmental design programs is Environmental Design Research Projects. Through various hands-on activities and research projects, students enrolled in this course explore common methods of environmental design and research pertaining to contemporary issues. Although the main topics of this class typically vary each year depending on current trends in environmental design, examples of topics covered may include urban disasters and hazards, suburban/urban relations, community gardens, urban subcultures, and urban food security.

Environmental design majors will need to complete a variety of general education and program-related coursework to earn their degrees. And although there are several program-related courses in an environmental design program, brief descriptions of five of the most common classes can be found in the sections above.