Environmental design programs prepare people to design public and private spaces that are in harmony with their surroundings. Students learn principles of architecture and landscape design. They learn to complete projects in the design of indoor or outdoor settings.
Ever wonder why the Leaning Tower of Pisa tilts or why it hasn't fallen over in its 800 years of standing askew? The tower leans because it is very heavy, with a mostly marble interior, and it stands on a site with sandy soil on the south side. According to historians, the tower began to lean long before it was completed. Because it gets a lot of visitors, architects and engineers restore it from time to time. They work to prop up the south side and reduce the angle of the tilt.
When you study environmental design, you learn how to select sites that are appropriate for structures and gardens, how to choose materials that will endure, and how to design buildings, gardens, or interiors. You also study ways to use natural materials and create designs that benefit the environment. The use of land and water in a specific climate is an integral element of the design of structures and places.
More than 30 accredited schools of environmental design in the U.S. offer five-year bachelor's degree programs. These programs are designed for high school graduates. Because they are specialized, you may find that many credits do not transfer to other undergraduate majors.
Most schools offer graduate degrees to people who have already completed a bachelor's degree in architecture or another major. For those with an undergraduate degree in architecture, the master's degree takes two more years. It is common for most employers to consider the master's degree as the minimum degree to gain entry-level work in the field. People with a degree in environmental design often work for consulting, architecture, or planning firms.