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2021 Environmental Design Degree Guide

Imagine relaxing underneath the shade of a tree in a park, filled with the sounds of running water, birds singing and children playing on a jungle gym. Now imagine that it was you that designed the environment. Can you think of a better career? As an environmental design major, you will be prepared to design spaces where people live, work and play. This program teaches students how to use space and construct structures in an ecological sustainable, environmentally safe, and aesthetically pleasing manner.

Every college has its own requirements, but you would most likely be required to take classes such as architectural principles, design, landscape architecture, mathematics, CAD, interior design, management, physics, drawing, computer and urban planning. The classes will cover four main points: interior design, architecture, landscape, and urban planning.

Environmental Design Degrees Growing in Popularity

#255 Most Popular Major
697 Degrees Awarded
1.6% Increase in Graduates

In 2018-2019, environmental design was the 255th most popular major nationwide with 697 degrees awarded. This is a difference of 11 over the prior year, a growth of 1.6%.

The United States has 29 different schools where you can get a degree in environmental design. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of environment design programs later in this article.

What Are The Requirements For a Degree in Environmental Design

This major entails a broad range of skills because it includes interior design, architecture, landscape, and urban planning. A student must be interested in how to use color, light, and texture. It is important to not be afraid to push the boundaries and think creatively and expressively; you will be required to understand the use of space while still be environmentally aware. It is essential to be able to work well with others in order to solve problems as a team. Depending on your role, communication skills and presentation skills will be necessary. You must be able to understand design and design elements. This means being able to see the big picture, while still focusing on the minute details.

Students will analyze and problem-solve ideas of change in the community while also recognizing social fairness and sustainable environments. They will use knowledge of both social and behavioral science when planning and designing their projects.

Prior Education for an Environment Design Program

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most environment design degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. Specific environment design careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Types of Environmental Design Degrees

Environment Design degree levels vary. Environmental Design programs offered by schools range from a to a , which is the highest environment design degree you can get. Environmental Design programs can take anywhere between one to four or more years for a full-time student to complete.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to environment design, with approximately 52.3% of workers getting one. Find out other typical degree levels for environment design workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 55.8%
Master’s Degree 18.5%
First Professional Degree 8.6%
Doctoral Degree 7.7%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 6.1%

96.4% of environment design workers have at least a bachelor's. View the chart below to get an idea of what degree level most of those in environmental design careers have.


This of course varies depending on which environment design career you choose.

Environment Design Careers

Average Number of Jobs
$41.9k Average Starting Salary
5% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

With a degree in environmental design, students have many different options for careers because they will leave school with a broad set of skills. They can choose their own path based on their interests and focus more thoroughly on one of the four aspects of the major: interior design, architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning.

In order to focus more specifically on one of these aspects, the student will need to continue education with a more clear concentration.

When graduating with a degree in environmental design the salary rate will vary greatly based on what particular field the student decides to follow.

Growth Projected for Environment Design Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your environment design degree? Environmental Design careers are expected to grow 5.2% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to environmental design.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Architectural and Engineering Managers 190,000 5.5%
Architects 134,200 4.2%
Landscape Architects 26,300 6.5%
Architecture Professors 10,500 10.5%

How Much Money Do Environment Design Grads Make?

Recently graduated environmental design students earned an average of $41,900 in 2017-2018. Earnings can range from as low as $26,800 to as high as $51,500. As you might expect, salaries for environment design graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Environment Design Majors

Salaries for environmental design graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers environment design grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Architectural and Engineering Managers $148,970
Architecture Professors $99,320
Architects $88,860
Landscape Architects $73,160

Getting Your Environmental Design Degree

With over 62 different environment design degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased environment design school rankings to help you with this.

One of 8 majors within the Architecture & Related Services area of study, Environmental Design has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
General Architecture 6,100
Architectural Sciences & Technology 5,123
Urban & Regional Planning 2,633
Landscape Architecture 1,142
Interior Architecture 662

View All Environment Design Related Majors >


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