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2023 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 On The Rise

#258 Most Popular Major
741 Degrees Awarded
1.8% Increase in Graduates

In 2020-2021, environmental design was the 258th most popular major nationwide with 741 degrees awarded. This is a difference of 13 over the prior year, a growth of 1.8%.

Our 2023 Best Environmental Design Schools ranking analyzes 24 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for environmental design students. Explore this or one of our many other custom environment design rankings further below.

2023 Best Colleges for Environmental Design
2023 Overall Best Environmental Design Colleges >

Best Environmental Design Schools by Degree

Associate Degrees in Environmental Design
Bachelor's Degrees in Environmental Design
Master's Degrees in Environmental Design
Doctorate Degrees in Environmental Design

Environmental Design Degree Requirements

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.

Getting Accepted Into an Environmental Design Program

environmental design degree applicants generally need have finished high school or their GED. Many schools may also have GPA and SAT/ACT score minimums that must be met. In addition to these basic environmental design program qualifications, to serve in some environment design careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

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. The time it takes to complete a environment design degree varies depending on the program.

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. People currently working in careers related to environment design tend obtained the following education levels.

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. See the chart below for the most common degree level workers in environmental design have received.


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

Environment Design Careers

Average Number of Jobs
$36.9k 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%

Environment Design Degree Salary Potential

Recently graduated environmental design students earned an average of $36,901 in 2019-2020. Earnings can range from as low as $15,370 to as high as $58,069. 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 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 68 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.

Environment Design Concentrations

Major Annual Graduates
Environmental Design & Architecture 730
Sustainable Design/Architecture 6
Healthcare Environment Design/Architecture 5

View All Environment Design Concentrations >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Architectural Sciences & Technology 6,781
General Architecture 4,982
Urban & Regional Planning 2,419
Landscape Architecture 905
Interior Architecture 728

View All Environment Design Related Majors >


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