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Environmental Design

The Bachelor of Environmental Design at Texas A&M University provides a design education through the lens of the built environment. You’ll be challenged to think critically and creatively to solve design problems. 

Our architecture-driven curriculum and studio-based experiences will develop your capacity for design thinking. You will leverage creative thinking as a tool in rapidly expanding fields.

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About the Program

We deliver a 21st century education by building on timeless principles while engaging with current trends. Design studio projects, semester away experiences, and innovative instruction taught from a global perspective will equip you to address modern problems in architecture and design. 

The curriculum requires all third-year undergraduate students to spend one semester studying away from the Texas A&M campus. Students can elect to participate in a study abroad program or an internship within the discipline of architecture.

Areas of Emphasis

  • Design thinking
  • Architectural history, theory and criticism
  • Representation
  • Building technology
  • Social, professional and community engagement

* Students interested in professional architecture registration must complete a National Architectural Accreditation Board (NAAB) accredited Master of Architecture program after completing the four-year undergraduate Bachelor of Environmental Design degree.

** Salary ranges estimated from PayScale.


Curriculum

The Bachelor of Environmental Design is a 120-credit-hour degree organized over the course of eight semesters. Coursework encourages multidisciplinary and comparative perspectives, communication skills, and team-oriented methods of production. Knowledge gained in the core curriculum is complemented by learning by doing in the design studio sequences.

Students often supplement their degree plans with minors offered through the department, including art and architectural history; sustainable architecture and planning; architectural fabrication and product design; and architectural heritage conservation.

Degree Plan | Catalog 144 (2021 – 2022)

All students are placed on the current catalog when they enter the Department of Architecture. Students can request to be moved forward into a newer catalog by contacting their academic adviser. 

Year 1 31 credit hours

Fall Semester – 14 credit hours

ARCH 249 Survey of World Architecture History I 3 credit hours
A survey of world architecture and the human-designed and built environment from prehistory to the 13th century.
ARCH 281 Seminar in Contemporary Architecture 1 credit hour
Presentations by and discussions with professionals representing specialty areas related to environmental design through the Department of Architecture Lecture Series. May be taken four times for credit. Must be taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.
ENDS 105 Design Foundations I 4 credit hours
Visual and functional design principles; development of skills in perception, thought and craft as they apply to the formation of two- and three-dimensional relationships; design attitudes and environmental awareness.
ENDS 115 Design Communication Foundations 3 credit hours
Introduction to and practice of tools, methods, techniques available for graphic communication; graphic communication and the design process; observation and other forms of free-hand drawing and drawing systems that develop representational and descriptive capabilities.
MATH 140 or MATH 152 or MATH 168 Mathematics for Business and Social Sciences or Engineering Mathematics II or Finite Mathematics 3 credit hours
Select one of the listed courses. Refer to the course catalog for prerequisite information.

Spring Semester – 17 credit hours

ARCH 250 Survey of World Architecture History II 3 credit hours
A survey of world architecture and the human-designed and built environment from the 13th to the 19th century.
ENDS 108 Design and Visual Communication Foundations II 5 credit hours
Approaches to problem identification and problem solving emphasizing human, physical and cultural factors influencing architectural design; understanding of space, materiality and tectonics in a human body scale; development of drawing methods with emphasis on analytical drawing; reinforcement of visual and verbal communication as applied to design processes.
ENGL 104 Composition and Rhetoric 3 credit hours
Focus on referential and persuasive researched essays through the development of analytical reading ability, critical thinking and library research skills.
MATH 142 or MATH 151 Business Calculus or Engineering Mathematics I 3 credit hours
Select one of the listed courses. Refer to the course catalog for prerequisite information.
American History 3 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for information about American history courses.
Year 2 33 credit hours

Fall Semester – 17 credit hours

ARCH 205 Architecture Design I 4 credit hours
Issues and methods in designing environments for human habitation and well-being; projects addressing site, functional planning, spatial ordering, form generation through a recognition of the synthesis of space, structure, use and context; reinforcement of appropriate graphic and model building techniques.
ARCH 212 Social and Behavioral Factors in Design 3 credit hours
Social and behavioral factors in the built and natural environment; environmental perception and spatial cognition; social-environmental processes such as privacy and crowding; setting-oriented discussion on residences, education, and the workplace; the psychology of nature and natural resource management; social design and social science contribution to architectural design.
Communication Elective 3 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for information about communication courses.
PHYS 201 College Physics 4 credit hours
Fundamentals of classical mechanics, heat, and sound. Primarily for architecture, education, premedical, predental, and preveterinary medical students; also taught at Galveston campus.
Government/Political science 3 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for information about government/political science courses.

Spring Semester – 16 credit hours

ARCH 206 Architecture Design II 5 credit hours
Fundamental issues of innovative design processes and creation explored through the creative use of past, present and future materials, tools, and technologies; with an emphasis upon the research of materials, methods, scale, craft and technique as instruments of design, fabrication, and production.
ARCH 213 Sustainable Architecture 3 credit hours
A comprehensive introduction to sustainability concepts, techniques and applications at all levels of the built environment, history of contemporary development of sustainable architecture from 1960 to the present; design strategies, environmental technologies and social factors for reducing building energy needs and carbon foot prints; global applications of sustainable approaches.
CARC 481 Seminar 1 credit hour
Preparatory seminar for select School of Architecture study away and internships; topics include introduction to the language, culture and history of study abroad location. Must be taken prior to the student’s study away semester. Must be taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.
American History 3 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for information about American history courses.
Life and Physical Sciences 4 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for information about life and physical sciences courses.
Year 3 27 credit hours

Fall Semester – 15 credit hours

ARCH 305 Architectural Design III 5 credit hours
Integration of architectural theories and philosophy with environmental design systems; study of theoretical approaches to graphic and analytical thinking, problem identification and design dissemination through various media, case studies and problem resolution; conditions and forces associated with a variety of building types and the generation design solutions.
ARCH 331 Architectural Structures 3 credit hours
Physical principles that govern statics and strength of materials through the design of architectural structures from a holistic view, in the context of architectural ideas and examples; introduction to construction, behavior of materials, and design considerations for simple and complex structural assemblies; computer applications.
ARCH 335 Architectural Systems 3 credit hours
Theory and applications of building energy use, envelope design, shading analysis, heating and cooling systems, lighting design; building water supply, plumbing and drainage systems; electrical, acoustical, fire and lightning protection; life safety; transportation systems and construction materials; calculations, equipment selection, and component sizing as they relate to building design.
ARCH 330 The Making of Architecture 3 credit hours
Study of significant works of contemporary architecture and materials and strategies used in their making; focus on innovative materials, systems, and partnerships necessary to realize the design.
Life and Physical Sciences 1 credit hour
Refer to the course catalog for information about life and physical sciences courses.

Spring Semester – 12 credit hours

ARCH 494 or CARC 301 Internship or Field Studies in Design Innovation 5
Practical experience in an office of design allied professionals; fifteen week internship with a minimum of 600 hours of continuous employment; departmental pre-approval through the departmental internship coordinator required; post evaluation conducted following the internship OR Design innovation in international and domestic environments away from the Texas A&M University campus; emphasis on the cultural, social, economic, geographical, climatic and technological factors influencing design solutions for human needs.
Study away elective
Study away electives will be selected with approval of the Assistant Dean for International Programs and Initiatives.
Year 4 29 credit hours

Fall Semester – 15 credit hours

ARCH 405 Architectural Design IV 5 credit hours
A comprehensive design studio focused on the integration of design theory with functionally sustainable environmental and structural systems; consideration of a project from site analysis and programming through design detailing.
ARCH 431 Integrated Structures 2 credit hours
Selection and economics of structural systems in the context of integrating structural systems into a building through good design; analysis and design of wood, steel, concrete, and composite systems and members in relation to building design.
ARCH 435 Integrated Systems 2 credit hours
Understanding how to integrate sustainable environmental systems into a building through good design; lectures support studio; systems faculty participate in studio critiques throughout the project.
Cultural Discourse 3 credit hours
To be selected from any of the 100–499 level courses designated as cultural discourse (CD) not used elsewhere (such as CARC 101).
Government/Political Science 3 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for information about government/political science courses.

Spring Semester – 14 credit hours

ARCH 350 History and Theory of Modern and Contemporary Architecture 3 credit hours
Development of modern and contemporary architecture in the 20th and 21st centuries; materials, structure, social and economic changes as well as architectural theory.
ARCH 406 Architectural Design V 5 credit hours
Topical approaches to design, emphasizing theory and practice of architecture or related disciplines, such as urban design, interior design, health care design, etc.
Directed elective 3 credit hours
Select from ARCH 216, ARCH 246, ARCH 260, ARCH 317, ARCH 327, ARCH 328, ARCH 345, ARCH 421, ARCH 430, ARCH 433, ARCH 434, ARCH 438, ARCH 441, ARCH 458, ARCH 463, ARCH 481, ARCH 484; ARTS 330; COSC 253; GEOG 330; LAND 301; RENR 375; URPN 340, URPN 361, URPN 370, URPN 470.
Directed elective 3 credit hours
Select from ARCH 216, ARCH 246, ARCH 260, ARCH 317, ARCH 327, ARCH 328, ARCH 345, ARCH 421, ARCH 430, ARCH 433, ARCH 434, ARCH 438, ARCH 441, ARCH 458, ARCH 463, ARCH 481, ARCH 484; ARTS 330; COSC 253; GEOG 330; LAND 301; RENR 375; URPN 340, URPN 361, URPN 370, URPN 470.

All proposals for undergraduate independent study must be signed by the supervising faculty and submitted to the department for approval; forms are available from the Department of Architecture undergraduate advisor (in Langford ARCA 219) and on the department website.

A grade of C or better must be made in all School of Architecture courses (ARCH, ARTS, COSC, CARC, ENDS, LAND, LDEV, URPN, and VIST). Students must also make a grade of C or better in any course used as an equivalent substitution for School of Architecture courses satisfying degree requirements.

Past Degree Plans

FAQ about the Bachelor of Environmental Science

How can I prepare academically for the environmental design program?

Students hoping to prepare for the program while still in high school are encouraged to take courses in geometry, algebra, calculus, trigonometry, physics, art, 3D art, and design.

How long will this program take to complete?

This bachelor’s degree is organized into eight semesters with required studio sequences. There is no way to overlap to get ahead with studio courses as they are meant to be taken in sequential order. Your degree’s completion time will depend on your AP, transfer, or dual credits and overall academic performance, but typically takes at least four years.


Design Studios

The design studio sequence encourages individual exploration, research, and team-based collaboration through project-based learning and application. Students learn and develop skills through a variety of theoretical, experimental, and practical design projects. Design studio projects place a shared emphasis on the:

Read our studio culture philosophy


How to Apply

Admission to our environmental design program is offered to students seeking a bachelor’s degree and who meet the Texas A&M University’s entrance requirements.

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FAQ about the admission process

Is a portfolio required to apply?

No.

Do you accept transfer students?

Yes. However, it can take up to eight semesters (4 years) to complete the environmental design program after transferring because it requires a studio sequence. There is no way to overlap to get ahead with studio courses as they are meant to be taken in sequential order. Departments may offer summer studio courses to accelerate a program.

How does the admission process work?

Submit your application to Texas A&M University through ApplyTexas or Coalition. Select Environmental Design as your intended major in your application.

How much does it cost to attend?

The cost to attend varies depending on a variety of factors, including semester of admission, student type, how many hours you take per semester, and rate type. Use the Texas A&M Tuition Calculator to get the best estimate of your tuition cost per semester.

Additional costs to consider include course materials, housing, meal plans, parking, and fees.

What kinds of financial aid does the program offer?

Numerous scholarships and financial aid are available through Texas A&M University, the School of Architecture, and the Department of Architecture. Incoming freshmen applicants are considered for university scholarships through the ApplyTexas Application or the Coalition Application. Continuing students can apply for additional scholarships through the University Scholarship Application for Continuing Students or through our departmental scholarship application process. For more information about university scholarships, visit scholarships.tamu.edu.

Helpful Resources

Office of Information Technology

Computer Requirements

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Architecture

Environmental Design Upper-Level Requirements

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Our Commitment to Our Students

We are committed to delivering a 21st-century, student-centered education to all of our students. We weave diversity, inclusivity and critical thinking throughout all of our courses. We view design, both as a process and a product, as the unifying force within our program.

Studio Culture Procedures

Justice, equity, diversity, and inclusivity statement