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Environmental Design

Environmental Design

What is Environmental Design?

The environmental design program at OU’s College of Architecture offers individualized study in the natural and built environment. Students get to know faculty and students from all College of Architecture divisions and participate in courses that bring environmental design students together. Collaborative, community-minded design does not happen solely through lectures, so courses include experiential learning opportunities that allow students to work on real-world issues in Oklahoma communities, like the OU Institute for Quality Communities. From revitalizing historic downtowns to imagining new neighborhoods, environmental design students learn about problems that are worth solving to make places that matter for people. 

Do my interests fit?

Environmental design students typically have interests in:

  • Art
  • Design
  • Math
  • Science
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Engineering

High school preparation could include art, science and math.

Who is a good candidate for the Environmental Design Program?

Environmental Design students come from many backgrounds at various stages of educational development. Overall, students can be described in these ways:

Environmental Design students “feel the weight of the world” on their shoulders. Sometimes, they feel like they don’t quite fit into a world of competitiveness and consumerism. They are into collaboration and stewardship. 

Environmental Design students see that there are many things that need to be done, but don’t quite know what route to take. They are interested in social justice, civic activism, and community betterment. 

They are not worried about working with the “right” people or climbing the corporate ladder or attaining social status. They are worried about the places where everyday people live and work and play and grow. They see themselves as just a part of a bigger world—not that the world revolves around them. They care not about how improve their social status but how to address the status quo.

Environmental Design students are warm, loving, caring, passionate, and compassionate. They come from many faiths. They are not afraid to share about mission trips and volunteer work. Yet, they are very accepting of those who do not have such opportunities or who have very different lifestyles and life perspectives. 

Many Environmental Design students are great cooks. Many have organic gardens. Many of them sew. All of them find new uses for old things. Many students live in places like MidTown in Oklahoma City and walk or bike to events in the Plaza District, Paseo, or Automobile Alley. They know the histories of the buildings where they live.

Many students put their bikes on the Sooner Express and come to Norman by bus. In class, we talk about who of us has the oldest car with the most miles and the best memories.

Environmental Design students are both great citizens-in-training and next-generation-leaders.

How can OU Environmental Design help me?

OU’s environmental design program in College of Architecture maintains an international reputation and has graduates practicing all over the world. Alumni are eager and willing to help students make the leap from student to professional with internship and job opportunities. OU environmental design is known for its outstanding faculty, award winning students, tight knit community and high job outlook upon graduation. The innovation and interdisciplinary approach to solving design problems only fosters creativity and imagination in students while working within a professional curriculum.

How can I get involved?

There are numerous organizations enviornmental design students can be a part of. Check them out:

environmental design student organizations

What courses will I take?

Environmental design courses include:

  • Cultures of Collaborating, Creating & Constructing – taken first semester with Dean Hans E. Butzer
  • Research and Critical Writing
  • Introduction to landscape Architecture
  • Introduction to Urban Development
  • Historic Preservation
  • Research and Critical Writing
  • Environmental Design Capstone
  • Electives from other College of Architecture classes

How can I study abroad?

Environmental design students have the opportunity to study abroad through a variety of programs:

  • Service Learning in Zambia
  • Architecture and Design in the Eternal City In Rome
  • Health Culture Design in Germany
  • Design-Build in Dubai

After a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design, where do students go?

Students have many options for employment, including the following:

  • Grassroots advocacy programs and non-profit organizations focused on certain environmental or design issues.
  • Downtown revitalization or community revitalization programs.
  • Government positions of all levels:  city, county, state, regional, or national.
  • Educational institutions (research or teaching).
  • Private sector—especially consulting.
  • Entrepreneurship (and social entrepreneurship), advocating for small businesses and locally-based businesses.
  • Some may continue their studies in the form of graduate programs, including city planning, community development, construction science, interior design, landscape architecture, and architecture.

How much will I make?

Visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website to explore the median pay for jobs you can pursue with this degree. 

Program Accreditation

All classes taken with the college of architecture are accredited. Environmental design majors have the unique opportunity to take their major classes as well as electives throughout the college. The proposed program of study must be approved by the dean or associate dean. Students who gain the approval of a proposed program and successfully complete the requirements outlined in the approved program will be conferred the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design degree. Students are also encouraged to minor in any of the following concentrations: Architectural Studies, Construction Science and Interior Design.

Contact Us

Environmental Design Program - College of Architecture
Nova Savage - Academic Counselor
Phone: (405) 325-2444