Why study Environmental Design BA at UB?
University at Buffalo Environmental Design addresses the arrangement, appearance, and functionality of neighborhoods, towns, and communities. In addition, environmental design is concerned with the way these places are experienced and used, as well as other aesthetic elements that contribute to the quality of community environments. Environmental design promotes the best use of a community's land and physical resources for residential, commercial, institutional, and recreational purposes.
Environmental Design provides students with the skills to understand, analyze, and solve development problems with a view toward community planning and the design of sustainable environments. The purpose of environmental design is to gain a better understanding of community environments, and then apply that knowledge to improve physical surroundings.
University at Buffalo Environmental Design addresses issues in the dynamic bi-national Buffalo-Niagara region as a laboratory for planning, design, and development.
Upon successful completion of all requirements, the student will have knowledge of:
- Fundamental Skills: Ability to effectively use basic planning and development principles in environmental design;
- Investigative Skills: Ability to gather, assess, record, apply, and comparatively evaluate information related to environmental design challenges;
- Communication Skills: Ability to effectively read, write, speak and listen, and visually communicate ideas;
- Critical Practice Skills: Ability to apply evidence-based design, development, and planning methods and precedents to environmental design processes and proposals; and,
- Graduate School & Entry Level Job Preparation Skills: Students will be well prepared to enter graduate school or an entry-level position in an environmental design related field of study.
The Learning Environment
Environmental designers plan and develop physical environments with which people interact every day. Direct, tangible engagement with the environment – whether it be neighborhoods, communities, streetscapes, or citizen activists – is fundamental to the aspiring environmental designer. University at Buffalo Environmental Design is distinctive by engaging our students in the dynamic binational Buffalo-Niagara region. In Environmental Design, students become involved with municipal governments and neighborhood groups, urban and rural environments, citizens and leaders, and the challenges they face: both complex problems and creative opportunities. This is done through in-class exercises, site visits, field work, internships and independent study, capstone courses, and through Environmental Design workshops, also referred to as studios. Environmental design inquiry becomes planning and development concepts for neighborhoods and communities.
About Our Facilities
The Architecture and Planning Library, located in Abbot Hall, is one of ten libraries within the University at Buffalo.
University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning IT Services comprise two sets of facilities: a central collection of laboratories and computing classrooms, and a collection of distributed facilities located in the graduate and undergraduate architecture and urban planning studios.
The Digital Fabrication Workshop provides a range of the latest equipment dedicated to material research, model making, and digital fabrication.
The Architecture and Planning Materials and Methods Shop is a complete machine and assembly shop, contains 7,000 square feet of high-bay space and is supplied with full woodworking capabilities, welding and milling equipment, lathes, sheet-metal machines, a vacuum-forming machine for molding plastic, and a variety of hand tools.
The Visual Resources Center directly supports the curriculum with its ever-growing collection of slides, audiovisual equipment and an extensive image database. The center also produces video recordings of the school's lecture series and other events.
About Our Faculty
Senior faculty from University at Buffalo Urban and Regional Planning teach core courses in the undergraduate preprofessional environmental design program. Two faculty members from Urban and Regional Planning have been recognized with the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. In addition, some courses are taught by professional urban planners, public administrators, environmental educators, historic preservationists, architects, designers, and real estate developers. In academic year 2016-2017, University at Buffalo Urban and Regional Planning has 14 tenure/tenure track faculty, three clinical faculty, one visiting scholar, and eight adjunct faculty.
Faculty List Directory
Please visit our department website for additional information about our faculty.
Career outlook information for Environmental Designers is available online.
Sample career activities include:
- Participate in and support team planning, design, and development efforts.
- Prepare reports, using statistics, charts, visual design, and graphs, to illustrate planning and development studies in areas such as population, land use, or zoning.
- Research, compile, analyze and organize information from maps, reports, investigations, images, and books for use in reports and special projects.
- Provide and process zoning and project permits and applications.
- Inspect site plans and designs for development proposals.
Alumni in Environmental Design have found employment in the following fields:
- City, county, township, or village planning
- Community development
- Construction management
- Economic development
- Educational administration
- Environmental management
- Environmental restoration planners
- Geographic information systems
- Historic preservation
- Industrial development
- Market research
- Neighborhood development
- Property management
- Real estate development
- Rural planning and development
- Site planning and development
- Transportation analysis
- Urban development
Salaries range greatly from one occupation, position, and work setting to another. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's 2014-2015 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median wages for Environmental Designers was $ 20.42 hourly / $ 42,480 annually. Visit O*Net Online for more information.
All students in the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning have access to faculty mentors upon enrollment. In addition, advisors with School of Architecture and Planning Undergraduate Education are available for assistance. Students are encouraged to consult regularly with advisors and faculty mentors for academic options, course selection, graduate studies, and career opportunities. Students meet with advisors and faculty mentors as often as they choose to explore educational opportunities available within the department to plan a course of study that is consistent with their abilities, achievements, interests, and expectations. The ultimate goal of advisement is to empower students to be active, responsible learners who take full advantage of the many opportunities UB provides in the areas of academics, research, and community and global engagement. Visit the Undergraduate Academic Advisement website for additional information on academic advisement.
Academic Advising Contact Information
School of Architecture Undergraduate Education
126 Hayes Hall, South Campus
Phone: 716-829-3484 ext. 4
Scholarships and Financial Support
The University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning in partnership with the university, our alumni, our faculty and staff, and our philanthropic supporters, provides support to our undergraduate students. In addition to tuition scholarships, stipends for travel and supplies, and support for study abroad, our students, like our faculty, are actively engaged in teaching, research and service — and are rewarded for their hard work. Visit the School of Architecture and Planning websitefor more information.
University at Buffalo Environmental Design students have access to agencies, municipalities, and local leaders for information, resources, and practicums. Workshops focus on real-world exercises in planning, development and design throughout the Buffalo-Niagara region. In the senior-year workshop, environmental design students work with a public, private, or nonprofit client to analyze and engage in the development, economic, political and physical design issues associated with complex planning problems. Recent clients include:
- Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation
- Buffalo Audubon Society
- City of Buffalo, New York
- Social Bicycles (SoBi)/Buffalo CarShare
- Tonawanda Township, New York
- Amherst Township, New York
- UB Regional Institute
- Pendleton Township, New York
- UB Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access
- Heartland Forest Niagara
- Buffalo's Massachusetts Avenue Project
- Buffalo's Fillmore Corridor Neighborhood Coalition
- Roycroft Revitalization Corporation
University at Buffalo Environmental Design students have the opportunity to work in urban or regional agencies in such areas as housing development, local government, historic preservation, neighborhood planning, transportation, community development, environmental affairs, land use and urban design. Environmental design internships (END 496) may be available with:
Interested students should contact each research center for more information about available opportunities.
Traveling can enhance students' awareness of the world, bringing them closer to understanding global diversity, and appreciating what is universal and unique to a culture.
Study abroad programs, such as Estonia, Newcastle, England, Havana, Cuba, Aruba, Dutch Antilles, and Greater Toronto, Canada will be offered on an ad-hoc basis by University at Buffalo Environmental Design and the UB Office of Study Abroad based upon faculty and student interest.
Extracurricular information is available on the School of Architecture and Planning website. These include the Graduate Planning Student Association, Alpha Rho Chi, and the Environmental Design Student Association. See the UB Student Association.
Honors and Awards
University at Buffalo Environmental Design gives a series of annual awards and prizes to honor undergraduate environmental design student excellence. These include:
- The Dean's Award for Academic Performance to the continuing environmental design student with the highest grade point average.
- Award of Academic Excellence to the graduating environmental design senior with the highest GPA.
- Chair's Award for Excellence to the graduating senior who excelled in and contributed most to the bachelor of arts in environmental design program.
- R. Buckminster Fuller Award (biannually) to the graduating senior who is continuing on for graduate studies within the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning and exemplifies attributes of creativity, inventiveness, and intellectual excellence.
- Departmental Honors are awarded to graduating environmental design students who achieve a high level of academic excellence and ingenuity within the University of Buffalo Urban and Regional Planning.
Departmental distinctions are awarded to graduating environmental design students who achieve a high level of academic excellence, creativity and ingenuity within University of Buffalo Urban and Regional Planning.
Becoming a(n) Environmental Design BA Student
The University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning has an admission policy that actively encourages applicants from protected groups and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or veteran status. Admission is competitive, and applicants are reviewed according to the admission criteria. Acceptance of students in the preprofessional, professional, and advanced graduate programs is determined on the basis of the applicants' qualifications and experience. However, since the school's size is limited, the programs may exercise discretionary powers of selection. Courses and programs offered by the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning may include an instructional support services fee. Contact School of Architecture and Planning Undergraduate Education or visit their
Becoming a University at Buffalo Student
Admission to UB is highly competitive. For the 2016 incoming freshman class, UB reported an average ACT score of 24-30 and an average SAT (CR+M) score of 1100-1300. 90 percent of admitted students are in the top 50 percent of their class.
Admission to UB is based on a holistic review. We consider high school average, class rank, SAT (critical reading and math) or ACT scores, and strength of the high school academic record. A personal essay, recommendations, documented creative talent, demonstrated leadership, community service and special circumstances are also considered.
The following is not required for admission, but is suggested as adequate preparation for university-level coursework:
- Four years of English (with a substantial writing component)
- Four years of social studies
- Three years of college-preparatory science
- Three years of a second language
- Three years of college-preparatory mathematics
Visit Undergraduate Admissions to learn more.
Freshman Admission to the Program
For students with no previous postsecondary education experience, University at Buffalo Environmental Design uses similar requirements for departmental admission at the freshman level as the university uses: high school grade point average, completed high school courses, rank in high school class, and standardized exam scores (SAT/ACT). Prospective high school students interested in University at Buffalo Environmental Design must submit an application early in the fall of your senior year of high school. First-time freshman applicants are notified of Environmental Design program acceptance by UB Undergraduate Admissions. Environmental Design students are placed into mathematics, physics, and English courses based upon the following criteria: SAT/ACT/TOFEL scores; Advanced Placement scores; or, completed college courses. Contact School of Architecture and Planning Undergraduate Education for academic advisement.
Transfer Admission to the Program
Transfer students should complete the required introductory courses prior to applying to the major or may apply to transfer completed equivalent coursework. No more than 15 credits of transfer coursework may be applied toward major requirements. Applications for the Environmental Design BA received after May 15 for fall admission consideration and October 15 for spring admission consideration will be reviewed on a space-available basis.
Transfer students should consult with School of Architecture and Planning Undergraduate Education for application deadlines, academic admission criteria, and recommended preparatory courses for the degree. The program is typically completed in 6 semesters.
Those with a baccalaureate degree should contact School of Architecture and Planning Undergraduate Education prior to applying to the pre-professional Environmental Design BA for alternative academic advisement and information on the accredited professional Master of Urban Planning (MUP) degree program.
Current UB Students Applying to the Program
Minimum GPA of 2.33 overall.
Minimum GPA of 2.5 in ENG 101 or ENG 105, PD/END 120 and PD/END 212.
Minimum completion of 24 credit hours.
Admission on a space available basis.
Students apply during sophomore year.
Students are reviewed for admission consideration to the preprofessional bachelor of arts in environmental design upon completing a minimum of 24 credit hours, attaining an overall minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.45 2.33, completing ENG 101 or ENG 105, PD/END 120 and PD/END 212 with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. Preferred applicants should have an overall minimum UB GPA of 2.5.
Dates for departmental admission application submission are May 15 for fall admission and October 15 for spring admission. As admission is competitive, applications received after May 15 for fall admission consideration and October 15 for spring admission consideration will be reviewed on a space-available basis as guided by the School of Architecture and Planning's admission statement.
Suggested Introductory Courses
PD / END 120 Introduction to Urban Environments
PD / END 212 Urban and Environmental Planning
END 275 Environmental and Landscape: Discovering Landscapes
END 279 Exploring the Design of Buffalo Niagara
END 285 Transportation and Urban Life
Completing the Environmental Design BA Program
Students are reviewed on their progress and eligibility to continue on an annual basis. A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 in environmental design program courses and a minimum cumulative UB GPA of 2.0 is required. In addition to all minimum GPA levels, all undergraduate students are expected to make satisfactory progress in workshops. All students must earn no less than a C- in an environmental design workshop or capstone course; any student who receives a grade lower than C- must repeat the environmental design workshop or capstone course before registering for the next workshop or capstone course. Grades of lower than C- in any environmental design workshop or capstone course will not count toward the preprofessional bachelor of arts in environmental design degree requirements, and a grade of F in any environmental design workshop may result in dismissal from University at Buffalo Environmental Design.
Workshop courses (END 350, END 360, END 450, END 494, END 498) are majors-only courses and require full admission to the preprofessional bachelor of arts in environmental design. Concurrent enrollment in the following combination of program courses is not permitted: END 120/END 350, END 212/END 360, END 350/END 450, END 360/END 494, and END 360/END 498.
Environmental Design students are placed into mathematics, physics and English courses based upon the following criteria: SAT/ACT/TOFEL scores; Advanced Placement scores; or, completed college courses.
Contact School of Architecture and Planning Undergraduate Education for additional academic advisement.
Workshop courses (END 350, END 360, END 450, END 494, END 498) are majors-only courses and require full admission to the pre-professional bachelor of arts in environmental design.
A minimum cumulative urban planning and environmental design (PD-prefixed/END-prefixed) GPA of 2.5, completion of PD/END 350 Environmental Design Workshop 1 plus END 360 Environmental Design Workshop 2, and senior standing is required for enrollment in END 494 Visions of the City and END 498 Research Projects in Environmental Design.
No more than 3 credits of PD 496/END 496 Environmental Design Internship and 3 credits of PD/END 499 Independent Study may be applied toward major requirements.
Transfer Credit Policy
Courses completed at other colleges and universities are not automatically accepted by University at Buffalo Urban and Regional Planning as fulfilling undergraduate requirements. Determination is made by an evaluation of the student's transcripts, course content, contact hours, and grades earned. A minimum passing grade on a 4.0 scale is required in each course for possible articulation to courses offered by the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning in accordance with SUNY policy. Student transcript evaluations are conducted by School of Architecture and Planning Undergraduate Education. Actual placement in the undergraduate preprofessional environmental design program is made after this evaluation is completed. No more than 15 credits of transfer coursework may be applied toward environmental design major requirements, and no more than 6 credits of transfer coursework may be applied toward environmental design minor requirements.
A minimum of 36 PD-prefixed/END-prefixed credit hours must be completed at the University at Buffalo to satisfy the Department of Urban and Regional Planning's bachelor of arts in environmental design academic residency requirement, a minimum cumulative urban planning and environmental design (PD-prefixed/END-prefixed) GPA of 2.5, and a minimum cumulative UB GPA of 2.0 is required for successful completion of the major. Grades of lower than C- in any environmental design workshop or capstone course will not count toward the preprofessional bachelor of arts in environmental design degree requirements. The preprofessional bachelor of arts in environmental design is completed in six semesters.
ENG 101 Writing 1 or ENG 105 Writing and Rhetoric
PD/END 120 Introduction to Urban Environments
PD/END 212 Urban and Environmental Planning
END 350 Environmental Design Workshop 1: Methods of Design Inquiry
END 360 Environmental Design Workshop 2: Graphic Communications
END 450 Environmental Design Workshop 3: Comprehensive Projects
END 494 Visions of the City
END 498 Research Projects in Environmental Design
Minimum 24 credit hours and minimum 8 courses of department electives at the 270-level or higher
END 275 Environment and Landscape: Discovering Landscapes
END 279 Exploring the Design of Buffalo Niagara
END 285 Transportation and Urban Life
END 301 Perspectives on Land Use and Development
END 302 Sustainable Urban Environments
END 303 Methods of Communication
END 305 Environmental Education and Development
END 312 Design of Cities
END 313 Local Government Policy and Politics
END 319 The City Through Film
END 356 Computing for Environmental Analysis
END 363 Cities and Globalization
END 402 Real Estate Development
END 403 Strategies of Property Management
END 405 Urban Planning and Environmental Change
END 406 Housing and Community Development
END 407 School Planning and Development
END 417 Special Topics
END 422 Economic Development Planning
END 426 Site Planning and Development
END 428 Foundations of Historic Preservation
END 467 Legal Issues in Planning and Development
END 464 Infrastructure Planning and Design
END 473 Projects in Physical Planning and Design
END 496 Environmental Design Internship
END 499 Independent Study
Departmental Honors Requirements
University at Buffalo Environmental Design offers the designations “with distinction,” “with high distinction,” and “with highest distinction” to students who achieve a certain level of academic excellence in the major or minor upon graduation.
The award of Program Distinction is based on the UB GPA for the program. A minimum of 50% of credits for the major or minor program must be completed at UB. University at Buffalo Environmental Design requires a minimum of 3.25 for “with distinction”; 3.50 for “with high distinction”; and 3.75 for “with highest distinction.”
Total Credit Hours Required
|Credits Required for Major||54|
|Additional Credits Required for UB Curriculum ||37|
|Additional Credits Required for Electives ||29|
|Total Credits Required for Degree||120|
Students should consult with an academic advisor to determine how any transfer or exam credit might be utilized in meeting general education, prerequisite, or major requirements.
See Baccalaureate Degree Requirements for general education and remaining university requirements.
Curricular Plan / Degree Map
View the curricular plan for the Environmental Design BA (PDF) which is a recommended sequence of courses to help achieve this degree in four years.