Explore a Bachelor's Degree in Sustainable Design
A sustainable design degree will cover methods of resource efficiency in architecture, like energy and water conservation, and waste and pollution reduction. Students learn methodologies in sustainable design, green materials for sustainable design and their fabrication and use in construction, and technological innovations. Students may apply a sustainable design degree to an education or career in architecture, landscape architecture, or design. An architecture degree requires a 5-year bachelor degree program. Most sustainable design degree programs are offered at the master's degree level, though some course work may be taken as an undergraduate.
An architecture bachelor's degree usually requires course work in architectural history and theory, building design and computer-aided design (CAD), math, physical sciences, and construction methods and technology. Advanced architecture course work may consist of advanced architectural design, spatial reasoning, illustration, and advanced digital architecture. Concentration-specific course work in sustainable design or environmental studies may require course work in sustainable materials, urban ecosystems, chemistry, sustainable city planning, and ecology.
- Materials in Sustainable Design. Materials in sustainable design covers sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, and indoor environmental quality. Students learn issues of habitat, erosion, ground water recharge, energy conservation, waste reduction, and recycling.
- Spatial Reasoning. Spatial reasoning emphasizes representational thinking and learning in architecture. Students investigate forms of representation through digital and traditional forms in lecture and studio course work.
- Sustainable City Planning. Sustainable city planning applies sustainable development concepts to urban areas. Students analyze urban systems at regional, municipal, neighborhood, and individual site levels to develop concepts of future sustainability for each scale.
Sustainable design and architecture assignments may consist of reading assignments and corresponding exercises related to concepts learned in lecture. Students will also be required to complete design projects through traditional or digital means. Architecture, sustainable design, and related majors usually require an internship for career preparation.
Building a Career
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for architects was $73,090. Employment for architects, surveyors, and cartographers is expected to increase by 17% between 2012 and 2022, particularly due to an expected demand for sustainable design. State architectural registration boards require a training period before taking the licensing exam, usually completed as an internship at an architectural firm. Bear in mind that employment and wage figures are not guaranteed and very depending on factors like employer, area, experience, and position.
Sustainable design may also be applicable to urban and regional planners, who, according to the BLS, earned a median annual wage of $65,230. Jobs for urban and regional planners are expected to increase by 10% between 2012 and 2022. Entry-level planners usually require one to two years of work experience in a related field such as architecture, which may be completed through internships during course work.