Sustainable Community Development

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 27.6 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 45.7 k / Year(s) Deadline: Feb 1, 2025
201–250 place StudyQA ranking:3518 Duration:4 years

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The Sustainable Community Development major gives students the opportunity to consider a variety of perspectives on creating a more sustainable world through planning and design.  The curriculum is flexible and interdisciplinary, allowing a student to broadly explore ways of envisioning sustainable communities.  Students will become familiar with the theories and techniques of design and planning for creating sustainable communities, conserving the environment, and responding to other social, cultural, economic and political challenges of the built environment.

Because the planning and design of a sustainable world is complex, this major offers students the opportunity to prepare academically to a variety of disciplinary fields and work at a range of scales.  Students will gain an understanding of the wide range of disciplines, approaches, debates, and ultimately professional opportunities in this field of endeavor.  Students will develop an understanding of the various ecological, economic, social and cultural aspects of design and planning, and an understanding of ways in which planning and design affect sustainability and the human environment.  In addition, they will gain the knowledge, skills and values that will help to critically analyze, assess and act to change the built environment.

The Sustainable Community Development major offers four areas of concentrated study: Urban Studies, Landscape Studies, Horticultural Studies, and Built Environment Studies.  Concentrations within the major allow students to focus on particular issues and scales of design and planning.  Students are required to take a total of 16 classes: 7 core requirements and 9 classes in one of the concentration areas.

Students are expected to complete 16 classes for the Sustainable Community Development major, 7 of which are core classes required for all Sustainable Community Development students, regardless of their concentration. 

The Core Curriculum will broadly expose students to the theories and techniques of planning and landscape design.  Core classes prepare students to be engaged in envisioning a more socially and environmentally balanced world through both environmental design and planning.  These courses provide the academic background for understanding a wide range of cultural and ecological aspects of the built environment, past, present and future.

Of the 16 classes to fulfill the Sustainable Community Development degree requirements, 7 are Core Classes required of all Sustainable Community Development majors.

The following five Core Classes are required:

  • SUSTCOMM 205       Dynamics of Human Habitation (spring semester)
  • SUSTCOMM 232       Sustainable Communities (spring semester)
  • SUSTCOMM 394A     Writing in Environmental Design (spring semester)
  • SUSTCOMM 574       City Planning (fall semester)
  • LANDARCH 547+L     Landscape Pattern and Process + Lab (fall semester)

Select two of the following three history of landscape design Core Classes:

  • SUSTCOMM 140       Awareness of the Visual Environment (fall semester)
  • SUSTCOMM 543       Landscape History I (fall semester)
  • SUSTCOMM 544       Landscape History II (spring semester)


In addition to the Core Curriculum, students will select 9 classes that allow them to focus on a particular area of study within environmental design and planning.  The four areas of Concentration within the major allow students to focus on particular issues and scales of planning and design.  The areas of Concentration are: Urban Studies, Landscape Studies, Horticultural Studies, and Built Environment Studies.

Through the four concentration options, the program provides historical, theoretical, and professional perspectives from a variety of disciplines.  This curriculum enables graduates of the program to make informed and effective planning and design decisions that contribute to creating environments that are sustainable economically, environmentally and socially.

All coursework for the major (Core and Concentration classes) must be completed with a grade of C- or better.

The Courses

(All courses carry 3 credits unless otherwise noted.)

  • 110 Transforming Your World: Introduction to Community Engagement(SB-U gen ed) (1st sem) 4 cr
  • 125 Global Cities and Global Issues (SB-G gen ed) (2nd sem) 4 cr
  • 140 Awareness of the Visual Environment (AT gen ed) (1st sem) 4 cr
  • 191SUST1 FYS- From the Ground up: Planning & Building Sustainable Communities (1cr)
  • 195A Transforming Your World: Intro to Community Engagement (1st sem)
  • 197A Intro to the Planning & Design of a Sustainable World (2nd sem)
  • 205 Dynamics of Human Habitation (I-U gen ed) (2nd sem + summer on-line) 4 cr
  • 297L Special Topics- Visual Communication: Design Principles & Digital Skills 3 cr
  • 335 Plants in the Landscape (1st sem) 4 cr
  • 394A Writing in Environmental Design and Landscape Architecture (2nd sem)
  • 394RI Research Issues in Environmental Planning & Design (1st sem)
  • 543 Landscape History and Theory I (AT gen ed) (1st sem) 4 cr
  • 544 Landscape History and Theory II (2nd sem)
  • 574 City Planning (1st sem)
  • 577 Urban Policies (1st sem)
  • 591A The Roots and Branches of the 20th/21st Century (2nd sem)
  • 591B Sustainable Cities (2nd sem)
  • 591G Seminar- Urban Greening Theory & Practice (1st sem)
  • 591M Planning for Industrial Development (1st sem)
  • 592D Intro to Urban Design (1st sem)
  • 597A Computers in Environmental Design (2nd sem)
  • Application Fee
  • Official High School Transcript or Secondary School Exams
  • Secondary School Exams
  • Official SAT or ACT score report
  • Academic Letter of Recommendation
  • TOEFL: A minimum composite TOEFL score of 80 on the Internet-based TOEFL with minimum of 17 on each subscore (code #3917)
  • IELTS: A minimum composite IELTS score of 6.5 on the academic test with minimum of 6.0 on each subscore
  • A note on financial and visa information: Applicants needing an F-1 student visa will receive email instructions on how to submit their financial documents after an offer of admission has been made.  For more about finances and visa processing for international students please see this page.  If you are currently living in the United States and believe your visa status will qualify you as a domestic student, please be sure to include your U.S. visa information in the "Geography and Citizenship" section of the Common Application.
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