The Department of Design + Environmental Analysis is committed to innovative research and design and strategic planning of the built environment to improve people's lives.

Our faculty and students study and design environments that meet the emotional, physical and practical needs of the people who live and work in those spaces. These environments range from the meditation room created to meet a need on Cornell’s campus, to the nursing homes and healthcare environments designed with both compassion and science to promote the health and well-being of patients, caregivers, and staff, to the corporate workspaces designed to promote creative collaboration. Our core values are:

  1. Human-Centered Design: improving the human condition
  2. Ecological Perspective: whole systems view – people, process, technology and place 
  3. Global Awareness and Engagement: global perspective, outreach, and engaging stakeholders
  4. Leadership & Innovation: quality and creativity (in individuals - engaging the capacity of both inductive and deductive processes; in organizations and initiatives 

Design can be a transformational force in shaping the human environment and the human experience.

To maintain our standing as one of the premier design programs worldwide, we are committed to integrating creative studio education with evidence-based translational research, and multidisciplinary approach to exploring the relationships between people and their physical surroundings, and graduating innovative change agents dedicated to designing and researching sustainable futures for human health and well-being. In pursuit of these two goals we address:

  • Knowledge | Research
  • Leadership | Education
  • Translational Impact | Outreach 

A D+EA education is about excellence, creativity, research, hands-on practice, the chance to try, to test and adjust, to try again, and to learn about making a difference through design while working side-by-side with creative and social science research faculty — faculty whose work represents the leading edge of the world’s most innovative design + research.   

D+EA is:

  • Researchers and designers who ask questions and conduct rigorous studies about the impact of the environment on human behavior, emotion, and well-being;
  • Educators dedicated to preparing the next generation of design and research leaders;

The curriculum and faculty research are organized around three primary themes that have been identified by D+EA faculty as core strengths of the Department:

  • Design Strategy & Innovation;
  • Sustainable Futures; and
  • Health & Well-being.

Our Students

Good design is a force for social change – and we see our D+EA students as future change agents. Good design requires knowledge and imagination; it emanates from a well-rounded education grounded in the social sciences and the study of design principles.

D+EA students learn to engage in innovative research, design and planning of the built environment and technology. They learn to make a difference in the lives of people and the organizations in which they live and work. Their D+EA education prepares them as global thought leaders at the convergence of creative design, behavioral sciences, sustainability science, and business strategy. Students learn in the classroom and in the community, in the studio and in the lab, in the field and in the workplace, locally and internationally. Our graduates are changing the world, as entrepreneurs, designers, and workplace consultants in industries that range across healthcare, product, interior and visual design, and technology.

We embrace diversity and differences, and equip our students with the skills, competence and confidence to engage with their communities to collaboratively build sustainable futures and promote human health and well-being through design and design thinking.

Our Setting

Surrounded by beauty and nature conducive to creative insight and scholarly research, Cornell University is a short four-hour bus ride from New York City – a design hub and an urban “living laboratory” where D+EA students and graduates find opportunities to intern and work.