The Design+Environmental Analysis undergraduate degree offers an integrative, flexible undergraduate curriculum that is student-centric. The program provides a substantive design education and is one of the few comparable programs that are STEM certified. 

D+EA combines innovative design thinking with informed design research to understand how our daily experiences are impacted by the physical environment around us. Through multi-disciplinary training in interior design, environmental psychology, ergonomics, and workplace strategies, we tackle problems from a whole systems view - people, process, technology, and place - to create a healthy, strategic, and sustainable future by design.

Students complete a common core of foundation courses then choose to build expertise within a focus area utilizing electives from the broad course offerings within Human Ecology and at Cornell to support their individual goals. Students can also elect to complete a minor, honors thesis, or pursue an off-campus study experience.

Undergraduate Student Policies

Graduation RatesJob Placement  | Retention - Attrition Rates  | Student Awards | Study Abroad

The curriculum is organized around the following three primary research themes:

  • Brand identity & positioning
  • Creative design process and methods
  • Design with digital media
  • Human-centered design
  • Interactive and adaptable environments
  • Strategic business planning
  • User experience design
  • Workplace strategy
  • Green ergonomics
  • Life-cycle evaluation and LEED
  • Regenerative and resilient design
  • Sustainable building
  • Sustainable materials and processes
  • Triple bottom line: E3
  •     Assistive technologies
  •     Design across the life-course
  •     Design for human potential
  •     Environmental justice
  •     Human health and wellness
  •     Healing and healthcare design
  •     Inclusive design
  •     Understanding environmental stressors

Students will develop expertise in their chosen area and interface with students and faculty who have expertise in the other two areas through collaborative studios and interdisciplinary project teams. Working with faculty from a broad range of disciplines, they combine academic course work, field experience and applied research to solve problems. Strengths of the program include studio-based training in creative process and innovation, research-based training for understanding human-centered design and university foundation courses for intellectual breadth to inform design process, thinking and decision-making.

Curriculum Overview

Students should refer to the college curriculum sheets for corresponding entry year concerning all graduation requirements. D+EA provides a Curriculum Overview (for the current academic year) and a Suggested Schedule to aid students with curriculum planning.

Students should read Undergraduate Student Policies carefully, and are strongly recommended to consult their academic advisor for curriculum planning.

Students may also take advantage of multiple international study opportunities.

To Apply

To apply for undergraduate study in Design + Environmental Analysis, please visit the College of Human Ecology Admissions page. The application process includes submission of the DEA Challenge.

Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA)

The interior design program leading to the Bachelor of Science in Design + Environmental Analysis is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation,, 206 Cesar E. Chavez Ave SW, Suite 350, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. 

The CIDA-accredited program prepares students for entry-level interior design practice, for advanced study, and to apply for membership in professional interior design organizations. The Bachelor of Science in Design + Environmental Analysis granted by Cornell University meets the educational requirement for eligibility to sit for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification Examination (NCIDQ Exam). For more information about NCIDQ Exam eligibility visit:

Please see D+EA's Curriculum Sheets for the requirements to achieve eligibility toward taking the NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) examination.