Academic Excellence

Scholarships and Awards

A wide range of scholarships and awards are available to Environmental Design (ENVD) students. The awards are sponsored by the Program, the campus, the professions and other foundations and donors. 

In addition to these scholarships, interested students may participate in faculty-student research projects funded by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), in other research opportunities provided by the campus or in cooperation with the program's faculty. 

Recognition of Academic Achievement

Environmental Design provides an atmosphere for study and creative investigation. ENVD holds academic rigor and quality in the highest esteem. In recognition of high academic achievement and professional attainment, the Program grants scholarly honors at graduation. 

Honors Distinction

Students achieving a grade point average of 3.50 to 3.749 (distinction) and 3.75 to 4.00 (high distinction) are recognized at commencement. Honors distinction is based on coursework completed at the University of Colorado. A minimum of 70 credit hours of coursework must be completed at CU to be eligible for honors distinction. 

Dean's List

Students in Environmental Design who have completed at least 12 credit hours of CU Boulder coursework for a letter grade in any single semester with a term GPA of 3.75 or higher are included on the dean’s list and receive a notation on their transcript. 

Thesis Honors in Environmental Design

Environmental Design students may graduate with Latin Honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude or cum laude). Students with a high GPA propose an honors thesis project to work on under the guidance of a primary faculty advisor. Students defend their thesis to a committee of faculty in their senior year.  

Latin Honors candidates present work that is student initiated and student-directed well beyond the requirements for required class work. Program in Environmental Design Latin Honors projects fall into two major categories: research and design. 

  • Research projects present a heretofore-unanswered question then seek to answer it, relying on a variety of data or types of evidence. The product is a paper, which is determined by the topic in conversation with the faculty advisor. 
  • Design projects present a problem and propose a solution to that problem. The product is a design or object, presented with a critical introduction. Design theses go beyond designing a product, building, landscape, urban district or planning problem that responds to conventional programmatic assumptions, to propose a new response to a problem identified by the student. The scope of the project and the design presentation are determined in conversation with the faculty advisor. 

Academic Standards

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Environmental Design is part of an academic community whose mission requires an open learning and working environment for students, faculty, staff and administrators. An open learning and working environment values and protects individual dignity and the integrity of human relationships and is based upon mutual trust, freedom of inquiry, freedom of expression and the absence of intimidation and exploitation. Any infringement upon these freedoms and rights may cause review by the Program and/or by other university offices for retention in the Program. Students in the Program are subject to the policies and procedures governing student rights and responsibilities. See the campus-wide Student Conduct & Colorado Creed section. 

Ethics and Academic Dishonesty

Students in Environmental Design are subject to the Boulder campus Honor Code and are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the highest standards of honesty and integrity. Any act of academic dishonesty may result in sanctions from individual faculty and also be reported to the Honor Code Office for their review and action. 

For a full description of Honor Code expectations and policies, see the campus Academic Integrity section. 

GPA Requirements and Academic Standing

Students above a 2.00 GPA are considered in good standing. Students who fail to meet the minimum cumulative grade point requirement of 2.00 may be permitted to continue their studies on a provisional basis. See campus Academic Standing policies

Students in Environmental Design who withdraw from all their registered courses two semesters in a row will have a hold placed on their account prohibiting them from further registration except for registration in Summer Session classes, which are not counted in the regular academic year. Students will not be readmitted to CU Boulder before one full academic year has elapsed (not including the semester of withdrawal). 


Students are expected to subscribe to attendance and participation guidelines specified by instructors for individual courses in a manner that complies with university protocol. Given that a considerable portion of the ENVD curriculum is offered via studio courses, students are fully expected to comply with guidelines that may be different and more onerous than traditional lecture or seminar courses (e.g., attending skill sessions, lectures, juries and presentations). 

All students in the Program in Environmental Design are required to complete a minimum of 120 credits and uphold a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher at the time of graduation. Environmental Design currently offers majors in architecture, landscape architecture, sustainable planning and urban design, and environmental product of design. Questions may be directed to 303-492-8010 or 

Requirements for Admission

High School Students

Candidates interested in admission into Environmental Design should see CU Admissions for specific requirements. Students applying to undergraduate programs are strongly encouraged to meet the following Higher Education Admission Recommendations (HEAR) when applying to any Colorado four-year public college or university. Students with enrollments prior to Summer 2023 will be held to the previous CU Boulder MAPS requirements. Students should consult the catalog of their first enrollment term for the MAPS requirements of the college, school or program in which they are earning their degree. For more information, see Higher Education Admission Requirements. 

Transfer Students

Transfer students entering the program are admitted through CU Boulder's admission process directly into the Program in Environmental Design. A college-level GPA of 3.0 or higher is required. Preference is given to students who have taken college-level courses in the areas of architecture, planning, landscape architecture or product design. Completion of courses in related fields of social science, natural science, fine arts or humanities is also considered in admission review. All coursework except the last term, if in progress, must be completed and must be listed on the official transcript sent for admission consideration. 

Students are encouraged to transfer as early as possible in their undergraduate career due to the required sequence of design courses in the first two years of the curriculum. Students may declare their major in architecture, landscape architecture, sustainable planning and urban design, and environmental products of design when they transfer or after they complete the core program. While transfer students are admitted for the fall and spring terms each year, it is important to note that the core curriculum sequence begins in the fall semester with only limited opportunities to begin study out of sequence. Students who start the sequence in the spring semester will be required to complete summer classes in order to stay on track in the curriculum. All transfer students are required to take a minimum of 30 credit hours in the Program in Environmental Design. 

A maximum of 60 credit hours taken at a two-year college may be applied toward the baccalaureate degree. In general, credit hours in vocational-technical courses are not accepted for transfer. Transfer agreements between the University of Colorado and all Colorado community colleges outline approximately one year of prescribed general education courses that may be completed as preparation for transfer into the Program in Environmental Design. As noted above, students should plan to transfer to the University of Colorado as soon as possible to start the sequential curriculum. See Transfer of College-Level Credit for admission standards for transfer. 

Transfer Students from Other University Design Programs

Transfer students from other universities offering pre-professional or accredited professional degree programs in one of the program's majors who enter CU Boulder may apply for equivalency and advanced standing. A portfolio review will be required for these students, including work from each design course completed. For transfer credit to meet core degree requirements, a grade of B or better is required in the transferring class. For more information, visit the ENVD Transfer webpage. 

Intra-University Transfer (IUT)

University of Colorado students in good standing who are interested in pursuing a degree in Environmental Design may apply for intra-university transfer into the program. Students should visit the Intra-University Transfer webpage for application requirements, informational tours and application deadlines for specific semesters.  

The ENVD program has become increasingly competitive, and acceptance is not guaranteed. Due to limited space and a high volume of applications, a limited number of applicants will be admitted.  

Credit Policies

Advanced Placement

Advanced Placement (AP) and college-level credit may be granted on the basis of the College Board's Advanced Placement tests. For students who have completed AP coursework in high school and received scores in the AP examination that meet university standards, then AP as well as college credit is granted. Granted college credit is treated as transfer credit without a grade but counts toward graduation requirements and could meet other specific degree requirements when applicable. Students should meet with their primary advisor once AP scores have been submitted and processed to evaluate how courses apply to the ENVD degree. 

Incomplete Grades

The Program accepts incomplete agreements between faculty and students who have satisfactorily completed a substantial amount of coursework but are unable to complete the course requirements due to extenuating circumstances. In all cases, students must present evidence of circumstances beyond their control that prevent them from completing the class. The student and faculty member must complete an Incomplete Agreement outlining the terms of the course. 

Independent Study

Ordinarily, only students at 3000 or 4000 studio level and who hold at least a 3.00 GPA are permitted to register for Independent Study (ENVD 3909)  or Independent Study (ENVD 4909) . Independent study credit is supervised by a faculty member and may not be used to substitute for any required core education or design studio courses. 

Additional requirements may be established depending on the proposed topic. No more than 3 credit hours of independent study credit during one semester and no more than a total of 6 are given for the entire time the student is enrolled in the program, unless an exception is granted by the program. 

A complete description of the scope of the independent work, a summary of how it will be carried out and a definition of the intended outcomes must be submitted to the supervising faculty member no later than five days after the official beginning of a semester. Approval of the description must be by the faculty member and by program administration before permission is granted for enrollment in the independent study course. Students should make arrangements for the independent study course details during registration or well before the semester begins. 

Other Credits

Credits for Teaching Assistant (ENVD 3919) , Research Assistant (ENVD 4929) , Professional Design Internship (ENVD 4939) , Exploratory Internship (ENVD 3939)  and Independent Study (ENVD 3909)  or Independent Study (ENVD 4909)  are all guided by the same standards. Credits earned are subject to a 3 credit-hour limitation per course, Independent Study and Internships are graded while teaching assistantships and research assistantships are offered on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) grading basis. 

Pass/Fail Credits

A student may elect to take up to 6 credit hours toward the BEnvD degree on a pass/fail (P+/P/F) or satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) grading basis but these credit hours must fall in the category of general electives and may not include coursework taught within the Program in Environmental Design. Courses within the Program in Environmental Design that are only offered as pass/fail are not subject to this policy. 

ROTC Credit

Students matriculating in the Program in Environmental Design are eligible to participate in the ROTC programs on the Boulder campus. 

Students interested in such programs should contact the professor in charge of the ROTC program of their choice (Army, Navy, Air Force) and also their ENVD academic advisor for information on residence and curriculum requirements for graduation. No more than 8 credit hours of ROTC courses may be applied to the BEnvD degree. 

Transfer Credit

Credits transferred from other institutions are limited to the number of credit hours given for similar work in regular offerings at the University of Colorado and must meet the quality level expected at the University of Colorado Boulder. The program faculty, in conjunction with the ENVD Undergraduate Education & Student Success unit, may make exceptions to this policy. 

ENVD does not accept vocational/technical coursework in design, graphics or construction as meeting specific course requirements of the program; nor does it consider such coursework as acceptable in fulfilling the program's elective requirements. Only in exceptional circumstances may a student petition the program to request a transfer of such credits. 

A grade of C- or better is required in any course for which credit is granted in transfer from another institution to the university. However, in order for transfer credit to meet specific core degree requirements, a grade of B or better is required in the transferring class. Grades earned in other institutions (excluding other campuses of the University of Colorado system) are not factored in the CU grade point average. 

For more information on transfer credit policies, see the Transfer of College-Level Credit section. 

Residency Requirement

To graduate from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Environmental Design, a student must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours within the Program in Environmental Design as well as complete their last semester in residence as a full-time student. 

Academic Advising and Academic Coaching

Academic Advising and Academic Coaching for students presently enrolled or anticipating enrollment in the program is provided in a variety of forms. High school students or prospective transfer students from other universities are encouraged to participate in our in-person and virtual visitation programs co-sponsored by ENVD and the CU Boulder Office of Admissions. For more information, see the Admission Visit Programs or ENVD Visit programs. 

Students already enrolled in Boulder campus programs who are interested in an intra-university transfer (IUT) into the Program in Environmental Design should refer to the ENVD IUT process. 

Students enrolled in ENVD receive academic advising and coaching from professional staff in the ENVD Undergraduate Education and Student Success unit through both appointments and open drop-in office hours. 

New Student Welcome

Incoming first-year and transfer students are required to attend New Student Welcome programming during the summer prior to the start of the fall semester. Visit the New Student & Family Programs website to learn more. 

All students are required to attend ENVD welcome sessions during New Student Welcome Week in August to receive an overview of educational opportunities and the philosophy of the Program, and to meet other new students and the faculty of the Program. Students starting their educational career in the spring semester are required to attend ENVD welcome sessions during New Student Welcome Week in January to receive an overview of educational opportunities and the philosophy of the Program, and to meet other new students and the faculty of the program. 

Retention of Student Work

As a condition of admission, the Program in Environmental Design may retain student work submitted in fulfillment of class requirements. This retained work may be used to provide outside agencies with tangible evidence of performance, to serve as additional visual aid material in presentations to other students, and to contribute to possible educational exhibits and publications requested by the university community and the general public. The Program does not claim any copyright and intellectual ownership of the material but does retain rights to display student work for marketing and promotion, or for academic purposes. 

Students are responsible for recording their work for future use in their portfolios. When the Program retains students' materials for displays or presentations, the Program will ensure that students have the opportunity to reclaim and record their work for portfolio use. 


Environmental Design requires that all incoming undergraduate students have and use their own computers and software applications in their studies. Suggested computer specifications and standards are posted on the Office of Information Technology (OIT)'s Recommended Software and Hardware List webpage. 

Neither the Boulder campus nor the Program in Environmental Design endorse nor require students to buy a computer from a particular manufacturer. The configurations suggested by OIT establish high performance requirements that can be found in many different computers. Specialized software requirements for different classes in the Program in Environmental Design appear on the syllabi for those classes, and that software is generally available at discounted student rates.