Courses of Study 2016-2017 
    Sep 28, 2023  
Courses of Study 2016-2017 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Design and Environmental Analysis

In the College of Human Ecology .

Course Offerings  

Design and Environmental Analysis (DEA) combines innovative design thinking with insightful design research to understand how the built environment impacts our daily lives. Through multi-disciplinary training in human-centered design (interior, product, architecture), environmental psychology, ergonomics, and facility strategy and management, we tackle problems from a systems view - people, process and place - to create strategic, sustainable healthy futures by design.

DEA offers an integrative, flexible cur­riculum that is student-centric. Undergraduate 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, honor’s thesis, or pursue an off-campus study experience.  The undergraduate curriculum is organized around the following three primary research themes: Design Strategy, Sustainable Futures, and Health and Well-Being.

Students will develop expertise in their chosen area but will also 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.

Diverse faculty backgrounds and teaching approaches help students to develop multidisciplinary problem-solving and creative abilities, aesthetic judgment, and analytical thinking. Students explore innovative concepts for the design and management of interior environments through laboratory, shop, studio, and computer facilities. The relationship between people and their physical surroundings is explored through a combination of academic courses, field experience, and applied research. Examples of student class projects and faculty work are frequently on display in the MVR gallery. The dLibrary includes books, journals, newsletters, and material samples for student use.


S. Danko, chair (1411 MVR, (607) 255-2144); Y. Hua, director of undergraduate studies; L. Maxwell, director of graduate studies; J. Elliott, G. Evans, K. Gibson, R. Gilmore, K. Green, A. Hedge, D. Ramzy, M. Shepley, N. Wells, S. Yoon, R. Zadeh

Student Policies

The DEA student policies apply specifically to undergraduate students enrolled in the Design and Environmental Analysis (DEA) major. DEA majors must also adhere to all College of Human Ecology (CHE) policies and requirements.

DEA Honors Program:

The honors program, which leads to a B.S. degree with honors in Design and Environmental Analysis, gives official recognition to undergraduate students who have demonstrated excellence in their academic work and their capacity for independent research. In addition to fulfilling the requirements for their major, students in the honors program prepare and orally defend an honors thesis. Honors students work with a research mentor in preparing for their thesis. Interested students should obtain a DEA Honors Program application form online. For more information, students should visit the DEA website: or contact the DEA Honors Representative, Nancy Wells.

Academic Advising:

During their first semester, all DEA majors are matched with a faculty advisor by the director of undergraduate studies.

Consultation with faculty advisors about future goals, graduation requirements, sequences of courses, and electives inside or outside the college helps students develop their academic programs. Faculty advisors can make recommendations on what to include. Students are free to change advisors. Although advisors should be consulted about students’ schedules during course enrollment each semester, it is the student’s responsibility to keep track of his or her courses and to make sure that they meet graduation requirements for their major and college.

DEA 4+1 Master’s Degree Program:

Outstanding students who complete their four-year undergraduate degree in DEA may apply for a master of arts/M.A. (interior design) or a master of science/M.S. (human environment relations) degree that typically requires one additional year of graduate study.

Through careful planning by the beginning of their junior year, many of the courses required in the M.A. or M.S. programs may be taken during the undergraduate years, creating an opportunity to focus the fifth year of study on completing graduate courses and thesis requirements. Typically, students will take four to five courses in their fall semester as a graduate student, and two to three courses plus their thesis research in the spring semester. Students should expect to complete their thesis by the end of the summer term of their fifth year.

Admission to the 4+1 Master’s program is not automatic. Students must meet with their advisors early in their undergraduate programs to plan carefully for this possibility. In the fall of the senior year, interested students must submit an online application to the Graduate School. The GRE exam is required for 4+1 applicants. A portfolio is required only for interior design applicants. In addition to the above requirments, 4+1 applicants must submit a 4+1 study proposal to the department. Students who have compiled a strong undergraduate record in the department are usually good candidates for admission into the graduate program in Design and Environmental Analysis.