University of California, Berkeley Academic Program in Environmental Design

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Delivery Method:
Multi Term, Single Term

About the Program

Founded in 1868 and the oldest of the University of California’s 10 research institutions, Berkeley values innovative thinking, top-quality research, and public service above all else. One of the most prestigious state universities in the country, it has a deeply motivated academic population committed to excellence and celebrates community in the urban, eclectic greater San Francisco Bay Area. There’s something special about UC Berkeley.

Design a series of projects in the Bay Area with site research

Learn with confidence under leading environmental designers

Network with environmental designers at cohort lunches and field trips

Hit the wooded Berkeley Hills trails in the great Californian outdoors

Program Advisor

Student Counselor SAFFY
Your Student Counselor is your study abroad ambassador and supporter. They join your application journey when you’ve confirmed you’re interested in studying abroad. At this point, they guide you through each stage of the application, notify you of the documents you need, let you know when your admission results are in, and walk you through the next steps, including class enrollment and organizing pre-arrival tests.
Schedule a Consultation

At a Glance

Language of Instruction:
Language Prerequisite Level:
GPA Requirements:
Academic Level:
Academic Strengths:
Biological & Physical Sciences, Chemistry, Business, Economics & Finance, Computer Science, Engineering
Off-campus apartment
Visa Required:
12-15 units

Stay Healthy & Safe While You Study Abroad


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About the University

University of California, Berkeley

There’s something special about UC Berkeley. One of the most prestigious state universities in the country, it is home of the Free Speech Movement, a hotbed of student activism, and with a deeply motivated academic population committed to excellence, it celebrates diversity and community in the urban, eclectic greater San Francisco Bay Area.

Opportunity, here, feels endless. Immerse yourself in a shared student experience both on campus and on the trails of wooded Berkeley Hills, the colorful San Francisco streets, and in the great Californian outdoors.

Learn more at University of California, Berkeley's official website.


University of California, Berkeley's Academic Approach

You are taught in a small cohort by seasoned professors of the Environmental Design College and have opportunities to interact with top environmental design professionals from the Bay Area, exposing you to industry leaders in the field of environmental design.


The Environmental Design core curriculum has a pre-set course list. You take up to four courses (12 units) minimum. The optimal enrollment is a studio course (6 units) plus two other (4 unit) electives.

  • XB Fundamental Design Studio (6 unit studio, eight hours studio per week) Bay Area Transformations: You Are Here - The course is a foundation design studio in architectural and landscape design. A series of projects will be designed in the Bay Area, addressing the varying scales of these fields, with programs being defined through site research and location specific needs.  This course will work through the fundamentals of space, program, form and materiality as the tools of introduction to developing design concepts and approaches. With a key focus on research and analysis as an overarching element, the course will include intermittent tours around the bay area (such as: Tech company HQ's, Landscape phenomenon, Museums, Design firms, Public event spaces, etc.) We will be analyzing contextual forces, relations, and influences, to serve as the foundation for design inspiration and parameters. Each project will be a progression serving as a building block for the next, carrying ideas learned forward into the next project and scale. This course will also include a Friday computer lab each week where you will learn specific software and modeling needed to complete studio projects.
    • Digital Portfolio Formatting Requirements:
      • Up to 12 pages (8.5x11 inches). Beyond 12 pages, your portfolio may not be reviewed.
      • Title page and/or table of contents may be submitted, and will not count toward the 12 pages of content.
      • The portfolio may be in a 2-page spread format and any dimensions may be used. Please note that Berkeley will be reviewing your portfolio on monitors of varying size.
    • What to Include:
      • Recent, high-quality work that will be judged on content and overall design.
      • Applicants without professional training may submit work that shows other evidence of creativity (studio art, construction/renovation, furniture design, etc.) and clearly demonstrates interest in the subject. Any material that is not entirely the applicant's own work must be clearly identified.
    • How to Submit:
      • Save your portfolio as a single PDF flile (no larger than 10MB) and upload with your other SAF application materials. If your file exceeds 10MB, try compressing it in Adobe Acrobat
  • CYPLAN 110 (4 units - Lecture/Discussion) Introduction to City Planning
  • CYPLAN 119 (3 units - Lecture) Planning for Sustainability
  • CYPLAN 140 (3 units – Lecture/Seminar) Urban Design: City-Building and Place-Making
  • LD ARCH 12 (4 units – Lecture/Seminar) Environmental Science for Sustainable Development
  • LD ARCH C171 (3 units – Lecture/Seminar) The American Designed Landscape since 1850
  • LD ARCH C188 (4 units – Lecture/Lab) Geographic Information Systems
  • ARCH 119/219 (3 units – Lecture/Seminar) Peace by Design: A Cross-Disciplinary Approach to Exploring the use of Design in Peacebuilding
  • ARCH 139 (3 units – Lecture/Seminar) Special Topics in Architectural Design Theory and Criticism
  • ARCH 142/242 (1 or 2 units – Lecture/Seminar) Sustainability Colloquium
  • ARCH 144/249 (1 unit – Lecture/Seminar) Introduction to Acoustics
  • ARCH 169/269 (3 units – Lecture/Seminar) Special Topics in Structural Design
  • ARCH 170A (4 units – Lecture/Seminar) A Historical Survey of Architecture and Urbanism
  • ARCH 179/279 (3 units – Lecture/Seminar) Special Topics in Architectural History
  •  ARCH 179/279 (3 units – Lecture Seminar) Views and Visions: Representing Flanders’ Landscape and Built Environment

Course & Departmental Restrictions

As a participant of this program, you get a list of designated course offerings you will be required to enroll in.

Get To Know Our Application Process

From academics to visa requirements, our structured process helps you choose the right program and university for your goals. Complete a strong application, and prepare for success abroad.

Personalize Your Study Abroad Plan With Your SAF Counselor

Each student has unique academic goals for a study abroad experience. As you think about studying abroad, your SAF Counselor will help you plan for success and support you every step of the way.

Application Requirements

When applying to study abroad, you must meet the entry requirements set by the host university—and SAF is here to set you up for success.

The requirements outlined in this section include the language proficiency scores you may need to demonstrate your language skills, a guide to the GPA range and other academic prerequisites required by your host university, and a list of documentation and other application materials you will need to finalize your application. You may need to supply additional information throughout the process, and you will be alerted through your emails and SAF Student Portal if this is the case for you.
  • Language Proficiency
  • Academics & GPA
  • Application Documents & Materials

Language Test Score Requirements

To prove your language proficiency, you can use any of the following:

  • IELTS: 7.0
  • TOEIC: 900
  • TOEFL iBT: 90
  • CET scores are not accepted. If you only have CET scores or haven’t taken a language test, you can request an English language interview

Learn More About Language Requirements

Program Dates

When studying abroad, you will want to consider the time of year and how long you are away. Most programs follow the host university's academic calendar.

The dates shown below are general estimates, and as you get closer to the start of the term, you will get more detailed information from SAF. If you have any questions, your Student Counsellor and Program Specialist are always here to support you and point you to the correct information.

Housing Information

University of California, Berkeley housing 1

Off-campus apartment

The SAF program fee covers a shared off-campus apartment. Alongside local students, you build a study abroad family in the communal living space and over meals you cook in your shared kitchen. The residence building may have a front desk and laundry.

*Housing is subject to availability. For specific questions regarding housing please contact SAF.

About Berkeley

Why Berkeley

The wooded Berkeley Hills, the Golden Gate Bridge, the great Californian outdoors, colorful San Francisco - Berkeley is an unforgettable destination. Neighbor to Silicon Valley, Berkeley is an inspirational place to study, and downtime might mean hopping on the free transit to see San Francisco’s famous sights, heading for a hike or bike in the Berkeley Hills, or enjoying waterfront views at the Berkeley Marina. 

Learn more about Berkeley

The Student Experience

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Student Health & Safety

We champion health, safety, and security. As part of IES Abroad, the largest study abroad organization in the United States, we have set the standard for health and safety in study abroad for decades. We plan for the ‘what if’, so you can get on with the experience of a lifetime.
International Health Insurance

International health insurance included in the cost of your program

24/7 Emergency Phone Support

Total coverage to support you while traveling and in your new city

Location-Specific Information

Health and safety information prepared based on your destination

Health In Your Language

Highly trained multilingual staff to connect you to healthcare providers

Secure Housing

Quality, safe, secure housing within close proximity to your classes

Dedicated Expertise

Protection by a Dean of Students Office advocating for your interests


On Arrival

Your SAF pre-departure process will arm you with all the information you need for a smooth arrival to your new campus, city, and country.

To Housing

Your SAF program will include a safe transfer from your arrival airport to your new study abroad housing. We'll even provide you with top tips to make the most of your new city!

Home Sweet Home

Your SAF Program Specialist will coordinate with you to ensure you have arrived safely and settled into your new secure housing.

Keeping You Safe

As you settle in, you will learn about the SAF emergency alert system, our 24/7 phone support, and any safety concerns relevant to you.

Get Social

Your new university and SAF will arrange social and cultural events so that you can meet other study abroad and local students. Make the most of your adventure!

Advising and Support

The process of studying abroad could quickly feel overwhelming, but we have been doing this for decades and do everything we can to support you through it. 

Many SAF staff are alumni and have walked this path. They have real-life experience to draw on as they advise and support you through every step of our comprehensive services. They’re in your corner, taking care of all the details and explaining what you need to do next.

Take the first step in your study abroad journey by scheduling a consultation with your closest Student Counselor. You can discuss your for-credit academic courses and language programs and explore internships, research programs, and study tours. When you know what you want to do, we guide you through the pre-program steps, help you arrange your visa and transport, and finalize your accommodation or digital experience.

Get To Know Our Application Process

From academics to visa requirements, our structured process helps you choose the right program and university for your goals. Complete a strong application, and prepare for success abroad.

Personalize Your Study Abroad Plan With Your SAF Counselor

Each student has unique academic goals for a study abroad experience. As you think about studying abroad, your SAF Counselor will help you plan for success and support you every step of the way.

Commonly Asked Questions About Studying Abroad

Commonly Asked Questions About Academic & Concurrent Programs

Student Blogs

Why Travel With SAF?

Studying abroad is an unforgettable experience, one that stays with you in your career, your contacts, your future. It can define you. At any of our prestigious university partners, you can build personalized for-credit programs that can last up to a whole year.

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