College of Architecture and Environmental Design

Catalog Home

Architecture and Environmental Design Bldg. (05), Room 212
Phone: 805.756.1311

Interim Dean: Kevin Dong
Associate Dean: James Mwangi

Academic Programs

Program name Program type
Architectural Engineering BS, Minor, MS
Architecture BArch, Minor, MS
City and Regional Planning BS, MCRP, Minor
Construction Management BS, Minor
Cross Disciplinary Studies Minor in Heavy Civil Minor
Landscape Architecture BLA, Minor
Real Property Development Minor
Specialization in Transportation Planning Concurrent CE-MS/MCRP
Sustainable Environments Minor

The College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) offers programs that prepare graduates to create meaningful, resilient places.

Experiential Learning

Under the guidance of expert faculty, students actively participate in hands-on project-based learning that promotes understanding of the built environment and develops the knowledge and skills needed to plan, design, construct and steward.

Interdisciplinary Learning

The college offers interdisciplinary minors, coursework and activities that explore shared areas of interest such as community resilience, real estate development, sustainable environments, earthquake-resistant design, project delivery methods, building technologies, computing technologies, and integrated design and construction.

Co-curricular Activities

Students participate in chapters of professional organizations related to all of the college’s majors, and take part in college leadership through the CAED Student Council, the CAED Student Committee for Diversity and Inclusion and the CAED Ambassadors Leadership Program.

Off-campus Field trips and Programs

Cal Poly’s location in Central California provides access to field trip destinations throughout the state where students study the built environment and interact with communities and experts.

Students have numerous opportunities to participate in national and international off-campus programs offered by the college ranging from field trips associated with courses to community volunteer work, to academic programs with durations ranging from one quarter to a full year. In addition to programs offered by the college, students attend study abroad programs offered by the university, the California State University System and our international exchange partners across the globe.

Internships and Careers

Students are encouraged to gain professional experience through internships that prepare them for careers. The college hosts an annual career fair for all majors and career fairs in the fields of construction and engineering serve all CAED students. The college’s departments and the Cal Poly Career Center assist students with internship preparation and placements.


The college’s learning environments include design studios, galleries, the Paul and Verla Neel Resource Center, instructional laboratories equipped for testing building materials and systems, computing laboratories equipped with industry-standard hardware and software, and instructional shops where students create images, models, and prototypes using a variety of media and methods including wood, metals, photography, printing, and digital fabrication. Students build experimental structures and host the annual Design Village Competition in the nine-acre construction site known as “Poly Canyon.”


The Master of City and Regional Planning program and each of the college’s five bachelor’s programs are accredited by their respective national accrediting organizations.

Recommended Preparation

In addition to pursuing CSU entrance requirements, prospective students are encouraged to engage in activities that introduce them to the college’s fields of study so that they can make an informed decision about program choice. These activities may include, but are not limited to, school clubs, professional mentoring programs such as ACE, professional organizations and relevant work, internship or volunteer experience.

Additional information

CAED Advising Center

Mitra Nafisi, Director, CAED Advising Center
Bldg. (05), Room 210
Phone: 805.756.1325

The college’s Advising Center provides academic advising services to all students enrolled in CAED programs, in coordination with departmental faculty advisors. At the center students receive assistance related to course planning and program completion, transfer and evaluation credit and articulation, academic probation, change of major and course substitution procedures, tutoring, special academic programs, scholarships, and other campus resources.

Interdisciplinary Minors

Real Property Development Minor

Construction Management Department (186), Room A100
Phone: 805.756.1323
Scott Kelting, Minor Advisor

This minor is designed for students who are interested in the built environment, and want to expand their knowledge of how projects get initiated, move through the development process, and then how they are managed after construction.

The program is designed to prepare students for entry-level employment with professionals engaged in real property development. Courses include aspects of practitioners’ real world experiences and knowledge of state-of-the-art practices, techniques, and challenges.

Students learn about the economic, design, environmental, and regulatory factors that influence housing, office, industrial, and commercial projects. They gain a clearer understanding of how these factors impact green development, urban sprawl, place-making, and transit oriented development. 

Minor Requirements

Sustainable Environments Minor

Landscape Architecture Department (34), Room 216
Phone: 805.756.2040
Joseph Ragsdale, Minor Advisor

This minor is designed for students who are interested in principles and applications of sustainable environmental design and want to expand their understanding of the global, regional and local perspectives and concepts that guide the creation of sustainable environments. It provides students with the knowledge and abilities needed to integrate ecology, social equity and economics within the context of human and natural resource systems and the built environment. 

Minor Requirements

How to Read Course Descriptions

EDES Courses

EDES 101. Introduction to Architecture and Environmental Design. 2 units

Term Typically Offered: TBD

Familiarization with the professional fields of architecture, landscape architecture, structural engineering, construction, and city planning. Introduction to the college's programs as they relate to individual aptitudes. The design process. Visiting speakers. 2 lectures.

EDES 123. Principles of Environmental Design. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: F, W, SP

2019-20 or later catalog: GE Area E

2017-19 or earlier catalog: GE Area D4

Sustainability Related

Recommended: ARCH 131 for Architecture major.

How design relates and impacts environmental and social justice, equity, identity, community, and well-being. Design thinking, process, and tools in describing and planning the built environment. Divergent and inclusive thinking, engaging multiple publics, and expert knowledge in planning and design. Course may be offered in classroom-based or online format. 2 lectures, 2 discussions. Fulfills GE Area E (GE Area D4 for students on the 2017-19 or earlier catalogs).

EDES 350. The Global Environment. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: TBD

2020-21 or later: Upper-Div GE Area B

2019-20 or earlier catalog: GE Area B5, B6, or B7

Sustainability Focused

Prerequisite: Junior standing; completion of GE Area A with grades of C- or better; and completion of GE Areas B1 through B4, with a grade of C- or better in one course in GE Area B4 (GE Area B1 for students on the 2019-20 or earlier catalogs).

Interdisciplinary investigation of how human activities impact the Earth's environment on a global scale. Examination of population, resource use, climate change, and biodiversity from scientific/technical and social/economic/ historical/political perspectives. Use of remote sensing maps. Sustainable solutions. Course may be offered in classroom-based, online, or hybrid format. 4 lectures. Crosslisted as AG/EDES/ENGR/GEOG/ISLA/SCM/UNIV 350. Fulfills GE Area Upper-Division B (GE Areas B5, B6, or B7 for students on the 2019-20 catalog).

EDES 406. Sustainable Environments. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: F

Sustainability Focused

Prerequisite: Fourth year or graduate standing.

Collaboration of interdisciplinary faculty and guest speakers/panelists. Introduction, illustration and analysis of concepts and principles for sustainability to be used in all aspects of environmental design. Integration and application of knowledge of human and natural systems with environmental, social and economic concerns, from a global-to-local perspective. 4 lectures.

EDES 408. Implementing Sustainable Principles. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: W, SP

Sustainability Focused

Prerequisite: EDES 406.

A primarily project-based course, intended to aid students who wish to collaborate with the purpose of implementing sustainability principles by developing tools, process or designs, for community-based projects and proposals at various scales of planning, architecture and design of the human environment to address social, environmental and economic issues. 4 lectures.

EDES 410. Advanced Implementation of Sustainable Principles. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: SP

Sustainability Focused

Prerequisite: EDES 408.

Advanced continuation of community-based projects defined and initiated in EDES 408. Ongoing projects, individual and group, address variable scales of planning, architecture, and environmental design, with required completion at the end of the course. 2 seminars and supervised work.