The Catholic University of America

Nov. 16, 2015

School of Architecture and Planning Offers Three New Degree Programs


This fall the School of Architecture and Planning is offering three new degree programs —Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies, Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies, and a Bachelor of Science in City and Regional Studies.

The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies program explores the impact of buildings in society and the impact that man-made creations can have on the natural environment. Students learn how to minimize these risks through renewable energy, technology, and the reuse of materials. Students who major in Environmental Studies are qualified to work at environmentally concerned non-profits, as well as public, private, and non-governmental organizations.

The Bachelor of Arts in Architecture Studies program is specifically designed for students seeking to combine a liberal arts education with a general study of architecture and design. The curriculum enables students to pursue graduate education in related fields or the three-year Masters of Architecture program to seek architectural registration.

“Not all architecture students become designers,” says Chris Grech, associate professor and director of the Master of Science in Sustainable Design program. “Some use their background to work in fields such as construction management. The Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies allows students to get that background without having to complete design studio work.”

The Bachelor of Science in City and Regional Studies program prepares students to understand the complex issues that impact the human environment by addressing social, political, economic, environmental, and physical forces.

Through the program students learn to think critically about urban areas and to envision better environments. Graduates of the program can pursue work in community development, or economic development as well as public policy, public administration, and law, among other areas.

“The primary goal of the Bachelor of Science in City and Regional Studies degree is to provide an alternative pre-professional track that encompasses design, urbanization issues and human dignity within the built environment,” says Hazel Edwards, associate professor and program director of Master of City and Regional Planning. “We felt that by addressing social, cultural, political, economic, environmental, and physical dimensions within the program, students could better promote social equity and justice in communities in the United States or abroad.”

Grech notes, “Part of our impetus for these programs is our mission statement of stewardship as a Catholic University. We want to reinforce the Pope’s latest encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si.”

Edwards adds, “When Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home, was released in June 2015, we knew that we were on the right track with these degrees. Pope Francis speaks about how ‘everything is connected’ and that ‘the analysis of environmental problems cannot be separated from the analysis of  human, family, work-related and urban contexts, nor from how individuals relate to themselves, which leads in turn to how they relate to others and to the environment.’ Through its interdisciplinary approach, the new City and Regional Studies program directly prepares students to address Pope Francis’ principle of ‘the common good.’”  




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