Certificate In Social And Environmental Justice

Injustice surrounds us.  

The humanity, and inhumanity, present in all societies is evidenced in built environments around the world--slums in south Asia and Latin America, post-industrial settings throughout Indiana and the Midwest, and inner city neighborhoods in Muncie and the Rust Belt.
The Graduate Certificate in Social and Environmental Justice fosters inclusivity with and empathy for the residents of such places even as they are often outside the scope of more conventional architectural practice.
Through self-directed courses, seminars, studio projects, and field studies—all informed by a network of global, regional, and local colleagues--students are positioned alongside the billions of people and building sites typically disconnected from those with architectural knowledge.  
In these endeavors we hope to both engage and influence the architecture profession’s growing interest in our shared world.

The search for justice defines us.


Social and environmental justice is a way of thinking—a world view, a set of beliefs—about issues of equity as they relate to the design of the built environment. 

The Department of Architecture offers a 12 credit-hour, Graduate Certificate in Social and Environmental Justice.  These courses explore issues of equity as they relate to the design of the built environment. Student engage socio-spatial analysis and design that is inclusive of, and responsive to, issues of marginalization, stigma, dignity, and discrimination. This certificate prepares future professionals to address the impacts of design decisions on stakeholder communities and to weigh design options relative to their potential effects on populations who are often excluded from participation in the design process.

Aligned with Ball State University’s Department of Architecture, this certificate is multi-disciplinary and geared towards both design students and professionals. It is comprised of (3) one-credit self-directed classes and (9) credits from a curated selection of seminars.

Core requirements
ARCH 509 - Readings in Soc and Env Justice (1 credit)
ARCH 510 - Field Study Soc and Env Justice (1 credit)
ARCH 511 - Doc in Soc and Env Justice (1 credit)

3 hours minimum from:
ARCH 507 - Fourth World Theory (3 credits)
ARCH 508 - Architects of Hope (3 credits)        
ARCH 641 - Citizenship, World Views, and Public Sphere  (3 credits)

6 hours maximum from:
Approved courses per the graduate program director. (6 credits)



Course Descriptions

509 Readings in Social and Environmental Justice (1) Selected readings and follow-up discussion in the topic area as guided by the course instructor.

510 Field Study in Social and Environmental Justice (1) Off-campus study in the topic area as approved by the course instructor.

511 Documentation in Social and Environmental Justice (1) Written report resulting from a field study in the topic area.

507 Fourth World Theory (3) Fourth World Theory examines the physical, political, socio-economical, and institutional abandonment of the American inner-city and investigates the causes which have led to the massive disinvestment. Attempts to develop a sense of empathy for the citizens who choose or are forced to remain in these often severely distressed environments. Fourth World Theory employs critical inquiry that may better qualify us to be engaged in improving the conditions of our inner-cities and of the United States as a whole.

508 Architects of Hope (3) A growing subset of architects situates their talents and passions in the lives of persons occupying exploding equatorial megacities and shrinking inner cities in the Rust Belt. Students will consider a range of issues engaged by the persons who remain in these places. Seminar participants will study as well as interview architects and designers whose practices are centered on those people generally considered to be at-risk or in-need. In response to this investigation, each student will formally define and articulate a more meaningful career trajectory.

641 Citizenship, World Views, and the Public Sphere (3) Addresses ethical, social, cultural, political forces, as well as world views that frame the discourse of citizenship and the public sphere as it relates to issues of social justice in the design of the built environment. Explores theoretical frameworks in order to understand architecture as a social and cultural construct. The pedagogical objective is to encourage analysis, synthesis, and critical thinking.