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.  It is an approach to socio-spatial analysis and design that is inclusive of and responsive to issues of marginalization, stigma, dignity, and discrimination.

This 12 credit-hour graduate certificate program in social and environmental justice prepares students 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.  Justice may be defined as a genuine respect for people. Social and environmental justice, in the design context, denotes a deep-seated concern for both the positive and the negative that design solutions can bring to diverse populations – many of whom have been historically poorly-served by design.

Aligned with Ball State University’s Department of Architecture, this certificate (and associated graduate course work) is multi-disciplinary, while being targeted at design students and professionals. Design is meant to include: architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, urban design, and interior design. The courses that constitute the certificate curriculum are intended to provide an introduction to:

  • the impacts of design decisions on diverse populations
  • the ability of design to affect positive social and environmental change in communities

This graduate certificate will offer a strategic advantage to designers and is aligned with an emerging concern among the built-environment professions for more-inclusive design processes and outcomes. A requirement to participate in field-based studies allows this certificate to engage real world experiences beyond the classroom.

The mission of the graduate certificate in social and environmental justice, as offered by the department of architecture, is to create advanced awareness, understanding, and abilities related to issues of equity as they relate to the design of the built environment. The 12-credit certificate is open to all graduate students of the university and is comprised of three one-credit self-directed classes, seminars in the department of architecture, and six credit hours to be identified by the student (in consultation with the graduate program director).  It is most appropriate for those who envision career trajectories that feature concerns for social responsibility and environmental awareness.

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)