Human-Environment Relations M.S. (Ithaca)

Field of Study

Design and Environmental Analysis

Program Description

The M.S. in Human Environment Relations at Cornell University is a two-year graduate program. The research tradition within the Human Environment Relations major is based in the social sciences, and particularly on environmental psychology and human factors/ergonomics. Evidence-based design is fundamental to the major. The research conducted in HCD contributes to the knowledge base that guides design solutions. The underlying premise is that systematic, empirical research based in the social sciences--when combined with imagination--can contribute to the planning, design, and management of environments that enhance the individual and organizational effectiveness. The M.S. program brings together faculty and students with expertise in the fields of interior design, industrial design, graphic design, architecture, art, building technology, environmental psychology, human factors/ergonomics, engineering, geography, and facility planning and management to work on problems related to the interior environment.

For more information, visit the M.S. in Human Environment Relations website.

Research opportunities:
Much of the research occurs in the field. The department also has a computer-aided design and facility management lab; human factors and ergonomics research labs; an art and environmental design gallery; and a wood workshop.

Contact Information

Phone: 607 255-2809

Graduate Programs
1411 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  14853

Concentrations by Subject

  • design + health
  • emerging technology for design
  • environmental psychology and human factors
  • facility planning and management
  • sustainable design studies


Visit the Graduate School's Tuition Rates page.

Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Fall: Dec. 1; no spring admission

Requirements Summary:

A student who wishes to enroll in either the., M.S. program in Human Environment Relations must apply to and be accepted by the field of Design and Environmental Analysis. Prospective graduate students will complete and submit an online application under their desired concentration with the required documents outlined below. The M.S. program is intended for students with a wide variety of undergraduate degrees who want to study the relationship between people and their physical surroundings, some aspect of facility planning and management, human factors, and design.

No specific prior degree is required for any of the concentrations. Students often have undergraduate degrees in Psychology, Architecture, or Interior Design; but sometimes in English, Economics, Anthropology or other fields. Applications will be reviewed by the members of the graduate field.

The following documents are required to apply to the M.S. program in Human Environment Relations

  • Academic Statement of Purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts
  • GRE general test (the desired combined score should be greater than or equal to 310)
  • English Language Proficiency Requirement for all applicants

Learning Outcomes

Make a contribution to the scholarship of the field

Learn advanced research skills

  • Synthesize existing knowledge, identifying and accessing appropriate resources and other sources of relevant information and critically analyzing and evaluating one's own findings and those of others
  • Apply existing research methodologies, techniques, and technical skills
  • Communicate in a style appropriate to the discipline

Demonstrate commitment to advancing the values of scholarship

  • Keep abreast of current advances within one's field (e.g., environmental psychology, ergonomics, facility planning and management) and related areas
  • Show commitment to personal professional development through engagement in professional societies (such as, but not limited to the Human Factors Society, the International Facility Management Association, and the Environmental Design Research Association) and other knowledge transfer modes
  • Show a commitment to creating an environment that supports learning – through teaching, collaborative inquiry, mentoring, or demonstration

Demonstrate professional skills

  • Adhere to ethical standards in the discipline
  • Listen, give, and receive feedback effectively