Urban and Environmental Design

ESTG - School of Technology and Management



Viana do Castelo

3 years


Entry requirements
International applicants may be eligible for admission through our International Student Charter (

Course Coordinator
Prof. Manuel Rivas Gulias

This course was assessed and accredited by the Portuguese Agency for Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Education – A3ES ( in 2015, for 6 years.

Course description
The degree in Urban and Environmental Design prepares students to study, critically analyse, develop, and supervise the creation of indoor and outdoor spaces, at a variety of scales and with a deep concern for humanization and sustainability.

Its comprehensive study plan ranges from the creation of objects/equipment within the spatial context for which they were conceived, to the design of spaces for individual or common use, as well as nomad spaces, ephemeral spaces, and hybrid or permanent spaces.

The practical work of an Urban and Environmental designer involves creating public or private housing, commercial, industrial, exhibition, leisure, professional, scenographic, and green spaces, among others, focusing on solutions that define new spaces or restore existing ones.

Therefore, this practice also entails awareness of ecological and natural environments, as well as their valorisation or requalification, when incorporated in architectural, landscape or urban planning projects.

Educational aims

The main objectives of this degree are to:

  • promote a culture of spatial design;
  • prepare professionals capable of leading design projects or offering independent consultancy within the area of spatial design;
  • develop analytical and critical thinking on contemporary issues and challenges of a social, cultural, anthropological, aesthetical, or technological nature, so that students can contribute with new perspectives and new solutions;
  • explore and develop the ability to work individually or in group, in different contexts;
  • create synergies between academic practices and the professional world;
  • facilitate students’ integration in the job market and monitor their inclusion/adaptation at a professional level.

Job profile

The profile of an Urban and Environmental Designer combines the knowledge, the skills and the expertise required to develop a project or offer consultancy services.

Graduates try to blend innovation with conceptual, formal, functional and technical qualities, in order to improve the connection between people and the space they inhabit, the objects they handle and the other people they contact with.

Thus, our graduates are able to:

  • joint multidisciplinary teams to develop spatial design projects;
  • identify opportunities in conceptual, cultural, economical, building, etc., challenges that become the object of their intervention;
  • use research tools that allow them to access and retrieve data for a better contextualization and rationale of the options taken during their intervention;
  • set objectives, criteria, and the necessary human and technical means, and plan the steps to follow during the spatial design process;
  • develop analytical and critical thinking about the spatial and temporal context where their intervention takes place;
  • identify the cognitive, semiotic, semantic, cultural, social, interactive, and ecological values that encompass their intervention;
  • recognize ergonomic, technical, safety, and legal issues;
  • make decisions and materialize their proposals using tools such as concept and development drawing; technical drawing, rendering, photography, mock-ups, models, or prototypes, which help to explain the results obtained at the initial, intermediate and final stages;
  • find production and building technical solutions;
  • produce a detailed plan and corresponding specifications document;
  • design, develop, and validate the solutions conceived by the work teams and follow-up the production/building of the environments;
  • produce, validate and supervise project or consultancy processes in the area of environments design.

Career prospects

A graduate in Urban and Environmental Design is a highly-skilled professional able to join any company, R&D offices, city halls and other similar public or private organizations or other organization related to the design and building of spaces, as a team member, a freelancer or an independent consultant.

Study programme