Architectural Engineering Degree Program Information
Read about architectural engineering degree programs. Learn about prerequisites, curricula, specializations, popular career choices and state licensing requirements for engineers.
Architectural engineering degrees are available at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels and train students to use mathematical and scientific concepts in building design and construction. Programs at all levels emphasize the functional and technical aspects of structural design over the aesthetic. Master's programs typically feature specialty options such as acoustics or construction.
Architectural engineering programs incorporate practical, hands-on training. For example, undergraduate courses include simulated design projects while doctoral programs require a dissertation based on original work.
Bachelor's Degree in Architectural Engineering
A Bachelor of Architectural Engineering (BAE) program takes five years to complete and prepares graduates for careers designing residences, industrial structures and businesses. A 4-year Bachelor of Science (BS) program is available, but it doesn't lead to an engineering license. In these interdisciplinary programs, students learn to design heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical systems for buildings. Students participate in building design simulations as part of their required coursework and explore math, science and engineering concepts in their designs.
Architectural engineering students need strong skills in science, mathematics and design. Students interested in applying to a BAE program need to take advanced high school classes in physics, geometry, calculus and chemistry. Taking any available high school classes in design and computer-aided drafting (CAD) is also beneficial to those interested in architectural design.
Architectural engineering bachelor's degree programs include classes in math, science, architectural design, construction and business. Much of the coursework focuses on electrical design, structural acoustics and construction materials. Programs often require the following courses:
- Fluid mechanics
- Engineering physics
- Structural analysis
- Lighting system design
- Electrical circuits
Popular Career Options
In a BAE program, students learn from many engineering disciplines and apply that knowledge to designing and constructing buildings. According to the Sloan Career Cornerstone Center, individuals must become licensed engineers, following the requirements of their state (www.careercornerstone.org). After becoming licensed engineers, graduates often specialize in the following types of architectural engineering:
- Structural engineering
- Architectural electrical engineering
- Architectural mechanical engineering
Master's Degree in Architectural Engineering
The two most common types of master's degree programs in architectural engineering are the Master of Science (MS) and the Master of Engineering (MEng). MS programs typically cover engineering research along with instruction in professional engineering practices, while MEng programs emphasize professional aspects. Students in either program must complete 25-30 credit hours of coursework. Students often choose an area of specialization, such as structural, construction or acoustics engineering.
Applicants are usually asked to submit undergraduate academic transcripts and their Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Master's degree programs also usually ask for 1-3 letters of recommendation and a personal statement.
Master's degree coursework in architectural engineering focuses on advanced practices used to design buildings, often emphasizing sustainability, economy and functionality. Students in MS programs also learn about the research methodologies and statistical analyses used to develop architectural theories. Students often take classes on the subjects below:
- Managing and planning construction
- Architectural acoustics
- Earthquake-resistant design
- Advanced CAD
- Environmentally-friendly design
Popular Career Options
Earning a master's degree in architectural engineering prepares graduates for advanced careers in building design. People usually seek employment in their areas of specialization, but they often have a knowledge base that qualifies them for other engineering positions as well. The careers noted below are popular options:
- Structural design consultant
- Electrical system design engineer
- Construction project manager
Continuing Education Information
A limited number of schools offer Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree programs in architectural engineering, designed for people seeking positions in advanced research or academia. Doctoral students display their skills in conducting and explaining original research through the completion of a dissertation project. PhD programs typically require about 25 credit hours of coursework.
Every state has requirements for licensing. Aspiring architecture professionals must earn a professional engineering degree, such as a BArch or MArch. Completing an internship and passing a written exam is also required. Engineers usually need to take continuing education classes in current engineering methods.
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