Architectural Engineering

Like architects, architectural engineers are concerned with the design of buildings, but their focus is more on the needs of the structure than of the occupants. Like other engineers, architectural engineers apply advanced math and science to solve practical problems, but they are concerned with individual buildings rather than large infrastructure. They may create efficiency solutions for energy flows in the home, for example, or ensure the structural safety of a large commercial facility.

Most employers expect architectural engineers to have at least a bachelor's degree in Architectural Engineering, Architecture, or a closely related discipline such as Mechanical, Civil or Structural Engineering. Managerial positions frequently require a graduate degree, though, and academic employers invariably seek those with Ph.D.s. The most elite jobs often require a Ph.D. in a targeted subspecialty of architecture or engineering.

Most employers expect architectural engineers to be licensed, and it is usually a legal requirement of practice, too. In most states, licensure means getting an accredited education. Bachelor-level architectural engineering schools must be certified by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Architecture degrees are accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).

Degrees in Architectural Engineering

Bachelor's Degree in Architectural Engineering

As undergraduates, aspiring architectural engineers learn how to apply scientific principles and methods to the design and construction of buildings. Architectural engineering programs tend to be challenging. They have substantial breadth and depth, often incorporating multidisciplinary studies, extensive studio time and comprehensive senior projects. Even at the bachelor's level, many departments limit annual enrollment in the major due to high demand.

It can take up to 5 years to complete most ABET-accredited programs leading to a professional Bachelor of Architectural Engineering. In addition to general education, AE curricula typically cover advanced math and science prerequisites, extensive engineering coursework, plus classes and studios in architecture and design. To prepare for college-level engineering, high school students should take plenty of math, especially calculus.

The more work experience that students acquire before and after graduation, the better their post-graduation prospects will be. Many bachelor candidates undertake summer internships as undergraduates to prepare for either graduate school or the workforce.

A Bachelor of Architectural Engineering includes courses like:

  • Introduction to Building Mechanical Systems
  • Solar Energy Building System Design
  • Building Electrical & Communications Systems

What can you do with a bachelor's in Architectural Engineering?

  • Architectural Engineer I
  • Structural Engineer
  • Sustainability Program Engineer

Master's Degree in Architectural Engineering

Two-year master degrees are popular among architectural engineers. Taking the time to finish a graduate degree can mean higher pay and wider opportunities in the job market. It can, for example, open up well-compensated positions in research and development. To get into a master's AE program, students generally need a bachelor's degree in an architectural or engineering discipline.

The main professional degree for architectural engineers is the Master of Architectural Engineering, or M.A.E. Many also pursue related professional degrees like the Master of Architecture (M.Arch) or Master of Engineering (M.Eng), with or without a specialization in Architectural Engineering. Ambitious students earn joint degrees in Architecture and Engineering concurrently. Alternatively, students may opt for a Master of Science (M.S.) in the field. The M.S. is a research degree based on completion of a thesis.

Blended bachelor-and-master tracks help students move from undergraduate to graduate school on an accelerated schedule. These non-thesis pathways don't take as long. Many, but not all master programs require students to complete a research thesis or project in addition to graduate coursework. Note that Architecture admissions often require the submission of a professional portfolio.

A Master of Architectural Engineering includes advanced coursework in areas like:

  • Building Load & Energy Simulation
  • Computer Aided Lighting Design
  • Solar Engineering of Thermal Processes

What jobs are available to holders of a graduate degree in Architectural Engineering? They include:

  • Architectural Project Manager
  • Electrical Design Engineer
  • Facilities Architectural Engineer

Doctoral Studies in Architectural Engineering

Architectural engineers seek doctoral degrees like the Ph.D. if they plan to teach in an academic setting or work primarily as a researcher. Study at this level affords in-depth focus on a subspecialty such as energy, lighting, electrical, acoustics, or structural design. Doctoral programs also provide access to professional networks that nurture employment connections for candidates.

Doctoral dissertations in Architectural Engineering might focus on topics such as:

  • Water Management & Climate Variability
  • Reliability of Environmental Flows in Basin Level Planning
  • Durability & Performance of Recycled Hazardous Waste Aggregates

A Ph.D. in Architectural Engineering can lead to jobs like:

  • Senior Systems Integration Automation Engineer
  • System Performance Architect
  • Professor of Architectural Engineering

Featured Schools

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We found 20 schools offering "Architectural Engineering" degree programs in the U.S.

>> See all 20 Architectural Engineering Colleges in the U.S.

Most Popular Architectural Engineering Schools

The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX  |  Total Enrollment: 49996

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree
Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus
University Park, PA  |  Total Enrollment: 40571

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Doctor's
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, MI  |  Total Enrollment: 38103

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of Colorado at Boulder
Boulder, CO  |  Total Enrollment: 29352

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of Cincinnati - Main Campus
Cincinnati, OH  |  Total Enrollment: 27327

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of Kansas Main Campus
Lawrence, KS  |  Total Enrollment: 25920

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS  |  Total Enrollment: 21929

Degrees Offered: One but less than two years, Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree
Auburn University Main Campus
Auburn University, AL  |  Total Enrollment: 21860

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
Oklahoma State University - Main Campus
Stillwater, OK  |  Total Enrollment: 18676

Degrees Offered: One but less than two years, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 16877

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's

Browse All 20 Colleges With Architectural Engineering Programs