Need a book? Engineering books recommendations...

Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]

RE: Architectural Engineering Degree

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
<  Is Architect the same as Architectural Engineering?  >

No, an Architectural Engineer is NOT a "scientific architect!"  :o)  

An Architectural Engineer is a graduate of an ABET accredited Architectural
Engineering program such as the ones at UT-Austin, Kansas, Kansas State, and
others especially PENN STATE (Go LIONS!).  These graduates are exposed to
multiple engineering specialty classes as they relate to the design of
buildings.  All classes are not watered down summary versions but are
instructed by their respective department, i.e. Architecture classes are
from the Architectural department, Civil Engineering classes are from the
Civil Engineering department, etc.  Most programs offer the chance to
specialize in Structures, Mechanical (HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Lighting,
Acoustics), or Construction Management.  The following description is from
my experience in the Penn State AE program:

The first two years are filled with core engineering classes including
Mathematics, Physics, Engineering Mechanics, and Architectural Studio
classes.  

The third year students take all of the introduction classes to the various
disciplines, structural, mechanical, and construction management, plus even
more mathematics, engineering mechanics and architectural classes.  

The fourth year students select a specialty and take advanced classes, i.e.
structures students will take advanced structural analysis including the
study of classical methods, advanced steel and concrete, soils, and
surveying.  These classes are also combined with various classes in computer
programming and advanced architectural studio classes. 

The fifth year in structures includes the study of foundations and modern
structural analysis.  The fifth year at Penn State involves a senior thesis
which is a year-long study of a recently constructed building.  The student
must present all of the existing systems, analyze them, and then redesign
them.  All students select their own building, unlike the Cornell program
that has 40+ students studying individual elements of one structure.  The
end result of the Penn State AE program is a formal presentation of all
findings to a board of professors and professional engineers that donate
their time (so they can find the best candidate for their staff opening :o).
Overall, focus is always on meeting deadlines whether they are established
by professors in the classroom or the student for the senior thesis project.
In addition, AE students acquire a respect for the other disciplines that
are putting systems into a building.  For example, the structural engineer
must always yield to the mechanical engineer around the mechanical rooms so
the ductwork can leave the AHUs.  Only broad guidelines are drawn for the
thesis assignment and the student must establish their course of study
including how and which topics will be analyzed/redesigned.

The degree earned is a B.A.E, a Bachelor's of Architectural Engineering.  It
is NOT similar to a Bachelor of Science degree.  A B.S. degree only requires
about 120 credit hours.  A Penn State B.A.E. requires about 160 credit hours
and (in my opinion) is equivalent to any B.S. plus M.S./M.E. degree
combination.  That is likely the intention of the accrediting board because
the B.A.E is a unique degree.  Employers that are familiar with the Penn
State program agree because several employers "only hire M.S. degree
holders" and Penn State B.A.E. graduates are considered equivalent.

I hope this clarifies what an Architectural Engineer is and if anybody works
exclusively on building projects and has the opportunity, hire one ...
because with a small amount of training, you will have a quality design
engineer.

William J. Keil, P.E.
PSU AE