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RE: Structural Drafting course (was RE: Connections)

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I suggest that you review the curriculum at Cal Poly before you make assumptions.  You can check it out at                .

From the Cal Poly web page:

"The architectural engineering (ARCE) curriculum, one of the most demanding in the University, prepares the student for a professional career in the structural design of buildings. This program is unique in that it goes beyond sound fundamentals of science and mathematics to stress the practical application of interdisciplinary design principles. Through exposure to the other design and construction disciplines, ARCE students develop much-needed abilities for total professional interaction. The program requires skills and aptitudes in mathematics, sciences and deductive thinking. This program affords the student the opportunity to use these rudimentary skills as a basis for the interactive, creative development of a total design concept.

The curriculum is strongly structured and rigorous. It includes sequences in:
  :: graphics and computer-aided drafting;
:: architectural design, history and practice;
:: soil mechanics and laboratory;
:: structural mechanics and systems;
:: computer practice in structural engineering;
:: design fundamentals of structural materials; and
:: structural design laboratories.

Design laboratories are presented in a studio format that emphasizes learn by doing. Theoretical learning is supported by both the intellectual freedom of experimental projects and the discipline of hands-on design problems.
The four-year Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering degree program is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Graduates normally become registered as structural engineers. ARCE graduates are among the most sought after in the country with a high record of successful, gainful employment as well as advanced studies."

When I was at Cal Poly, we started architecture and engineering in our first quarter.  The first year, we had 9 units of architectural drafting and the second year, we had taken 9 units of structural drafting.  At this point, we could get a drafting job in a structural engineering firm.  (At one point in my pre-graduation wanderings, I was detailing steel for the Klevins corporation in Yonkers as well as laying out steel in the main yard).

At the end of my third year I had taken timber, concrete and steel and in the 4th year, 15 units of advanced structural design, which would usually be taught at master's level.  By the way, we also got bridge design along the way as well as foundation and soil mechanics.

I ended up doing two senior projects, the first a 16 foot hyperbolic paraboloid  out of plywood - constructed and tested to failure and then a simple span concrete bridge.  (Not constructed!!!!).  If you ever have a chance, visit our "canyon" where all kinds of constructed student structural projects have been preserved.  Here you will find the first geodesic dome on the west coast, (assembled by the freshman class in 1951).   Bucky Fuller visited our campus a number of times.  Other little neat projects were things like timber-steel combined Vierendeel trusses.   We were big in ferro cement at one time, studying Nervi.  Other structural celebrities we studied were Toroja (?), Candela and Corbu.  In 1959, a group of our students took first prize in the US Steel international bridge competition.  In 1960, I received a fourth place nationally in a Lincoln Welding design competition; first place was by another Cal Poly student.

Just an added note, I believe that all of my graduating class are California registered structural engineers.

Bottom line, there are some firms who will only hired Cal Poly ARCE graduates, (if they can find them!).

Neil Moore, S.E.
class of 1960, Cal Poly

At 08:10 AM 12/2/2003 -0500, Scott Maxwell wrote:

While I am not familiar with Cal Poly/SLO's program, I would assume that
it is like any other architectural engineering undergrad program.  If so,
then in reality, the degree is STILL a "general" architectural engineering
program with a "specialty" in structural (as opposed to a specialty in
electrical or mechanical).  While certainly different (and in many ways
better) than a general civil engineering program, it will still have the
same basic will graduate with a general knowledge of the
field (architectural engineering) with some minimal specialization (i.e.
in structural).  In otherwords, you will take a lot of "general"
architectural engineering courses (some basic mechanical, electrical, and
even architectural in addition to basic structural courses) with just a
few courses really directed toward your "specialty".

The end result is that I can certainly see that such a program would be
much better in MANY regards for a budding structural type who wants to go
into buildings.  OTOH, it would like be a waste on a budding structural
type that wants to go into bridges.

Basically, I should have been clearer when a mentioned a structural
degree.  I meant a Bacholar of Science in STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING or a
Bacholar of Science in Engineering (STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING) that is
ABET accreditted (a beast that does not exist).  I would assume that the
Cal Poly/SLO degree would be a Bacholar of Science in ARCHITECTURAL
ENGINEER or a Bacholar of Science in Engineering (ARCHITECTURAL
ENGINEERING) which in some regards is very similar to the Bacholar of
Science in Engineering (Civil Engineering) that I received in Michigan and
most other schools.  The function difference is that my general courses
were in civil engineering while someone from a architectural engineering
program would have "general" course work in architectural engineering (so
of which would be structural as in the civil program).  Neither of which
would have near as many structural courses as a true undergrad structural

FWIW, I doubt that anyone who went through a undergrad AE program took
anymore structural courses than I did.  Of course, it helps that I am a
geek that could have graduated in 3.5 years but instead took extra
structural courses.  A "normal" student is civil program likely has a few
less structural courses than a architectural eng program student (but not
that many fewer).  Where the AE student will really gain a benefit is a
better understanding of overall building systems and likely get more
"practical" type course work (at least that is the impression that I got
from reviewing PSU's AE program).


Ypsilanti, MI

On Tue, 2 Dec 2003, Mark Gilligan wrote:

> It was stated : "One partial solution (for structural engineering at least)
> is to have an undergrad ABET accreditted structural degree, but frankly
> that is not too likely."
> Please note that the Architectural Engineering Program at Cal Poly/ SLO is
> an undergraduate structural engineering program and has ABET accreditation.
> Mark Gilligan
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