Architectural Engineering Education & Course Requirements

If you're interested in architecture and design, a career as an architectural engineer might be your dream job. Find out what architectural engineers do, what kind of education is required, the courses you'll take, and more below. Schools offering Civil Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is Architectural Engineering?

Architectural engineering programs teach students to design and plan buildings using the latest in science and technology to make buildings stronger, safer, more functional, and more durable. Efficiency is key to architectural engineers, so students learn how to minimize energy costs and create an environmentally friendly structure. Architectural engineering students can also focus on the functionality of a structure. For example, prospective engineers might work on a building's acoustic design, ensuring all patrons in a theater can hear the show.

To become an architectural engineer, it is necessary to obtain either a bachelor's degree or master's degree in architectural engineering and then pursue state licensure. Combined programs, which result in both degrees being obtained upon graduation, do exist.

Program Description Architectural engineering involves the design and planning of buildings to meet regulations and improve the functionality of a structure.
Undergraduate Admission Requirements Math and science competency requirements may need to be met; computer access required for use of design programs
Common Courses Calculus, physics, materials science, construction planning
Degree Levels Bachelor's degree for entry-level positions and master's degree to study specialty areas
Required Licensure Professional Engineer (P.E.) credential and state licensure

What Requirements Are There to Enroll in an Architectural Engineering Program?

Architectural engineering bachelor's degree programs generally want students with a high degree of competency in math and science, so some programs have minimum requirements that include acceptable AP calculus test scores or the completion of a college-level calculus course. Additionally, certain SAT score requirements may have to be met, which could differ from those of the university at large. Laptop computers are also commonly required, as computer-assisted design (CAD) programs are a common tool for engineers and may be needed for homework.

What Courses Might I Take While Pursuing a Degree in Architectural Engineering?

Architectural engineering programs require extensive math and science education, so courses like chemistry, physics, and thermodynamics, as well as advanced calculus courses, are commonly required. Within the architectural engineering department, expect to take classes on topics like materials science, construction planning, and mechanical systems. Courses designed to familiarize students with computer programs they might need, like CAD, are also common.

What Are the Differences Between Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Architectural Engineering?

Bachelor's degree programs in architectural engineering can last a bit longer than other majors, with some colleges recommending five years to complete coursework rather than the usual four. While a bachelor's degree in architectural engineering can be sufficient to start working within the field, graduates may find that they will have to work under a more experienced engineer before striking out on their own.

Master's degree programs are built under the assumption that a student has already obtained a bachelor's degree and usually focus on continuing to expand knowledge in the field. These graduate programs allow students to specialize in such areas as construction, energy analysis, structural engineering, or sustainability.

What Licensure Is Needed to Work as an Architectural Engineer?

To practice independently as an architectural engineer, you will likely need to obtain Professional Engineer (PE) credentials and licensure within your state. Common requirements for a license include passing the Fundamentals of Engineering exam and the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam for architectural engineering, put forth by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). A bachelor's degree is required to take the exams. Licensure often also requires at least four years of work in the field as well, although these numbers can vary depending on the state.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools