Architectural Engineering

Architectural engineering has many elements in common with civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering, but is specifically directed toward the building industry. It focuses on building systems, which include design of systems such as heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; illumination and electrical systems; structural building systems; and construction methods applied to buildings. The program is administered by the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering. Students also take courses in architectural history and architectural design from the College of Architecture and Planning.

Program Educational Objectives

The educational objective of the architectural engineering program is to develop graduates who acquire the broad knowledge and skills necessary to successfully begin and sustain a career, and to become leaders who advance the state-of-the art, in one of four core disciplines of the building industry: 

  • electrical and lighting systems
  • heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
  • structural systems
  • construction engineering and management

Educational Outcomes

The outcomes that students are expected to have attained upon graduation with the bachelor of science degree in architectural engineering are:

  • the ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering 
  • the ability to design and conduct experiments 
  • the ability to analyze and interpret data 
  • the ability to design a system or component to meet desired needs 
  • the ability to function on multidisciplinary teams 
  • the ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems 
  • an understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities 
  • the ability to communicate effectively through writing and/or drawing 
  • the ability to communicate effectively through oral presentations 
  • an understanding of the impact of engineering on society 
  • an understanding of the necessity to engage in life-long learning 
  • a knowledge of contemporary issues in civil, environmental, and architectural engineering 
  • the ability to use modern engineering techniques, skills, and tools 

Areas of Knowledge

The areas of knowledge that define these objectives include both technical and non-technical areas.

Technical areas are:

  • elementary—the fundamentals for architectural engineering, including basic science and mathematics, building design and construction processes; overview of building systems; elementary principles and processes of architecture; and laboratory measurement and data analysis;
  • intermediate—introduction to building systems and their components, with corresponding analysis of electrical, HVAC, and lighting systems as well as structural elements and components;
  • proficiency—design, integration, and advanced analysis of electrical, HVAC, lighting, and structural systems; as well as the codes and recommended practices that govern these building systems; and
  • specialization—advanced design, coupled with industry experience via internships, for building lighting and electrical system design, building HVAC systems design, building structural system design, and construction engineering and management.

Non-technical areas include:

  • professional life, including methods of time and resource management, and professional ethics;
  • processes and requirements of written and oral communication; and
  • broad areas in the humanities and social sciences, including architectural history and language.

Course code for this program is AREN.

Bachelor's Degree Program(s)

Bachelor's Degree in Architectural Engineering

There is a broad core of requirements for all students. Students are also expected to choose, in consultation with faculty advisors, elective courses to add depth in one or more specialty areas. Such specialty areas include structural analysis and design, construction engineering, building energy analysis, mechanical systems, and illumination. A list of recommended electives is available to help students select a coherent academic program that enhances one of these areas.

Curriculum for BS (Arch E)

Required Courses and Semester Credit Hours

Freshman Year
Fall Semester

  • APPM 1350 Calculus 1 for Engineers—4
  • AREN 1027 Engineering Drawing—3
  • AREN 1316 Introduction to Architectural Engineering—2
  • CHEM 1221 Engineering Chemistry Lab—2
  • CHEN 1211 General Chemistry for Engineers—3

Spring Semester

  • APPM 1360 Calculus 2 for Engineers—4
  • CVEN 2012 Introduction to Geomatics—3
  • GEEN 1400 Engineering Projects—3
  • PHYS 1110 General Physics 1—4
  • Humanities or social science elective—3

Sophomore Year
Fall Semester

  • AREN 2050 Building Materials and Systems—3
  • AREN 2110 Thermodynamics—3
  • APPM 2350 Calculus 3 for Engineers—4
  • CVEN 2121 Analytical Mechanics 1—3
  • PHYS 1120 General Physics 2—4

Spring Semester

  • APPM 2360 Introduction to Differential Equations with Linear Algebra—4
  • AREN 2120 Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer—3
  • CVEN 3161 Mechanics of Material 1—3
  • CVEN 3246 Introduction to Construction—3
  • GEEN 1300 Engineering Computing—3

Junior Year
Fall Semester

  • AREN 3010 Mechanical Systems for Buildings—3
  • AREN 3540 Illumination —3
  • CVEN 3525 Structural Analysis—3
  • ECEN 3030 Electrical Circuits—3
  • Free elective—3

Spring Semester

  • AREN Proficiency I—3
  • AREN  Proficiency II—3
  • AREN Concentration I—3
  • College-approved writing course—3
  • Technical elective—3

Senior Year
Fall Semester

  • ARCH 3114 History and Theories of Architecture 1—3
  • ARCH 4010 Architectural Appreciation and Design—5
  • AREN Concentration II—3
  • Humanities or social science elective—3
  • Technical elective—3

Spring Semester

  • ARCH 3214 History and Theories of Architecture 2—3
  • AREN 4317 Architectural Engineering Design—5
  • Humanities or social science elective—3
  • Technical electives—6
  • Minimum hours for degree—128 

Courses Available for Specialization

Students select two proficiency-level courses from different subdisciplines and two concentration-level courses from one subdiscipline. Upon consultation with their advisors, students are expected to select technical elective courses applicable to their areas of interest and specialization. The areas of specialization are construction engineering and management, mechanical systems, illumination, and structural engineering. 

In addition to the courses listed below, other courses not listed may be proposed by a student and approved by the advisor if they are found to be applicable.

  • AREN 3130 Building Energy Laboratory
  • AREN 3140 Illumination Laboratory
  • AREN 4110 HVAC Design
  • AREN 4315 Design of Masonry Structures
  • AREN 4420 Cost Engineering 
  • AREN 4466 Construction Planning and Scheduling
  • AREN 4540 Exterior Lighting Systems
  • AREN 4550 Illumination 2
  • AREN 4560 Luminous Radiative Transfer
  • AREN 4570 Electrical Systems 
  • AREN 4580 Daylighting
  • CVEN 3256 Construction Equipment and Methods
  • CVEN 3313 Theoretical Fluid Mechanics
  • CVEN 3323 Hydraulic Engineering
  • CVEN 3708 Geotechnical Engineering 1
  • CVEN 3718 Geotechnical Engineering 2
  • CVEN 4161 Advanced Mechanics of Materials 1 
  • CVEN 4525 Analysis of Framed Structures
  • CVEN 4545 Steel Design
  • CVEN 4555 Reinforced Concrete Design
  • CVEN 4565 Timber Design
  • CVEN 4087 Engineering Contracts
  • CVEN 5010 HVAC System Controls 1
  • CVEN 5020 Building Energy Audits
  • CVEN 5050 Advanced Solar Design
  • MCEN 3022 Heat Transfer

Graduate Degree Program(s)

Graduate Study in Architectural Engineering

Graduate studies in architectural engineering are offered through the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering. Information on the requirements for graduate study in architectural engineering is available from the departmental website at The Graduate Record Examination, consisting of the aptitude tests and advanced test in engineering, is used in the evaluation of candidates and is required for all applicants for master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees.

The department offers the master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees with study emphasis in building energy systems (sustainable building design and operation, illumination engineering, energy efficient and renewable energy technologies) and construction engineering and management.

Master of Science Degree

Requirements for this master’s degree can be fulfilled in three ways. Under Plan I, the candidate completes 30 credit hours of course work including thesis (maximum of 6 credit hours). Under Plan IIa, 30 credit hours of course work are required, with 3 credit hours of Master’s Report credit. Under Plan IIb, 30 credit hours of course work are required with a final exam. 

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

This degree requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate-level work (5000 level or above). Up to 15 credit hours of previous graduate-level work may be transferred with advisor and Graduate School approval. The doctoral dissertation requires 30 credit hours. The applicant for this degree must demonstrate the capability for both rigorous academic accomplishments and independent research.