Architectural engineering focuses on the design and construction of safe and sustainable buildings. They are creative problem solvers meeting the challenges of energy needs, building systems, urban development and community planning. While architectural engineers work with architects, they are engineers – not architects.
As an architectural engineer, you can design functional and aesthetic lighting solutions, create buildings prepared to withstand earthquakes and other natural disasters, or invent affordable green technology to heat, cool and power buildings with energy from the sun.
Our architectural engineering program is one of only 19 accredited programs in the U.S., and our Lighting Program got its start just 15 years after the invention of the electric light bulb.
You’ll begin learning your trade through hands-on work starting in your very first year. Hands-on design projects courses, extra-curricular opportunities such as Engineers Without Borders, and exciting internship experiences will prepare you with the technical, professional and team skills to make you competitive for jobs after graduation. You can also gain professional exposure through student societies like the Architectural Engineering Institute and the Illuminating Engineering Society.
The department has a wide variety of laboratory facilities, including a building energy facility, an illumination laboratory and one of the largest structural labs in the Rocky Mountain region, all of which offer opportunities for independent study and undergraduate research. Our students often work with CU Facilities Management and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo. Other research opportunities include construction safety, energy-efficient lighting, and a host of structural testing projects on sustainable and energy-efficient materials.
Undergraduate students are encouraged to pursue research opportunities through independent study, the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, the Discovery Learning Apprenticeship program or research assistantships with faculty.
CU graduates in architectural engineering are working at such companies as Accenture, Whiting-Turner Contracting, Elkhorn Construction, Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction, The Shaw Group, Sage Associates, Design West Architecture, and at lighting firms such as Cooper Lighting, LiteControl and MCLA.
About 20 percent of CU Boulder engineering bachelor’s graduates (college-wide) continue onto graduate school, gaining admittance to top schools such as MIT, Princeton, Harvard, Cornell, Stanford, University of California Berkeley, and the University of Texas at Austin.
Employment for civil and architectural engineers is estimated to show average growth of 8 percent through 2024. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
The mean starting salary nationally for an architectural engineer in 2015 was $61,000 (National Association of Colleges and Employers). The median pay for all civil and architectural engineers nationally was $82,000 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).