Architectural engineers are at the forefront of addressing significant challenges of the century, from reducing greenhouse gases to constructing resilient buildings. They are responsible for the technological aspects involved in planning, designing, creating, and operating structures. Because people spend over 85% of their time indoors, these professionals have a lasting impact on communities worldwide.
As opposed to architects, architectural engineers study the art and science of constructing buildings, typically applying the latest scientific knowledge and technologies in their field.
While working on a building, architectural engineers combine structural, electrical, mechanical, lighting, acoustic, and safety elements into a whole. There are many ways for their projects to impact society, from designing earthquake-proof buildings to state-of-the-art stadiums. The interdisciplinary skillset of an architectural engineer makes them highly employable to engineering firms, real estate developers, manufacturers, building owners, contractors, and construction managers. Other professionals choose to start their own business.
To become an architectural engineer, students choose to study architectural engineering or a related field like civil engineering. In their courses, they study a broad range of technical topics including physics, mathematics, architectural design, and construction. The most successful students will receive practical training through laboratories and internship opportunities.
Their formal training in creativity and design, coupled with solid engineering education, makes them well-versed architectural engineers. These engineers must be creative, detail-oriented, and versatile with technology and problem-solving skills to succeed. Architectural engineers earn an average salary of $86,000 per year.
Students interested in utilizing the latest technologies to design and build structures that will improve the lives of many should consider architectural engineering. Here are the ten best architectural engineering schools in the United States, based on each program’s greater overall academic ranking on Niche.
10. The University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL)
At the University of Alabama, architectural students are prepared to lead fulfilling professional careers in their interest areas. Through a robust foundational base of technical courses, students are in high demand for many employers in the area. As architectural engineering is a highly interdisciplinary field, students are encouraged to take mathematics, science, humanities, and social sciences classes. Students are encouraged to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam before their graduation to support their professional endeavors.
Architectural engineering students have the opportunity to participate in the University of Alabama’s research and creative culture. The school promotes interdisciplinary research through networking sessions, resources to locate external funding, and professional development workshops. The civil and environmental engineering department, including architectural engineering, spent $1.5 million on research in 2019. Through working with faculty and other students, engineers develop critical hands-on skills.
9. Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK)
At OSU, architectural engineering students graduate with a desirable understanding of the overall production of architecture found in few other programs nationwide. The courses encourage a cooperative approach to architecture, whether students choose to focus on structural design or construction project management. After graduation, students go on to work as construction managers, structural designers, project engineers, and engineering technicians.
While at OSU, students have the opportunity to learn from leading faculty members in state-of-the-art facilities. The program is dedicated to providing students with a studio-based education to explore their creative side while simultaneously furthering their math and science abilities.
In addition to the Bachelor of Architectural Engineering degree, the school has a twelve-credit-hour Graduate Certificate. The program focuses on the Integrative Design of the Building Envelope, where students can explore a specific technical aspect of building design that interests them.
8. University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK)
University of Oklahoma architectural engineering students are exposed to various classes from the College of Architecture, College of Engineering, and more. During the last two years, undergraduates study more specialized subjects such as structural engineering and building systems. The curriculum finishes with a capstone design experience that requires students to utilize their interdisciplinary knowledge to solve a real-world architectural engineering problem. Showing off their technical know-how, a past capstone class designed the Radar Innovations Laboratory, currently part of OU’s research campus.
In addition to courses, architectural engineering student groups supplement classroom education through interactions with faculty and peers. The Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) at UO, founded in 2006, seeks to promote information on the field through study, research, and discussion. The group hosts various events, from sponsored site tours to seminars from professionals in the field.
7. Milwaukee School of Engineering (Milwaukee, WI)
MSOE’s architectural engineering degree allows students to choose between three specialties: electrical, mechanical, and structural systems. While in classes, students learn from a wide range of accomplished professors. Dr. Deborah Jackson, professor and program director, has technical expertise in sustainability, energy systems, and process analysis. In addition, she is a member of the Peer Review Corps of the Higher Learning Commission and has expertise in the accreditation process.
As one of only 22 accredited programs nationwide, the architectural engineering curriculum provides the hands-on experience necessary for success. This can be seen in the school’s impressive Class of 2020, of which 100% are fully employed, enrolled in graduate school, or enlisted.
In June of 2018, construction began on the university’s Dwight and Dian Diercks Computational Science Hall. Many architectural engineering alumni from MSOE are leading the project as construction executives, data center specialists, and project engineers.