Architectural Engineering

In the United States, architectural engineering refers to a licensed engineering professional who’s qualified to apply engineering principles and technology to building design and construction. Architectural engineering is a multidisciplinary Bachelor of Science degree, sometimes resulting in a six-year program. In contrast to architects, who focus primarily on aesthetics, architectural engineers ensure that the structure is sound, stable, and the systems are functional.

There are a number of optional specializations, including in structural and mechanical integrity, acoustics and lighting, as well as energy conservation and optimization. Often, architectural engineering programs focus on a specific system within a building, such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), plumbing, fire protection, electrical, lighting, architectural acoustics, or structural systems, but there’s also the option for a generalist degree at some institutions. Ideal candidates for an architectural engineering degree are drawn to technology, mathematics, and science.


When it comes to choosing an institution for architectural engineering, the most trusted programs are accredited by ABET, a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that focuses on the disciplines of applied and natural science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology. Post graduating, to become a licensed professional, architectural engineers must pass two exams, the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam and the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. The average entry-level salary is for architectural engineers is $61,000, while average annual pay is upwards of $93,000.

Graduate Level

Postgraduate options include the Master of Architectural Engineering (MAE), a Master of Science (MS) in Architectural Engineering, or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Architectural Engineering. Advanced programs such as these can lead to building automation or communication systems, masonry design, or timber design.

Career options for graduates with a degree in architectural engineering include:Architectural Engineer, Architectural and Civil Drafter, Electrical Drafter, Mechanical Drafter, Engineering Technician, Construction Manager.

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Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus

Pennsylvania State University, Penn State, is a land-, sea-, and space-grant university with a main campus in University Park. This public research institution was founded in 1855 and is one of the largest universities in the US by student body. Its...

“…Penn State is a first class University. Professors are both well informed and intriguing. Even the biggest lecture classes can seem like an engaging one on one meeting. The class listings also are very various and allow for much customization in...” – Eric from Winburne, PA

The University of Texas at Austin

A Public Ivy and space-grant institution, the University of Texas at Austin is one of nine academic universities in the UT system, and also the first. Founded in 1883 and home to 18 schools and colleges, it is one of the largest schools in the US but...

“…UT has so much to offer to every kind of student. UT has a balance between social opportunities and academic opportunities. With more than 40,000 undergraduate students, the school provides so much diversity.” – Brandon from Pearland, TX

University of Arizona

Founded in 1885, the University of Arizona is a 4-year public institution in Tucson and the first university established in the Arizona territory. Arizona features 21 colleges and schools offering undergraduate degrees. In addition to classroom...

“…Not all of the learning you do is academic. Much of my first year was personal growth learning. Just be expected for both.” – Alexis from Phoenix, AZ

University of Miami

Founded in 1925, the University of Miami is a private research institution in south Florida. The U encompasses 11 colleges and schools conferring undergraduate degrees in over 180 fields of study. Away from the classroom, the Miami campus is home to...

“…The Cool thing about UM is the diversity of the school and the city of Miami. I've met people from every corner of the country and the world and that's the best part about college, of course learning in class but also learning from those who are not...” – Jude from Miami, FL

Auburn University
Auburn University, AL
Auburn University

Auburn University is a 4-year public research institution and the second largest university in Alabama. Auburn encompasses 15 colleges and schools offering undergraduate degrees in over 140 academic majors. Outside of the classroom, Auburn is home to...

“…The academics are good. Some of the classes are tougher than others, but overall you do get an education. ” – Jessica from Mobile, AL

University of Cincinnati-Main Campus

Founded in 1919, the University of Cincinnati is a 4-year public research institution and the second largest university in the state of Ohio. UC is home to 14 colleges and schools conferring degrees and is renowned as the first school to offer a co...

“…I was delighted to find that most of the professors at UC really know their stuff and they are willing to help if you don't understand them on the first go. However, it certainly is useful to ask around about potential professors. I had a Chemistry...” – Nathan from Edgewood, KY

University of Kansas

The University of Kansas is a public research institution. The main campus is located in Lawrence, Kansas, and is one of five in the University of Kansas system. KU offers more than 200 undergraduate majors in one of the largest college towns in the...

“…As with other colleges, freshman year generally means class sizes in the hundreds. However, the professors and teaching assistants do a relatively good job on relaying information to classes of these sizes. Most of my classes used PowerPoint slides...” – Nik from Kansas City

Drexel University

Named for a prominent 19th century philanthropist, Drexel University is a 4-year private research university in Philadelphia. Drexel offers bachelor’s degrees in over 80 academic majors with an emphasis on experiential learning. Additionally, the...

“…This is a great school, pride in students who choose to Be Different with hard work ethics. The co-op program within the school is outstanding and will give on the job experience throughout the years of schooling, preparing for jobs better than any...” – Kevin from Sewell, NJ

University of Colorado Boulder

The University of Colorado Boulder is located at the base of the Rocky Mountains and ranks #90 in National Universities by the U.S. News & World Report. They offer Residential Academic Programs (RAPs), multiple honors programs, and an Education...

“…I am currently a freshman majoring in civil engineering as a freshman, and I can assure you that the level of difficulty in the engineering department is very challenging compared to AP courses. Rest assured though, engineering across all colleges is...” – Kevin from Lakewood, CO

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

One of two polytechnics in the CSU System, the California Polytechnic State University, more commonly known as Cal Poly, has a competitive admissions process for its programs, which focus in arts, technology, and sciences. The university is located...

“…I have only been at Cal Poly for one quarter so far, but I do think I am learning a lot. Through services at Cal Poly (like career service and my advisor) and my intro class, I think I learned more about what I can do with my degree after college...” – Rebecca from San Luis Obispo, CA

University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a 4-year public institution in central Oklahoma. OU offers bachelor’s degrees in 170 academic fields of study. In addition to classroom space, the OU campus hosts the National Weather Center featuring a...

“…Just from talking to other students you can learn a lot if you put the work into it. You can't blow off things. I know in high school you could get an A in a class and still know nothing. Not OU the professors are world-class and teach because they...” – Tonya from Pampa, TX

Kansas State University

Founded in 1858 as Bluemont Central College, Kansas State University is a 4-year public institution in northeast Kansas. K-State hosts 11 colleges and schools conferring bachelor’s degrees in over 250 academic majors. In addition, the Kansas State...

“…There are large lectures and small group classes so everyone can learn in an environment right for them. The professors are smart and well educated. Lots of them take them time, if you come see them, to personally help you when you need it.” – Victoria from Topeka, KS

Oklahoma State University-Main Campus

Oklahoma State University is a public institution with university establishments in all 77 of Oklahoma’s counties. The school is a designated land-grant university and one of six US universities with a designated sun-grant. OSU's campus is home to...

“…While classes can be big at any University, Oklahoma State is freshman friendly. As a freshman, you're bound to have some classes getting as big as 300 students and as small as 10-25, but despite the large difference, every single one of my...” – Adam from Tulsa, OK

University of Wyoming

Located on the high Laramie plains near the Snowy Range Mountains, the University of Wyoming is a land-grant institution and the state’s flagship institution. UW encompasses nine colleges and schools offering undergraduate degrees in over 80 areas of...

“…I am a sophomore level engineering student and have learned a great deal through my classes at the University. Professors go out of the way to make sure concepts are understood and are more than willing to put in time outside of class and office...” – Margaret from Lakewood, CO

Tennessee State University

With two campuses in Nashville, Tennessee State University is the only state-funded Historically Black College and University in the state of Tennessee and part of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. TSU grants bachelor’s and graduate degrees in 77...

“…I learn a lot of things here. This college is a great place to be. I love the experience!” – Amber from Memphis, TN

Illinois Institute of Technology

Created by the merger of Lewis Institute and Armour Institute, The Illinois Institute of Technology is a scientific and technical research institution in Chicago. IIT hosts eight colleges and schools conferring undergraduate degrees in over 40 fields...

“…Students that attend IIT go to study and become future leaders, not to fool around or party. I am currently learning so much from the architecture program. The professors are practicing architects and although I just ended my first semester, I feel...” – Christian from Elgin, IL

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Founded in 1869, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is the oldest university in the state and flagship of the NU system. Nebraska is home to nine colleges conferring undergraduate degrees. In addition to classroom facilities, the NU campus hosts The...

“…There are a wide variety of classes offered. I'm an English major, and UNL has a great English program. It's home to the Prairie Schooner, which is a highly regarded literary magazine. There are a lot of great poets here and even in my freshman year...” – Madeline from Lincoln, NE

North Carolina A & T State University

Founded in 1890, North Carolina A&T State University is a public Historically Black College and University and the state’s first land-grant university for people of color. N.C. A&T is home to nine colleges and schools conferring undergraduate degrees...

“…I just graduated from A&T in May, and I feel more than ready to begin my Master's of Accounting program at The Ohio State University. Not only am I prepared, but I also managed to get a scholarship for my Master's and for the CPA Exam (which I am...” – Winnie from Greensboro, NC

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1865, Worcester Polytechnic Institute is a school of engineering and technology in central Massachusetts. WPI grants bachelor’s degrees in 32 technical and scientific fields of study. In addition, every academic program is centered around...

“…Classes are fast paced and can be difficult but there are many resources to help you. Professors are generally willing to help, as are other students. The Math and Science Help Center (MASH) is extremely useful for early math and science classes. An...” – Alana from Taunton, MA

The University of Alabama

Established in 1821, the University of Alabama is a 4-year research institution in Tuscaloosa and the oldest and largest public university in the state. UA features 12 colleges and schools conferring bachelor’s degrees in over 70 fields of study. For...

“…This college is great for hands-on experience and in class learning. The teachers really care and are very knowledgeable in the area they teach. I have been able to take advantage of my teachers' office hours and really get to know them. I learned...” – Brittney from Birmingham, AL

University of Detroit Mercy

The University of Detroit Mercy is a private institution based in Detroit, Michigan. The school is sponsored by the Religious Sisters of Mercy and the Society of Jesus. The school operates three campuses, McNichols, Riverfront, and Corktown, making...

“…The classes that I have been enrolled in have been challenging, yet reasonable. I feel as though I am learning a lot of material very thoroughly, but I am able to keep up with it. The small class size helps students learn more especially in...” – Allison from Shelby Township, MI

Lawrence Technological University

Originally founded in a building leased from Henry Ford, Lawrence Technological University is a private institution focused on STEM education. Lawrence Tech is home to colleges of Business & IT, Arts & Sciences, Architecture, and Engineering...

“…Lawrence Tech is a good University for students who want to have the whole college experience. Their programs consist of many classes to focus towards your degree, but there are other, core courses, that help students get a well-rounded education....” – Melvena from Chicago, IL

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Missouri University of Science and Technology, Missouri S&T, is a 4-year institution that was founded in 1870. The Rolla-located university houses two colleges, the College of Arts, Sciences, and Business, as well as the College of Engineering and...

“…The Professors really push you to the hardest extent. They expect you to do your homework the first time and take school very seriously. However, if you finish your homework and work at it you will learn more than you expected and the way most...” – Julie from Camdenton, MO

Milwaukee School of Engineering

With campus a short walk from the Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee School of Engineering is an engineering and science college in downtown Milwaukee. MSOE confers undergraduate degrees in 18 science and business-related fields of...

“…It is not as difficult as I expected, but I hear it gets tougher after freshman year. Unlike the myth that says attendance doesn't matter, it does; some teachers make attendance/participation a part of the grade. While the courses can be rigorous, it...” – J from Wisconsin

Texas A & M University-Kingsville

Chartered in 1917, Texas A&M University-Kingsville is a 4-year public school and the oldest institution of higher learning in south Texas. Texas A&M Kingsville is home to six colleges granting undergraduate degrees. In addition to classroom space,...

“…All the professors here know how to teach students very well and keep learning interesting. I have a really awesome professor for History 1302, who I chose again for enjoying his 1301 class last semester, who constantly challenges us and keeps us...” – Preston from Portland, TX

Springfield Technical Community College is a public, 2-year institution established in the state of Massachusetts. STCC is the only technical community college in the state, making its catalogue of over 90 career programs particularly unique to the...

“…This college offers an affordable academic system that can guide you onto the path of future successes. With an array of courses, this school provides the stepping stones to help familiarize yourself with the college environment. Most essential, the...” – William from Springfield, MA

University of Liverpool

The University of Liverpool is an institution located in the city of the same name. Founded in 1881, the redbrick university is proud of their founding mission, ‘for the advancement of learning and enoblement of life,’ which they still maintain today...