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What degree will best set me up to build stadiums

rattler917rattler917 Posts: 132Registered User Junior Member
edited August 2010 in Engineering Majors
I am considering changing my major to engineering from business. My question is, what kind of engineer is most involved in the designing/construction of stadiums? I realize architects do the design, but what kind of engineer and which engineering firms deal with stadium construction? Thank you for your helpful, constructive answers.
Post edited by rattler917 on

Replies to: What degree will best set me up to build stadiums

  • ken285ken285 Posts: 3,882Registered User Senior Member
    Civil engineering will lead to jobs as structural engineers. They are the ones who take the overall designs from the architect and design the actual structure to make it stand up and safe. Some civil engineering majors stray away from engineering after college and work as construction managers. They are the ones who actually coordinate, manage and decide how to build the structures.

    Something to keep in mind is that stadiums are a very niche field. You may work for a firm that has done stadiums in the past, but there's no guarantee you'll work on one in the future.
  • cosmicfishcosmicfish Posts: 3,398Registered User Senior Member
    Ken is correct, and civil engineering is a valid choice, but some schools do offer architectural engineering programs that specialize in the structures and systems of large buildings. Civil engineering includes this, but also covers other areas such as road and bridge construction, and omits some of the non-structural systems like HVAC and the like. If you are certain that this is the kind of work you want to do, you may want to check out one of those programs.

    Architectural engineering - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Home Architectural Engineering
  • ken285ken285 Posts: 3,882Registered User Senior Member
    Both architectural engineering and civil engineering can lead to jobs as structural engineers and construction managers.

    Penn State's AE is 5 years long, which is something to consider if money is an issue. That's the only AE program I'm somewhat familiar with so I'm not sure if this is typical at other schools. Civil engineering programs are 4 years long.
  • GoOaklandGoOakland Posts: 345Registered User Member
    I shadowed a grad from penn state... I think. It might have been the guy in the cubicle beside him who graduated from penn state but anyway I talked to him about being an engineer. He was a structural engineer. I was surprised at first because I was like what the hell is that? I had studied up on the various branches and knew what they did but never came across structural. I mean its self explanitory I guess but I asked him what he did because I never heard it before. What he said sounded pretty close to what I understood architectural engineering was and asked him the differance. He quickly remarked that architects were idiots (this is the time I learned hands on that engineers and architects dont get along) and that architectural engineering was more architect than it was engineering and to never compare him to an architectural engineer again. I responded aright fair enough but then that is a nice major for those who like architecture but enjoy doing a little of the math that engineers do (which was a concept I was toying with at the time). Once again he rebuked the major by saying that yeah I was kinda right but that architectural engineers are a jack of all trades kinda deal. They can do a lil of everything but when it comes down to crunch time or a problem they usually have to go to an actual Civil engineer or an architect for help. He made it seem like that architectural engineers will always report to someone in one of those fields. I guess he could see my interest in it still and told me "look. This major is not smart. If you like architecture more than engineering then go architecture. If you like engineering then go engineering. But for gods sake don't sit on the fence with an architectural engineering major."
    Obviously he was biased against architects but he brought up a valid point in my mind that I shouldn't sit on the fence. Each of the respective fields is too specialized to just be a jack of all trades. I should specialize in one of the two so I can actually complete something instead of handing it off to another person after I complete half. Maybe I just bought into his philosophy but you can interpret that story however you want. But I wouldn't go architectural engineering. Go civil if anything.


    And as a side note. Building stadiums is DEFINITELY a niche job. Do you follow football at all? I'm obseesed with the sport... and one of the biggest problems facing NFL franchises is that stadiums need to be updated or rebuilt but no one can because they're so dam expensive, the politics in finding a location is a pain, and the economy sucks (dallas cowboys being the exception because they're a big ass franchise and the new one in new york had to have 2 franchises fund it). Off the top of my head I know the raiders want a new stadium, the 49ers want a new stadium, and the vikings are running out on their lease. So there is plenty of need but stadiums are just hard to pull off.
  • rattler917rattler917 Posts: 132Registered User Junior Member
    Thanks to all of you so far. Actually my school Texas A&M Kingsville offers an ABET accredited architectural engineering program so i was kind of leaning that way from the begining. The insight with the engineer vs architect arguement is something I'm going to have to consider. I do follow football quite avidly so I am familiar with the stadiums and the issues involved in thier construction/placement. Its all very interesting. I'm just gonna have to take some classes and make a decision. I am currently a freshman with quite a bit of room in my schedule to look around at some different things. If I do decide to pursue arch. engineering, I could always go back to get a masters in civil should the degree be insufficient. How unheard of/ difficult is it for an engineer to go back to school for a masters in architecture?
  • cosmicfishcosmicfish Posts: 3,398Registered User Senior Member
    I was not aware of the anti-ArchE prejudice, he made a good point and that really is something to think about. Perhaps ArchE is best suited to someone who wants to be in architectural management, but it may be difficult to get there.

    I would think that transferring from one of these engineering programs to the other for grad school would not be a problem. I know that at least Harvard has an MArch program for those without an architecture background, so if that is what you want to do there is at least one route.
  • ken285ken285 Posts: 3,882Registered User Senior Member
    Do not confuse architecture with architectural engineering. They are quite different. ArchE is the study of engineering systems in buildings with a sprinkle of architecture, but it is just as much math as a civil engineering major.

    Masters in civil engineering are programs where students specialize in a certain sub-field (structural, water resources, construction engineering & management, geotechnical, environmental). If you go ArchE, the only reason you would pursue a MS in this field is for structural engineering or construction engineering & management.

    Master in architecture (M.Arch) is a completely different degree. If you want to become an architect (not architectural engineering), this is a route you can take.

    EDIT:
    M.Arch programs do not require any previous coursework in architecture, but typically require an art portfolio to demonstrate creativity, vision, artistic qualities.

    Architects vs. engineers is a friendly rivalry as their designs typically clash with each others needs. It's the "negotiation" that leads to the best buildings.
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Posts: 17,864Super Moderator Senior Member
    Thanks for the clear explanation, ken285. I'm an architectural engineering major who has explained the field about 20 times on this board. Just do a search if you want more discussion of it. I am a STRUCTURAL ENGINEER who majored in architectural engineering because I wanted to study BUILDINGS. I had no interest in other civil engineering topics such as highway design. My curriculum included two semesters of architectural design, so that we could fully appreciate what architects do (that worked like a charm - I will never underestimate the talents of architects again, since I found that I have NO talent in that area, lol). I became a professional engineer four years after completing my master's degree (concentration in structural engineering - my supervising professor was in the ArchE department).

    The AE program at Texas is 4 years long (warning: as with most engineering majors, you have to work hard to finish it that quickly). It included an elective in long-span structures, and I faintly recall looking at stadium design.
  • Aggie10Aggie10 Posts: 60Registered User Junior Member
    Majoring in civil engineering to design stadiums would be like majoring in aerospace to work on the space shuttle. Sure, it COULD happen, but realistically it won't. If you can't see yourself designing other types of structures besides stadiums then pick a different path.
  • gsteingstein Posts: 1,493Registered User Senior Member
    Majoring in civil engineering to design stadiums would be like majoring in aerospace to work on the space shuttle. Sure, it COULD happen, but realistically it won't. If you can't see yourself designing other types of structures besides stadiums then pick a different path.

    This is generally sound advice. However, a classmate of mine who happens to major in aerospace was working on the space shuttle a little while ago. If you want to do something and/or have a dream to do so, then go for it. I'm not talking about being oblivious to statistics, because they are against you, but that doesn't mean certain things won't happen.
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Posts: 17,864Super Moderator Senior Member
    When I was a student, I fully expected that I would be designing skyscrapers in Dallas or Boston. Instead, I am designing much smaller buildings in Maine. And you know what? I am still very happy! So you never know!
  • rattler917rattler917 Posts: 132Registered User Junior Member
    Again, I am very thankful for all the input and explanation. I greatly appreciate you all. I currently think I would prefer structual engineering (as in buildings) more than road design so ArchE is looking like the route I plan on taking. I now realize how few and far between if ever a stadium job is, but I can still hope. I'd still like to hear more opinions and stories about the ArchE and Civil E fields though. Thanks.
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