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Difference between Civil Engineering and Architecture

tokudastokudas Registered User Posts: 147 Junior Member
edited August 2013 in Architecture Major
I was reading description for civil engineering and I thought "it's almost same as majoring architecture." I'm sure those two are different but I didn't see the difference. So can anyone tell me the difference between civil engineering and architecture???
Post edited by tokudas on

Replies to: Difference between Civil Engineering and Architecture

  • shahmuqqadarshahmuqqadar Registered User Posts: 119 Junior Member
    Architecture deals with making the floor plans of a building and designing the shape of the building. Civil Engineering, working on the same building, would deal with the material used for the building and how to design the building so it can support its own weight. So there's quite a big difference there. Architecture is more like arts. Civil Engineering is more about physics.
  • IlliniJBravoEchoIlliniJBravoEcho Registered User Posts: 1,110 Member
    Yeah architecture is more design and civil is the technical nitty gritty. Architectures dream and civils do. Not to be offend at all b/c we need both. Architecture is located in the college of Fine and Applied Arts at U of I and CivilE is located obviously in the college of Engineering.
  • aibarraibarr Registered User Posts: 4,249 Senior Member
    About 20,000 dollars a year.

    That's the blunt answer; civil engineers make significantly more money than architects do, unfortunately. There's a reason for the discrepancy, though: civil engineers and architects often work within the same field of building design, but civil engineers have the immense legal responsibility of ensuring the structural integrity of the building. They have the same sorts of legal responsibilities as doctors do. If they screw up, even if it's only discovered in a structural collapse years later, they can lose their engineering licenses and face dire consequences.

    Architects decide what the building *looks* like, keeps the lines of the building elegant, makes the building a beautiful and interesting place to be. They take courses in design and architectural history and design the floorplans and appearance of the building. The architects actually usually decide the materials of the building, as well. Architects must be part artists, part pragmatists, and must be brilliant designers. Competition is cut-throat, and while the payoff can result in both fame and fortune, the majority of architects really struggle at first after their education and internships are through.

    From there, the architectural plans go the civil (structural) engineer. Within the framework that the architect provides, the structural engineer must design the infrastructure, the skeleton, of the building. Engineers must train a long time, usually need both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in order to practice. They must take several exams, including the FE exam in order to be certified as an engineer-in-training, and then must take anywhere from one to three (yep: structurals often must take the civil PE, the structural PE, and a state-specific structural PE exam, whereas most other disciplines only take one PE exam) Professional Engineering (PE) certification exams after at least five years of professional experience in order to be able to legally sign off on structural building plans. Competition is only stiff in that you have to make it through all of the hoops and through all of the schooling and the exams in order to finally make it in the end, but there's not the cut-throat pressure to perform creatively that there is in architecture. Civil engineering covers a lot more than just building design, too... You learn about land development, construction techniques, pavement design, signing and striping of roads, airport design, pipe design, soils and geotechnical engineering, and some environmental engineering, too.

    Hope that answers your questions.
  • jlaws30jlaws30 Registered User Posts: 68 Junior Member
    What about architectural engineering at Cal Poly SLO? Whats the difference there?
  • aibarraibarr Registered User Posts: 4,249 Senior Member
    Architectural engineering is a very new and reasonably undeveloped field. Bottom line, employers don't really know what you're capable of, and so you often end up with the responsibilities of the engineer while having the salary of the architect. If you're interested in being an engineer who designs buildings, your best bet is to get a masters degree in structural engineering, and, if you'd like, take some courses in architecture.

    It's a shame, because there are some good programs out there in architectural engineering, but it ignores a lot of the heavy theory that you'll likely need later on if you want to really design structures or get your PE license, like finite element methods and other methods of numerical analysis and design. It usually ends up being a sort of "structural engineering lite" degree without any of the heavy artistic demands of the architectural field either, because it tries to incorporate all of both fields.

    It's a good program if your intentions aren't to design multi-billion dollar skyscrapers. If you'd like to go into contracting or residential architecture, I should think that it'd be a very useful program, but if you're looking for something that will help you get a job with a top structural design firm or a highly-regarded architectural firm, it's not a good idea to major in architectural engineering, because they simply won't know what to do with you.
  • toronto_guytoronto_guy Registered User Posts: 261 Junior Member
    I would agree with what is said on this page. For the most part, civil engineering has better prospects than architecture. Except, as a very well-known architect you can make a serious amount of money. It is the classical feast or famine dilemma.

    I disagree with inventing new engineering branches for the reasons that are mentioned here. Employers simply do not know what it is and this affects salary and career prospects of graduates.

    In Canada, Arch. Engineering is called Building Engineering (one employer I worked for called "Building Science" ) and is a blend of civil and mechanical engineering yet is neither one nor the other.There is no need for a program like this as it adds confusion and hurts the all engineers and the profession in general by diluting though different branches of engineering that are not univerally recognized. I also suggest civil engineering with a master's in structures in place of arch. engineering.
  • civ@uwciv@uw Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    My cousin who's a structural engineer told me the same thing everyone else already said. He told me bluntly that architects "just paint pretty pictures", its the engineers job to make it practical. Those were his words not mine :p No offense to anyone.
  • gsp_silicon_valleygsp_silicon_valley Registered User Posts: 1,542 Senior Member
    Merge the two for the best of both worlds!


    The program in architectural engineering consists of a series of courses in mathematics, science, engineering science, engineering design, architectural design, construction materials and building systems. The student applies principles from these courses to structural, mechanical, electrical and acoustical design of buildings. The architectural engineer must be sensitive to the practical, functional and aesthetic possibilities of contemporary materials, and the mechanical, electrical and structural systems involved in building design.

    As an important member of the building design team, the architectural engineer must be able to create designs that will answer the economic, safety and aesthetic requirements of a project, and must have a feeling of the total design.

    The architectural engineering student will graduate with a basic competency in structural, mechanical and electrical design for buildings. The student may, upon the selection of proper electives, strengthen personal knowledge in any one of these areas. The primary goal of most students in the program is to practice as a consulting engineer in the structural, mechanical or electrical fields of building design.

    Because the curriculum is primarily engineering, the student should have a good background in mathematics and science, particularly physics, and should desire to develop a talent for creative design and art.
  • hdotcharhdotchar Registered User Posts: 245 Junior Member
    you should read above posts before posting.
  • gsp_silicon_valleygsp_silicon_valley Registered User Posts: 1,542 Senior Member
    hdotchar, you too should learn to read!

    My post details an architectural engineering program, while others have chosen to share general concepts. Our information complements each other and is not meant to be in competition with or to duplicate each others efforts.
  • 1kthomas1kthomas Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    If you are considering studying architecture, don't just assume we are only "painting pretty pictures" we are still required to take calculus, physics, construction technology, and our structure classes. (Depending on the program you go into this may vary.) When studying architecture we really only get to design 50% of the time and the other 50% is our structural math that needs to be worked out. I have some friends that are able to design up to the last second and work out all their structural problems very quickly. We don't just design building that are going to structurally fail. There is still a lot of logic with architecture, we just also have to know how to make something visually appealing.

    So does that mean a civil engineer only knows how to make a structure not fail? They only do half of my job?


    (I'm also only in my second year of studying architecture, so if I'm a little off it's because this is only what I know and have been studying so far.)
  • igorotonboardigorotonboard Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    I understand some of here are architects or engineers as they understand the profession. I am an architect and as i was reading some of the comments i put smile on my face. Architects today (not all) are really facing a tragic when it comes to the profession but the two trades are off course play a vital role. In connection to a project especially on building design before the appearance or i should say the building envelope comes out, it has to have an extensive research, design composition, client relation to architect to achieve a unified concept and subject to evaluation by the client. If the whole idea was then final and transferred by the architect into some series of design drawing then comes the Engineers. remember not only "Civil Engineer" but also includes other engineering services like electrical mechanical and plumbing works. The point here is that without the Architects transferring the ideas of the client into a 2D designs (of course in connection to all existing laws and ordinances to conceive the project) there should not be any engineering works in building construction. You cannot just start a project with a series of columns, or i should say with generators and other equipments without first obtaining what is the "general building ideas that suit the client", it all start first with the architect working with the client before anything else comes into work. So its all in respect the architects role in building industry, do what work you must do and leave what works are for other profession. It is a matter of respecting each others profession and function. (please also read the definition of an architect and engineer in wikepedia, it might help)
  • AladdinAladdin Registered User Posts: 42 Junior Member
    I have a question here ...

    Who use Math and physics intensivly "? The Civil or the Arch.
  • rick12rick12 Registered User Posts: 642 Member
    Civil engineering

  • argentino17argentino17 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    i have a question
    how many years does it take to become a full licensed civil engineer?
This discussion has been closed.