Architectural vs Structural

<p>Ive read several posts about how the architectural enginerering major is pretty new and that its not really a good choice to take because even though its a mixture of architecture and different types of engineering its not really in depth of any specific one and people dont really know what you do when you graduate. Does anyone know if this is true? And many people also commented that it would be better if a person just majored in structural engineering. or civil and mastered in structural. And does anyone know if these engineering majors are equal to or harder than an architecture major?</p>

<p>OK, here I go again.</p>

<p>In a nutshell, Arch. E. is not new. My dad started college in 1955 and majored in it!</p>

<p>The reason I chose Arch. E. was that I wanted to learn about designing buildings. I had no interest in other civil topics like highway design. In Arch. E., I was required to take two semesters of architectural design. That was a nightmare for me (I am very inartistic!), but it taught me to appreciate what architects do. I also took a class in building materials, plumbing design and more structural design classes (e.g., wood, long-span structures) than the Civil students did. It was an excellent major for me. It was more specifically geared to becoming a structural engineer than Civil was. "Architectural vs. Structural" is not an accurate description. There are different branches of Arch. E. (construction management is the other), but the way I went, Arch. E. is MORE structural than Civil E.</p>

<p>Here is a description of one course I took:</p>

<p>In a course on construction materials and methods, you’ll learn about construction processes, building codes, and working with concrete, metals, wood, and plastics. You might visit a construction site and then write about the choices the architects and engineers have made. You could also design a building in detail and might even get to build part of it.</p>

<p>At the University of Texas (where I got my BS and MS), the master's program was just "engineering" - my diploma doesn't say civil or architectural. My research was in four types of epoxy polymer concrete.</p>

<p>No potential employer ever questioned my BS in Arch. E. They saw my classes, my 3.8 GPA, and my graduate research, and that satisfied them.</p>

<p>Trying to say if engineering or architecture is "harder" is impossible. It's comparing apples and oranges. As I mentioned, I was an incredibly poor student in architectural design, but loved engineering. I'm sure some students would be just the opposite. Are you math-oriented or more artistic?</p>

<p>Make sure you talk to people who actually know about Arch. E. So what if "some people" don't know what the major is? If it helps you become a good engineer, that's what counts.</p>

<p>Sorry if I sound a little hostile, but I get tired of answering this repeatedly. I should just link to an old thread, I guess. If you have more questions, I promise to be civil (oops, bad pun).</p>

<p>lol. Thanks im actually more math oriented. your reply really helped. After taking the Arch. E would u say that the major is really time -consuming, like did you have time for hanging out with friends or would u say it all depended on time management? and Was it was difficult to find a job/internship? because thats what im really worried about. Thanks</p>

<p>Let's see. For background, I worked my tail off in HS - I was a very driven student! Valedictorian, pianist, blah blah blah. So college seemed pretty easy to me. Honors Physics and Architectural Design were hard, but otherwise I got almost all As. I managed my time well and still had lots of time to hang out with my friends. A group of us Arch. E. majors got along really well and studied and partied together (probably too much!).</p>

<p>I got a job offer before finishing up my MS in May, 1986. It was with a small structural firm in Austin. Beautiful office, good salary, etc. Before I could start the job, oil prices suddenly fell from $27 a barrel to $13, and the Texas economy took a nose-dive. My job offer was rescinded! I got married in May, 1986, also, to another structural engineering student. So all of a sudden we were trying to find two structures jobs in the same city! THAT was not easy. So we sent out resumes all over the country. By October, a firm in Portland, Maine hired both of us, so we moved 2,100 miles cross country.</p>

<p>I think it's pretty hard to find any kind of job right now. But I think things will be better by the time you get out of school! Our work slowed down a few months ago, but now it's picked up again and we're swamped.</p>

<p>I would recommend starting out in the field you think you'll enjoy and see how it goes. Just remember that the first couple of years are harder and not as much fun as the last two! You have to get all the pesky physics and math classes out of the way before you're delving into the interesting design classes.</p>

<p>Thanks for your advice :] you really help me lean towards the Arch E major. I recently just read on another post some lady posting this "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."</p>

<p>I know you already explained the first part and how it isnt new but what do you think about the second part? Do you feel that its like the "responsibilities of the engineer while having the salary of the architect" and that if you were ready for the Pe license thing ?</p>

<p>That post is totally incorrect. You can take MORE structures courses as an Arch. E. major. I got my PE license easily, the first time I took the PE exam. My exam score was higher than the people I worked with. As an Arch. E. student, I took two semesters of steel design, two semesters of concrete design, building materials and construction, wood design, computer analysis, long-span design, prestressed concrete design, an advanced concrete design class, and finite elements. My future husband was in finite elements with me, and we wrote a computer program for the class together (it was a group project - we weren't cheating, lol). </p>

<p>I am a structural engineer, period. I get paid as an engineer, not an architect. Arch. E. just helped me understand BUILDINGS more. Oh, and that doesn't mean you can't work on other structures. In my first job, I worked on dams and large platforms that supported all sorts of different equipment. I've also worked on power plants.</p>

<p>Make sure you listen to people who know SPECIFICALLY about architectural engineering programs. If you'd like, I can put you in touch with someone at the University of Texas - my dad! LOL, he was the one who initially convinced my husband to come to UT for grad school, long before we'd met. UT has one of the best programs in the country. There are probably around ten programs in the US.</p>

<p>Oh, by the way - the architectural engineering program at UT is the first or second hardest in the whole university to get accepted into, so the demand for it is pretty high.</p>

<p>OK, I will stop ranting now!</p>

<p>rantings fine. its helping me like arch e more :]. So you majored in Arch E and now your a structural Engineer? and What exactly does a structural or architectural engineer do? Also, (sorry that im asking so many questions xD) I live in California so going to UT is kinda out of the questions because its out-of-state tuition fee is over 3X its in-state tuition. and theres dorm fees too -_-. In CA the only accredited program is at Cal Poly SLO. Do you know if that school is good for Arch E ? or is at least one of the top schools for it? Becuase i know its Architecture program is ranked 3rd in the nation</p>

<p>I don't know much about Cal Poly. I'll try to ask around.</p>

<p>Here is a good summary of what a structural engineer does (from the Princeton Review). It even mentions architectural engineering majors!!</p>

<p>A Day in the life of a Structural Engineer
Structural engineers (SEs) deal with the frameworks and skeletons of buildings, bridges, towers, stadiums, tunnels, roller coasters, and monuments—in short, virtually every aspect of the world’s built environment. SEs work with other engineers—mechanical, geotechnical, electrical, and civil—as well as urban planners and architects on projects as varied as the Louisiana Superdome, Channel Tunnel,Hoover Dam, and Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The primary duty of a structural engineer is to ensure public safety and to serve the client’s interests while abiding by the appropriate standards and legal codes. SEs design the components of a structure that hold its contents—“contents” being people, vehicles, and property. In buildings, SEs design roof framing (beams, rafters, joists, trusses), floor framing (floor decks, joists, beams, trusses, girders), arches, columns, braces, frames, foundations, and walls. For bridges, they design the deck surface, girders or stringers, and piers. They work with a broad range of materials, including steel, concrete, wood, masonry, and aluminum. SEs must design structures to resist forces from gravity, earthquakes, high winds, water, collisions, and explosions. They develop their designs by performing a complex series of calculations and by utilizing computer programs. They then draw their results on a set of plans, and those drawings are used by contractors to price and build the structures in question. The job is challenging but also highly rewarding; one SE notes, “One of the greatest joys is seeing a project under construction and then walking into or driving on the finished product.” Within the field of structural engineering, there are many specialties. SEs may opt to specialize in working with certain types of buildings or bridges, or even certain types that are made of a particular material. One may specialize in long-span bridges or even amusement park roller coasters, for example. Established SEs advise that it is a good idea for engineers to become involved in the design and analysis of as many different structure types as possible early in their careers. That way, young SEs may have a broad range of options open to them later on.</p>

<p>Paying Your Dues
SEs typically hold a college degree in structural engineering, civil engineering with an emphasis on structures, or architectural engineering. Many even hold a master’s degree, and some have PhDs. Course work typically includes physics, mechanics, blueprint reading, architecture, mathematics, and materials science. A structural engineer must be familiar with all components and methods of construction. Many states require that structural engineers have at least two years of experience in the construction industry and pass a written test that assesses their analytical skills and their knowledge of stress levels as well as local and federal construction codes. Usually, just prior to or shortly after completing their bachelor’s degrees, engineering majors take an exam that, once passed, affords the test taker the designation of engineer-in-training. Early in their careers, SEs are mentored by senior staff. They then seek to obtain professional licensure; this usually occurs four years after college graduation.</p>

<p>Associated Careers
Many structural engineers have a construction background, and they may opt to return to this field and become construction managers, materials purchasers, architectural assistants, and consultants to worksites. SEs possess analytical abilities that make them well-suited to many professions, though.</p>

<p>ok thank you for your time :]. Sorry i keep coming up with new questions the more i think about this. hopefully itll help the people who are reading this too. </p>

<p>1) when someone majors in Arch E. they learn about Architecture too? does this mean at a firm an AE can do both an architect and engineers job if needed? </p>

<p>2) For architecture i read that with years of experience a person is able to climb up the ranks maybe to even partner by 10 -15 years, (especially b/c in the future the baby boom generation is prob. retiring) Shouldnt this mean that AEs or Structural Engineers would be able to climb up ranks too? . But where do AEs or Structural Engineers rise in the ranks to (like the job title) ? or is it just the same job but higher pay?</p>

<p>No, you have to have a professional architecture degree to be an architect. You could always go to graduate school for architecture after an undergrad in Arch E., but from what I hear most of the architecture grad students are unfunded, the job prospects are worse, and they get paid less. </p>

<p>Do Arch E. if you're sure you want to do structural. Even more specific than that, I'd say do it if your main interest lies in buildings. Civil is a broader degree, but if you have no interest in fluids, geotech, or highways, then you might as well do Arch E.</p>

<p>Is civil engineering really broader than architectural engineering? Or do they just have a common concentration in structural engineering? Don't ArchE students also take courses in lighting, HVAC, acoustics, etc? </p>

<p>Maybe there's something I don't know, but the two majors seem just as broad as each other.</p>

<p>No, I didn't have to take any classes in lighting, HVAC, acoustics. Those are electives you can take if you want. I took a plumbing design class, but that was helpful to understand another part of the building system. I also had to take a class in spec writing that they didn't take in civil. That came in handy later!</p>

<p>Yes, I feel that civil is broader than architectural. I studied buildings specifically. I looked at the UT Civil curriculum, and those students take Intro to Environmental Engr, Elements of Hydraulic Engr, and Transportation Systems. None of those classes would have interested me. Arch. Es take Intro to Arch. Design, CAD, Bldg. Environmental Systems, Project Management & Economics, Contracts, Liabilities & Ethics, etc.</p>

<p>"In CA the only accredited program is at Cal Poly SLO."</p>

<p>ucsd has an accredited structural engineering undergrad major that is pretty similar to AE as well(in the sense of the classes you don't have to take compared to civil)</p>

<p>Thanks everyone. But does anyone know about the second question ? "For architecture i read that with years of experience a person is able to climb up the ranks maybe to even partner by 10 -15 years, (especially b/c in the future the baby boom generation is prob. retiring) Shouldnt this mean that AEs or Structural Engineers would be able to climb up ranks too? . But where do AEs or Structural Engineers rise in the ranks to (like the job title) ? or is it just the same job but higher pay? "</p>

<p>for all this 'you read' about architecture, you might want to do a little research on engineering too</p>

<p>I did research in engineering, i just wanted clarification and more info to my questions that the websites didnt provide.( from people who actualy reply to my questions specifically) isnt that what forums are for?
Maybe a better version of my questions is that if AEs or Structura Engineers can become project managers or partners at firms. Is it harder for them than Architects or Civil Engineers or people who actualy major in project managing ?</p>

<p>MaineLonghorn always does a great job answering these questions. I just wanted to add in regard to AE being a new field that the PSU AE department is celebrating its centennial this year. "Founded in 1910, the Architectural Engineering Department at Penn State University has established a long tradition of excellence and educational innovation. It is the oldest, continuously accredited architectural engineering program in the United States. It was first accredited in 1936 by the newly formed Engineers’ Council for Professional Development (forerunner to ABET)."</p>

<p>Home</a> Architectural Engineering</p>

<p>1moremom, thanks for that info! I had never heard that before. I know my dad has a lot of respect for the Penn State program.</p>