Major: Architectural Engineering
The Taipei Tower in Taiwan is 101 stories and 1,667 feet tall. It’s built in an area that gets hit by typhoons and earthquakes. How do you build something so tall? How do you make it safe? On the 88th floor, in the center of the tower, there’s a steel mass that weighs well over a million pounds. When strong winds blow or the earth moves dangerously, the heavy sphere absorbs the energy from the building and helps to stabilize it.
As an architectural engineering major, you’ll confront challenges like those posed by the Taipei Tower project.
Architectural engineering programs combine architecture and engineering. Majors learn about the links between design and construction. Course work covers such topics as building materials and construction methods.
Did You Know?
Architectural engineers are finding ways to build with recycled items such as old tires, which make a great waterproof building material.
Are You Ready To...?
- Join a professional society like the Architectural Engineering Institute.
- Spend a summer or semester in an internship
- Work on your own and as part of a team
- Balance hard-core science and design
It Helps To Be...
A fan of science and math, a problem-solver, and a creative thinker. If you love architecture and discovering how things work, consider this major.
- Is the architectural engineering program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology?
- Does the program emphasize design or science?
- Is it a four- or five-year program?
- Will you have to apply for admission to the major? What are the requirements?
- Is there enough lab space for all students to get their work done?
- Do you have to fulfill any requirements before declaring your major?
- What kind of organizations or competitions do students get involved in?
“Architectural engineers create much of the physical environment in which we all work, live, and play. Gaining and honing the needed analytical and design abilities is challenging and never-ending.” -- Brian A. Rock, Associate Professor of Architectural Engineering, University of Kansas
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.