Architectural engineers partner with architects to design building systems. They specialize in several primary areas, including acoustics, lighting, structure and construction. Programs at the certificate and associate degree levels generally provide instruction in architectural engineering drafting for those interested in entry-level jobs. Bachelor's degree programs are offered at the pre-professional and professional levels; some programs combine a bachelor's and master's into a 5-year program that readies graduates for licensure as an engineer. Graduate programs award a Master of Engineering, Master of Science or Ph.D.
Here are some of the most common concepts taught in architectural engineering courses:
- CAD drafting
- Building mechanical systems
- Building electrical systems
- Building structural systems
- Construction materials and methods
List of Architectural Engineering Courses
Architectural Acoustics Course
Acoustics is one of the most important aspects of building design. In classroom and labs, students explore the relationship between sound and structure, as well as ways to optimize acoustics for different environments and purposes. Consideration is given not only to building and room structure, but also to the effect of noise producers such as heating and cooling devices. Absorptive materials, vibration control and structural barriers are among the methods of noise control discussed.
Theory and Design of Architectural Lighting Course
The lighting in buildings and rooms has a profound effect on human beings, both physically and psychologically, and many architectural engineering courses are devoted to it. Topics encompass lighting design, lighting materials, electrical code requirements and lighting calculation tools. Students use lab time to practice 3-D computer modeling for lighting interior and outdoor spaces. They are encouraged to explore day lighting in their designs, which integrates daylight and electrical fixtures and is a cost-effective way to reduce energy use.
Structural Analysis in Architectural Engineering Course
The structure and materials used in a building determine its strength, stability and useful life. Structure courses teach students to maximize all three by analyzing and comparing structural configurations and materials to find the most appropriate design elements. The focus is mainly on steel, wood, masonry and concrete, but some unusual materials, such as cable, are also discussed. Students practice designing and building simple structures within building codes and economic parameters.
Construction Management Course
Construction is the phase that brings an architectural engineering project to reality, and where business and management skills come into full play. Students learn by taking a class construction project from beginning to completion. They create site drawings; explore construction equipment and various construction methods; study building codes and practice selecting materials, such as wood, metal or masonry. Project management is also a key focus that includes information on bidding, contracts, project sequence and scheduling, as well as cost estimating and insurance.
Creating Indoor Environments with HVAC Systems Course
One of the tasks of architectural engineers is designing HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) systems that provide a comfortable and safe indoor air environment, whether in a residence or a more complex business building. The fundamentals of thermodynamics and fluid mechanics create a context in which to study the various types of heating and cooling systems, including air, water and solar. Students practice designing different systems to investigate the components of each. For example, learners might calculate and diagram airflow and distribution through pipes to help select the best heat control method for that system. Building codes and standards information is also incorporated.