Online master's degree programs in architectural engineering are scarce. The few that do exist are generally open only to practicing architects holding bachelor's degrees. These can be fully online or follow a hybrid format, with the latter typically involving on-campus studio work. Students in these programs are taught advanced architectural design theories and techniques, as well as general liberal arts studies, through the Web. Students may focus on specialty areas such as energy-efficient, or 'green,' design or architecture law.
All states require engineers and architects to be licensed. These licenses are obtained through a combination of education, hands-on experience and passing a state licensing exam. Exact requirements vary by state. Many states also require continuing education to maintain the license. Many architects also hold professional certification from the National Council of Architecture Registration Boards, and this certification is a requirement for licensing in some states.
Master's Degree in Architectural Engineering
Architectural engineering programs are typically offered through a school's engineering department. These programs expand on the instruction, techniques and theories taught in undergraduate architectural degree programs, but also teach about topics such as environmental considerations and sustainable architecture.
Most programs require students to possess a bachelor's degree in architecture and have experience working as a licensed architect. However, some schools offer 3-year programs for those who hold a bachelor's degree in another field but wish to work as an architect. These programs consist of six semesters of work that combine undergraduate and graduate architecture courses.
Program Information and Requirements
Online architectural engineering master's degree programs typically require two years of study, but students working full-time might take up to four years to complete all program requirements. Although most of the coursework can be completed through distance-learning means, most programs contain an in-person studio or thesis component, the length of which ranges from four weekends a year to an entire summer semester. Because of the technical nature of the coursework in these programs, many programs require specialized engineering software and computer hardware; these vary by school.
List of Common Architectural Engineering Courses
Coursework in an online master's degree architectural engineering program focuses on advanced design implementation and construction as well as interior design. Some programs contain general education requirements such as business or humanities courses.
Environmental Issues in Architecture
This course focuses on the history of the natural environment and how it affects man-made buildings. Lessons discuss the impact of politics, individuals and social environmental movements on design and construction.
This course introduces advanced interior design theory and techniques. Issues such as 'green design' and corporate interior structures are investigated.
Law for Architects
Students analyze the legal limitations and considerations that impact architecture. Topics include court jurisdiction, potential liability, avoidance of liability, property ownership and applicable statutes of limitations.
Upon licensure, graduates can work as an architect and design structural plans for commercial and residential buildings. In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that all architects, except for landscape and naval architects, earned an average yearly salary of $82,850 (www.bls.gov).
Those with a master's degree in architectural engineering can also work as civil engineers to plan, draft, implement and oversee construction of buildings and public facilities such as transportation buildings, roads and passageways. As of 2015, civil engineers earned an average salary of $87,940, according to the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
Each state sets its own rules regarding certification and continuing education for architects. The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards provides information on respective regional requirements, and has local boards in every state.
Online degree programs in architecture, while rare, can be found at the master's level. Typically designed for practicing architects, these programs allow students to improve their knowledge of legal and environment issues within their field, as well as learn advanced interior design techniques.