Field of Study: Architectural Engineering
Architectural engineering programs prepare people to plan and design buildings. Students learn to use and evaluate building materials. They also learn about equipment and methods of construction.
Have you ever seen a picture of the house called Fallingwater? The house, built in the 1930s, extends out over a waterfall in a mountain brook. It is the most famous design by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and many consider it the most beautiful house ever built. But in recent years the terraces have started to sag. So engineers have been brought in to correct this problem.
Architecture is about designing buildings. Architectural engineering is about working within the vision of the architect to make the building succeed. It covers all the systems within the building: the structure, ventilation, lighting, plumbing, and heating. So when you study this subject, you learn a lot of the different branches of engineering. You need a good background in science and math to solve the various problems that arise.
Can an office building be located safely on a certain hillside? To answer this, you need to apply principles of physics and geology. You make calculations of the loads the rock and soil must bear. You may use a computer to simulate what would happen during an earthquake. You may calculate whether the builders would save money by spending more on preparing the site so that they can use cheaper building materials.
After four, or possibly five years of study beyond high school, you can earn a bachelor's degree and be ready for the job market in this field. About 40 colleges or universities in the U.S. offer this degree. Some let you study straight through to a master's degree in five years.
Another route is to get a bachelor's in another field, then a master's in this field. About ten graduate schools of engineering offer this program. Your bachelor's might be in architecture, civil engineering, or another branch of engineering.