I have been getting a lot of messages from my friends on Bridge asking me to describe how the Architectural Engineering (AE) program here at MSOE is similar to and is different from our Civil Engineering (CVE) program. I thought it might be useful for me to make this information more generally available through this blog. This is the first in a series of three blogs to help you learn more about both programs.

Architectural Engineering (AE) is a major that combines elements of three engineering disciplines – civil, mechanical, and electrical – in order to design large commercial and industrial buildings. A modern building requires engineering design for the 3 main building systems– its structural systems, its mechanical systems (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, plumbing, and fire suppression systems), and its electrical systems (power, lighting, and communications systems). So, in AE, you get coursework in all three engineering areas, directed at how the theory of each is applied to building design. AE is NOT architecture. It does not concern itself with the appearance of the building as does architecture, but rather the engineering behind the building. Our AE degree also integrates sustainable design principles so that the buildings you learn to design are ”green”. Buildings use 40% of all energy consumed in the U.S. so by making them more energy efficient through the proper selection of materials, HVAC systems, and electrical systems like lighting, we go a long way toward cutting green house gas emissions. The elements of civil engineering that are used in AE are the elements of structural engineering, used to design building foundations, roof systems, and wall systems.

Watch for the next blog: “Civil Engineering and Preparations for AE and CVE degrees” to come soon!

Deborah Jackman, Ph.D. , P.E., LEED AP
Chair and Professor
Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management Department