While students and professors keep confusing architecture and architectural engineering, the difference is still undeniable. Of course, both professions play an essential role in creating buildings. More than that, these two career directions might suggest studying the same topics and taking similar courses.
But their focus is much different. So, architects and architectural engineers, what roles do they play in the building construction, what are their similarities and main differences?
Architectural Engineering Career
First of all, what is the focus of architectural engineering? The answer is simple. Engineers focus on building engineering features. Therefore, a person with the qualification of an architectural engineer should have a functional knowledge of designing, mechanical and structural systems combined with the managing of its lightening and electrical systems.
Architectural engineers work closely with the architects, but their area of specialization is pure engineering. Their sphere of specialization is limited solely to the building process. Therefore, the career of an engineer attracts people with a solid mathematical background and scientifically inclined minds.
To apply for a position in the field of architectural engineering, you should be a holder of at least a Bachelor of Science (BSc.). For students, it means four years of full-time study and academic assignments. Most of the BSc. curricular consists of the courses required for their career with less attention to general disciplines. As such, a list of the disciplines includes:
- Civil Engineering Theory
- Technical Drawing
- Construction Theory
- Electrical Circuits
- Mechanical Systems
- Structural Analysis
In addition to the main courses, students need to complete several optional courses and pass an internship of one or a couple of years.
Career Opportunities in Architecture
Professional architects may specialize in particular fields of work or industries. For instance, the health care industry, residential design, buildings remodeling or designing specialized buildings (schools, churches, hospitals, etc.).
All in all, the architects are to design and manage highly detailed construction projects. Unlike the architectural engineering, earning only a Bachelor’s degree in Science may not be enough for standing out on a job market. Most architects are expected to complete their Master’s to suit employers’ requirements.
In the US, colleges offer students to enroll in a five-year program to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. The courses are focused on architecture history, design and technology. After fulfilling the requirements of a five-year program, students are eligible to apply for a license of a professional architect.
While the courses for professional architects may vary from school to school, the list of compulsory disciplines to gain a Bachelor’s Degree for all colleges includes:
- CAD for Architecture
- History of Architecture
- Project Management
- Construction Techniques
- Sustainable (Green) Building
The minimal requirement for applying for Master of Architecture (M.Arch) program is holding a pre-professional degree. For those who already have a career in Architecture, it is possible to enroll in a program that suggests specializing in their area, for example, sustainable building or urban planning. A typical student at this level has a list of courses that includes:
- Architecture Critique
- Theory of Architectural Design
- Basics of Building Science
- Technologies of Digital Design
- Environmental Issues and Building Design
If it is challenging for you to decide between the two career paths in architecture, there’s no need to worry. Many students begin their training in architectural engineering and wind up their studies as architects. To the pleasure of many students, the U.S. colleges widely provide the opportunity to switch career direction at any stage.
Top 5 Architecture & Architectural Engineering Schools
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Institute’s School of Architecture is well-known all around the world. It offers its students programs within which you can study not just your professional curriculum but such courses as urbanism, computation and design, visual arts, etc. MIT cooperates with other institutions (including Harvard) to prepare students for further study on the frontiers of professions.
The Department of Architecture offers such degrees: two undergraduate degree programs (Bachelor of Science in Architecture; Bachelor of Science in Architecture Studies), five graduate degree programs (Master of Architecture; Master of Science in Architecture Studies; Master of Science in Building Technology; Master of Science in Building Technology; Master of Science Without Specification, and Doctor of Philosophy).
2. ETH Zurich – DARCH
This institute is situated in Switzerland and its main focus remains in engineering, design, technology, mathematics & management and science. The Department of Architecture was founded in 1854 and since then it is considered to be an architecture school with a worldwide reputation.
The DARCH offers such degrees: Bachelor of Science ETH in Architecture; Master of Science ETH in Architecture; Doctor of Sciences; Master of Advanced Studies ETH in Landscape Architecture; Master of Advanced Studies ETH in Urban Design; Master of Advanced Studies ETH in Competence and Responsibility – Building Process; Master of Advanced Studies ETH in Architecture.
3. The Architectural Association School of Architecture
The Architectural Association School of Architecture is located in London (UK) and considered one of the oldest and prestigious architectural educational establishment in the world. This school can boast of its innovative and project-oriented system of teaching. This system prepares students for further working collaborations or professional individual activity.
The AA School of Architecture offers the following degrees: undergraduate program (AA Diploma), graduate programs (Master of Architecture; Master of Science; Master of Arts; Master of Fine Arts; Master of Philosophy; Doctor of Philosophy).
4. Pennsylvania State University
Penn State’s Department of Architecture gives its student the opportunity for diverse education and encourages informal interaction between students and faculty. The Department has digital fabrication equipment and an Immersive Environments Lab for 3D visualization.
The Department of Architecture offers such degree programs: undergraduate programs (Bachelor of Architecture; Bachelor of Science in Architecture; Architecture Minor), graduate programs (Ph.D. in Architecture; Ph.D. in Architecture and HDNRE; Master of Science in Architecture; Master of Science in Architecture and HDNRE; Professional Master of Architecture).
5. Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
Institute’s School of Architecture offers studies in such areas as architecture, design innovation and technology, disaster, design and development, graphic and communication design, etc. But still, the main focus is on research and creating & producing students. Institute has 24 academic schools and 4 schools of research.
Institute’s School of Architecture and Design offers such degrees: Bachelor of Architectural Design, Master of Architecture.