ASHRAE students posing for group photo at conference

Student Organizations

The department is home to numerous student organization representing the four disciplines within architectural engineering - construction, lighting/electrical, mechanical, and structural, as well as student chapters representing various architectural engineering professional and honor societies. 

Architectural Engineering Graduate Student Association (AE GSA)

The AE GSA works to develop an AE graduate students' network with the objective of sharing work experiences. AE GSA promotes research and collaboration between graduate students and graduate alumni, both in academia and industry.

Alpha Rho Chi (APX)

Founded in 1914, APX is the nation's only co-ed professional fraternity dedicated to architecture and the allied arts. APX got its name from the first three letters of the Greek word for architecture. In 1953, a group of students at Penn State formed the Vitruvius Architectural Society. The society was named after the Roman architect and engineer Marcus Vitruvius Polio, who is famous for his 10 books on architecture. In 1955 the society became a chapter of Alpha Rho Chi. The Vitruvius chapter is one of the most academically diverse, with brothers majoring in architecture, landscape architecture, architectural engineering, and art history.


ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is a global society advancing human well-being through sustainable technology for the built environment. The Society and its members focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability within the industry. Through research, standards writing, publishing and continuing education, ASHRAE shapes tomorrow’s built environment today. Student Branches provide an opportunity for students interested in the HVAC&R industry to develop into engaged young professionals in the field. The Penn State - University Park Student Branch was founded in 1983 and works to provide a diverse program of speakers, technical tours, projects, and networking opportunities for its members. Most members are undergraduate or graduate students in the Department of Architectural Engineering. Its sponsoring ASHRAE chapter is the Central PA Chapter, which is located within ASHRAE Region III

Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA)

The Design-Build Institute of America is the only organization that defines, teaches and promotes best practices in design-build. Design-build is an integrated approach that delivers design and construction services under one contract with a single point of responsibility. Owners select design-build to achieve best value while meeting schedule, cost and quality goals.

Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI)

EERI is a national, nonprofit, technical society of engineers, geoscientists, architects, planners, public officials, and social scientists. EERI members include researchers, practicing professionals, educators, government officials, and building code regulators.

Illuminating Engineering Society (IES)

IES seeks to improve the lighted environment by bringing together those with lighting knowledge and by translating that knowledge into actions that benefit the public. The IES will build upon a century of excellence to create the premier lighting community dedicated to promoting the art and science of quality lighting to its members, allied professional organizations, and the public.

Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)

MCAA serves the unique needs of approximately 2,500 firms involved in heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, plumbing, piping, and mechanical service. This is done by providing members with high-quality educational materials and programs to help them attain the highest level of managerial and technical expertise. MCAA includes the Mechanical Service Contractors of America, the Plumbing Contractors of America, the Manufacturer/Supplier Council, the Mechanical Contracting Education and Research Foundation and the National Certified Pipe Welding Bureau.

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

NAHB is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association whose mission is to enhance the climate for housing and the building industry. Chief among NAHB’s goals is providing and expanding opportunities for all consumers to have safe, decent and affordable housing. As “the voice of America’s housing industry,” NAHB helps promote policies that will keep housing a national priority.

National Electrical Contracting Association (NECA)

NECA is the voice of the $130 billion industry responsible for bringing electrical power, lighting, and communications to buildings and communities across the United States. NECA is a dynamic national organization serving the management interests of the entire electrical contracting industry.

Student Society of Architectural Engineers (SSAE)

The mission of SSAE is to promote and disseminate knowledge regarding the profession of architectural engineering, encourage the interaction of students to share their education and experiences within the architectural engineering field, and provide a valuable communication means between students, faculty, and professionals in the field. 

Structural Engineers Association of Pennsylvania (SEAoP)

The overall objective of SEAoP is the advancement of the practice of structural engineering in Pennsylvania and to provide a unified voice for structural engineers across the Commonwealth. Penn State established the first student chapter by joining SEAoP in 2011. 

Student Society of the Partnership for Achieving Construction Excellence (S:PACE)

The S:PACE is the student arm of Penn State's architectural engineering program for The Partnership for Achieving Construction Excellence (PACE). The officers for S:PACE are from the undergraduate AE program and work to bring student enriching activities to the AE construction management program throughout the year.

Tau Beta Pi

Tau Beta Pi is an engineering honor society, highly regarded in the field. The national organization of Tau Beta Pi was founded in 1885 at Lehigh University, and has since grown to include over two hundred collegiate chapters and nearly sixty alumni chapters. The Pennsylvania Beta chapter of Tau Beta Pi was founded at The Pennsylvania State University on May 4, 1912 as the twenty-sixth collegiate chapter.

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Widely acknowledged as one of the top Architectural Engineering programs in the world, the Penn State AE Department is dedicated to providing outstanding academic excellence to all of our students. The AE program is focused on preparing students and conducting research in the design, engineering, and construction of building projects.

Department of Architectural Engineering

104 Engineering Unit A

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-6394