Students visiting construction site

Architectural Engineering Disciplines

Four options are available for architectural engineering students to specialize in during the last two years of a five-year undergraduate degree program.

Construction Option

Students in the construction option take an active role in the planning, management, design, and construction phases of building projects.

Construction option students focus on management techniques and economic considerations associated with construction of a full range of building projects. Courses available include:

  • Construction planning and management
  • Augmented/virtual reality
  • Construction, automation, and robotics
  • Operations research
  • Scheduling and estimating
  • Construction methods
  • Facilities engineering and management

Lighting/Electrical Option

Students in the lighting/electrical option create high-quality, safe, and effective lighting and electrical distribution systems. Courses available include:

  • Electrical circuits and controls
  • Power distribution
  • Illumination and daylighting systems for buildings
  • Theory of building illumination
  • Advanced architectural illumination system design
  • Computer-aided lighting design and analysis
  • Advanced building electrical system design

Mechanical Option

Students in the mechanical option combine a strong background in building systems with mechanical engineering fundamentals to provide quality indoor environments for people, including thermal and acoustical comfort.

All mechanical option students have completed in-depth course work in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) fundamentals, analysis, and design. They focus on the design of total building systems. Courses available include:

  • Building energy modeling
  • Building controls
  • Indoor air quality
  • Building solar design
  • Noise control and acoustic design
  • Distributed energy systems

Structural Option

Students in the structural option specialize in designing buildings that successfully integrate structure, environmental systems, and architecture.

All structural engineering students begin with a background in statics, dynamics, materials, design, and analysis techniques and continue with geotechnical and foundation engineering, advanced concrete and steel design, wood design, and masonry design. Additional course topics include:

  • Wind and earthquake analysis and design
  • Computer modeling and building structure
  • Forensics
  • Legal aspects of construction
  • Residential construction
  • Historic structure
  • Building enclosure

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We accept transfer students!

  • Contact Moses Ling at if you are interested in transferring to Penn State AE to finish your degree!



Globally recognized as a leading architectural engineering department, the mission of the Department of Architectural Engineering at Penn State is to advance the built environment through the development of world-class architectural engineers and research. The vision of the Department of Architectural Engineering at Penn State is to lead the world in innovative education and research to achieve high-performing built environments. Our program emphasizes the scientific and engineering aspects of planning, designing, and constructing buildings, providing our architectural engineering graduates with outstanding education and research opportunities. 

Department of Architectural Engineering

104 Engineering Unit A

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-6394