Student presenting senior thesis

Senior Thesis

The course sequence of AE 481W and AE 482 comprise what is more commonly known as AE Senior Thesis. This year-long capstone design project is a requirement for all undergraduate students enrolled in the five-year B.A.E. and integrated B.A.E./M.A.E. programs.

AE Senior Thesis consists of obtaining an outside sponsor who provides the student with an actual building that will be used as the model for a variety of technical and management tasks throughout the year. Based on the building or project model, students will investigate the project, perform technical analysis, develop project criteria, and eventually prepare a written proposal for more advanced design work. This is followed by a semester of intense effort to complete the goals of the proposal. A formal written final report is required, as is a verbal presentation to a faculty jury.

A number of students, selected by the AE faculty from the initial presentations, will represent their class and compete for numerous awards by presenting a second time. AE Senior Thesis final presentations are judged by a jury of visiting industry practitioners from all over the country.

Students are required to include work in their primary discipline area of AE, as well as to demonstrate their breadth of capabilities in several other architectural engineering areas. Their final projects are posted as ePortfolios via eStudio.  

For more information about Senior Thesis, contact:

Ryan Solnosky
Associate Teaching Professor



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