Students at construction site

What is architectural engineering?

Architectural engineering (AE) is the application of practice and theory to the engineering design of building systems. The field is interdisciplinary, uniting scientific principles from structural, mechanical, electrical, lighting, acoustical, and construction engineering in order to conceptualize, design, construct, operate, and maintain buildings and building systems. Architectural engineers apply their discipline-specific expertise in interdisciplinary team environments to conceptualize, design, construct, operate, and maintain built infrastructure. This interdisciplinary approach is necessary to respond to the most urgent societal and environmental challenges emerging from urbanization across the globe.

Architectural engineers add value to society by engineering buildings and communities that are sustainable, resilient, economically viable, and high performance, while ensuring the safety, health, comfort, and productivity of building occupants. Their work complements the architectural design.

You might like architectural engineering if...

  • You have aptitude in math and science.
  • You appreciate the artistic and emotive aspects of buildings and architecture.
  • You are fascinated by the design and construction of buildings and building systems.
  • You are passionate about sustainability and energy conservation.
  • You are concerned about climate change.
  • You are concerned about building environment-related illnesses like asthma or allergies.
  • You like to organize parts of a system or process. You could apply this interest in the planning, coordinating, budgeting, and design of building projects.
  • You enjoy solving problems and helping others.



Apply nowContact Us buttonbutton: history of excellenceAbout the departmentStudent working on computer
Study Abroad button
Get Involved button
Visit Penn State button
Life in State College button


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