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University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs

Architectural Engineering (A E)

M. KEVIN PARFITT, Head, Department of Architectural Engineering
104 Engineering Unit A

Degree Conferred:

The Graduate Faculty


Students may specialize in building construction, building illumination systems, building mechanical and energy systems, or building structural systems.


Admission Requirements

Admission requirements listed here are in addition to requirements stated in the GENERAL INFORMATION section of the Graduate Bulletin.

Scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) are required for admission to the Ph.D., M.S., and M. Eng. programs. For the M. Eng. degree, the GRE requirement will be waived for students who have graduated with a degree from the College of Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University with a cumulative grade-point average greater than 3.00.

Students with a 3.00 junior/senior grade-point average (on a 4.00 scale) and with appropriate course backgrounds will be considered for admission to the AE graduate programs. Students accepted into the Architectural Engineering program generally have an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering, architectural engineering, science, or architecture.

All degree candidates are required to provide a letter of intent outlining the student's intended area of study as well as three letters of recommendation. The best-qualified applicants will be accepted up to the number of spaces that are available for new students.

A limited number of undergraduate students in the B.A.E. program will be considered for admission to one of two integrated undergraduate-graduate degree programs. The first leads to the student earning both the B.A.E. and M.A.E. degrees and involves a graduate-level component in the capstone senior project. The second provides the student with the opportunity to earn both the B.A.E. and M.S. degrees and involves a research-oriented thesis in addition to the capstone undergraduate senior project. Students shall be admitted to an IUG program in the 6th semester of the program (regardless of transfer or AP credits accumulated prior to enrollment) and no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree, as specified in the proposed IUG plan of study. Students must apply to and meet the admission requirements of the Graduate School, as well as the graduate program in which they intend to receive their master’s degree. Students must be admitted to the program prior to taking the first course they intend to count towards the graduate degree Application materials for both programs are available on the AE Department website. To be considered for admission to either program, students must have attained a GPA of at least 3.0 and a grade of C or better in all classes listed as AE. A commitment from an AE graduate faculty member to serve as the student’s M.S. thesis adviser is necessary for admission to the B.A.E./M.S. program.  In consultation with an adviser, students must prepare a plan of study appropriate to this integrated program. Students must present their plan of study in person to the head of the graduate program or the appropriate committee overseeing the integrated program prior to being admitted to the program. The plan should cover the entire time period of the integrated program, and it should be reviewed periodically with an adviser as the student advances through the program.

Degree Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements stated in the DEGREE REQUIREMENTS section of the Graduate Bulletin.

A thesis is required for the M.S. degree, which consists of a minimum of 30 credits: 24 credits of course work and a 6-credits of thesis research, either 600 or 610. A minimum of 12 of the course credits must be completed at the 500 level. A student's program of courses in the M.S. program is developed in cooperation with the student's academic adviser.

For the Ph.D. degree, a dissertation that displays a student's ability to conduct high-quality original scholarly work is required of all Ph.D. students. The dissertation must be accepted by the doctoral committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School. Each student accepted into the Ph.D. degree program must pass the Ph.D. Candidacy Examination, which requires students to display an understanding of basic material in all AE option areas, along with an in-depth understanding of material covered in the AE undergraduate courses within their area of focus. This examination must be taken no later than the beginning of the student's second year in the program. Each Ph.D. student must also pass an English Proficiency Examination that is administered by the department, typically during the first semester. The English Proficiency Examination must be passed before scheduling the Comprehensive Examination. The student's program of courses is developed in cooperation with the student's doctoral committee. It is recommended that this consist of approximately 30 credits of courses beyond the master's degree, although there is no established minimum or maximum. At the conclusion of the student's course work, the Ph.D. student must pass  a two-day written comprehensive examination that is developed by the student's Ph.D. committee. Following the comprehensive exam, continuous registration is required for all Ph.D. graduate students until the dissertation is approved. Each student presents a comprehensive thesis proposal to his/her committee prior to starting his/her dissertation research and must present the results of this research in a final oral examination.

The M.Eng. in Architectural Engineering degree is a non-thesis professional master's degree. Candidates for the M.Eng. degree are required to complete 30 credits of course work. A minimum of 18 credits must be at the 500 level. Students must follow the approved program of courses for one of the four available specialty areas. Minor modifications to these programs are permitted, with approval of the Graduate Program Officer. Each student must also complete a capstone project supervised by a member of the graduate faculty, completed while enrolled in AE 596. The capstone project requires students to work individually or within a group on an aspect of architectural engineering of their choosing. The project should demonstrate the ability of the student to integrate and apply concepts and techniques learned in the program courses.

Students admitted to an integrated program (B.A.E./M.A.E. or B.A.E./ M.S.) must maintain a GPA in all classes used toward the M.A.E. or M.S. degree of at least 3.0. For both the integrated B.A.E./M.A.E. and B.A.E./M.S. degree programs, 30 credits of the 172 total credits required to receive both degrees are applied toward the master's degree (up to 12 credits count toward both degrees). For the B.A.E./M.S. a minimum of 18 credits is required at the 500 and 600 level combined. For the B.A.E./M.A.E., a minimum of 18 credits is required at the 500 or 800 levels, with at least 6 credits at the 500 level. For the B.A.E./M.A.E. degree program, all of graduate credits are course credits. For the B.A.E./M.S. degree program, a thesis is required and six credits of thesis research (600 or 610) must be included in the candidate’s academic course plan. Approved integrated program course sequences are available for each of the four undergraduate option areas. These sequences specifically identify the 12 credits of courses that count toward both degrees. The courses that can double-count for the B.A.E./M.A.E. are as follows:

A E 457 HVAC Control Systems (3)
A E 461 Architectural Illumination Systems and Design (3)
A E 467 Advanced Building Electrical System Design (3)
A E 475 Building Construction Engineering I (3)
A E 476 Building Construction Engineering II (3)
A E 570 Production Management in Construction (3)
A E 557 Central Cooling Production and Distribution Systems (3)
A E 565 Daylighting (3)

The courses that can be double-counted for the B.A.E./M.S. are as follows:

A E 430 Indeterminate Structures (3)
A E 457 HVAC Control Systems (3)
A E 461 Architectural Illumination Systems and Design (3)
A E 467 Advanced Building Electrical System Design (3)
A E 475 Building Construction Engineering I (3)
A E 476 Building Construction Engineering II (3)
A E 530 Computer Modeling of Building Structures (3)
A E 557 Centralized Cooling Production and Distribution Systems (3)
A E 558 Centralized Heating Production and Distribution Systems (3)
A E 562 Luminous Flux Transfer (3)
A E 565 Daylighting (3)
A E 570 Production Management in Construction (3)

At least 6 of the double-counted credits must be at the 500- or 800-level. The graduate thesis or other graduate culminating/capstone experience (including any associated credits and/or deliverables) may not be double counted towards any other degree.

Each student must submit a course plan detailing the graduate component for approval when applying to this program and must request approval from the Graduate Program Officer for any proposed modifications to this plan following admission to the program. If students accepted into the IUG program are unable to complete the M.A.E. or the M.S. degree, they are still eligible to receive their undergraduate degree if all the undergraduate degree requirements have been satisfied.

All students in the M.Eng., M.S., and Ph.D. programs must also attend a minimum of 10 approved lectures during their degree program.

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships and other forms of student aid are described in the STUDENT AID section of the Graduate Bulletin. A limited number of research and teaching assistantships, scholarships, and fellowships are available to M.S. and Ph.D. students in the Department of Architectural Engineering. The intent of these assistantships and awards is to support students conducting research under faculty supervision. For this reason, students in the M.S. and Ph.D. programs who receive these types of financial support are expected to complete their degree program, including the thesis or dissertation, and may not transfer to the Master of Engineering degree program. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set forth in the Graduate Bulletin.


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 599 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.



Last Revised by the Department: Summer Semester 2016

Blue Sheet Item #: 44-07

Review Date: 06/28/2016


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