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Architectural Engineering

College of Architecture and Environmental Design

Architectural engineers focus on the structural engineering of buildings, including the design of the structural and mechanical systems such as lighting, air conditioning, heating and ventilation. Architectural engineers also manage the challenges that arise during the construction process and ensure a building is safe, sustainable, and built on time and on budget.

San Luis Obispo, California

A degree in architectural engineering begins by learning the fundamentals of architecture and construction management, along with math, physics and general education courses. During your third year, you will transition to the department’s signature design labs.

Architectural Engineering Curriculum

CAED Plot Center

The facility offers large-format plotting for individual as well as class-based projects.

CAED Shops and the Digital Fabrication Lab (dFab)

This complex hosts a metal shop, wood shop and fabrication lab that include laser cutters, computer numerical control (CNC) machines and 3D printers.

CAED Tech Support

The college provides technical support for various computer labs, on-site printing and other computer related areas.

Computer C Lab

The facility was designed and built exclusively for architectural engineering students to meet their specific needs.

Concrete Yard

The concrete yard is an experimental assembly and project use area.

Experimental Practices Laboratory

Located in Poly Canyon, this nine-acre outdoor laboratory has been home to large-scale structures designed and built by students since 1964.

High-Bay Lab

The main experimental facility with classroom space, a tension/compression machine, and areas for research as well as the construction and testing of student projects.

Neel Resource Center (NRC)

The Paul & Verla Neel Resource Center (NRC) provides access to architecture and environmental design-related resources including books, periodicals, digital images, working drawings and material samples.

Photo Presentation Facility

The facility allows for a host of needs from document projects and preparing presentations to mounting drawings and digitizing images for web site or other academic needs. The facility also supports the Architecture Department’s photography courses.

Seismic Lab and Shake Table

The facility contains workstations with small-scale test machines, a small shake table, and several testing machines including two new electromechanical testing machines.

Soils Lab

The program maintains and operates three experimental labs and shares a fourth with the construction management program.

The department offers a blended program where you can earn your bachelor's and master's degrees at the same time.

If you are interested in this program, you may apply after completing all 300 level architectural engineering courses and 180 units. Contact the Architectural Engineering Department for additional information.

About the Program

Two students working in the architectural soils lab testing structural pressure.

A degree in architectural engineering at Cal Poly prepares you to design the mechanical and structural systems of the building process.

The program emphasizes both the theoretical and practical with a focus on hands-on experiences. You will take several intensive design labs and design actual buildings, and have many opportunities to build models and test building components in the labs.

Along with your structural engineering courses, you will also be enrolled in several architecture and construction management courses. This cross-disciplinary interaction will give you a better insight and understanding into the other areas you will collaborate with in the workplace.

Learn by Doing

Beyond learning about the building process in the classroom, you will also learn how to design, construct and test a building's structure. This could include testing structures against earthquakes in our Seismic Lab or testing the strength of materials and forces in the High Bay Lab. Your practice with real-world experiences allows you to jump head-first into the workplace or graduate study.

Student working in the seismic lab using a machine that tests the structural impact of earthquakes

Withstand a Quake

Build a structure to withstand earthquakes during the Annual Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition.

Learn More

Our Graduates

Graduates of the architectural engineering program are best prepared to be a practicing structural engineer or a project manager of construction in California and around the world.

Some of the major employers of our graduates include AKH Structural Engineers, Holder Construction, Strandberg Engineering and SDG Architects. Students wanting a master's degree can continue earning one at Cal Poly with the ARCE Blended Program. You can also go on to other grad schools such as UC Berkeley, USC, Columbia University, and the University of Washington.