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Best Colleges for Architect Design Engineering

by Rudy Miller, studioD

The increasingly complex process of erecting a building cries out for more than just an architecture or engineering degree. An interdisciplinary approach is warranted so designers understand both the framework of a building and its infrastructure. Universities are meeting this demand by offering cross-disciplinary programs in architect design engineering.

Stanford University

Stanford University’s architectural design major integrates building design instruction with the latest engineering technology. Math and science courses are specifically designed to prepare students who want to proceed to graduate level study. The school has an honors option for those who maintain a 3.5 GPA and complete a thesis. Included in the program are a spring lectures series, field trips to building and museum construction sites and courses initiated and taught by students. Teaching assistantships and independent study options are available.

Harvard Graduate School of Design

Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design was ranked the best architecture school for cross-disciplinary teamwork for 2014 by Design Intelligence magazine. The school produced the 2012 publication “Interdisciplinary Design: New Lessons From Architecture and Engineering” that forms the basis of a graduate level course. The school of design has a fabrication lab with robotic workcells, computer controlled laser cutters, robotic water jets and 3D prototyping technology. The school received a $10 million gift in 2013 to help lower costs to students, further boost the program’s interdisciplinary aims and fund research projects.

The University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley, has a structural engineering master’s program at its College of Environmental Design that combines a Master of Architecture degree with a Master of Science curriculum. The program has elements from the school of architecture and school of engineering, and students can acquire the simultaneous degree, gathering 24 fewer credits than if each was pursued separately. Students in the College of Environmental Design tackle projects with major corporations, governments and nonprofits, such as the World Bank, United Nations, the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Penn State University

Founded in 1910, Penn State’s architectural engineering program is the oldest continuously accredited program in the United States. The school offers bachelor's, integrated master’s, master’s and doctoral programs, and it hosts a variety of initiatives, including one to build housing on American Indian reservations, one for green and efficient building practices and one for improving affordable housing. The school has facilities to experiment with air quality tests, to test the strength of walls and roofs, to test floor vibrations and to virtually design buildings on computers.

About the Author

Rudy Miller has been writing professionally since 1996. Miller is a digital team leader for lehighvalleylive.com, a local news website and content provider to the Express-Times newspaper in Easton, Pa. Miller holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Miami.

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