engineering then architecure


I was thinking of going into civil engineering for my undergrad and then doing architecture for my masters. In my opinion, it's the best way to go because you'd have to learn engineering principles while doing architecture anyways right? 

Do you guys think it's unnecessary? Should I just go straight into architecture? Please don't answer with "don't even try for architecture, cause you'll be broke for life" because I'm intent on becoming an architect and I've had enough of the pessimistic responses I always receive on this site (I can't go anywhere else, it's the only one I know of).

Also, please try to consider the situation and the fact that I'm only 17 (and am quite ignorant of the other sources out there). 

Also, I'm applying to do a dual degree (if I do engineering). Because there's this Honours Business Administration program at the University of Wester Ontario that is a VERY good program, from what I've heard. 

So.. if you didn't want to read all that, the gist of my question is:

is it worth my time to take a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and business administration?


Nov 13, 11 3:24 pm

I have had 2 co-workers who have B.S. in structural engineering topped of with M.Arch - both survived numerous layoffs during the recession, and are now licensed(ages 27 + 28). They both became the go-to people in their respective firms. -  

Nov 13, 11 4:24 pm

Having a B.S. in Structural Engineering could definitely help you in the real world of architecture.  I met a guy that went that route and he rose pretty quickly to project architect at a good design firm.  Granted, he was a good designer as well..   Just realize that your mindset will have to change when you begin design studios for your M.Arch.

Plus, you can skip out on the Structures classes for your M.Arch, that'll be a bonus.

Nov 13, 11 5:12 pm

I got a degree in architecture, and then realized that at my super-theoretical modernist school I hadn't actually been taught how buildings come together.  I've worked at architecture firms, but I'm currently getting an engineering degree and working only in the summer.

If your goal is to become an architect, it isn't really necessary.  If your goal is to be the best designer you can be...for sure.

Nov 13, 11 5:22 pm

look at Calatrava

Nov 13, 11 5:32 pm

Don't look at Calatrava.  

"don't even try for architecture, cause you'll be broke for life" clearly you have a grasp on reality and don't need advice....j/k, but at least you are paying attention


Some above are talking about structural engineering, not civil, so just make sure you are paying attention to that too.


My advice:  get your business degree, then get a dual MBA/Arch.  You'll have all your bases covered then.  Or do something like graphic/programming/web/etc. and business, then a dual masters of MBA/Arch.  Then you'd really have your bases covered and you could learn some design along the way, probably even starting a career in undergrad.

Nov 13, 11 7:19 pm

@trace:  Structural engineering is a part of civil engineering - as are environmental, transportation engineering (roads, etc), and more.

@aljonondo:  as you are going into your undergrad, I'd more or less say that you don't know what either architecture or engineering are like, at all, either at school or in a professional practice.  I'd worry a bit about making such long term plans when you aren't even really sure what either of those things are like.

Nov 13, 11 7:25 pm

If you get the engineering degree, make sure you get a job as a Structures TA in grad school.  Then make sure that your TA  job will cover full tuition for your MArch.  And get it in writing.  I was told I'd get a TA position by the school, then when I got there... guess what? 

That'll be sixty-thousand dollars please.

Nov 13, 11 11:18 pm

I'm not sure exactly what you would do with two licenses instead of one.  Nonetheless, I'd highly recommend a background in both engineering and architecture if you are interested in doing crazy things, and especially if you are technically oriented!  Engineers tend to lack education in questioning why they do things, while fresh-out-of-school architects tend to be pretty good at this but lack the technical wherewithal to describe their projects in any terms other than pseudo-intellectual nonsense and a few numbers that may or may not relate to reality.  We really should be aiming for some kind of middle ground between these two.

Engineering-then-architecture is definitely the faster way if you want to be licensed in both (looks like you are in Canada so this may be different, but I imagine your path would be like: some kind of 4-year ABET-accredited program, followed by a 3-3.5-year MArch program, with 5 years of engineer training and 3 of IDP that may or may not combine, and all the appropriate tests). 

Plus, at my school, the technically-oriented undergrads tend to get weeded out after the first crazy semester of design.  I'd argue that this is a loss for the profession, but be aware that this is what you are up against.  If you decide architecture is not for you in your MArch program after your first semester, you will still be able to do engineering.

In retrospect, I wish I had done engineering as a first degree.  I don't know why you'd get two design degrees (graphic design + architecture, or even architecture + architecture?), but your mileage may vary.  I did six years of design courses and didn't feel like I actually learned anything at the end (it's more like guided practice - and to retract what I said earlier, you actually do learn things!)  I'm currently in a science/engineering degree now, and I find that it is incredibly liberating to have mathematical and scientific knowledge as ways of conveying information about projects - however, I'm not sure if I would have had this perspective if I did the engineering part first, because I would have been learning quite a lot about theory and equations without really knowing why I was doing what I was doing.

Nov 14, 11 12:00 am

What about architecture THEN engineering? Would it still be pretty much the same thing or not worth it? Or am I totally missing the point of this thread?

Nov 14, 11 4:23 pm

Architecture *then* engineering would take longer, if you wanted licenses in both.  4+2+4, basically - nine or ten years in school, without any breaks.

You might be able to whittle that down a bit, but architecture is pretty dogmatic in its requirements, and the thing that draws out an architectural education is the twelve-semester design sequence.  You might be able to take some engineering prereqs (math, science, etc.) and whittle down your engineering education time, but these are all very hard and time-consuming classes to take.  I can't imagine you'd be able to do it in a whole lot less time than nine or ten years.  YMMV, though, depending on if you come in with some math/science/gen ed classes tested out behind you.

Engineering first would be 4 + 3.5 = 7-8ish years (note the architect math there), so still fairly long, but one less design degree.  If you do it intensively and come in with prereqs, you might even be able to do it faster.  Again, the thing that slows you down is the studio course sequence.

Now, if you don't want a license in engineering, whole worlds open to you.  I think some programs (Berkeley?) have concurrent master's degrees in architecture and an MS in engineering, and there are a lot of schools where you could get an MS in an engineering department.  It's not an ABET-accredited degree, but you still have the background.

That said, I think architecture >then< engineering is the better way to go.  Once you know why you are designing, the how is just another way of explaining why.

Nov 14, 11 6:26 pm

Im a PE Civil Engineer + M.Arch... took a while to get into it. But I decided when I was 18 that this is what I wanted. And came out very good. Now is paying back. Able to work in big scale projects. No problems finding job in those days. 

Go for it: Be patient. 

Nov 14, 11 6:38 pm

Engineering ( any one of them ) and then MBA.  Solid background for numerous fields that all pay more than Architecture right out of school.

Nov 14, 11 8:15 pm

Why go all the way through an engineering degree and an MBA while planning on going into architecture eventually? If you think you want to be an architect then go be one. In that case you should supplement the career you want (architecture) with the degrees that add to your resume (civil engineering and the MBA). With your proposed path you could actually make your way through an entire engineering degree, and an MBA without being sure about architecture. You may actually hate it or, god forbid, be bad at it, but by then you’ve spent 5+(?) years getting two degrees you may not want and you’re stuck with being an engineer…not that there’s anything wrong with that. (I have a degree in civil engineering, two in architecture and am a professor at a school in the U.S.) There is typically a lot of attrition in school. Many people get in and figure out they would be happier elsewhere.

I’ll reiterate one point made above – be prepared to completely shift your mode of thinking from one degree to the other.

Nov 15, 11 12:29 am

has anyone looked into University of Michigan M.arch dual degree with M.Eng?

I mean, if we are talking about getting or a securing a job more easily, this would seem like a lucrative path doesn't it?

Nov 15, 11 1:54 pm

is it possible to do masters in architecture after getting a degree of bachelor in civil engineering?

and if yes then which colleges offers M.Arch after BE civil?

Jan 14, 14 2:11 pm
Non Sequitur

Holly blast from the past Batman! Anything else from 2011 we should dig up along with this?

Many schools allow non arch students to take their masters programs so to answer... yes, you can get a M.arch with a BE-Civil as long as it meets whatever minimum requirements that particular institution has. You could apply with a bachelor in Latin and still make it in granted you have a good portfolio.

Jan 14, 14 2:17 pm

charmiee is building up his 10 comments before he starts a new topic.  at least he tried the search function first.

you would probably be required to take the 3 year m.arch instead of the 2 year, but pretty much any university with and m.arch would be applicable.

Jan 14, 14 2:21 pm

Apologies for the thread resurrection, but I'm from the minority who is looking at the other way around - Two years out of a Bachelors of Architecture and a bit disillusioned with arch work. Looking for a fresh mindset with practical knowhow over abstract design. For those who switched from Architecture to either Civil or Structural engineering, what was your specific path towards that end? Night classes to catch up with the Physics/Structral prereqs, and then a 4 year Engineering degree? And was it worth it? Thanks..

Aug 2, 16 6:16 pm

If you can suck it up a few schools have accredited Architectural Engineering degrees.  So you can get both licenses.  A long time ago when I was at OSU the difference between the A/E and just the Architecture was 4th and 5th year instead of design studio, you took advanced structures.  

My Dad got that degree and I sort of wished I would have as well.  The reason is with a dual license, you can open a lot of doors and career directions if you want.  

Aug 2, 16 6:38 pm


sorry to drag this thread up from the past but I need some advice on this and wanted to check if the people posting are all US based?

Getting on to an MArch in Europe  / UK seems to always need an Architecture bachelors whereas in the US it sounds like this is not the case.

If anyone knows otherwise could you let me know please?

I'd love to to get onto an MArch with my Engineering degree but it doesn't look like anyone will have me :(

Mar 19, 17 7:56 pm

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