Architectural engineering vs civil engineering


Hello all,

Right now I am going into my sophomore year and I have to choose between pursing a degree in architectural engineering vs civil engineering. I am way more interested in the architectural engineering curriculum because it the civil curriculum is very transportation heavy and I only want to work on buildings. I intend on working in construction or trying to work as a assistant project manager in a commercial real estate development company when I graduate.

In addition I like the architectural degree because it’s more focused on hvac/electrical, green building, and BIM with some construction courses too.

My question is will having an architectural engineering decrease my job opportunities because of the rarity of the degree.

In addition, I am wondering if it will hurt me if I want to eventually advance to a project manager position in construction or commercial real estate.

The reason I want the degree is because Iong term I want to pursue development and like the flexibility the degree has in terms of understanding architecture and building electrical systems.

Also if any of you have the degree can you tell me your starting salary after graduating school.

Nov 15, 18 2:43 am

I only read you going on about architectural engineering so I guess you already made up your mind :)

Nov 15, 18 3:30 am

lol I’m honestly open to both. I just want advice on If a civil one will open more doors job wise.

Nov 15, 18 7:44 am

You laid out a good case for why you want to pursue architectural engineering, so go in that direction.  They are probably similar enough that either degree will work for you.  There is no sure fire way to second guess the job market.  After a few years your degree won't really matter that much.

Consider getting some training in construction management or real estate after a few years of work (notice that I didn't say you should get another degree, just training)

Nov 15, 18 8:02 am

thanks I appreciate the feedback.

Nov 15, 18 8:08 am

Would anybody say that understanding building systems could be beneficial if one was going to pursue ground up development long term?

Nov 15, 18 8:10 am
Non Sequitur

having an understanding helps, definitively... but if you're developing properties, you'll be hiring consults who know and have real experience with building systems. Hard to sue yourself if/when you fuck it up.


You don't need to be an expert, but you should have a good working knowledge so that you know what questions to ask and so you know if the consultants are doing their job.


lol good to know. Thanks

Nov 15, 18 8:43 am

The emphasis is different.  Civil is more infrastructure scale, most programs let you focus more on a specific area (geotech/structure/water resource/environmental - I think env. has been broken out in most schools now though).  ArchEng is more focused on structure scale (MEP/Structure).  In some ways, yes, civil is a broader degree, but if the emphasis you want is not there, then it may be a moot point.  Structural generally requires a MS in order to get to the more complex projects.

Salary range is broad, when I came out in the 00s it was mid 40s to mid 80s: low end is most likely government jobs (DOB, DOT, Capital Projects type places), higher end will be consultants (the Burns and McDonnell types) and elite firms if you have some experience.  Note that higher end firms tend to want some type of masters degrees.

Nov 15, 18 12:54 pm

Civil engineering is a stream you can opt if you like the basic physics behind building things or saying it easy, you like HOW construction goes and not DESIGNING the structure.

Architecture is about DESIGNING the structure taking in mind feasibility and comfort of your structure. So, it is more of ART than of PHYSICS.

Both are two different innovative fields.

If you are looking for a scope to learn new things then Civil Engineering is the choice.

A civil engineer turned Architect can do anything technically.

  • Civil engineering adds strength.

Architecture adds beauty.

Both should go hand-in-hand.

Dec 7, 18 6:12 am

Beautiful answer given by manisha..!!! I loved the answer given by her.

Dec 8, 18 3:59 am

I did civil engineering in school but worked and took my PE in architectural engineering. You have to figure out if you like dirt, wastewater, highways, bridges, or if you like Buildings. 

I'd recommend doing structural focus if staying in civil, or just making the switch to Arch Eng. 

Dec 9, 18 9:39 pm

You seem to be more interested in Architectural engineering and I believe one tends to give his best in the field he or she likes.

I am sure you will choose the career path which is good for you after these discussions.All the best for your future.

Dec 11, 18 12:08 am

In spite of the fact that planners and structural architects work to develop the comparative structures, their obligations, aptitudes and ways to deal with any venture vary in different ways. Both Civil Engineers and Architects are associated with arranging and planning structures. Anyway Architecture concentrates more on the spatial usefulness and style of the advancement work and is progressively worried about the aestheticism look, feel and usefulness of the plan, while Civil Engineers focus on the basic components of the plan, verifying that structure can bear typical and outrageous conditions. 

Engineering manages making the floor arrangements of the building and planning the state of building. Structural Engineering, taking a shot at a similar building would manage the material utilised for the building and how to plan the building so it can bolster its own weight. So there's an a significant huge distinction there. 

Design is increasingly similar to expressions and structural building resembles material science. Another way you can state this way, engineering's essential concern is structuring the improvement work while structural specialist's obligation is guaranteeing that the plan can be actualised in a protected and solid way. Structural Engineers and designers may here and there cover every others work however a decent connection between the two experts will make the development work increasingly powerful and fruitful. 

Why a Civil Engineer is required? 

It is expected to decrease the development cost as could be expected under the circumstances. 

-To give adequate wellbeing estimations. 

-To complete plan of establishment, bars, sections, stack computations, piece rooftop, fortification and so forth as per which the development will be finished. 

-To choose contractual worker to finish the works. 

-Supervision of the development of work. 

-To give tremor obstruction. 

-To keep up the nature of work. 

Why an Architect is required? 

-It is expected to expand the outside and inside excellence of the structure. 

-It give appropriate game plans to present and future needs with legitimate land usage. 

-To plan and mastermind the rooms and encourage as indicated by the longing. 

-To give adequate lighting, air course and so forth. 

So we can finish up, structural designers and modellers are not the same as one another. A planner can't satisfy reason for structural designer nor the structural specialist can satisfy the motivation behind drafts men. Be that as it may, their mix of work reason for existing are makes the development work increasingly powerful and fruitful.

Dec 12, 18 3:25 am

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