Architecture and Structural Engineering dual major


I am a sophomore in highschool and I would like to pursue a structural engineering and architecture dual major in college. I live in Virginia and would like to attend either Virginia Tech or the University of Virginia. With my plan of double majoring which school should I look into? Also is the idea of a dual major a good idea at all?

Mar 3, 23 7:49 pm

Keep the goal in mind of either degree. You need them to qualify for a license in the profession. I'd say research what they do and pick one or the other. They are both full time, highly demanding professions with equally demanding degrees. Check the school to see if they even offer a path like that. Any dual major of these is likely going to take additional years to complete(total 6+ perhaps?) so take that into consideration.

Also when you are done with school, architects and engineers are licensed by different agencies with different, mostly non-overlapping requirements and laws regarding their practices. It would be a good educational experience to look them up yourself. For architects check the NCARB website. It should have the whole process laid out for you(spoiler alert: it's long). Engineers also will have a state Board or Engineers or something of the like you can research.

The advantage of having both licenses in theory would be that, if you are designing a project and normally have to pay a structural engineer to design the structure and do the structural drawings, you could do that yourself and stamp it yourself and not have to pay that person. Keep in mind that is not a trivial amount of work to take on for larger projects.

PS- I have an architect license so you are hearing from that perspective. Someone else on here might have both. As far as being an architect, I like it, but as a warning, do not enter it halfheartedly. It really can be pretty intense. 

Mar 4, 23 12:48 am  · 
Wood Guy

Why do you want to pursue both degrees? 

I have a BS in engineering--a few courses shy of a fully accredited BSCE--and a minor in art and architectural history that was just a few courses shy of a BA, so while I don't have a dual degree and I hold no licenses, I have some perspective on your situation.

Mar 4, 23 10:10 am  · 

I've had colleagues who did both degrees - they are highly specialized professionals who are probably well compensated too. If you add computational skills on top of it, then you could be a very special talent in some specialties such as facade engineering/design or custom fabrication. A typical architecture job probably doesn't require such a skillset.

Mar 4, 23 1:03 pm  · 
1  · 

My undergrad had a pretty large dual major Arch/Civil population. Two of my roommates did this. As far as I am aware everyone I knew who did the program either went into one or the other in the end (mostly engineering). While it could help you specialize, the reality is that the individual markets are larger and you're probably going to have a preference. If it seems like there is a clear preference going in, I'd say just pick one and save yourself the extra money and time.

Mar 8, 23 12:04 pm  · 

I agree with our observation. Put it this way, the engineers can largely do what architects do in these specialized fields but architects cannot do what engineers do - all the stress analysis, load calculations, structural design etc.

Mar 8, 23 1:31 pm  · 
Sameeksha Medewar


Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia have excellent programs in engineering and architecture. Both schools are the best choice for pursuing a dual major in structural engineering and architecture. Before choosing one, you must know the differences between the schools. 

  • Virginia Tech

The architecture program is part of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, while the engineering program is a part of the College of Engineering. However, a dual major in architecture and engineering is a common and popular program at Virginia Tech. Hence, they have a curriculum designed that integrates these two fields.

  • The University of Virginia

The architecture program is part of the School of Architecture, while the engineering program is part of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The dual major in architecture and engineering is also popular at The University of Virginia. However, there is no integrated curriculum. Students generally pursue a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree and then move on to pursue a Master of Architecture degree. 

Regarding the idea of pursuing a dual major in structural engineering and architecture, if you are passionate about pursuing a degree in both fields and willing to put in the effort, it could be a great and beneficial idea. You get more job opportunities and a competitive edge in the market. But, it would be equally challenging to balance both workloads. Hence, ensure that you have the ability to put in your best effort to pursue both degrees. 

Mar 7, 23 2:53 am  · 

Pick one or the other. Virginia Tech is an excellent choice. You can change majors without changing universities if your initial choice doesn't seem that good after getting into the subject. Trying to use, and keeping current both degrees, may only ensure you are not proficient at either one. 

FWIW I would chose structural at VT. 

Mar 7, 23 11:45 am  · 
2  · 
Wood Guy

Another reason to choose VT, my brilliant and famous friend Christine now teaches there:

Mar 8, 23 12:24 pm  · 

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