Architecture to Engineering


I've been seeing a lot of posts lately about people who studied Civil or Structural Engineering in undergrad and want to pursue architecture as a grad. What about if I want to go the other way around? I have a BS in Architecture and am looking to see if I qualify for MS programs in Civil or Structural Engineering (not 100% sure which one yet). 

Is this a viable option for me? I had structures, steel, and concrete courses all throughout undergrad, and received good (exceptional, even) grades in those classes. Will this be enough for me to get in? I've been one year removed from my undergrad, and I am looking to intern at a structural engineering firm (I have friends who are engineers who have architecture graduates employed in entry level structures positions).

Some have already suggested getting an MArch with a focus on structures, but as I do not plan on becoming a licensed architect, an MArch seems to be the wrong move. Nothing against MArch degrees, I just am not as much of an architectural designer as my fellow students are.

Nov 12, 13 6:41 pm

I think that is going to be a very difficult transition if not impossible.

This might vary from school to school, but most people people getting masters degrees in engineering, have undergrads in the same field.

The problem that you are going to face is that you don't have the fundamental knowledge base to understand the research or advanced topics that you will be studying.  Structural classes in an architectural program are a joke.

Starting a MS in engineering assumes that you have a basic understanding of a lot of topics:  physics, math (calculus/differential equations), statics, fluid mechanics, dynamics, basic computer science and programming; strengths of materials; among others and depending on your program and area of research/study.  Coming from an architectural program, you will have none of this.

That isn't to say that you can't learn it, but it will be very difficult.  

I think the reality is that you will have to do an undergrad in engineering first...then go back for a masters.  Maybe there is an accelerated undergrad program you can look into?

Be aware, there is a shift in the field, where most offices will not hire somebody that does not  have a MS anymore, so if you are going to transition, be in it for the long haul.

Nov 13, 13 1:28 pm
Thanks for your comment. That's generally what I've been hearing from most of my peers. I've also heard people have done this by making a deal with the school they're interested in and taking a year of math, physics, and introductory courses before entering the MS program. Again, a long road and one that may ultimately not be worth it (already enormously in debt). Because I don't have an undergrad in engineering, if I wanted to take the PE, I would have to wait until I had at least 10-12 years of experience in the field.
Nov 13, 13 9:07 pm

Math: 3 semesters of calculus, differential equations, probability and statistics

Physics: 2 semesters of core physics, statics, dynamics, fluid mechanics

Chemistry: 2 semesters of core chemistry, thermodynamics

Core engineering: electrical engineering, materials, deformable bodies, computer programming, law, engineering economics, ethics

Basically look at what the FE exam covers - that's what is in an accredited BS program + there's the core curriculum of the specific field. I'd imagine basic civil may be easier to get into (less math, and more basic engineering concepts vs structural).

I'd say try it if you can get a scholarship (a lot of MS programs do offer good financial aid); and also larger firms will allow you to work and get a degree (my BS program offered all the classes with evening slots 5:30-8:30, 7-9, etc; it takes longer but is possible).  I would imagine you could try to leverage most of your undergrad and add a year or two of basic stuff and jump into the 2 yrs of a 3+2 program then go for the masters. 

For civil you'd do ok with the BS, for structural you'll need a MS

Nov 13, 13 10:31 pm

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