Architectural Engineering

Major: Architectural Engineering
Degree Awarded: Master of Science in Architectural Engineering (MSAE) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 45.0 (MSAE); 90.0 (PhD)
Co-op Option: None
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 14.0401
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 11-9041

About the Program

Architectural Engineering is inherently an interdisciplinary enterprise that is centered on the design, construction, and operation of the built environment. Architectural Engineering MS or PhD graduates may include students with expertise in one or more of the following sub-disciplines (usually housed in civil/environmental engineering and elsewhere in traditional disciplinary constructs or newly developing fields of focus or expertise):

  • Building energy efficiency and alternative energy
  • Indoor environmental quality

Our graduates are engineers and researchers trained in integrated building design and operation practices, who can work on interdisciplinary teams that are able to develop creative solutions combined with technological advances to produce functional, efficient, attractive and sustainable building infrastructure.

Additional Information

For more information, visit the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering webpage.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the MS or PhD in Architectural Engineering must meet the following requirements:

  • A BS in Engineering OR
  • For students without an Engineering degree, the following courses, or their approved equivalents from other departments, will meet these requirements:
    • Introduction to Fluid FlowCIVE 320
    • Introduction to ThermodynamicsENGR 210
    • Heat TransferMEM 345 – for Building Energy students
    • General Chemistry IICHEM 102 – for Indoor Environmental Quality students


The application package will include:

  • undergraduate and graduate transcripts;
  • three letters of recommendation from faculty or professionals who can evaluate the applicant’s promise as a graduate student;
  • GRE scores;
  • a written statement of career and educational goals.

Competitive applicants will possess an undergraduate GPA of 3.30 or higher and GRE scores above the 60th percentile.

Degree Requirements (MS)

The goal of the MS in Architectural Engineering (AE) is to produce graduates who have a solid understanding of the Architectural Engineering discipline as well as an understanding of the interrelationships between the major AE sub-disciplines. Graduates will have demonstrated the ability and capacity to apply that understanding and skill, and the curriculum and project requirements are designed to provide to the students and then ask them to demonstrate the ability to effectively engage in professional-level performance.

Required Courses
Core Courses for all AE students
AE 510Intelligent Buildings3.0
AE 550Comfort Analysis and Indoor Air Quality3.0
AE 544Building Envelope Systems3.0
AE 551Building Energy Systems I3.0
MEM 591Applied Engr Analy Methods I3.0
MEM 592Applied Engr Analy Methods II3.0
Building Energy Theme
Complete three of the following:9.0
Building Energy Systems II
Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics I
Transport Phenomena I
Conduction Heat Transfer
Convection Heat Transfer
Foundations of Fluid Mechanics
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Theme
Complete three of the following:9.0
Special Topics in AE
Transport Phenomena I
Fundamentals of Air Pollution Control
Chemical Kinetics in Environmental Engineering
Chemistry of the Environment
Foundations of Fluid Mechanics
Additional Electives **9.0
Total Credits45.0

Degree Requirements (PhD)

The following general requirements must be satisfied in order to complete the PhD in Architectural Engineering:

  • 90.0 quarter credit hours total (or 45 credit hours post-MS)
  • Plan of study established with Advisor
  • Qualifying courses
  • Candidacy exam
  • Approval of dissertation proposal
  • Defense of dissertation
  • Full-time residency for one continuous academic year is usually desired for the PhD degree to ensure students the opportunity for intellectual association with other scholars.

Students entering with a master’s degree may be exempted from some or all of the courses in the breadth requirement; however, they are still required to meet all milestones of the program. Individual courses may also be transferred with approval of the Graduate Advisor. The total credit amount, candidacy exam, and dissertation are University Requirements. Additional requirements are determined by the department offering the degree.

MSAE coursework plus research and courses defined by the dissertation Committee90.0

Qualifying Courses

To satisfy the qualifying requirements, students must earn a grade of B+ or better in the first 6 Architectural Engineering graduate courses taken at Drexel, and must earn an overall GPA of 3.5 or better in these courses. Normally these courses comprise at least 4 "core" courses and either 2 more courses, either "core" or in one of the Architectural Engineering themes taken as part of the PhD program; however, they may in some cases include more advanced courses (e.g., if the student has received transfer credit for a core course).

Undergraduate courses, independent studies, research credits, and courses from other departments cannot be counted toward the qualifying requirements. Student progress toward these requirements will be assessed in the Annual Review following the student's first year in the PhD program. For more information visit the Department's PhD Program Requirements page.

Candidacy Exam

After approximately one year of study beyond the master’s degree, doctoral students take a candidacy examination, consisting of written and oral parts. The Architectural Engineering candidacy examination serves to define the student’s research domain and to evaluate the student’s knowledge and understanding of various fundamental and seminal results in that domain. At this point the student is expected to be able to read, understand, analyze, and explain advanced technical results in a specialized area of Architectural Engineering at an adequate level of detail. The candidacy examination will evaluate those abilities using a defined set of published manuscripts. The student will prepare a written summary of the contents of the material, present the summary orally, and answer questions about the material. The examination committee will evaluate the written summary, the oral presentation, and the student’s answers.

Thesis Proposal

After completing the candidacy examination successfully, the PhD candidate must prepare a thesis proposal that outlines, in detail, the specific problems that will be solved in the PhD dissertation. The quality of the research proposal should be at the level of, for example, a peer-reviewed proposal to a federal funding agency, or a publishable scientific paper. The candidate is responsible for sending the research proposal to the PhD committee two weeks before the oral presentation. The PhD committee need not be the same as the candidacy exam committee, but it follows the same requirements and must be approved by the Office of Graduate Studies. The oral presentation involves a 30-40-minute presentation by the candidate followed by an unspecified period during which the committee will ask questions.

After the question and answer period, the candidate will be asked to leave the room and the committee will determine if the research proposal has been accepted. The research proposal can be repeated at most once. A thesis proposal must be approved within two years of becoming a PhD candidate.

After approval of the proposal, the committee meets from time to time to review the progress of the research.

Thesis Defense

After completing the research proposal successfully, the PhD candidate must conduct the necessary research and publish the results in a PhD dissertation. The dissertation must be submitted to the PhD committee two weeks prior to the oral defense and at least 90 days before the graduation date. The oral presentation involves a 45-minute presentation by the candidate, open to the public, followed by an unspecified period during which the committee will ask questions. The question and answer period is not open to the public.

 After the question and answer period, the candidate will be asked to leave the room and the committee will determine if the candidate has passed or failed the examination. The candidate will be granted one more chance to pass the final defense if he or she fails it the first time. Paperwork selecting the thesis committee and indicating the results of the thesis defense must be filed with the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering and the Office of Graduate Studies.

The PhD degree is awarded for original research on a significant Architectural Engineering problem. Graduate students who have an MS degree or have completed work equivalent to that required for of an MS degree will continue to work closely with individual faculty members to purse the PhD degree (see Faculty Research Interests on the department website). PhD dissertation research is usually supported by a research grant from a government agency or an industrial contract.

Many doctoral students take three to five years of full-time graduate study to complete their degrees.

Sample Plan of Study (MSAE)

 Indoor Air Quality - Sample Plan of Study

First Year
FallCreditsWinterCreditsSpringCredits
AE 5443.0AE 5103.0AE T7803.0
AE 5503.0AE 5513.0Free Electives6.0
MEM 5913.0MEM 5923.0 
 9 9 9
Second Year
FallCreditsWinterCredits 
ENVS 5013.0CHE 5253.0 
MEM 6213.0ENVE 5603.0 
Free Elective3.0ENVE 6603.0 
 9 9 
Total Credits 45

Undergraduate Course Prerequisites for students without an Engineering Degree:

The following courses, or their approved equivalents from other departments, will meet these requirements:

Building Energy - Sample Plan of Study

First Year
FallCreditsWinterCreditsSpringCredits
AE 5503.0AE 5103.0AE 5513.0
MEM 5913.0MEM 5923.0Free Elective3.0
MEM 6113.0MEM 6123.0Free Elective3.0
 9 9 9
Second Year
FallCreditsWinterCredits 
AE 5443.0CHE 5253.0 
CHE 5133.0ENVE 7273.0 
MEM 6213.0AE 5523.0 
 9 9 
Total Credits 45

Undergraduate Course Prerequisites for students without an Engineering Degree

The following courses, or their approved equivalents from other departments, will meet these requirements:

Plan of Study (PhD)

Upon entering the PhD program, each student will be assigned an academic advisor, and with the help of the advisor will develop and file a plan of study (which can be brought up to date when necessary). The plan of study should be filed with the graduate coordinator no later than the end of the first term.

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Faculty

Abieyuwa Aghayere, PhD (University of Alberta). Professor. Structural design - concrete, steel and wood; structural failure analysis; retrofitting of existing structures; new structural systems and materials; engineering education.
Ivan Bartoli, PhD (University of California, San Diego). Associate Professor. Non-destructive evaluation and structural health monitoring; dynamic identification, stress wave propagation modeling.
Robert Brehm, PhD (Drexel University). Teaching Professor. International infrastructure delivery; response to natural catastrophes; risk assessment and mitigation strategies; project management techniques.
Shannon Capps, PhD (Georgia Institute of Technology). Assistant Professor. Atmospheric chemistry; data assimilation; advanced sensitivity analysis; inverse modeling.
S.C. Jonathan Cheng, PhD (West Virginia University). Associate Professor. Soil mechanics; geosynthetics; geotechnical engineering; probabilistic design; landfill containments; engineering education.
Eugenia Ellis, PhD, AIA (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). Professor. Natural and electric light sources and effects on biological rhythms and health outcomes; ecological strategies for smart, sustainable buildings of the nexus of health, energy and technology.
Yaghoob (Amir) Farnam, PhD (Purdue University). Assistant Professor. Advanced and sustainable infrastructure materials; multifunctional, self-responsive and bioinspired construction materials; advanced multiscale manufacturing; characterization, and evaluation of construction materials; durability of cement-based materials.
Patricia Gallagher, PhD (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). Professor. Geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering; soil improvement; soil improvement; recycled materials in geotechnics.
Patrick Gurian, PhD (Carnegie-Mellon University). Professor. Risk analysis of environmental and infrastructure systems; novel adsorbent materials; environmental standard setting; Bayesian statistical modeling; community outreach and environmental health.
Charles N. Haas, PhD (University of Illinois-Urbana) L. D. Betz Chair Professor of Environmental Engineering and Department Head, Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering. Water treatment; risk assessment; bioterrorism; environmental modeling and statistics; microbiology; environmental health.
Ahmad Hamid, PhD (McMaster University). Professor. Engineered masonry; seismic behavior, design and retrofit of masonry structures; development of new materials and building systems.
Simi Hoque, PhD (University of California - Berkeley). Associate Professor. Computational methods to reduce building energy and environmental impacts, urban metabolism, thermal comfort, climate resilience.
Y. Grace Hsuan, PhD (Imperial College). Professor. Durability of polymeric construction materials; advanced construction materials; and performance of geosynthetics.
Joseph B. Hughes, PhD (University of Iowa). Distinguished University Professor. Biological processes and applications of nanotechnology in environmental systems.
L. James Lo, PhD (University of Texas at Austin). Assistant Professor. Architectural fluid mechanics; building automation and autonomy; implementation of natural and hybrid ventilation in buildings; airflow distribution in buildings; large-scale air movement in an urban built environment; building and urban informatics; data-enhanced sensing and control for optimal building operation and management; novel data gathering methods for building/urban problem solving; interdisciplinary research on occupant behaviors in the built environment.
Joseph P. Martin, PhD (Colorado State University). Professor. Geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering; hydrology; transportation; waste management.
James E. Mitchell, MArch (University of Pennsylvania). Professor. Architectural engineering design; building systems; engineering education.
Franco Montalto, PhD (Cornell University). Professor. Effects of built infrastructure on societal water needs, ecohydrologic patterns and processes, ecological restoration, green design, and water interventions.
Nariman Mostafavi, PhD (University of Massachusetts - Amherst). Assistant Teaching Professor. Simulation tools for analyzing urban metabolism; environmentally responsive design; urban resilience; engineering economics; industrial ecology.
Joseph V. Mullin, PhD (Pennsylvania State University) Associate Department Head. Teaching Professor. Structural engineering; failure analysis; experimental stress analysis; construction materials; marine structures.
Mira S. Olson, PhD (University of Virginia). Associate Professor. Peace engineering; source water quality protection and management; contaminant and bacterial fate and transport; community engagement.
Miguel A. Pando, PhD (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). Assistant Professor. Laboratory testing of geomaterials; geotechnical aspects of natural hazards; soil-structure-interaction; geotechnical engineering.
Michael Ryan, PhD (Drexel University) Associate Department Head of Graduate Studies. Assistant Teaching Professor. Microbial Source Tracking (MST); Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA); dynamic engineering systems modeling; molecular microbial biology; phylogenetics; metagenomics; bioinformatics; environmental statistics; engineering economics; microbiology; potable and waste water quality; environmental management systems.
Christopher Sales, PhD (University of California, Berkeley). Associate Professor. Environmental microbiology and biotechnology; biodegradation of environmental contaminants; microbial processes for energy and resource recovery from waste; application of molecular biology, analytical chemistry and bioinformatic techniques to study environmental biological systems.
Yared Shifferaw, PhD (Johns Hopkins University). Assistant Professor. Computational and experimental mechanics; structural stability; optimization; health monitoring and hazard mitigation; sustainable structures; emerging materials; thin-walled structures and metallic structures.
Kurt Sjoblom, PhD (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Assistant Professor. Laboratory testing of geomaterials, geotechnical engineering, foundation engineering.
Sabrina Spatari, PhD (University of Toronto). Associate Professor. Industrial ecology; development and application of life cycle assessment (LCA) and material flow analysis (MFA) methods for guiding engineering and policy decisions; specific interest in biomass and bioenergy, biofuels, and urban infrastructure.
Robert Swan Associate Teaching Professor. Geotechnical and Geosynthetic Engineering; soil/geosynthetic interaction and performance; laboratory and field geotechnical/geosynthetic testing.
Michael Waring, PhD (University of Texas-Austin) Associate Department Head for Undergraduate Programs; Director of Architectural Engineering Program. Associate Professor. Indoor air quality and building sustainability; indoor particulate matter fate and transport; indoor chemistry and particle formation; secondary impacts of control technologies and strategies.
Jin Wen, PhD (University of Iowa). Associate Professor. Architectural engineering; Building Energy Efficiency; Intelligent Building; Net-zero Building; and Indoor Air Quality.
Aspasia Zerva, PhD (University of Illinois). Professor. Earthquake engineering; mechanics; seismology; structural reliability; system identification; advanced computational computational methods in structural analysis.

Emeritus Faculty

Harry G. Harris, PhD (Cornell University). Professor Emeritus. Structural models; dynamics of structures, plates and shells; industrialized building construction.
Richard Weggel, PhD (University of Illinois) Samuel S. Baxter Professor Emeritus; Civil and Environmental Engineering. Professor Emeritus. Coastal engineering; hydraulics engineering; hydrology.
Richard Woodring, PhD (University of Illinois) Dean of Engineering Emeritus. Professor Emeritus. Structural engineering, reinforced concrete.
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