Graduate Degree Programs

The Architectural Engineering Department offers five graduate level degree programs:

Doctor of Philosophy in Architectural Engineering (Ph.D.)

Master of Science in Architectural Engineering (M.S.)

Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Architectural Engineering

Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in in Facilities Engineering and Management (Coming Fall 2016)

Undergraduates in Penn State's AE Program may also participate in the Integrated Bachelor and Master of Architectural Engineering (B.A.E./M.A.E.) program. Schreyer Scholars have an option of entering the B.A.E./M.A.E. program or an Integrated Bachelor and Master of Science (B.A.E./M.S.) degree program.

General Information

Architectural Engineering is a specialized field of study and research aimed at developing creative professionals for the building industry. Architectural engineers are involved in all facets of building design and operation, including management, planning, design, construction, and facility operations. Graduate study in architectural engineering involves study in the design, analysis, construction and operation of buildings and building systems.

The following subject areas are available for study at the graduate level: Construction, Lighting, Mechanical, and Structural Systems. The impact of ever-changing social, economic, political, energy, regulatory and technical boundary conditions has created significant opportunities for architectural engineering research. Research and professional activities conducted by Penn State faculty and students are advancing the building industry, one of the leading industries in the United States.

Degree Program Descriptions

The M.S. degree program contains a mix of research and coursework. An M.S. student will take a minimum of 30 credits which consists of 24 credits of courses and a 6-credit research thesis. A student’s program of courses in the M.S. program is developed in cooperation with the student’s academic adviser with a minimum of 12 credits at the graduate (500) level. Students that obtain an M.S. degree will be well prepared for positions in the Building Industry or may continue their education in a Ph.D. program.

The Ph.D. degree program is primarily focused on the development of critical thinking skills based on extensive coursework and a thesis that displays a student’s ability to conduct high-quality original scholarly research. Students gain valuable in-depth knowledge and experience in the building industry and in fields related to their coursework. The student’s program of courses is developed in cooperation with the student’s Ph.D. committee. It is recommended that the course plan contain approximately 30 credits of courses beyond a Masters degree, although there is no established minimum or maximum. Ph.D. graduates are prepared for positions in academia, at research laboratories, or within companies or associations within the building design and construction industry.

The Master of Engineering (M.Eng.). degree program is primarily focused on coursework. A candidate for the M.Eng. degree will complete 30 credits of coursework with a minimum of 12 credits at the 500-level. Students will follow the approved program of courses for one of the four available specialty areas, with minor modifications permitted for special student interests with the approval of the Graduate Program Officer. Each student must also submit a professional quality technical report, which is generally derived from work performed in one of the student’s courses.

(Coming Fall 2016) The Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Facilities Engineering and Management degree program is an intensive one-year, 30-credit program that prepares the next generation of engineering professionals for the growing and increasingly-sophisticated constructed facilities industry. The program, developed by the Department of Architectural Engineering with the input of the Penn State Facilities Engineering Institute, Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant, and the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA), covers the facilities management spectrum: from energy management, planning,  information systems and sustainability to project delivery, operations, maintenance, and financial management.

Admission Requirements

For a complete list of admission requirements, please visit our graduate application page.


AE Graduate Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 599. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements. Courses below the 400 level do not count toward graduate degree requirements. A graduate student may register for, or audit, these courses to make up deficiencies or to fill gaps in their previous education, but not to meet requirements for an advanced AE degree.


Top graduate students will be considered for financial aid. Please see the Graduate Student Funding page for more details.