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Architectural engineering degree switches to four-year program

Fri, 12/20/2013

LAWRENCE — The Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering at the University of Kansas will change its Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering (BS ARCE) degree program from a five-year curriculum to a four-year program, beginning summer 2014.

The streamlined, ABET-accredited degree program will require students to complete a curriculum with 128 credit hours. Previously, students had to complete a 165 credit hour curriculum. Under the new plan, students will be able to graduate and enter the job market sooner, or more quickly complete several master’s degree programs, including an NAAB-accredited Master of Architecture from KU.

“This change will allow our students expanded flexibility and allow them to earn credit at the graduate level for the advanced courses they have been taking in the five-year program,” said Professor David Darwin, Deane E. Ackers Distinguished Professor and chair of the department. Changes in the profession, as well as economic and other factors, have convinced the faculty that curricula leading to both undergraduate and graduate degrees will better serve students and their future employers.

“A hallmark of KU’s undergraduate architectural engineering degree has been the broad training received by our students. That will not change,” Darwin said. “Architectural engineering students will continue to take courses in all of the specialties in architectural engineering — structures, HVAC, illumination, electrical systems and construction management — and also continue to take several courses and design studios side-by-side with KU architecture students.  The big change will be their expanded ability to specialize as they pursue graduate study in what would have formerly been their fifth year of undergraduate work.” 

Associate Professor of Architectural Engineering Brian Rock, a graduate of KU’s five-year program, said students will now be able to earn a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering and a Master of Architecture degree in six years. Students will also have the option to earn an undergraduate degree in architectural engineering and a more specialized master’s degree in architectural engineering or civil engineering in five years.

Rock pointed out that the option to pursue the combined BS ARCE and the Master of Architecture is important because it allows students to efficiently complete the formal education needed to become both a licensed Professional Engineer and a Registered Architect. The new BS ARCE program also leads into KU’s Master of Construction Management program.

KU’s architectural engineering program was founded in 1912 as a four-year program in the School of Engineering, but it was changed to five years in the 1950s.  In the decades since then, architectural engineering students have been, and will continue to be, exceptionally well-prepared for careers in building systems design.

Undergraduate students currently enrolled in the architectural engineering program will have the opportunity to switch to the four-year program as well as work with a faculty adviser to determine the best path forward for them.

More information about the changes to the architectural engineering program, including the curriculum, admission requirements and scholarships, appears on websites hosted by the School of Engineering and the department. ABET and NAAB are the respective accreditation bodies for engineering and architecture programs in the United States.



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