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Spotlight on the Schools - Pennsylvania State University

 Curriculum Overview | Recent NewsDistinguished Alumni | AE Scholarship & Awards Program

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 Penn State – Department of Architectural Engineering

Department Head: Chimay J. Anumba, Ph.D., D.Sc., Dr.h.c., P.E., F.ASCE Professor and Department Head

Date AE Program was Founded: 1910

History of the AE Program:  

Number of Students:

  • Undergraduate- ~400
  • Graduate- ~50

Number of Faculty: 21 (plus ~ 8 Practitioner Instructors)

Number of Graduates per Year: ~ 110

Our program has limited enrollment (currently, 100 AE students are admitted into the program each year as sophomores, and they stay in the AE Department for the next four years to earn their Bachelor of Architectural Engineering degree), which creates a highly competitive and selective entrance into the major. Only the top engineering students are admitted, resulting in an extremely talented, focused and enthusiastic group of young engineers.

E-mail address:

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Curriculum Overview

The undergraduate education at Penn State gives graduating architectural engineers a fundamental understanding of all building systems, coupled with an in-depth capability in a chosen option area. Our breadth of technical knowledge includes architectural, structural, mechanical, lighting/electrical, and acoustical, as well as project activities such as management, design, construction methods, economics, and building operations.

With a base in building systems, AE students spend the last two years learning specialized building engineering skills in an area of their choice. These options are: Building Mechanical Systems, which emphasizes the analysis and design of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems, as well as building energy analyses; Building Lighting and Electrical Systems, which emphasizes the application of the basic principles of electrical circuits, power distribution and illumination analysis and design; Building Structural Systems, which emphasizes the analysis and design of structural systems for buildings utilizing steel, concrete, wood, and other structural materials; Building Construction and Construction Management, which emphasizes construction techniques and the management of building construction projects.

Penn State architectural engineering students possess a sharp professional edge. This is acquired from the professional projects performed throughout their academic career. The highlight of these projects is an individual, year-long thesis in the fifth year of the AE program. Fifth-year thesis requires extensive interaction with design and construction professionals responsible for a recently constructed building, study of the associated working drawings, maintenance of detailed records of progress made by each AE student toward completing the fifth-year thesis, and development and technical verification of innovative design and construction modifications to the subject building. Each thesis culminates in a thorough, written thesis report and formal, oral presentations made to a jury consisting of faculty and building professionals. This comprehensive project is Penn State's key to graduating well rounded and well prepared architectural engineers.

Summer in Rome Program - Students in Penn State Architectural Engineering program may participate in a number of study abroad programs to expand the education of our students. Study abroad is encouraged, but optional. The impact on the students target graduation date varies with each program. A popular student abroad program available to students is the Rome, Italy summer program. This program is offered by the Architecture Department in the summers. Participation in the program during one of the summers does not adversely impact the student’s progress in the AE program and provides the necessary credits for an Architectural Studies Minor. For details, see:  

Integrated Bachelor and Master of Architectural Engineering (B.A.E./M.A.E.) - Select students are able to participate in a combined B.A.E./M.A.E. program. Successful completion of twelve additional credits at the graduate level will allow students to graduate with these two degrees. The program consists of a formalized cluster of courses (30 credits) designed to provide students with a Masters-level education in their option area. For details, see:  

Focus areas: Building Mechanical Systems, Construction Engineering and Management, Lighting and Electrical Systems, Structures (Note: All Penn State AE students choose one of these option areas but must demonstrate a breadth of understanding in the other three areas).

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Recent News/Events/Awards

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Highlights of recent student group activities

Design Build Institute of America (DBIA)  

The Penn State student chapter of the Design Build Institute of America (DBIA) took 1st place at the Associated
Schools of Construction’s regional Design-Build competition in Morristown, NJ on November 13, 2010.

Mechanical Contracting Association (MCA) 

The Mechanical Contractors Association of America, Inc. (MCAA), through its Career Development Committee,
sponsored a competition for its student chapters on Jan. 19 in Rockville, MD. The Penn State AE student
chapter of MCAA was among seven institutions that were recognized with a Certificate of Merit in the

Student Society of Architectural Engineers (SSAE) – PSU Chapter of AEI 

Alumni Mentoring Program -  

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Distinguished Alumni

The Penn State Outstanding Engineering Alumni (OEA) Awards recognize graduates who have reached exceptional levels of professional achievement. Established in 1966, the award is the highest honor bestowed by the College of Engineering. AE Recipients of the College of Engineering - Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award include:

  • 1975 – Marvin J. Kudroff, 1946 B.S.
  • 1986 – John Labosky, 1971 B.A.E.
  • 1987 – Ralph Beck, 1961 B.A.E.
  • 1988 – Raymond A. Bowers, 1931 B.S.
  • 1989 – Thomas A. Bathgate, 1970 B.A.E.
  • 1990 – Eugene M. Bard, 1968 B.A.E.
  • 1991 – Kenneth Gibble, 1961 B.A.E.
  • 1993 – Roy W. Johnson, 1968 B.Arch., 1971 M.S.
  • 1995 – Robert J. McNamara, 1963 B.A.E.
  • 1996 – Gifford Albright, 1953 B.A.E.
  • 1997 – Richard F. Tomlinson, 1971 B.A.E.
  • 1998 – Joseph Wisnewski, 1969 B.A.E.
  • 1999 – Louis Agnes, 1939 B.S.
  • 2000 – Joseph Borda, 1967 B.A.E.
  • 2001 – David Holbert, 1975 B.A.E.
  • 2002 – Joel Weinstein, 1967 B.A.E.
  • 2003 - Theodore H. Dannerth, 1972 B.A.E., 1982 M.S.
  • 2004 – Gary Steffy, 1977 B.A.E.
  • 2005 – Joe Martignetti, 1978 B.A.E.
  • 2006 - Charles Matts, 1956 B.A.E.
  • 2007 - James Faust, 1978 B.A.E.
  • 2008 - Russell Heiken, 1981 B.A.E.
  • 2009 - Charles (Chip) E. Israel, 1984 B.A.E.
  • 2010 – Karen Sweeney, 1980 B.A.E.
  • 2011 – Hope Furrer, 1973 B.A.E.

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AE Scholarship & Awards Program

The Architectural Engineering Department presents over $110,000 in scholarships and awards annually to deserving AE undergraduate students. We are extremely grateful for the phenomenal generosity of our alumni and friends who support the AE Scholarship and Awards Program each year.

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