Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mechanical Engineering to Architecture

I graduated just over 2 months ago and got my 4-year degree in mechanical engineering.  I've wanted to be an architect since my junior year, but my school didn't offer an architecture degree so I stuck it out and got my engineering degree.  I'm hoping that my BSME will provide the math and physical science background I need to continue to pursue a degree in architecture.  Is this true?  Could I have the pre-reqs to get my master's in 2 years?  Or should I pursue a bachelor's in architecture?

In addition to education questions, I also have employment questions.  I may not have the proper degree to be an architect now, but what about architectural engineering?  Am I qualified to do that, or do I need architectural experience?

My degree may be in engineering, but my true passion is for architecture.  My favorite classes were physics, statics and dynamics, vibration analysis, and computer-aided engineering; anything that had to do with structural analysis.  My senior project was 90% structural analysis, and I loved it.  I know I've asked alot of questions, but architecture is my dream job and I want to know all I can and what to do to start moving towards that dream.

Thank you for your time,


First, congratulations on your recent degree and desire to pursue architecture.

As always, you will need to check with potential graduate programs to determine if you have met required prerequisites.  With that said, you will have definitely completed calculus or physics requirements but some programs require drawing and/or architectural history.

As you have a BSME degree, you should definitely pursue the Master of Architecture and not the BArch.

Architectural engineering is truly civil engineering with an emphasis on buildings; as to whether you are qualified to enter the workplace will depend on your skills and background.

What is most crucial to applying for a MArch is your portfolio.  Do you have any creative background?  If not, you may wish to consider taking a art/drawing course to generate materials for your portfolio over the next year while you apply for F14.

Also, as you appear to enjoy structures, you may consider the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as they have a focus on structures as part of their MArch and also have a joint degree with civil engineering.

Best!  Feel free to contact me with more questions.

P.S. Consider the book - Becoming an Architect, 2nd ed.


Anonymous said...

the opposite is here.. i wanted to be an architect at first, but i ended up joining architectural engineering.. unlike other universities my university gave architectural design class each semester like architecture.. but while studyin AE i found out that i am really good at mechanical classes like hvac, material, thermo and others, but not in design..i use more mechanicalthinking than imagination.. for future i want to study mechanical engineering in my masters course if its possible.. so yeah u shud make sure that u have creativity, if yes then u will be the next architect

Unknown said...

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Unknown said...

Dear Dr Architecture,

Firstly, thank you so much for helping us all lost souls who need advice to find in life what they're born to do.

Your comments are very helpful and your experience makes them very credible. I am a Mechanical Engineer have 13 months of work experience (I have just started my career). I have a Masters' Degree from one of the two best University for Mechanical Engineering in the UK.

I want to work as an engineer in the design and construction industry. I currently work in precision engineering. Making very high spec equipment for labs like CERN (Switzerland).

What would you recommend I do?

We cover Solid Mechanics in detail (statics and dynamics). Vibrations and Mechanical Noise, Thermodynamics and lots of other fundamental engineering and design modules. Would you recommend I get in to another "conversion" course to appleal to prospective employers or is there a chance I can get straight in?

Kindest thank you and regards,

Unknown said...

Engineering stuff and techniques that you mentioned on your blog are awesome. Being a electrical Engineer I really enjoy your all posts and learn a lot not only Electrical engineering knowledge but others technologies and tools as well.
Love from EDesk

Unknown said...

I'm wondering how it turn's out? Cuz i am planning to do the same. Worried that my Mechanical engineering degree wouldn't blend with Architecture.

Dr. Architecture said...

Do contact me by email -- And, visit for more details.